Why Try Pilates? Proven Fat Loss, Affordable Tools

Chris Freytag by Chris Freytag | June 3rd, 2009 | 35 Comments
topic: Fitness, Pilates


It’s been around a long time, and still many people can’t pronounce it. It’s Pilates (pronounced “pul-ah-teez”), and you can do it! In fact, if you’ve never tried Pilates, you SHOULD do it if only because it’s proven to burn fat.

In addition to being a certified personal trainer, I’m also a Pilates instructor — and a big believer in this practice, because of the results I’ve seen on myself and with my clients. Pilates is graceful yet intense and can help tighten your mid section more effectively than hundreds of crunches! Since your middle gets more “exposure” in summer, now’s a great time to take another look at Pilates.

Pilates lowers body fat

As a method of mind-body exercise that focuses on your core (your torso muscles, called the “powerhouse” in Pilates), Pilates offers extensive fitness and health benefits including lower body fat, increased flexibility and better muscular endurance.

In fact, a study from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., confirmed scientifically that Pilates reduces body fat percentage. The study’s 22 participants had no prior Pilates training. Nine of them participated in a Pilates mat class three times a week; 13 control group participants did not work out. After eight weeks, participants who took the Pilates class had significantly improved in measures of body fat, flexibility and muscle endurance.  Think of it — all those benefits, and no shoes required!

Want to try Pilates? Here’s how to get started

Almost anyone can do Pilates!

Take a class. Pilates is a method and best to learn from a certified trainer. Seek out a mat or reformer Pilates class at your local health club or community center. Make sure to let them know you are new to the practice.

Try it at home with an affordable, portable alternative to a Pilates reformer. Try an instructional Pilates DVD you can do in your own home … again by a certified professional. Check out Gaiam’s CorePlus Reformer Resistance Band and DVD, a resistance cord with a smart four-loop design and multiple grips. This tool gives you a dual-resistance workout that mimics the action and benefits of a reformer machine. Guided by Pilates expert Mari Winsor, each of the DVD’s three segments targets a specific muscle group for a customizable workout. See my demo of this ingenious workout tool on QVC here, and preview the workouts you’ll get on the CorePlus Reformer DVD here.

Read about it. From fitness magazines to websites, Pilates is everywhere. Google it and find just one or two Pilates exercises that you can try at home — like the ones in this short how-to video clip from Mari Winsor and Gaiam showing how to do a few simple Pilates exercises to sculpt your arms. This will give you a taste and probably leave you wanting more.

Here’s to your core!

Stay Healthy,

Just Give it Two Weeks!  Check out my new book 2-Week Total Body Turnaround


  1. I have been doing pilates for about 5 months now and am loving it, i do it nearly daily

    Aero Pilates | November 23rd, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. Pilates is a great low impact workout that yes, everyone should try.

    Couple it with a proper low calorie diet and you have a fantastic fat loss recipe.


    Every Other Day Diet | December 9th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. I got the Ana Caban Core Challenge Pilates workout for Mother’s day. Has anyone tried it? I want it to be very challenging. I do pilates at my gym and the class is quite hard. Any feedback would be much appreciated.

    Kathy | May 10th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. Been doing Pilates for 2 years now and actually run a class twice a week in my home town, love it.

    Thanks Mark

    Mark Moran | July 24th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  5. Great tips Chris, I’ve been doing Pilates for awhile now, and it has helped me tremendously!

    Alyssa | July 24th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  6. Pilates is awesome, but I like to combine it with a medium amount of weight training as well.

    Janice | July 27th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  7. Sounds like an exciting new way to burn fat fast. Exercise is key to good health and rapid weight loss, yet many people fail to undertake any form of exercise. This is a great and easy way to exercise at home without all the expensive gym equipment,

    john | July 27th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  8. Pilates is definitely another great fitness modality. I’ve recommended it to a number of my clients that I currently train and they really enjoy it. Not only does it help in fat loss but it really teaches them about body awareness which is really helpful when I’m teaching them new exercises during their training session. When I tried it, oh boy was my whole midsection sore the following day!!!

    Alex NYC Personal Trainer | July 27th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  9. I have been teaching Pilates and personal training for nearly 30 years and always come back to Pilates. It is functional and effective. If you haven’t tried Pilates before nothing beats the guidance of a qualified and certified Pilates Instructor

    Larry Hall | July 27th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  10. Wow … always searching for things to add to the resistance training program I am testing … This sounds like an excellent resistance band, if it mimics the reformer machine. Makes it easy to exercise when traveling, or even when I don’t have time to go to the gym. Cannot go without a workout 3 times a week, if you want to see fat loss results.

    Paula | July 28th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  11. I am in weight loss and totally agree with this article. The self care element, ability to work at your own pace and opportunity for mental as well as physical growth are amazing. Caloric balance is only half the battle, but if you can master that side of weight control and weight maintenance through pilates, you are in really good shape.

    Matt | July 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  12. Not tried Pilates but had good results with yoga which seems to use similar movements. Going to give it a go – I’ll take up your two week challenge

    john | July 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  13. To the poster asking about whether the Ana Caban Core Challenge Pilates workout was worth it. I would say for the most part yes, however, I have come across some other workout/systems that suite me better.

    To each is own I guess.

    Naomi | July 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  14. I really enjoyed the post.

    I like how you made it very simple for people to follow to get started in Pilates.

