Can Pilates help you loose weight?

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What is Pilates?

Pilates is a fitness class involving precise movements and specific breathing techniques; designed to build stability, balance, core strength, muscle tone and overall wellness. Originally created by Joseph Pilates who adapted yoga using his method “Contrology”. A Pilates class or routine generally includes exercises that promote core strength and stability, muscle control, and endurance. This may include exercises that encourage good posture and movement patterns focused on balance, flexibility and strength. It can also be helpful in training for sports or in physical rehabilitation (Mayo Clinic).

Mat Pilates
Can Pilates help you lose weight?

Pilates is an effective full body workout – great for toning up, building lean muscle and improving your posture. Yes, Pilates can help you lose weight – when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. There isn’t a perfect recipe for weight loss because everyone is different. The basic scientific principle for weight loss is to create a calorie deficit, this means burning more calories than you’re consuming. This is why exercise alone doesn’t always result in weight loss. A healthy and balanced diet is the most important factor, but Pilates can support you with a safe way to move and exercise.

Pilates can play an important role in your weight loss journey if that’s your focus because it’s a great low-impact way to exercise and burn calories. Pilates classes vary in their style and in the level of physical demand on your body. Some Pilates classes are designed to be high-intensity cardio classes. This means they’re fast-paced, with small rests and lots of movements to get your heart rate up. Other Pilates classes may be slower; centred on technique, with controlled movements and have strength or stability as the focus. At Life Ready Studios, we have a mix of classes on our timetable that can help you if your goal is weight loss. While weight loss is never the focus for us, our classes can support you on your wellness journey.

One study in 2017, observed 37 overweight or obese women aged 30 to 50 years old, and it did support that Pilates is good for

  • Weight Loss
  • Lowering BMI
  • Toning the waist
  • Decreasing abdomen and hip circumference

(National Library of Medicine, 20217)

Where does Pilates fit into your weight loss journey?

Pilates can fit into your weight loss journey by helping you find a nourishing exercise practice that makes you feel good. Before changing your diet or restricting your calories we recommend speaking to a health professional, like a qualified nutritionist. We’re all different, so it’s important to get the proper guidance and support for your individual body.  Moving in class with Life Ready Studio is a gentle way to release powerful endorphins. Endorphins are released during exercise and help you move, feel and think better day to day. Finding a workout you enjoy is not just good for you, it is essential if you want to lose weight and maintain this for the long term. As medical guidance suggests, slow incremental progress will likely lead to more sustainable changes, in line with the results you want.

A healthy lifestyle is a practice, incremental improvement day to day is what we focus on at Life Ready Studio. Living healthier and feeling good is a marathon, not a sprint. Fad diets have a bad reputation for a reason – we’re here to promote feeling good for the long term.

Eating healthily and exercising regularly is the best way to successfully lose weight, with pilates classes you are doing so much more than just burning calories or ticking the box of movement each day. You’re training your body to move in a way that promotes good movement while reducing injury potential, building overall strength and stability and rehabilitating any existing injuries or weaker areas in the body.

How many calories does Pilates burn?

The amount of calories you will burn in Pilates depends on your current weight if you’re doing a mat or reformer class, and the level of difficulty of the class. According to a study by Splide and Prorcair, the average caloric expenditure of two 50-minutes Pilates workouts is around 175 for a beginner routine and 254 for an advanced routine.

There are other factors including the exercises in the routine and the pace of the class. Exercises such as the side bend require higher energy costs, while exercises such as the hundred require less energy to perform.

The research does suggest that while Pilates has a low aerobic benefit – the equivalent of walking about 2 miles per hour – the perceived effort required to complete the exercise is much higher.

Advanced Pilates routines can elicit a higher aerobic response – the equivalent to the energy required to walk 3.5 to 4 miles per hour. The high rate may reflect the muscular endurance required to sustain some of the advanced moves rather than the aerobic requirement of the exercise.

Pilates is good for weight loss and maintaining weight loss?

There is no doubt Pilates is a great way to exercise, at any stage of your life. The reason why Pilates is good for weight loss, it’s both enjoyable and safe to do even if you have an injury. It’s something you can do consistently which is key as you can move without fatiguing the muscles. Let’s be clear, you will not immediately drop 10kgs in one week with Pilates, the classes are not designed with a focus on weight loss – not to mention, rapid weight loss is not advisable and can be dangerous.

Pilates can support you in conjunction with a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. 

You likely burn around 70% of the calories your body needs just by living your life, powering your organs, sitting at your desk or playing with your kids. If you want to increase your energy output with exercise, we recommend Pilates as a safe and supportive way to move – especially if you haven’t exercised in a while or you’re recovering from an injury.

Finding exercise that you really enjoy is important for maintaining lost weight, and studies show that people who are not physically active are more likely to gain weight. 

Pilates is great for building strong, lean and toned muscles. Studies show that people with more muscle mass naturally burn more calories as part of their maintenance energy. This means, yes Pilates can help you lose weight in the long term, as you create more muscle, and therefore you’ll naturally burn more calories throughout the day.

Pilates is here to help you get stronger and challenge your body to move in a way that feels good for you. Life Ready Studio is not about before and after photos, nor do any of our classes focus on weight loss. But we do understand how to help you if you are looking to get fitter, lose weight and feel more confident in your own skin – we want to make sure we’re supporting you. 

We do this with classes that are designed to stretch, challenge and strengthen your body through muscular effort. We work your core because your abdominal muscles are integral to supporting your body’s everyday movements.

Pilates poses are challenging for the body, you move into uneven or challenging postures, the effort of correcting these postures and stabilising your body builds incredible muscle strength. 

That’s why “The Pilates Effect” helps you improve your posture and balance. Pilates can target the powerhouse muscles that burn a lot of calories, which are your glutes, pelvic floor, abdominals, back, arm and leg muscles – giving you a full-body workout and challenging these muscles. The more you work your muscles, the more calorific effort you’ll be using in class. This doesn’t mean you have to be out of breath, as strength and load-bearing often mean high calorific effects on the body. Pilates positively encourages your body to correct, stabilise and connect mind and body.

There is no question that Pilates exercise is beneficial for you – particularly for building a strong core and increasing your flexibility. Regarding its cardiovascular benefits, these appear to be limited – that being said – it depends on the routine and sequence in class. Pilates remains one of the most challenging and effective ways to build core strength and stability. As the research indicates, there is a difference between beginner workouts and advanced workouts in terms of how many calories per class you burn. 

The key to Pilates supporting your weight loss journey is to focus on a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise and consistency.

If you have any questions about getting started or how Pilates can help you on your weight loss journey – please get in touch, we’ll be happy to help you.