Pilates for Weight Loss

Pilates for weight loss, woman measuring waistIf you’re looking to lose weight it’s important that you find a good balance between and healthy diet and sufficient exercise. Many people struggle to find exercise that they enjoy and can stick to on a regular basis, but consistency can have a massive impact on your success.

Many people are turning to exercise classes like Zumba, Yoga and Pilates. While the benefits of these classes are wide ranging, people still wonder “is Pilates good for weight loss?”

In this article we’ll look at:

  • Some specific benefits of Pilates
  • How it can be used for weight loss
  • How many calories you can expect to burn
  • Any equipment you need to get started

Scroll down to read on, or use the table of contents below to jump to the relevant section.

Benefits of Pilates

People in a Pilates class

Is Pilates good for weight loss?

The aim of Pilates is to strengthen the body in an even way, focusing on core strength which in turn improves general fitness, health, and wellbeing. As a result of this, Pilates has many benefits including:

  • Great for abs – Pilates focuses on strengthening your core, based on the exercises and poses that are taught and trained.
  • Can ease back pain – A stronger core will in turn equal a stronger back; stabilising the lower back region can alleviate stress on this area and increase mobility
  • Easy on your joints – Pilates focuses on slow and controlled movements so you won’t experience any harsh impact on your joins. If you use a reformer, you’ll take all pressure of your back and knees
  • Makes you more flexible – Due to the movements involved, Pilates trains your body to be more flexible. Many people worry that they aren’t flexible enough to start, but this will come with time.
  • You can do it anywhere – Whether you want to exercise in your lounge, garden, or park, you can do so with a Pilates workout. Some people find it extremely therapeutic to exercise in the great outdoors whereas other would prefer the comfort of their own home. The beauty of Pilates is that you only really need a small space to work in; grab your mat and any additional exercise equipment you might need, and away you go.

Pilates is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, making it an all-rounder and can even be beneficial for those with health issues or medical conditions.

How Many Calories Does Pilates Burn?

According to myfitnesspal.com, you can expect to burn around 170 calories in a 1 hour Pilates class (based on 150lbs individual).

This will of course be variable based on a number of factors including the age, weight, height and sex of the individual as well as the intensity of the workout and even the temperature in the room!

You can increase the intensity of your workout by wearing ankle weights for some of the exercises.

Pilates for Weight Loss

Woman doing Pilates stretches

Pilates is an effective way to improve your general health and well being

The benefits of Pilates extends beyond the calories that you burn in the room, and this is what helps to make it an effective tool for weight loss.

As previously outlined, Pilates focuses on your core muscle strength, building upon it, and in turn creating lean muscle. When your body strength and muscle builds up, the number of calories burned can again increase, as your body is naturally expending more energy to maintain your increased muscle mass.

This process will eventually lead to your body naturally burning more calories throughout the day and therefore promoting weight loss.

Pilates is also very much a “lifestyle” type of exercise, surrounding yourself with like-minded people on a regular basis helps to keep you focused on your fitness goals. Outside of classes you might choose to read up about Pilates techniques, watch fitness videos and generally think more about exercise.

This will also factor in the food you start to eat. If you’ve recently enjoyed a Pilates workout, you won’t want to undo your hard work by eating unhealthy food.

Thinking about Pilates in this way, as a lifestyle and a culture, as opposed to just something that you do once a week, makes it much more effective as a weight loss aid.

Pilates Workout Video

POP Pilates is a great place to start if you’re a beginner to Pilates; Cassey will go through each workout with you, working your entire body:

Body Wisdom have put together this interactive DVD boxset for beginners, weight loss, and for those who are looking for a more advanced workout.

If you’re looking for a beginner’s weight loss workout, Element’s Pilates weight loss for beginners is a great DVD. Even in your living room, you’ll feel like you are somewhere else with the backdrop of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.

H2 – Pilates Equipment

While Pilates doesn’t really require any specific equipment, there are several popular items that you might use in a Pilates class or at home to modify, enhance, or increase the intensity of your workout:

  • Pilates Ball – If you’re looking to add some variety and new exercises to your Pilates workout, a Pilates ball could be your new best friend. Because Pilates focuses on strengthening your core, this ties in very nicely with a Pilates ball which is designed to strengthen your abs and other core muscles. You can perform most exercises with the Pilates ball as well as using it as a support aid; especially great for those with back issues.
  • Magic Circle – The Pilates toning ring is a great tool for enhancing or modifying your Pilates exercises. It’s extremely lightweight, so it won’t be an exercise in itself to use it, but will give you the ability to incorporate resistance training into your workout without the need for heavy weights.  The ring aids in honing in and engaging your muscles, encourages good posture and alignment and aids in balance issues.
  • Reformer – The Pilates reformer somewhat resembles a single bed, however, the attachments and modifications that can be made to the reformer can be a great way to enhance existing exercises or provide a more challenging strength and endurance workout, compared to a mat workout. The machine provides a lot of support and resistance so if you’re worried about limited movement, you needn’t with a reformer.

Check out our in-depth article on the best home exercise equipment here. 

Try Pilates Today

Hopefully this article will serve as a nice introduction to Pilates, and outline some of the reasons Pilates is good for weight loss. If you’re decided that it’s time to make a lifestyle change, finding an activity that you enjoy doing on a regular basis will be a massive factor in whether you meet your weight loss goals.

Something like Pilates is a great place to start, as there is minimal requirement for equipment, and there are lots of beginner’s classes available.

As you progress you can start to take on more advanced classes, or experiment with different types of Pilates equipment.

Remember, diet is also a key factor in losing weight, and without making changes to what you eat, no amount of Pilates will help you lose weight. Consider trying a low calorie diet or intermittent fast on the days you are not working out, and you’ll notice the weight start to fall off very quickly.

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