Pilates for Women Who Want A Lean Toned Body

I recently got Pilates certified so I've been on a Pilates roll, trying all types of new and interesting Pilates for women moves for the core, glutes, and upper back.  There is no doubt in most people's minds that Pilates is great for core strength, rehab, and general fitness but it's never been at the top of ANY fitness list as a go to exercise for fat burning or weight loss.  In reality it CAN help you do all that and so much more.

How Pilates Can Help You Burn Fat & Get The Lean Toned Look

  • Pilates corrects muscle imbalances that contribute to poor posture, stress, dysfunctional breathing patterns and fatigue which often contribute to a slow metabolism plus cravings and overeating. Diminishing stress on the body and improving posture and breathing not only boosts metabolism it can help minimize fatigue induced cravings and other food issues too.
  • Pilates improves core strength, stability, balance, and flexibility which all boost energy levels and exercise motivation. When you have higher energy levels and the desire to move you tend to be more active all day every day which in turn boost daily calories burned and metabolism.
  • Pilates strengthens the mind body connection and boosts self esteem and body image. Learning to master Pilates moves and seeing/feeling the difference in posture, energy levels, breathing, stress reduction, etc. makes you feel better about yourself and that fuels healthy behaviors like eating more vegetables, getting enough sleep, and better alternative to managing stress than food, alcohol, or sugar.

What Pilates Can't Do for You

Pilates as an exercise does not burn a lot of calories or fat. It also does not produce the same metabolic effect (after burn) that 20 minutes of high intensity interval training does so you don't get a boost in metabolism for up to 48 hours post workout.

If you still have a lot of bodyfat and weight to lose then it's in your best interest to focus a little on Pilates and a lot on interval training. This doesn't mean that Pilates can't help you burn the fat and sculpt a lean toned body.

It just means you have to prioritize your workouts and find a balance of workouts that are going to help you to get from where you are right now to where you want to be in a 4-8 weeks.

Pilates for Women Who Need to Burn More Fat

The best way to incorporate Pilates into your weekly routine is to perform 10-15 minutes of Pilates exercise moves after every cardio or full body circuit workout 2-3 times a week. You can consider it your core ab routine post workout. Just 15 minutes of Pilates exercises executed with excellent technique and combined with clean eating and adequate calorie intake for your activity level is enough to get visible results fast.

According to Brooke Siler author of The Pilates Body, the full Pilates Mat sequence that Joe Pilates developed many years ago only takes about 15 minutes when performed efficiently and is all you really need to strengthen, lengthen, and tone.  Click the link to see the Full Pilates Mat Routine developed by Joe Pilates then start with the list of pilates exercise moves that is right for your level of fitness.   

Pilates Routine for Beginners

"Beginning participants will achieve better results with these initial movements." ISCA Pilates Mat Tech Level 1

  1. The hundred
  2. Assisted Roll Up
  3. Single Leg Circle
  4. Rolling
  5. Single Leg Stretch
  6. Double Leg Stretch
  7. Spine Stretch
  8. Swan
  9. The Bridge
  10. Side Leg Kick (up and down)
  11. Seal

Intermediate Pilates Routine

"Only after the beginner movements have been fully mastered should participants move on to more complex pilates mat exercises." ISCA Pilates Mat Tech Level 1

  1. The hundred
  2. The Roll Up
  3. The Roll Over
  4. Rolling
  5. Scissors
  6. Leg Lowers
  7. Bicycle Twist
  8. Rocking
  9. Corckscrew
  10. Saw
  11. Single Leg Kick
  12. Double Leg Kick
  13. Side Leg Kick (front to back)

Advanced Pilates for Women

Perform 5 reps of all the exercises in the Pilates mat sequence going from one to the next with little to no rest.  You can also add 1-2 pilates exercise moves to your other workouts each day.  

Watch the video here to see how easy it is to incorporate Pilates exercises into your fat burning interval workouts.  Another great options is the 10 Minute Solution Pilates dvd series. I tried several with Lara Hudson and was surprised by how good these were.