Does Pilates Help You Lose Weight?

By On November 15, 2014 · Leave a Comment

I am frequently asked by new clients, friends, and family, “Will Pilates help me lose weight?” The short, direct answer is not necessarily. But will Pilates help you improve your figure and appearance? My own experience and that of many others say, “Yes!”

belly with measuring tapeThough we often speak of “losing weight,” most people are really more concerned with looking and feeling better than with the digits that appear on the scale. If my scale said I weighed 250 pounds, but I was in good health and I had the figure of a model, I would be perfectly content with my weight. Pilates might not decrease the value of those digits staring back at you from the scale, but the figure staring back at you in the mirror will likely stand up taller, wear better-fitting clothes, and have more tone especially around the midline. Isn’t that what we want from an exercise routine anyway? So let’s explore how Pilates contributes to a better, healthier figure.

Trading Fat for Muscle

We all know that muscle is more dense than fat, so as Pilates helps us to gain strength and muscle we might actually be gaining weight. However, we are trading fat for muscle, so we are losing inches. Our clothes will be the best gauge of this transformation, such as the button-down shirt that no longer gapes or the jeans that slide right on without a struggle.

Toning the Midline

Now let’s think about what part of the body Pilates targets, where this muscle-for-fat trade primarily takes place. Pilates is focused on building core strength, developing the deepest muscles close to the spine. These muscles are conveniently located at the center of the body—at the waistline. As these muscles develop and tone, they cinch the midsection and whittle the waistline. Once again, the scale may not reflect this improvement, but your clothes, your mirror, and the comments from friends will.

Improving Posture


Lastly, Pilates uniquely focuses on generating a healthy spine. Your full-body Pilates workouts will include developing postural muscles to keep your spine upright, long, and healthy. You will find yourself standing up taller with better posture. Many of my clients have been surprised to find what a difference better posture alone creates for their appearance and therefore confidence.

Standing up taller, showing off your new leaner cinched waistline, you will hopefully find yourself concerned with what the scale says less and enjoying your body and movement more!

Stay tuned for helpful, scientifically established ways to find success in your New Year’s resolutions in my following blog!

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