I saw you today, on my way out of yoga. You were there, waiting for the studio to clear, so you and the others could pile in. There seemed to be, as usual, a decent turn out. At least 20 people were waiting, mats at the ready, smiles on their faces. You were clearly prepared, too, with your usual instructional tool and attire…

I fought back my annoyance as I passed through the group. You see, I attended your Pilates class three times last year and haven’t been back. Unfortunately, you are the main instructor at the gym, so I haven’t done Pilates since then. I have, instead, chosen to do yoga and to use the machines and weights.

I used to like Pilates, so I feel a bit peeved. But… only when I see you with your latte.

Yes, when I see you, in your chosen gym garb, Starbucks in hand, I’m reminded of the three classes that I spent sweating on a mat at your whim. I’d been there, following your instructions, holding my plank until my arms turned to jelly, sweating it out through the 100 as you lead the session- using nothing but your voice. You’d sat there, at the front of the room, cupping your latte in both hands as if relaxing fireside, on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The first time you did this, I simply assumed you weren’t feeling well. The second time, when you were sitting all cosy-like, again, I wondered if maybe you had a bad back or morning sickness, perhaps. I noted that the others in the class seemed unfazed by your lack of participation and the fact that you were actually sporting a fucking poncho!

So, curious as to WTF?!, I asked the lady next to me: “Does she always teach from a seated position while sipping a coffee?” She smiled and told me that yes, in fact, she did. And for the past two years she’d been attending the class. “It’s always a good work out,” she added.

Well, that was it!

I was done.

Maybe the others didn’t mind being guided by the voice of the Chillaxing Champion of Canada, but I did! And I can’t imagine I’m the only one who doesn’t want to gaze upon a coffee-sipper while sweating my core off.

We get it, winter is cold and demotivating. We all know this! Which is why we come to you. We need you to energize us and inspire us. We need you to put us in motion not to ignite in us a feeling of envy over your Starbucks and your Boho shawl with tassels, which is really gorgeous- by the way.  You see, Pilates class isn’t the time to stay comfy or to see how close you can get to full fetal, while remaining upright. It’s just not the place for that. When we, the students, look up, sweat dripping from our brow, we want to see you exercising too.

So do us a favour, Moonbeam, next time- leave your poncho at the door. Is this really too much to ask?


Shannon Day is co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! (a funny and heartwarming book & martini guide for moms). She is a freelance writer and blogger whose words and wit can be found at several online sites, including her own: Martinis & Motherhood. Get in touch with Shannon via Facebook or Twitter.


  1. I’m thinking that’s decaf in Moonbeam’s cup because someone needs to wake her the hell up. I wonder how many classes she teaches per day, though. That’s my only possible excuse for her. Please tell me it’s more than 1!!

    • I agree! And I assume she has other classes, I see her at the morning Pilates class so she may be saving herself for later…

  2. Great post! I was in stitches reading this. I wouldn’t want to be in her class either. I expect the teacher to sweat it out with me too!

  3. Absurd. The only time my pilates instructor didn’t get down and dirty with the rest of us was when she was a) pregnant and/or b) we were on the machines of torture and she was helping position us even more in the pit of despair. As a fitness instructor, you participate. And, as per Edna, costume designer extraordinaire from “The Incredibles” “NO CAPES!” (or ponchos).

  4. Nothing worse than an instructor basically ‘phoning it in’. I hope she doesn’t strain her voice giving commands while sipping her coffee/latte/frapp. I’m surprised she’s not playing on her iPad while you’re sweating your ass off.

  5. I was THIS close to going to a Pilates class. Now, after reading this–definitely not. Who was I kidding? I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life; ponchos in Pilates WITH coffee? Pfff.

  6. Pingback: Hey Pilates Teacher, Lose the Latte | Shannon Day's Martinis & Motherhood

  7. Word! I once canceled my membership at a small gym because I couldn’t take seeing the personal trainer hold a coffee cup in her hand every second she spent training someone. It bothered me that she was never fully engaged and it bothered me that her repeat clients must have thought, “yeah, whatev.” I love to hate exercising and if I’m going to convince myself to do it, all conditions need to be optimal. I can’t have annoyance in my peripheral.

  8. This is kinda ridiculous, pilates teachers go through a lot of training to become qualified. We’re talking YEARS of practice and training, studying anatomy, having to attend biannual first aid workshops, staying fit through regular practice, and that’s not to mention sustaining injuries. Teachers spend at least an hour a day every day on maintaining their fitness and skills. I’m not a pilates teacher, but my mum is, and I see how hard she works. If you come to a pilates class, it’s your time to work, and the teacher’s time to teach. If you’re complaining about this then I can guaruntee you’re not qualified, so you wouldn’t understand how harrowing being a pilates teacher actually is 🙂 You pay to go exercise and better yourself.

  9. Each time you practice Pilates, you take your joints through their full range of motion. This can help prevent degenerative arthritis or mitigate disability by “squeezing and soaking” areas of cartilage that normally aren’t used. Joint cartilage is like a sponge; it receives fresh nutrients only when its fluid is squeezed out and a new supply can be soaked up.

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