Pilates No Good For Weight Loss

By Jim F

3018-pilates-weight-loss.jpgResearchers have been studying the effects of Pilates.

The popular style of exercise (originally developed for dancers) has become a regular class at most gyms.

It’s great for strengthening the abdominal muscles – but for those touting any weight loss benefits – they might want to check this out:

During the study, Olson and her team asked ten people with an average of five years’ experience with Pilates to follow basic, intermediate and advanced Pilates workouts for 30 to 45 minutes each, and measured how many calories they burned…
The researchers found that, on average, a person weighing 75 kilograms (or 165 pounds) burns 480 calories per hour from an advanced workout, 390 calories per hour from an intermediate routine, and 276 calories for every hour of a basic Pilates workout.

What’s It Good For Then?

What is Pilates good for? It’s a better workout for the obliques, and outperforms basic abdominal crunches.

“You can say Pilates is legitimate core training,” she said. But if you’re trying to lose weight, “you’re going to definitely have to supplement with something else,” such as a running regimen and diet, Olson noted.

I would guess that most people doing Pilates probably realized this?

False Advertisement?

However some advertisers would have us believe otherwise: The tag line of the popular Winsor Pilates is “Sculpt your body slim”.

Have you had weight loss success with Pilates?


  1. Deb

    This article is complete bs. My cousin lost 15kgs of baby weight with a healthy diet and pilates (the machine type) twice a week and she’s toned all over with abs! She goes for afternoon walks as her cardio.. This article gives people false hope.

    • Diane Edwards

      I totally agree with you. I can eat a giant piece of bread pudding and I don’t even get a carb load from it!! Pilates is the best. I have muscles I never had before when I weight lifted

      • Jenny

        Wow, funny jokers. Pilates burns less calories than light gardening while sitting down.
        NOT ever a good way to burn calories.

  2. Sravanthi Reddy

    I don’t know if it is working out for others or not, its working out for me, I have been doing Pilates for weight loss and I could see the difference. Here are the exercises that I do.

  3. John

    Wrong, Pilates was not “originally designed for dancers”. When the second sentence of an article is a lie/false fact, how can we take the rest seriously? Do some research before you write a lousy, thoughtless article. The laziness shines right though this filler piece.

    • madge

      Thank you John, those were my sentiments exactly!! I don’t think Joseph Pilates had dancers in mind when he was trying to rebuild the bodies of injured soldiers!!

  4. Evie

    Stupid study, doesn’t prove what they say it does at all.

    Who cares how many calories you burn during the exercise? The boost to your metabolism is what causes weight loss. Also, people who have been doing Pilates for 5 years have probably lost all the weight they need to and are only maintaining their weight now.

  5. Carla

    I think everyone has some valid points… For me I found that pilates twice a week, with jogging 3-4 times a week and a healthy diet the best formula.

  6. Tawny Bailey

    I have to say that I disagree with this article. Pilates is ABSOLUTELY good for weight loss. It’s true that on its own, it probably won’t do much in terms of fat/weight loss…but the same can be said for traditional weight lifting without cardio or a proper diet that facilitates weight loss. Pilates is simply a form of strength training that should be combined with a proper diet and/or cardio to see weight loss. Perhaps the best thing about Pilates is its ability to reshape the body and quickly change body composition. Pilates and Pilates inspired workouts keep me lean and strong.

    • Elle

      Completely agree. This article is complete BS! I’ve just started Pilates again after a great deal of weight gain. At the time I when I avidly practiced Pilates combined with weight training and cardio, it was a time that I looked my best. It completely reshaped my body and gave me the tone I desired. Hoping I can achieve that again.

      • Jenny

        And you;r ethe biggest liar if you claim that diet wasn’t involved MAINLY.

  7. figgy june

    I went on the 4 day diet, walked, and did pilates for a 1.5 months. I lost several inches and 14 lbs. This was a very healthy way to get in shape and I didn’t have to kill myself to get there. I have a pair shape also and pilates really works well for me because it slims my hips and thighs. I also find it very relaxing. If you do the combo of moderate paced walks and pilates you will have great success. Diet is always key too.

