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Does Pilates Help You Lose Weight?

author image Joy Johnston
Joy Johnston has been an online journalist since 2005. She has served as senior producer for the health news website Sharecare and as a digital producer for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," where she helped develop the health channel. Johnston has also covered ways to stay fit in Atlanta.
Does Pilates Help You Lose Weight?
Pilates burns calories with mat exercises and apparatus work. Photo Credit Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

On the surface, Pilates might not look impressive as a weight-loss workout. However, Pilates effectively conditions your core muscles, which boosts your calorie-burning potential. To increase your ability to burn calories and fat, strive to perform advanced forms of Pilates, which offer a more challenging cardiovascular workout. An effective weight-loss regimen can incorporate Pilates along with aerobic and strength-training exercises.

Calculating Calories Burned

Pilates burns a respectable number of calories in a one-hour session. At a beginner’s level, a 150-pound person burns about 250 calories, while an intermediate class burns 351 calories and an advanced class burns 432 calories. In comparison, an hour of walking at 2 miles per hour burns approximately 189 calories for a 150-pound person, while an hour of running at 5 miles per hour burns 576 calories for a 150-pound person.

Conquering the Core

The exercises performed during a Pilates class focus on the core, meaning your abs, buttocks and lower back muscles receive a fat-blasting workout. A stronger core supports weight-loss goals by increasing your flexibility and range of motion, making you more efficient at performing physical activities that burn even more calories. Specific Pilates exercises that are often effective in toning core muscles include the Roll-Up, the Criss-Cross and the Teaser.

Fat-Blasting Tips

Crank up your intensity level to burn additional fat and calories. Advanced Pilates classes move at a faster pace with fewer breaks, keeping your heart rate in your target zone where you burn the most calories. An advanced Pilates class that incorporates cardio intervals also offers increased weight-loss potential. A study published in 2012 by the American Physiological Society found that as little as 2.5 minutes of intense exercise intervals can burn an additional 200 calories per workout.

Things to Consider

To lose a pound, you must achieve a 3,500-calorie deficit, which can be achieved through exercise and by decreasing caloric intake. Doing Pilates alone will not help you lose a significant amount of weight. To maintain weight or lose weight, you need to perform Pilates for a minimum of 45 minutes at least four days a week. Boost your calorie-burning potential by incorporating aerobics and strength-training exercises along with Pilates. Don't overlook nutrition -- assess your diet and make healthy diet choices to reduce calorie consumption.

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