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Feeling the Burn of Pilates: Increasing the Number of Calories Burned

written by: Janelle Martel • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 8/9/2011

You can increase the amount of calories burned during your Pilates workout by following some of these tips.

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    A class consisting of beginner Pilates exercises is considered a low to moderate intensity workout. Intermediate Pilates workouts are considered moderate intensity exercises, similar to speed walking at a rate of about four miles per hour. Pilates workouts for advanced students are thought to be high moderate intensity exercise, making them similar to taking a step aerobics class.

    The number of calories burned during exercise is a measure of the body's ability to do work. To calculate the calories burned during Pilates, you must consider your weight, the intensity of exercise, and the duration of your workout. You can find an online calorie calculator for a number of different forms of exercise, including Pilates, on the Health Status Web site.

    The following estimates are for a one-hour Pilates session:

    For a 125 pound adult, calories burned during a one-hour Pilates session would be:

    • Beginner Pilates: 210
    • Intermediate Pilates: 292
    • Advanced Pilates: 360

    Calories burned during Pilates for a 150 pound adult would be as follows:

    • Beginner Pilates: 252
    • Intermediate Pilates: 351
    • Advanced Pilates: 432

    For a 175 pound adult, calories burned during Pilates would be:

    • Beginner Pilates: 294
    • Intermediate Pilates: 410
    • Advanced Pilates: 504

    Calories burned during Pilates for a 200 pound adult would be as follows:

    • Beginner Pilates: 336
    • Intermediate Pilates: 468
    • Advanced Pilates: 576

    Gender also affects the number of calories burned during exercise. Men will burn slightly more calories than women, because they are larger and generally have more muscle mass.

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    Getting the Most from Your Pilates Workout

    As you can see, the calories burned from Pilates may not be enough to help you reach your weight loss goals. To lose one pound, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you take in from your meals.

    However, since Pilates is great for strengthening and toning your body, it's still a valuable component of your fitness program. Regular practice of Pilates exercises will help give your muscles the definition that you crave. Keep in mind that form is more important than speed or number of repetitions for an effective Pilates workout; don't make the mistake of trying to do the exercises too fast in hopes of burning more calories. Adding pilates accessories, such as rings, rollers, balls and balance equipment can challenge you and add variety to your workout. Changing up your fitness routine will also help you to lose weight. If you wish to focus more on toning, you can add weighted balls or free weights to your routine, which will provide more resistance than your body weight and can help you get through a plateau.

    If you're concerned about how Pilates will help your weight loss efforts, simply combine your Pilates workouts with regular cardio sessions. Running, swimming, roller blading, or Tae Kwan Do are all great ways to burn calories as part of your weight loss plan.