    • figgy june

      *pear- ooops 😉

  8. Payal

    I have been doing pilates for 15-20 mins everyday past 5 days. I am taking in you guys comments and am really hoping to get a lean and taller look. I have a pear shaped body and hate it. So hopefully ill lose wait like the most of you

  9. Belma

    This is wrong. One can easily lose weight with pilates, just with the basic rule of the weight loss; you have to have greater calories expenditure than calorie intake. In low impact exercises calorie expenditure will not be that great, but at the advanced level will be considerably easier to spend more calories. Pilates is as difficult as you make it, and it is not true that you cannot lose weight with pilates. You cannot lose weight if you eat 3 times your calorie expenditure, of course. But you can lose weight if you count your daily calorie intake.

  10. DPender

    I am 63 and male and have been doing pilates for 2-1/2 years, the last 1-1/2 at a fairly advance level. I have definitely gained 3-5 lbs. during the period with no change in diet. However, my core strength is greatly enhanced, my clothes fit great and I appear slim to people who comment….so forget the scale and just go with how you feel which will be great.


    I must add that I did not give up my wine.

  11. d d

    hi i have been trying to loose weight about 6 months i have lost some weight but i was not happy about it because my body was not in shape .about 2 weeks before i went to T.K max and i bought these rubber bands i am using them for every day.i think pilates r best but with ofcourse healthy eating .

  12. Susan

    I purchased a Pilates home reformer.
    It is compact and will store in a closet or under the bed, it came with a rebounder attachment that gives a good cardio workout.
    It also had DVDS with workout routines on them.

    The results I have obtained so far are pretty amazing, I have lost 3 inches in 14 days, but the most amazing side effect has been relief from back pain I have suffered from for years.
    So if you are on the fence about Pilates, all I can say is just try it you won’t be sorry!

  13. christine

    no offense but i went to a diet doctor and was told that treadmills are very inacurrate for weight loss. He said it attends to the bottom part of your body and not full body upper body. If i were you i would look into it. ive had good results from pilates and have been doing it for about 3 months. lost 20 pounds and i only do it 2 times i week for about one hour. sometimes one hour fifthteen minutes.

  14. christine

    yes pilates does work for lossing as well as toning streching and becoming more flexable. i started pilates in jan have lost 20ibs the proper way. which is including diet. i only do pilates 2 days out the week im pretty sure if you do for 10 min 5 days out of the week with maintaing a great diet plan. you see a larger amount of results. i break a sweat in pilates i only do it for one hour. it said that joseph pilates was a nurse for military and while he was there he bunked with some of the people who served in world war one and the peple who bunked with him where the most fit and strongest in the military during world war 1. with that said that was about 30 years ago. so pilates does work it just depends on if you actually apply it the right way. pilates has alot to do with the types of food u consume. If you really wanna know more read into pilates learn its history and ignore the negativity on these websites. sometimes you have to acutually pick up a book and read after googling. i known drastic changes with in my body. i had headaches really bad thats gone, i also had back and shoulder pain from a car accident and did physical therpy. Didnt help. Then i started pilates and not only felt alot better but noticed a difference. Im only 26 and weieghed 205. Now i weigh 180 in three months. you do the math. pilates is great….. o yea stay away from fast food very bad. i work in fast food

  15. kate McKenna

    hi Cindy i bought Pilates perfect body its 10 min section easy to do I lost so many inches not so much in pounds I used it following foot surgery as i was unable to to do any other excerise

  16. dria

    Joseph Pilates invented Pilates(which he called Contrology) as a way of rehabing injured individuals, and many of his first students were dancers. (Learned this from Pilates teacher-I’m a dancer, btw..) 🙂

  17. dria

    Pilates builds lean muscle, which in turn burns more calories than fat does. So yes, by increasing your basal metabolic rate by adding lean muscle you will burn more calories than you did before and lose weight without changing anything else. Its a simple math equation im sure you’ve heard a million times-calories in vs calories out. If you dont burn additional calories through exercise, you need your body to naturally burn more, which can be acheived through increased muscle.

