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Pilates and Weight Loss

Pilates and Weight Loss

Will Pilates Help Me Lose Weight?  An Honest Answer.

It seems like Pilates has gained popularity overnight.  With actresses like Miley Cirus, Kate Hudson, Anna Faris, and Cameron Diaz turning to Pilates to transform and sculpt their bodies, one might ask, what about me? Will Pilates help me lose weight?  The answer is, well, complicated. Yes and No. 

Weight loss involves more than just exercise.  Other factors like stress, lifestyle, sleep, nutrition and your eating habits most definitely come into play. As the saying goes, “You can’t outrun your fork.” However, people are turning to pilates not necessarily to “lose weight” but for a body composition change.  In reality, our weight is just our gravitational pull towards the center of the earth; weight is just a number.  

When we say we want to “lose weight”, typically we are looking for a body change.  We want to change what we see in the mirror.  Instead of seeing fatty, loose flesh, we want to see a tight, toned, sculpted body, right?  For this body composition change to happen, we need to adjust our muscle to fat ratio.  That’s achieved by a healthy diet and resistance training.  Now, this is where Pilates comes into play!  Pilates is resistance training, whether we are using spring tension, tension from a band, a fitness circle ring, or even our own body weight.

So, how does Pilates change our body composition?  For starters, Pilates will increase our muscle mass.  “But wait… we don’t want to gain muscle.” Yes we do, and here’s why.  The more muscle we add to our body (the more muscle mass we have), the more calories we will burn while just resting!  Yes, you read that right!  By virtue of adding more lean muscle to our bodies (by doing resistance training, ie: Pilates), we will burn more calories simply at rest. Burning more calories aids in the loss of fat which is called increasing our metabolic rate. But don’t worry, we aren’t going to bulk up from Pilates.  The muscle that we will gain from Pilates is lean muscle mass.  

Secondly, Pilates will also increase the "tone" of our muscles, especially around our midsection. Muscle tone is the tightness, the state of natural contraction, of the muscle in its rested state.  It’s how tight the muscle is, while not doing anything at all.  Muscle tone shapes and sculpts our bodies giving us a leaner appearance.  This improved appearance is what most of us are looking for when we say we want to “lose weight.”  And this is why adding pilates into our daily or weekly routine will help us out in the long run. 

Also, sometimes it's better for us to take a more holistic approach to Pilates changing our body’s appearance.  As in doing our very best, every single time when we practice our Pilates, and not to forget everything we did as soon as we step off our chairs.  We need to bring what we did in our workouts into the real world.  Keep drawing our tummies in, even when we are driving in the car.  Keep those shoulders nice and wide, even when we are folding laundry.  Squeeze those glutes while watching TV at night.  Keep our necks elongated even while doing the dishes.  If we bring Pilates into our everyday life, we will see that desired appearance change in the mirror, faster. 

Now, remember, muscle weighs more than fat, but it takes up less space.  This is why that weight loss question is so tricky.  While we might not lose weight with Pilates, we will change the distribution of our weight.  Fat will be lost, and muscle will be gained, but the scale may not move one way or the other.  We can’t always go by numbers if we’re looking for “results.” Body composition change is visual, not necessarily numeric. That’s why those before and after pictures are key to tracking our progress throughout our Pilates journey. 

Here at Pilates Pro Chair, we would LOVE to see how each and every single one of you are doing in your own personal journey.  So please, share with us all those wonderful before and after pictures, and tell us why you love your Pilates chair. 

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