No matter which specific diet plan you choose to follow, successful weight loss depends on two main strategies: reducing the number of calories you consume, and upping your levels of physical exercise. A huge amount of emphasis is usually placed on the first, with all sorts of products and methods available to supposedly help you eat less, but all too often the advice for boosting your exercise boils down to simply “join a gym”.
This is a shame, as the effectiveness of exercise for weight loss depends very much on what kind of activity you take part in. In particular, many experts believe that taking up Pilates can make an important contribution to your slimming efforts, for several reasons.
The Main Weight Loss Benefits of Pilates
At its core, Pilates is a form of exercise which concentrates on strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination rather than outright exertion. This means that while it can definitely contribute to burning off excess weight, the effects aren’t overly dramatic. For an average person, a typical Pilates class will use up around 300 calories. This is of course useful, but when you consider that you need to burn around ten times that amount to lose a pound of fat, it’s clear that on its own Pilates will make losing weight a lengthy job.
But that’s not the end of the story. Pilates works to build lean muscle, and this has three positive effects. Firstly, muscle requires more latent energy use than fat, meaning that your body burns more calories when you’re at rest, simply to keep your muscles healthy and active.
Secondly, developing stronger and leaner muscle tone means that your weight loss is more immediately visible: you’ll stand straighter and taller, making you look slimmer and more honed.
Lastly, when you have well-developed muscles, any excess calories in your diet will still be stored as fat, but it will be spread more evenly around your body, rather than building up around your belly, for example.
However, Pilates has one further benefit for dieters. A key part of this exercise is how it promotes mindfulness and a strong awareness of your body. This is extremely helpful when it comes to weight loss. When you’re in tune with your body, it’s easier to resist the temptations of fattening treats, and the positive feelings Pilates generates are strong motivators if your diet starts to falter.
The upshot of all this is that Pilates is excellent as a long-term practice for maintaining a healthy weight and overall fitness, but if you want rapid results it’s best to combine it with a more aerobic form of exercise. The good news is that Pilates sets a very strong foundation, improving the results of more vigorous exercise routines. They make a perfect combination!