Weight loss for most people is not easy. There is a reason why people weigh the amount they do, and that reason is usually years and years of consistent over-eating and not enough exercise. Those are not easy habits to change at all, let alone over-night. This is one of the reasons that most diets fail within the first few weeks.
So start simple. In this article I want to give you some simple concepts and explain why I believe that Pilates is the perfect place to start and incorporate into your weight loss program.
The clients of Pilates teachers notice that their clothes start to fit differently. I am often told that trousers feel a little looser around the waist and thighs, and arms feel more toned. But I am often why is it, if this is the case that overall weight can remain at a similar level?
If you want to lose weight, we need to consider some basics. We can (and I will in my next blog) talk about fasting, the 5:2 diet, the 4:3 diet, but nothing changes the following basic facts.
How To Lose Weight
The principle of weight loss is a complex issue involving many factors, but to help simplify matters, for the purposes of this article we will think that you need to burn more calories than you consume. Your caloric intake needs to be less than your calories exerted. This idea helps many people to begin to understand what they need to do to lose weight. But the key is of course, how do you achieve this? 5:2? 4:3? Maybe. But let’s talk about exercise. Good, old fashioned exercise (in a later blog I will talk about High Intensity Interval Training, but for now let’s keep it nice and basic). So why exercise? It’s possible to consume less calories than you are exerting without exercise, but it’s quite difficult, and exercising gives many benefits.
Exercise is divided into two different groups: aerobic and anaerobic exercise. You need to understand the difference before we move on.
Aerobic exercise is moderate exercise performed for a long duration of time.
Anaerobic exercise is used to build power and/or muscle mass. These muscles generally have a greater performance under a short duration/high intensity situation.
Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise have numerous benefits, besides helping to burn of those calories to increase weight loss or weight maintenance. These other benefits include strengthening the respiratory and heart muscles, toning muscles in the body, improving your overall circulation, reducing your blood pressure, and boosting your immune system. Some say aerobic exercise is better for weight loss than anaerobic and vice versa. But the key is to make your caloric intake less than you caloric output. How you achieve that is up to you.
Calories Burned: Pilates vs. Other Exercises
I’ve listed below some popular activities and how many calories they burn during one hour of exercise. These figures are based on someone weighing around 145 pounds.
- Badminton 288
- Bicycling : outdoor 512, indoor 448
- Dancing : general 288, aerobic 416
- Gardening 256
- Golfing 288
- Jogging (5 mph) 512
- Rope Jumping 640
- Running (8 mph) 864
- Skiing: cross-country 512, downhill 384
- Stair Climbing 576
- Swimming 384
- Tennis 448
- Walking: 2 mph 160, 3.5 mph 243
Studies suggest that a 145 lb person doing Pilates for one hour would burn the following calories:
- Beginner level Pilates 241 calories
- Intermediate level Pilates 338
- Advanced level Pilates 421
Pilates and Exercise: The Answer
Someone doing a regular form of exercise like jogging (512 calories burned) would still need to watch what they eat because a Big Mac with cheese is 740 calories! This applies to all activities, including Pilates. When Pilates is compared to the general exercise list, the calories burned are in-between both extremes. It is possible to lose weight while using Pilates as a source of exercise, but you have to watch how many calories you ingest.
To put it bluntly, if you are only doing an hour of Pilates exercise each day and no other exercise and you wanted to lose weight, you would really need to seriously count your calories. Remember, calories exerted needs to be greater that calories ingested for weight loss. Not many people eat less than 338 calories a day, which is the amount of calories you will burn in an intermediate level mat workout! So you get my point? Doing Pilates alone is not a viable option. But the beauty of Pilates is that it gives you a foundation from which to go forth and exercise more. And this is crucial for many people, from those exercising for the first time to elite athletes who want to stay on the top of their profession.
Pilates and Extraordinary Effects on the Body
Pilates does change the shape of your body and your clothes will fit differently. Pilates can tighten your waistline, even if you do not lose so much weight, and it builds muscle without bulk and improves posture, making you seem taller and slimmer. It tones all of your muscles because each Pilates exercise session is a full body workout. All of these benefits perfectly compliment a program that considers calorie intake and exercise.
So the key is that if it is paired with the right program, Pilates will help you to lose weight whilst also keeping your body strong, flexible and toned. There are other benefits too;
- Creating lean muscle mass, as Pilates does, is one of the best ways to increase your calorie-burning potential.
- One of the best ways to look and feel thinner is to have beautiful posture.
- Pilates creates a leaner look by emphasizing both length and good alignment.
- Pilates promotes deep and efficient respiration, which is essential for calorie burning and tissue regeneration.
- Engaging in an exercise program, like Pilates, promotes self-esteem and heightened lifestyle consciousness. Both are associated with weight loss.
So my advice (completely unbiased coming from a Pilates educator of course…) is that everyone should incorporate Pilates into their weight loss regime. It makes sense doesn’t it?