When it comes to exercising to lose weight, some people feel that Pilates is not the best choice of workout.
But this is simply not true.
In fact, I hate to hear this because for some of us, Pilates may be the only type of exercise we can do…whether it be because of low energy due to chronic illness, older age, pain, or just simply being tired of workouts that require you to jump around like a maniac.
So to say that Pilates is worthless for weight loss is not only ridiculous, but it’s discouraging and disheartening.
But I am here to tell you that you absolutely CAN lose weight with Pilates, you just have to know how to use it.
There are three main things you need to do in order to lose weight:
#1 – You Must Eat a Healthy Diet Made Up Of Whole Food
This is the most important thing you must do.
In fact, losing weight is 70%-80% diet. This means that no matter what type of exercise you do…if your diet is not right, you will NOT get the results you seek.
Exercising without changing your diet is pointless. Even if you were to initially lose some weight by just exercising without changing your diet, your body would quickly adapt and your weight loss would come to a grinding halt.
And when I say “diet” I don’t mean calorie restriction.
Relying on calorie restriction for weight loss is no longer the best choice. It is true that calories are important...but only to a certain extent. If you are eating a diet high in sugar, processed carbohydrates, and hydrogenated oils, you will not lose weight… no matter how little calories you eat.
A low sugar, whole food diet will help you lose weight without much effort, and without counting calories.
Even so-called “healthy foods”, such as granola bars, yogurt, and gluten free bread, can hinder your weight loss due to their high sugar content. Some of these foods also contain a number of toxic chemicals that screw up your hormones and metabolism.
#1 – Your body is not able to completely break down and utilize processed foods in the same manner as whole foods. As a result, the excess “garbage” gets stored as fat because your body simply doesn’t know what else to do with it.
#2 – Excessive sugar intake (which describes the typical American diet), keeps insulin levels high. When insulin levels are high, growth hormone (HGH) is low, which means that fat loss cannot happen. (source)
Elevated HGH levels have been shown to speed up fat loss. (source)
Whole food would be anything that comes from the earth (Excluding wheat, corn, and soy) along with healthy, lean meats. Even some so-called “fattening” whole foods, such as avocados, are an excellent choice when you are trying to reduce body fat.
#2 – Strength Training
This one is easy because Pilates is a form of strength training.
By doing strength training you increase your body’s lean muscle mass, which will in turn raise your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR is the amount of calories you burn at rest.
So the more muscle you add to your frame, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be…and the more calories you will burn around the clock, even while you sleep.
#3 – Cardiovascular Exercise
If your primary goal is to lose weight with Pilates, then you may want to do some cardio exercise in addition to your Pilates workouts, especially if you are a beginner.
One reason is that Pilates is all about precision and control, so initially your focus will be on learning the moves and executing them properly so that you avoid injury. This involves learning to properly engage your core muscles, or “powerhouse”.
So as a beginner, you will lack the necessary muscular control needed to perform the exercises in quick succession, which is the key to burning a higher amount of calories during a Pilates workout.
Advanced Pilates exercisers can move quickly through their routines, and this is what allows them to get more of a fat-burning benefit during their workouts.
This is the main reason why many beginners get frustrated with Pilates and give up, saying it didn’t help them lose weight. They simply don’t want to work through the learning curve.
Don’t Give Up Too Soon…
If you decide to do Pilates for weight loss, it’s so important that you eat the right diet. The best results (as far as muscle tone) come after you have been practicing Pilates for a bit of time.
But even while you are learning how to do Pilates, you will still notice some visible changes to your physique.
Pay close attention to how your clothes are fitting you. Not only does muscle weigh more than fat, but it takes up less space.
Still, as long as you eat well and incorporate cardio into your routine, you will lose weight with Pilates.
As you get better and better at performing the exercises, your lean muscle mass and strength will continue to increase and you will be able to perform more advanced movements, which will in turn increase the calories you burn during your sessions.
It’s definitely a work in progress, but people who have consistently practiced Pilates over time have been able to make significant strength gains and completely alter their physique.