Does Pilates Help In Losing Weight?

By Patricia | March 6, 2009
Lose Weight With Pilates Yoga

A fair answer to this question would be yes and no. To understand why, we must look at the key aspects of Pilates and understand what is does to the body in totality. Pilates focuses on strengthening the core muscles —the muscles of the abdomen and the back. These muscles are situated deep inside the body and provide support to the peripheral trunk muscles which uphold a person. Through Pilates, one strengthens these muscles so that they can provide support to the trunk muscles, which uphold the spine.

Pilates exercises are designed such that they exert a body part either by using resistance in the form of exercise equipment such as pulleys, resistance bands, reformers, and springs, or by using the person's own weight. However, the body part being worked at is not treated in isolation but in totality with the whole body. As a result, the entire body is being worked while simultaneously keeping the specific body part in focus.

A person doing Pilates for a consistent period of time will notice significant changes in the way of how he or she looks. Abs look more toned and the back feels more erect. Arms and legs feel stronger and more toned. Overall a person looks fitter and leaner. This change might however not reflect on the weighing scale initially. That's because Pilates is essentially aimed at strengthening and toning the body and increasing fitness levels. It is not designed as a weight loss routine.

However, this must not be misconstrued to mean that Pilates cannot help you lose weight; it most certainly can. The key to weight loss is creating a calorie deficit—spending more calories than you consume. In order to achieve this, Pilates has to be coupled with a good diet regime, and has to be done consistently with slight modifications to maximize weight loss.

These modifications include increasing the pace of the workout, adding equipment, decreasing resistance (surprisingly so) and committing to the six principles of Pilates namely: Centering, Control, Flow, Breath, Precision, and Concentration. Let us look at how these modifications can help to maximize weight loss through Pilates.

  • Increasing the workout pace burns more calories. Coupled with a healthy diet focusing on weight loss, a person can maximize his or her calorie deficit to lose weight.
  • Adding new equipment such as wunda chairs and ladder barrels to the exercise routine will help build more muscle. Muscle is known to burn fat, and a lot of it at that.
  • Decreasing resistance surprisingly can maximize weight loss efforts. Start with a higher resistance level for a couple of days. When muscles feel used to that resistance, lower it. Less resistance provides instability to the core muscles and they strive to maintain balance and precision. Lighter springs on the reformers and low resistance bands on other equipments with decreased resistance significantly work up core muscles as the muscles strive to attain stability at these new resistance levels.
  • Lastly follow each routine with dedication and the six principles of Pilates. Stretch a little extra, breathe deeper, focus more, and transit through every movement with grace and control.

With these pointers in minds, it is not difficult to lose weight with Pilates. Grab a mat, some resistance bands and get started.

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