Does Pilates Help You Lose Weight? Types And Other Benefits

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Do pilates help in weight loss?

Pilates And Weight Loss | Types Of Pilates | Calories Burnt | Get In Shape | Lose belly fat | Benefits | Duration

Pilates is a popular low-impact exercise that helps to strengthen and tone the body. Along with improving flexibility, balance, and coordination, Pilates is also believed to aid in weight loss.

While it may not burn as many calories as other cardio exercises like running or swimming, Pilates can still help achieve weight loss goals when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Let’s explore how Pilates can contribute to weight loss.

Does Pilates help you lose weight?

Yes, Pilates can help you lose weight. However, its effectiveness is often overlooked due to the slow-moving nature of Pilates exercises.

A study [1]PubMed: The effect of Pilates exercise on body composition in sedentary overweight and obese women conducted on 37 obese women revealed that Pilates had a positive impact on weight loss, Body Mass Index (BMI) reduction, waist toning, and the reduction of abdomen circumference and fat mass.

Nonetheless, the study found no significant improvement in lean body mass, which is body fat weight subtracted from total body mass. 

Similarly, another study [2]National Library of Medicine: Effects of a Pilates exercise program on muscle strength, postural control and body composition: results from a pilot study in a group of post-menopausal women focusing on postmenopausal women reported no significant change in body composition following 12 weeks of mat Pilates. However, the study did find notable gains in abdominal and limb strength among the participants. 

The key is to focus on specific elements of Pilates, such as posture, breathing techniques, and core strength, to maximize the calorie-burning potential. Ultimately, a Pilates workout can help you lose weight when done consistently and with proper form.

Types of Pilates

Developed by Joseph Pilates, it traditionally involves mat and equipment exercises. Over time, Pilates has evolved into various styles. Here are a few types of pilates for weight loss: 

1. Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is the most basic form of Pilates that can be done on the floor using only your body weight for resistance. While it does not require any equipment, props such as the Pilates ring, ball, or resistance bands can be used for variations. Despite the lack of machines, Mat Pilates is a challenging workout.

2. Reformer Pilates

Reformer Pilates is a type of Pilates that uses a machine called a Reformer. The Reformer consists of a moving carriage, springs, and straps and allows for a full-body workout that focuses on strength, flexibility, and balance.  

The controlled spring resistance allows for the isolation of specific muscles and is helpful in rehabilitation in addition to exercise. Reformer Pilates used to only be available with private instructors, but group Pilates classes have made it more accessible.

3. Megaformer Pilates

Megaformer Pilates is an intense workout that employs a machine called the Megaformer, an advanced version of the Reformer with increased resistance and a wider range of movements. It is a comprehensive workout that enhances strength, endurance, and flexibility and helps burn calories.

4. Hot Pilates 

Hot Pilates is a type of Pilates that is done in a heated room, usually around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat is believed to increase flexibility and detoxification, while the workout itself focuses on building strength, endurance, and flexibility. 

Hot Pilates is a challenging workout that can help with weight loss and overall fitness. Staying hydrated and listening to your body during Hot Pilates is essential to avoid injury.

How many calories does Pilates burn?

The calories burned during Pilates depend on various factors, including current body weight, the type, intensity, and duration of the workout.

On average, a beginner-level 50-minute [3]ACE Fitness: Can Pilates Do It All? Pilates mat class burns around 175 calories, while an advanced class of the same duration burns approximately 254 calories. However, Pilates burns more calories when performed on equipment like the Pilates reformer or when the workout is structured to elevate the heart rate.

Can you get in shape by doing Pilates?

Pilates is an effective exercise that enhances body control, balance, and posture while also increasing flexibility and reducing stress.

Pilates exercises involve controlled movements targeting specific muscle groups, such as the abdominals, back, hips, and thighs. If you consistently practice Pilates, you can develop more lean muscle mass, which ultimately contributes to getting in shape and improving overall fitness.

Can Pilates help you lose belly fat?

Pilates can help you lose belly fat indirectly, but it is not a magic solution to spot-reduce fat in any specific area of the body, including the belly.

Pilates exercises can help strengthen and tone the muscles in your core, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back. This can improve your posture and increase your body’s overall lean muscle mass, which in turn can help boost your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.

However, to lose belly fat specifically, it is important to focus on overall weight loss through a combination of regular exercise and eating foods that burn belly fat

You can incorporate Pilates into a well-rounded fitness routine that includes cardiovascular exercise and strength training, which are both effective for burning calories and reducing body fat.

Benefits of Pilates

Here are the benefits you can expect from attending a Pilates class:

  1. Strengthens core muscles
  2. Improves flexibility
  3. Enhances overall body control and balance
  4. Reduces stress
  5. Increases body awareness
  6. Boosts metabolic rate and burns calories
  7. Eases lower back pain 
  8. Increases lean muscle mass for better posture

How often should you do Pilates?

The frequency of doing Pilates depends on individual goals, fitness level, and schedule. However, as a general rule, practicing Pilates 2 to 3 times a week is recommended for beginners. 

Advanced classes like Pilates reformer or combination classes are also suggested for calorie-burning and weight loss. It is best to alternate Pilates classes with strength training and cardio sessions.

Pilates vs weightlifting

Pilates and weightlifting are two very different exercise types that offer distinct benefits. While Pilates strengthens smaller and underdeveloped muscles, weightlifting strengthens larger muscles. 

Additionally, weightlifting can increase muscle mass and boost the metabolic rate, resulting in increased calorie burning at rest, making it beneficial for weight loss. 

Pilates and weightlifting complement each other and can improve overall fitness when combined. Thus, a combination of Pilates and weightlifting is often recommended to achieve optimal results.

Yoga vs pilates

Yoga and Pilates are both low-impact workouts that focus on improving flexibility, strength, and balance. However, yoga places more emphasis on spiritual and meditative practices, while Pilates focuses more on physical conditioning and core strength.

Additionally, Pilates utilizes specialized equipment such as reformers, while yoga typically only requires a mat.


While Pilates can help you lose weight, it’s important to remember that a combination of regular exercise and proper nutrition is essential to achieve weight loss. Consulting with a certified Pilates instructor can help you create a personalized exercise routine and nutrition plan that is safe, effective, and tailored to your individual needs.

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