  18. K

    I use the Netflix pilates dvd as well as another DVD I bought a while ago that incorporate a balance ball and resistance band. Love mixing it up with the netflix selection. It really does work.

  19. Kelli

    Debbie, one thing I have relized about Pilates is that you can be loosing inches, without the scale changing. I lost 30 pounds in 5 weeks, 2 years ago. Dieting at first, then kept it off for a year, no diet just pilates and walking. When I stopped the pilates, I slowly started gaining it back. I am now doing “Pilates on Machines” There are 10 people in a class, 40 minutes and I wont lie, it kicks me in the butt sometimes! Then it becomes addictive. I got it from my boyfriend for Christmas and have been going 3 days a week for only two weeks now. I have not lost weight yet (not really on a special diet) but I have lost 2 inches in my waist already! So make sure you also take your measurements and not rely only on the scale. Barbie, Casey and Janell….were you on special diets also when you lost the weight fast?

  20. Flor

    Bravo! I agree! I am not overweight by any means. I’m an avid runner and I do some weight lifting, but I am about to start Pilates as a part of my routine just to add to my fitness and I am excited for the flexibility and muscle tone I have heard of. When people say it lengthens muscle, I never thought it will like, literally make you taller or something.

  21. Kammi

    I agree with the comments about pilates being great for the body after having children. I had a C-section with my son in 2000. For years I was told my stomach would never be completely flat again without cosmetic surgery. I started using the Bodytrends pilates circle workout and not only did my stomach flatten, but it actually gives me washboard abs! It also tones my thighs and arms. I had to slow down a bit because my arms were getting more muscular than Angela Bassett when she trained to play Tina Turner! Since childbirth, I have tried many workouts from the abflex to various gym equipment. Pilates is the only workout program that flattens my stomach and tones my body sufficiently. If I do the routine at least 3x a week for 20 minutes, I start to see results as soon as 2 weeks.

    Bodytrends circle DVD workout is great for beginners because it is low impact. I found it at Wal-Mart a few years back for around $10. A friend of mine bought it from Target and I have seen it sold on various online store by doing a google search.

  22. Lyn

    For me, it did very little for weightloss.

    A controled diet together with the following cardio: a 2 minute brisk walk on the treadmill, followed by a solid 10 minute run on the treadmill, then another 2 minute cool-down walk, for 5 consecutive days (Mon-Frid), is what helped with the weight. You can splurge a bit over the weekend with higher calorie food….you are offcourse only human, and this at least can be sustained…..

    The Pilates workout will then strengthen the core muscles, and give you a more toned look.

    This is what I found personally.

  23. changa

    You lost weight because you changed the number of calories you eat or because of stress, definitely not because of pilates. If you want to burn fat, gain strength, increase flexibility, actually work the core the way it is designed to be used, be free from injury, shoulder, hip, knee, and lower back pain, and much more, pick up a kettlebell and some instruction.
    Also begin basic calisthenics for strengthening muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Kettlebell training burns over 20 calories a minute with just one simple exercise! This is 5 times what pilates burns plus all the benefits you have been lied to believe are the result of pilates and much more. DragonDoor.com if you want to be saved from the bullshit that is keeping you dumb, fat, and useless.

  24. Debbie

    So you jog/run during the week and do pilates also? Do you have a certain diet also?

  25. debbie

    What was the strict diet?

  26. debbie

    Did you stop eating too. i have done pilates and although I felt leaner, my scale did not budge. What did u do?

  27. sarah

    If you knew about the origins of Pilates you wouldn’t be ignorant about it.

  28. Steve Potman

    Pilates is a good source of core training with a little cardio to it. It is good to use in addition to a workout routine, a cardio program and a proper diet. I would also try to use a food diary to keep track of what you eat during the course of the day/week. I use one and it really helps me reach my goals.

  29. shumila

    hi i have been trying to loose weight about 6 months i have been doing jog in park for half an hour and i have lost some weight but i was not happy about it because my body was not in shape .about 2 weeks before i went to T.K max and i bought these rubber bands i am using them for every day and i must say i look toned every body is saying what have u done u have lost lot of weight ofcourse i love if somebody says that to me.in short i think pilates r best but with ofcourse healthy eating .