Is Pilates a good exercise? The Truth About Pilates Weight Loss from a Certified Instructor
Are you wondering whether or not Pilates is good for you? Do you want to know whether Pilates as an exercise will help you lose weight, give you flat abs, and make other significant differences in your day-to-day life? I can tell you - I'm a professional- and an honest one.
You could say that Pilates is in my blood. I am a Pilates instructor. My mother is a Pilates instructor. I do Pilates at home, in gyms, and even on hotel room floors when I travel. I was certified through the ITT school in San Francisco - a program that takes itself seriously and doesn't certify people over shady, one-weekend seminars. I'm serious about what I do. And I'm serious about telling you the truth.
Can Pilates help me lose weight?
Short answer: Yes.
Medium answer: Yes, so long as it's a part of a larger diet and exercise regimen
Long answer: If you ask a professional Pilates instructor this question, he or she (if this instructor is legitimate, at least) will secretly want to vomit, cry, or tear out his/her hair. Asking a Pilates instructor if Pilates will help you lose weight is like asking someone who designs luxury cars if the horns honk. Yeah, the horns honk... but wouldn't you like to know that the engine functions amazingly, that the interior is designed for amazing comfort, and that the safety features are state of the art and unparalleled in excellence?
Yes, if you must know, Pilates can help you lose weight. Pilates helps build lean muscle mass, and having a higher proportion of lean muscle mass in your body means that you will have somewhat higher metabolism, so you'll be burning more calories even in a resting state. Doing Pilates exercises also requires calories and therefore burns them. Another plus.
That said, Pilates should not be your only move toward losing weight. Pilates, as an exercise, is only, as I like to think of it, "part of a complete breakfast."
Pilates exercises mostly involve strength and flexibility, with a little balance thrown in. A complete workout regimen must include strength, flexibility, balance, AND cardiovascular exercise. That means that you should also be doing something like walking, biking, running, jogging, swimming, or some other activity that gets your heart rate up. That's the big time calorie burner, and you're not going to lose a lot of weight if you leave that out. You're also not going to lose much weight if you neglect to eat well and in moderation.
But enough about that - before you slink off, having realized that only taking on Pilates is not going to turn you into a ripped sexy god or goddess overnight, please let me share with you some of Pilates' OTHER great benefits.
A basic Pilates warm-up using a foam roller
What You will Get from Pilates
In addition to helping you lose weight, Pilates does other things. And to be honest, those other things will make a bigger impact on your life than helping you lose weight. These things include:
- A stronger core: This is perhaps the most touted benefit of Pilates. It bores me, and I'm sure you're already aware of it.
- Development of lean muscle mass: Pilates helps you develop lean, strong muscles. If you want to bulk up, try something else, but if you're looking for a sleek, functional body, look no further!
- Greater flexibility: Pilates is a great mixture of stretches and strengthening exercises. I used to not even be able to reach my knees I was so inflexible. Now I can touch my nose to my knees. Easily.
- Better posture: Pilates does wonders for your posture. And good posture does more than just look good - it helps you feel better too!
- Reduced pain in shoulders and back: This is related to the better posture Pilates gives you: with better alignment, you are less likely to go into bad positions that lead to pain, especially in your shoulders and lower back
- GREAT cross-training: Having a stronger core can help you in pretty much any sport- Pilates is particularly popular with dancers, golfers, and baseball players
- Reduced risk of injury: By strengthening your muscles and gaining greater awareness of your body, you are less likely to pull something or get bent out of shape doing something silly like getting out of your car
- Peace of mind: Doing Pilates requires intense concentration, so you won't have the chance to stew over things you're worried about!
- Less stress: Taking time to focus on breath, alignment, and something other than the daily grind can help you lead a less stressful life
- Better balance: Pilates helps with both balance and coordination, especially if you work with foam rollers and stability balls
- Better awareness of your body: A lot of Pilates involves becoming aware of your body and its alignment, musculature, and function - you'll be amazed as you discover muscles you never even knew you had
The Final Word
Pilates makes for GREAT exercise.
Yes, it can help with weight loss, and it can also help with a myriad of other things, as I have explained above. They say that the first month of Pilates can change your body, and that the second can change your life. They're not kidding.
I'll let you in on a little secret. I hate taking exercise classes. And I can't stand 'trendy' exercise modalities. My mother got me started with Pilates against my will. But when I got the hang of it and felt the difference - both in mind and body - that it makes, I got hooked.
If Pilates can win someone like me over, it must be pretty frickin' good.