    I have seen the benefits of Pilates, but I believe that it is only a piece of the puzzle. People should be doing more than just Pilates. But it is definately a place to start

  15. One of my fat loss keys is doing exercises that are ‘functional’ and incorporate multiple muscle groups, which is why pilates is so great. Adding intervals of intensity or bursts will raise your resting metabolic rate and lead to accelerated fat burning for hours and even days after your workout. Cool, eh!

    DrMomOnline | August 1st, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  16. I’ve been a fitness fanatic and gym addict for over twenty years now. When I was introduced to Pilates by one of my dancer clients I thought it was “nice.” You know, when someone introduces you to something that seems too simple or simplified, that kind of nice. Until my friend talked me into doing a session with he and his Pilates Instructor.

    WOW! I don’t think I’ve ever produced that much sweat! I have been a huge supporter ever since in every way possible.

    I couldn’t agree more in that you need to try Pilates. If only once, the things you will learn will give you a completely different perspective on how to work your body and let it work for you. I will share this site with ALL my clients.

    Jeff Morrall

    Jeff Morrall, LMT | August 3rd, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  17. I was one of those skeptics at the beginning thinking that Pilates would be a piece of cake. Boy, was I surprised when it whooped my butt the first time I attended a class. Thumbs up for exercise that works your whole body.

    Michelle | August 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  18. I needed to lose weight as middle age has got me in its grip and just walking isn’t enough. Thinking it was just a “woman’s” class, I’ve refused to join my wife when she does Pilates at the local gym for quite a while. When I found out the neighbor went with his wife, I went too. Was I surprised. Six pounds and counting.

    Santos | August 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  19. I agree that this exercise is great and this tones all part of the body. It’s definitely a total body workout. I guess if combined with a healthy diet, you’ll be on your way to a sexier body. Pilates will work also with caloric cycling diet or the every other day diet. This process increases the metabolism and burns fats and when coupled with simple exercises like Pilates, I’m sure you’ll lose inches of flabs. It worked for me and it may worked for you too.

    Chris | Every Other Day Diet | August 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  20. People often think that Pilates is a “fluffy” exercise, but it isn’t! It targets the whole body and give a great workout. Adding Pilates to a sensible diet is a great way to lose weight.

    Mitchell | August 15th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  21. I used to live in NYC. Pilates became a huge part of my life after I had my daughter. I thought I would never get my pre-baby body back but now, I am in even better shape and I’ve had 2 more children! It’s great for Dad’s too. There are no studios where I live now so my husband and I do the videos. He loves it!

    Lorraine Francis | September 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  22. Hey everybody!

    Just wanted to know:

    “What’s the difference between Pilates in a gym compared to Pilates in a studio?”

    I’ve heard that Pilates in a gym is not real Pilates, and that is wasn’t very safe.

    Btw, im doing at a friends place 3 times a week, since she has an instructional DVD…

    oh yeah, LOVE YA POST!

    Ms. Yoga | September 15th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  23. Hey, nice article. I wonder, is pilates popular only in USA? I live in Europe and I’ve never seen any pilates coach or club here. But I read about it on the web, this is why I know about it’s existence. I heard that pilates is an exercise with very low impact, which means the chance of injury is minimum or none.

    Isn’t pilates a mix of yoga and strength training? This is what I read on the web. For me it sounds like a good mix. I think pilates is worth trying… but as I said, there are no pilates instructors here. This makes it hard to train pilates.


    John Burn Fat | September 24th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  24. Just started pilates recently – seems like a great work out and I’m already feeling results. I have to give kudos to my trainers at Pilates on Fifth though – without them I would not have continued!

    Mitch | October 15th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  25. i like to change my daily activities.

    doing pilates should be one of the fun and work for anybody

    sherley | October 29th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  26. I have always wanted to try pilates. I do believe in all the benefits, but I am intimidated by all the stretches. I agree that all exercise should begin with a great core. Thanks for the post.

    Janie | November 17th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  27. Yes pilates is definitely a workout! I appreciate the interest from those wanting to explore the wonderful benefits of pilates.

    Matthew | December 18th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  28. There is no way to lose weight with out some amount of physical work out and I think pilates can be an ideal instrument for that since you can use it in the comfort your home

    Anonymous | February 4th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  29. I think physical workouts have to be paired with some form of intake reduction, like you should choose what you are eating and make sure it’s good for you.

    jane redworth | February 19th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  30. I am hearing about Pilates fat loss method for the first time. Thanks for the post. But is it a cardio exercise?

    Zach Koothoor | March 9th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  31. What size mat would you recommend for Pilates? Is there a certain thickness I should be using?

    Brian | June 23rd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  32. I think the fact the 13 control group participants did not work out at all is significant. Any exercise, whether Pilates or something else, will help with weight loss. Pilates is obviously one way to go. The one thing that intrigues me about it is that it combined exercise and strength training with flexibility. As I get older, I’ve noticed how my lack of flexibility has caused more pulled muscles and injuries.

    Anonymous | July 6th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  33. I have a lot of friends that do pilates and they love it & have lost weight so I guess it must really work

    Anonymous | July 18th, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  34. A friend recently told me I should definitely try Pilates if I want to strengthen my core. My gym offers these classes twice a week. I thought I would read up on the subject a little before my first class on Monday. I am now ready to work my “powerhouse”.

    AJ the Muay Thai Gear Girl | July 23rd, 2011 | Comment Permalink
  35. I find Pilates is a fantastic workout. Since combining my exercise routine with cardio and Pilates I have become stronger, leaner and fitter. I believe Pilates is extremely beneficial, especially for my running where I have experienced huge improvement.

    Kate | June 7th, 2012 | Comment Permalink

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