Pilates for Fat Loss

by pilates32 on May 4, 2011

[dropcap1]M[/dropcap1]any people will embark on their Pilates journey with the hope to lose weight and flatten their stomach; ready for the summer months and to reverse the effects of the winter. A majority of clients like this will attend a regular course of Pilates once or twice a week and leave six weeks later, disappointed and confused. This doesn’t this mean that Pilates isn’t effective when it comes to losing weight and flattening your stomach? It just means you picked the wrong type of class.

Clinical vs. Fitness Pilates.

Pilates classes can differ tremendously. Whilst some promote weight loss and the opportunity to tone up, some instead direct their focus to the purposes of correcting posture, strengthening the core, eradicating back pain or increasing flexibility. They either have clinical objectives or fitness objectives and Pilates teachers will normally prefer one or the other, some having an appreciation for both. All will contribute to changing the shape and operation of your body, but not all will guarantee a loss of fat. In the past I had to cover my classes whilst I was away. For one group in particular, I had developed a more clinical approach to Pilates, with a lot of stretching, slow controlled moves and easy transitions. The instructor that covered the class brought a faster momentum that was more fitness orientated. The result was a lot of unhappy clients at the time and a quick return from me. The other instructor did nothing wrong, she just preferred a different style. Plus covering a class is never easy in any case.

How can Pilates be used to achieve Fat Loss?

Firstly; we must establish how fat loss is achieved. Here we go… Fat loss is best achieved by high intensity resistance training, performed at pace with little rest, that of which would have no effective if it wasn’t complemented by a healthy eating regime that encouraged eating natural foods, high amounts of protein, natural fats all within six small healthy meals per day. Well that’s my thoughts on it any way (and I’m sure many will agree). Forget traditional thoughts of tedious long winded cardio on the cross trainer of bike. Rather pick up weights, kettlebells, or your own body such as in a Pilates session and train hard.

This type of approach to Fat loss works for several reasons. Firstly, we increase the metabolic response in our body in comparison to what tedious cardio would. Using compound bodyweight or resistance exercises will activate more muscles and illicit more fatigue, placing more strain on our neuromuscular system and also utilising more than one energy system. This type of training, keeps your body guessing somewhat, giving it no time to get used to training and what to expect. The popular acronym; FITT, frequency, intensity, type and time is most applicable when fat loss is concerned.

Fat Loss Pilates Defined

Pilates used for the purpose of fat loss will carry a completely different momentum than that of a clinical session. It will carry characteristics of that above, with a high intensity, a large frequency of exercises, with different types over short periods of time. Advanced Pilates exercises performed with these objectives will not only be hard work but will achieve sufficient weight loss over time. Although Pilates was originally an archive of 35 different exercises, it now has become so much bigger, adopting and modifying other types of exercises into its 500+ armoury. That means we can use exercises such as the lunge, reverse lunge, squat, single leg deadlift and so forth and integrate them into the Pilates routines with the same underlying principles that Pilates’ carries. When we look at it this way, our mat gives opportunity for a new type of training. Pilates with pace, set out to reshape your body in new ways.

An example Fat loss Pilates session would be similar to the list of exercises below, performed in sets with several repetitions, also allowing for minimal rest or in some cases an active rest which would give time for stretching. This type of training is similar to the ‘Reshape and Strengthen’ higher series on the download page.

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  • Warm-up
  • Ski-squats
  • Lunge and reverse row
  • The push up
  • Leg pull/full plank
  • Full Side bends
  • Swimming
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  • Bird dogs/Swimming on the knees
  • Hundred
  • Scissors
  • Double leg stretch
  • Roll over
  • The Saw
  • [/list]
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    fatlossinsert Pilates for Fat Loss

    But don’t just jump in to it

    If you are new to training of any sort, especially Pilates, then don’t just jump in. Pilates is exercise concerned with core stability and also mobilising the spine. It is designed for clinical rehabilitation as well as fitness, so if you are unsure how to set up and control your deeper core muscles throughout a workout it is important that you achieve this first. If not, you will injure yourself whilst training and prolong any fat loss you may have planned. Begin with simple levels, such as ‘Injury and Pain Free Back Series’ and then progress to higher levels.

    It is important to warm-up also and add in sets of preparation exercises that precede the full progressions so that you do not do yourself any harm. Fat loss is a big subject, especially when it comes to Pilates and bodyweight training. If you have any questions feel free to email me or leave a response below. I am also looking to record a fat loss series soon, so if you would like to be included on the ‘first-132′ list for a special subscribers discount on this, be sure to sign up on the home page and then send me an email with your name, quoting FAT LOSS SERIES. Much more to come on this subject!

    All the best,
    Ian
    Author: Ian Harris

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