Y ou’ve heard about celebrities including Pilates in their daily routines and praising its ability to increase their strength and balance. Miley Cyrus surely looks healthier and slimmer than ever, and there’s no surprise that Madonna, the queen of fit, is doing it to maintain her muscles looking toned and young. Even Emma Stone used it to get more flexible for her dancing scenes in La La Land, and we must agree she looked spectacular.
But is this type of workout a good pick if you are trying to lose weight? Some users consider the routine intense enough to help you burn some calories, others are in love with the Hundred, which is a type of exercise designed to give you phenomenal abs, but there’s still a large category of people who will tell you that Pilates has nothing to do with fat burning and urge you to switch to aerobics or other cardio workouts, which have been used for some time now with excellent results.
So, who’s right? In this article, we will analyze the way Pilates acts upon the body and its ability to stimulate calorie burn, so read on to learn if you should include it in your daily exercise routine.
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Is Pilates a Good Workout for Weight Loss?
Are you trying to get slim fast? Then, this routine isn’t the best choice for you. If you have ever attended a Pilates class you may have noticed that no one is getting sweaty out of it. This means that the cardio effect is pretty low and, thus, the fat burnt per session is pretty reduced. In fact, fat burning isn’t the main purpose of this type of training, but you can include it in a weight loss program and get the most amazing results.
If you decide to start your routine with an hour of cardio exercises and, then, continue with 30 minutes of Pilates, all while trying to eat healthily and stay hydrated, it won’t take long until the first results appear. The role Pilate plays in this arrangement is of a core strengthener. You will soon start feeling more secure about your body, as it will become more flexible and balanced. Plus, your posture will improve. At the end of this hard training, you will emerge a whole new person, with a slender body that will proudly wear all those fancy clothes you’ve dreamt about.
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How Many Calories Does It Burn?
If after your half an hour workout, you indulge in a burger and a can of soda, you’ll probably not lose one calorie. Instead, you may gain some. It is already known how things work with calories, and we all know that it may take up to two or three sessions of intense workout just to burn the effects of pizza night. Well, Pilates is a low-impact sport, so it can take some time for it to have this effect on the body.
In general, for a person weighing around 150 lbs., a regular 1-hour session can lead to the loss of 175 calories, if the workout is mild, or about 254 calories if they are doing more intense exercises. How much does it take to lose 1 lb.? 3,500 calories. So, yes, Pilates can help you fight fat, but you will have to wait and wait for this to happen.
Nevertheless, the advantages that it brings are uncontestable. If you decide to change your diet and get slimmer this way, a consequence of this method is that you may lose muscle mass as well, and your skin will have a bit of trouble adjusting to your new size. In this case, this workout is the way to go, as the exercises help you work your entire body and keep it toned. Your muscles will maintain their shape, but you won’t add any bulk. In the end, you are trying to get more slender, not turn into a bodybuilder. But, if you do, this workout can still be included in your training to help you improve balance. You will need it if you are going to lift heavy weights.
Pilates is more than a routine that can assist you in getting slimmer. It is a true body strengthening and health-boosting program. Check out all the benefits it has to offer in this article and start practicing it for its therapeutical properties as well.
Can You Lose Belly Fat by Doing Pilates?
One of the most famous workouts invented by Joseph Pilates is the Hundred. This consists of a series of movements designed to strengthen belly muscles and make them more defined. And it works. If you are going for spectacular 6 packs this is the way to go.
But, even if your core muscles develop and become stronger, they won’t be able to show if they are covered in a thick layer of fat. You will need to put up a lot of effort to get the body shape you dream about, and you should be aware that usually, it isn’t possible to reduce fat in a single body part. The first step towards looking and feeling better is always the diet. You should try to replace junk food, sweets, sweet drinks, red meat, gluten, and fat-based items with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and lots of water. This is usually the hardest part of the process. But you shouldn’t stop here. Include some cardio workouts for at least five times a week and supplement them with low-impact exercises. Also, keep in mind that this is a new lifestyle, not a 3-month diet, so you will be following it your entire life. It may sound tough, but once you start seeing the results and feeling better, you won’t want to return to your old habits.
Mat Pilates can be pretty intense, but if you are going for the true muscle challenger, you should complete your training gear with a reformer. This machine will help you push your training to the next level. Plus, if you install it in your home gym, you will find it easier to exercise, even when you feel tired and down.
What Are the Best Pilates Exercises for a Flat Stomach?
If you want to focus your training on getting a flat stomach, then you should talk to your instructor and ask them to design a routine that can match this request. On the other hand, if you are training at home on your own, here are some movements that are a must:
- The Hundred – Although considered a warm-up exercise, it is actually a strong stomach muscle stimulator, and you will find it included in almost any Pilates routine. It prepares the body for more difficult exercises by increasing the heart rate and adjusting the breathing rhythm. It implies the following moves: Sitting on your back with your legs elevated at a certain angle, curl your torso forward by lifting your shoulders. Remember to keep your belly sucked in and you will get the best of this exercise. Repeat.
- Double Leg Straight-Leg Stretch – Get on your back and elevate your legs to form a 90-degree angle. Then pull your head and neck while maintaining your hands behind the head. Lower your legs slowly reducing the distance between them and the mat for as much as the position allows it. Then bring them up again and repeat for up to ten times.
- Neck Pull – From a lying down position with the feet extended on the mat, curl your torso up until you reach a sitting position. Then, reverse the curl until you get back in your initial position.
- Criss Cross – While sitting with the back on the mat, knees bent, and the hands behind your head, extend one leg and turn your body to the opposite direction. Do the same with the other leg. Repeat.
Some people love to work out at the gym under the strict supervision of an instructor while others only feel good in the intimacy of their home. If you are part of the second category, it may be time to invest in your own home gym. Check out what equipment you need for Pilates at home and organize your place.
How Many Days a Week Should You Do Pilates to See Results?
As usual, the answer isn’t simple. You will need to consider several factors that can influence the frequency and the length of your sessions.
Answer these questions to find out:
- Are you an active person or have practiced other sports in the past? – If the answer is yes, then you can do Pilates every day of the week or at least 5 times a week, with the possibility to upgrade your routine fast and get the best results. On the other hand, if your lifestyle is rather sedentary and you are just discovering the benefits of movement, we advise taking it slow. Start with three to four 30-minute sessions a week and increase the frequency, duration, and intensity gradually. This will help you feel comfortable and continue with your new routine. If the sessions are too rough from the beginning, there are more chances that you will quit.
- Do you do other workouts besides Pilates? – Then, no matter how trained you are, you should stick to no more than four to five Pilates sessions per week. You don’t want to drive your body to exhaustion, you want to keep it healthy and stronger than ever. Otherwise, if Pilates is your only training, feel free to exercise for up to an hour every day.
- Do you use this technique to recover after an injury or treat pain? – If you do, make sure you listen to your healthcare professional and don’t overwork your muscles. In these cases, the recovery is done gradually, so you will need to have patience.
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The Bottom Line
There’s a reason for which so many celebs and athletes include this type of workout into their daily routine. The truth is that Pilates just helps you look and behave more graciously. It truly transforms your body and makes you feel stronger and full of energy. But it cannot do it if you aren’t ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle. In fact, no exercise will help you look amazing if you keep eating lots of fats and other unhealthy items.
Take Miley Cyrus example, who gave up smoking, drugs, and alcohol, and switched to a plant-based and gluten-free diet. No one says you should renounce meat or cut some aliments completely from your diet, but it may be a good idea to include more fruits and vegetables. She looks amazing, and so can you. It just takes a bit of determination.