I am often asked about the role of Pilates in weight loss. First, my disclaimer: I’m not a weight loss expert. I do, however, have a vested interest in my health and nutrition, along with the health of my family, friends and clients. Consequently, I have found it necessary and even enjoyable to educate myself on the topic.
So, what’s the answer, here? If we take time out for health and wellness, shouldn’t we expect it to show up on the scale? One would think, but as with anything else, it’s not so black and white. Here are some takeaways to help you navigate the question on Pilates and losing weight.
Weight Loss and Exercise
Weight loss occurs through the simple concept of calories in vs. energy expenditure. Many people reach their weight loss goals through a combination of diet and activity level.
When it comes to the exercise portion of the weight loss equation, there is often a tendency to favor cardiovascular exercise over strength training, likely for the higher immediate caloric expenditure. But, there’s a more efficient and beneficial way. Adding strength training into the mix will streamline your weight loss strategy.
Pilates Is Strength Training
Pilates is strength training and strength training is essential for any successful weight loss initiative. The more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism. You want your body to run as efficiently as possible and strength training will underpin those efforts, driving you closer to your weight loss goals.
The Pilates Body Is a Thing – A Toning Thing
Pilates is exercise from a whole body, no-stone-left-unturned approach. The strengthening, alignment and flexibility components lead to positive postural changes and a tightening and toning effect that only a traditional Pilates practice can deliver.
The scale doesn’t lie, but neither will your body composition. Do your clothes feel looser? It isn’t a figment of your imagination – it’s a benefit of practicing Pilates.
Pilates Can Be Cardiovascular
If you practice Pilates long enough, you will start to notice a cardiovascular component of the work come to life, which will also increase your caloric expenditure. Advanced students can focus on executing seamless transitions from one exercise to the next and conducting each exercise with fluid movement under control. The benefits for seasoned Pilates practitioners continue to evolve in the form of increased stamina, speed, strength and vitality.
Time to balance things out with one of my favorite sayings: “You can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet.” It’s true. You have to pay attention to what you do outside the studio, including your diet. And while you can lose weight through diet alone, without exercise, the results will be much less favorable and likely not what you have in mind.
If the ultimate goal is to look better, feel better and stay strong and agile, you have to put some strength training (ahem … Pilates) into the exercise mix. Do it in concert with a supportive lifestyle that values healthy diet and activity level and you’ll be on a successful path toward your weight loss goals.
Here’s to your health.