How Pilates Really Works For Weight Loss

Pilates feels like a tough workout, despite its gentle appearance, but does it actually help you lose weight? As with most weight loss questions, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. For some people, the toning and strengthening benefits will help with their weight loss journey, while others may find that they need to add more cardio or high intensity interval training to see faster weight loss results. But ultimately, the best workout for weight loss isn't one specific exercise, rather, it's whatever exercise you'll actually do on a regular basis (via Byrdie).

Compared to a more high intensity form of cardio like running, Pilates doesn't burn many calories: Expect to burn between 175 and 254 calories in a 50 minute class, depending on the level. For context, dropping a pound requires burning 3500 calories. So while Pilates is a great form of exercise, for weight loss, it's best used in conjunction with other forms of exercise as well as dietary changes. The good news, though, is that doing Pilates two to three times a week can make you appear leaner, thanks to changes in muscle tone and posture that come from the practice (via Healthline).

Can you use Pilates for weight loss?

If you do want to lose weight through Pilates, make sure you're in a class that leaves you feeling like you did a workout: You should be breathing hard! "You want to make sure your Pilates class is a workout," Pilates instructor Gabbi Berkow, RD, told Women's Health. It shouldn't be just a series of slow, easy stretches. Pilates has to contribute to your total daily calorie burn for it to make a difference in weight loss."

And of course, you can't expect weight loss if you're only doing one class every couple of weeks: You need to hit the mat (or reformer) regularly if you expect to see results. But Pilates has more benefits than simply helping you hit a number on the scale. While Pilates may not be the ultimate tool to get to rapid weight loss, it will help you tone and strengthen while helping decrease your stress and improving your posture (via Cosmopolitan).