Will Pilates help you lose weight? Everyone knows the magic combination of diet and exercise can help you shed pounds more quickly than either one alone. What you may not know is that bodyweight exercises like Pilates can also be effective in aiding weight loss even if we are not running and jumping and breaking in to a huge sweat (though sometimes we do sweat lots in Pilates and definitely in Barre!).
Calorie Burn with Pilates
The first reason is fairly simple. If you are a fairly sedentary person due to your job or lifestyle, a Pilates workout will increase your total caloric expenditure from whatever your baseline is.
If you typically burn say 1,000 calories in a normal day and you add a Pilates workout to your routine, you will be burning off more energy than you were before you added the workout. This applies for all exercise that you add on to your existing regimen, not just Pilates. So it is important to note that an increase in your activity is an increase in your calorie burn - which aids weight loss (as long as you don't start to eat more too!). The harder you work in class, the more calories you burn! If you are a fairly active person already, Pilates is still hugely beneficial for improving posture, increasing strength and muscle tone.
Boost Your Metabolic Rate
The second way in which Pilates assists in weight loss is by impacting your overall body composition. Many people who seek to lose weight aren’t necessarily looking to be smaller.
It’s a redistribution that many of us are looking for.
If you were the same exact weight but sculpted and toned would you want to weigh less? Likely not. We tend to wish for tauter, toned muscles and less excess flesh. In other words, more lean muscle mass and less fat.
In order to change your muscle to fat ratio, you must perform resistance training.
You can choose from bodyweight training and using weights/resistance to accomplish this. Pilates sessions require you to master a series of bodyweight exercises known as the Pilates mat as well as Pilates studios which also offer equipment for Pilates resistance. We also use resistance bands and fitness balls to create resistance in mat classes.
Changing your body composition by adding muscle and reducing fat will impact your basal metabolic rate in a positive way. The more muscle you add, the more calories you will burn at rest, simply by virtue of having added lean muscle to your body.
The Pilates Effect
If these aren’t enough to sell you on Pilates for weight loss, there’s one final reason that should seal the deal!
Step into a Pilates workout and you’ll find yourself lifting your abdominals in and up, retracting your shoulders and lengthening your neck. By the end of a Pilates class, your spine will elongate, your waist will narrow and your chest will lift up proudly. Your posture undergoes a complete overhaul leaving you looking and feeling longer and taller than you did just one hour earlier.
All of this without ever addressing your diet makes Pilates the fastest weight loss method on the planet. :P While you're taking care of your nutrition you can already look better with regular Pilates workouts. Finally, Pilates makes you feel better. Proven to lower stress levels, boost confidence and your self-esteem, you are more likely to make better, healthier food choices which is positively associated with weight loss.
Home Pilates Exercises for Weight Loss
For those who want to lose weight and tone up, make a conscious effort to exercise between classes through cardio training, walking more, running, and include some at-home Pilates inspired exercises.
Here's some to get you going below:
Lunge Warm Up
Grab some weights between 2 to 3 lbs (or tins of beans/bottles of water!!) and stand tall. Make a "Y" shape with your feet standing with one heel into the other arch. Lunge out onto a bent leg raising the arms briskly overhead. The back leg stays straight. Drag the front leg back to its starting position as you lower the arms. Repeat 8 to 10 times and change sides.
Muscles targeted: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Deltoids
Stand tall and reach overhead before rounding over and walking your hands out to a push-up or plank position. Perform 3 to 5 Push Ups then walk your hands back into your feet and roll up to standing. Repeat 3 to 4 sets.
Muscles targeted: Back, Core, Shoulders
Stand with your feet a bit narrower than your hips in parallel and arms crossed genie-style/cossack. Squat half way down bending the hips and knees but keeping the spine upright. Hold at the lowest point for 3 counts. Then stand back up. Repeat 8 to 12 times for 1 set. Perform 2 sets total.
Muscles targeted: Gluteals, Hamstrings
Leg Pull Up
The muscles on the backside of the body are large and dense. Increasing their strength and volume will impact your metabolism. Sit tall with your legs together in front of you and your hands behind your hips. The fingers face forward. Press the hips up in the air making a straight line with your body. Hold for 5 breaths. Lower and repeat 5 to 8 times. As you progress you can add a kicking motion, raising one leg at a time.
Muscles targeted: Gluteals, Hamstrings, Triceps, Latissimus Dorsi
If you’re trying to lose significant weight, you’ll want to do Pilates and/or Barre Sculpt two to three times a week and include resistance training. As well as community sessions, 1:1's are the best way to work on your individual fitness goals enabling you to advance to more challenging exercise levels quicker and work on a Pilates program tailored to you and your fitness goals. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on community sessions and 1:1's!