Does Pilates Cause Weight Loss?

Posted on Sep 26, 2018


Shedding excess pounds is among the top fitness goals for most people. Here at Pilates Plus in Singapore, one of the first questions our clients ask is if Pilates can help with weight loss. Whether it’s resistance exercises on the Reformer or strength-building Pilates Mat workout, the short answer is yes. After all, while each exercise routine has its own benefits, Pilates is a fitness programme that can work wonders on the body and the mind too.

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The Process Behind Pilates

Unlike other crushing, high intensity exercise programs, Pilates seem relatively passive. But, in reality it is no passive pursuit, rather its focus is on the concept of control instead of seemingly endless reps and muscle exhaustion.

In Pilates, the muscles work to lift against gravity or the resistance of bands and springs. This exercise require you to take your time, focus on the task at hand, maintain balance, and to apply proper breathing.  

What you learn from Pilates will actually provide you with a good solid bedrock for fitness and wellness. For example, full breathing exercises (which are also part of the program) can feed and stimulate the circulatory system. This is a cleansing process that can help detoxify the blood and refresh the cells. That is the basic component for the vitality we need to gain optimum benefit out of the exercises we perform. Adding to that, Core Pilates exercises also brings a lot of advantages that radiates to different parts of the body.

So, where does weight loss come in?

Weight Loss

Before we tackle that question, it is important that we understand how our body process weight loss.

The body loses weight, or body fat, by burning more calories than what is consumed. Our system burns a certain amount of calories in order to perform metabolic processes that are necessary to sustain life – this is called resting metabolism. Individuals may increase their resting metabolism by performing resistance training that increases muscle density.  This allows the body to burn even more calories – including stored body fat – at rest.

Remember, the body can only lose weight if it is in a negative energy balance. This means that you must take in less energy (this means food or calories) than you need on a regular and consistent basis. When this happens, the body must rely on its stores of fat, glycogen, and muscles as fuels. The result is the loss of body weight.

Pilates and Weight Loss

Most bodyweight routines in Pilates classes can be pretty intense. Studios develop their own programs that can help you burn the excess calories. Pilates can assist in weight loss by affecting your overall body composition – the kind of redistribution many of us aim to achieve.

A proper Pilates workout require that one masters a series of bodyweight exercises through the mat as well as endless routines on different resistance devices (e.g. Pilates reformer). Pilates makes use of large, heavy springs as opposed to weight so you can be exposed to different levels of resistance that is customized to your strength and capacity. The resistance training you get through a Pilates workout can boost your weight loss results.


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Changing your body composition by adding muscle and reducing fat will positively influence your basal metabolic rate in a positive way. Fat tissue has a lower body metabolic activity than muscle tissues. Therefore, the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn at rest. Yes, you read that right. You will burn more calories at rest simply by adding lean muscles to your body and there are Pilates resistance trainings to help you achieve this.

Pilates gives you a total body workout by initiating the muscles to work in synergy with each other – the way that the body is designed to be used. One study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science showed that Pilates increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, and also strengthens deep muscles in the abdomen and back. As a result, standing up tall and straight becomes second nature – which also makes you appear thinner. Furthermore, with strong postural muscles which you develop through Pilates – and with less fat stores in your midsection – you improve your body composition.

Can Pilates Help Maintain the Progress?  

When you have shed the excess weight, Pilates workouts can still help fine tune your form since it can help sculpt your muscles. Pilates will not bulk you up, but it can help you achieve a sleek, functional body.

You get optimum results if you participate in 3 or more sessions per week. With a few remnants of excess fat to get rid of, compliment your Pilates routine with 5 sessions of 30-minute cardiovascular workouts each week to efficiently reduce body fat percentage. To know how best to address your concerns, you must work with a trained and certified Pilates instructor.

[WATCH VIDEO] 30-Minute Cardio Pilates For a Flat Belly (Source: POPSUGAR Fitness)

If you see that Pilates might be the right fitness routine for your weight loss goals, it is important that you get the right help. Starting out with private sessions can be a good start, especially if you are dealing with certain aches and pains or injuries.

Coming into the program, you must keep in mind that Pilates shouldn’t be your only solution to weight loss. Think of it as part of a complete meal. It is best paired with other exercises to achieve optimal weight loss results. It works better in keeping your physique in excellent condition when combined with intense interval sequences. Also remember that as with any other exercise, what you get out of it depends on what you put in. So, if you are serious about shedding the extra pounds, you need to work through the challenge and discomfort especially if you start from a sedentary lifestyle.

The good thing about Pilates is that it can be customised to fit anyone’s fitness levels. So bring yourself to try this workout today! Check out our Pilates Classes, join our group sessions or enroll for private classes. If you are still testing the waters, you may also sign-up for our trial sessions.

With Pilates, not only do you shed the weight, you also work towards a stronger and healthier body too!