Dear Ms. Annie Lowrey,
Have you ever seen a nice, polite lady from the South get really, really mad?
Well, that was me a little over a month ago after reading your New York Magazine article, “The Pilatespocalypse: How the Method that Started the Boutique-Fitness Trend is Going Bust.” You say that Pilates is over, that it isn’t as popular or relevant as the other “boutique-fitness” classes like spin or CrossFit. You write that Pilates class attendance is lower than ever and that studios everywhere are struggling to stay open. For gosh sakes, you call Pilates a fad.
Dear Annie: you are wrong.
Pilates: Your Favorite Pair of Blue Jeans
First of all, let’s get something clear: The Pilates Method cannot be compared to the likes of spin, barre, boot camp, CrossFit, pole dancing, etc. Simply stated, the Pilates Method has been around since the 1920’s, and as more people are introduced to the world of Pilates its following only continues to grow. It doesn’t belong in the same list as those other brand of fitness with boutique-style workouts.
You write that nobody wants to do Pilates anymore because compared to CrossFit or spin class, it’s too quiet, antisocial and it doesn’t make you sweat. Annie, have you ever even taken a Pilates class!? First off, when done correctly with precision, form and control—trust me—Pilates practice will make you sweat. If you knew how many loads of towels we go through every day here at ABC Pilates, or took a class and could hear us laughing, encouraging one another and grooving to the music, you might change your tune.
Besides, even if Pilates isn’t the most sweat-inducing workout, this recent mentality that the fitness world has adopted that one has to overexert oneself or blast one’s body with pure cardio every workout to get results is just plain ignorance. Our bodies benefit more when they are worked properly, not heavily. The truth is that those hardcore, heart-pounding, pumping-and-jumping workouts take a severe toll on your body, leading to overuse injuries that can keep you from exercising at all. On the plus side, that just might lead you into a physical therapy clinic where they will promptly give you Pilates-based exercises to make your body well again.
Surviving and Thriving
While there may be some U.S. Pilates studios closing here and there, we must remember that Pilates is world-wide. On the other hand, you choose to use the 300 Pure Barre studios in the U.S. as a ruler. How can we compare national to international? America’s latest trend’s growth spurt to a nearly-century-old practice’s worldly omnipresence? Your article mentions that a market research firm, IBISWorld, found that the number of people doing Pilates declined about 2 percent per year every year between 2007 and 2011. Well, I think that they forgot to survey us over here at the ABC Pilates studio, as well as many other local studios that I know for a fact continue to grow. Where did they conduct this survey anyway, New York City where the price of rent has skyrocketed?
What the fad?
Now, we’ve come to the part of your article that irked me the most. You cite the American College of Sport Medicine Survey by saying it “floated the theory that Pilates was a fad, not a trend.” Then, icing on the cake: one of your sources ludicrously lumps Pilates in with Zumba. To that, all I can say is that there is a reason why so many elite physical therapy clinics, such as Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance, use Pilates modalities to successfully rehabilitate their patients, as I mentioned earlier. I have yet to hear of any physicians or physical therapists making a patient do Zumba!
Listen up, Annie. Pilates is not a high-fashion, designer dress that’s in style for a season, it’s a good pair of classic blue jeans.
There is a ton more ranting about this article that I could get in to, but I will refrain with a big warm smile like the southern belle I am. I’ll simply leave you with this: the Pilates Method is not just surviving, it’s thriving. Oh, and Annie? Get your butt into one of my Pilates classes soon for a full-body, timeless workout that will leave you feeling positively great.
ABC Pilates Studio Manager & Instructor