Most people correlate building muscle with getting bigger or “bulky”, but the two are different. What most women desire is achieving a more toned look . . . one where muscles are defined, but not significantly larger. [Read more…] about Building Muscle Without Getting Bulky
Before we answer this question, let’s get something straight . . . There are two types of Pilates – classical that uses just a mat, and weighted or resistance that uses machines.
Each type is addressed separately as both are different as far as if they can help you lose weight or not.
If you are talking about classical Pilates, then the answer is “No” … It is not an effective direct weight loss tool. However, it can indirectly help you lose weight by preparing your body to do cardio and strength training that will take off pounds that you might not otherwise be able to lose.
Pilates helps strengthen your body so you can do more types of training that are calorie burners and will ultimately help you lose weight, such as cardio and strength training.
With a decreased risk of injury, a stronger core, and more flexibility from doing Pilates, you can exercise longer and harder at doing something that does burn a lot of calories than you would have been able to do had you not practiced Pilates in the first place. Running on a treadmill, riding a bike, swimming and lifting weights are four exercises that are great calorie-burners.
While not a great calorie burner itself, classical Pilates does help shape your body by toning muscles especially around your midsection. So even if you don’t lose a significant amount of weight from doing Pilates, it does help you look like you have lost weight.
Weighted Or Resistance Pilates
On-the-other-hand, the type of Pilates that uses machines can result in significant weight loss when executed properly. Basically it is a strength training program that specializes on building core muscle mass.
And because we are talking about the abdominals, buttocks, upper and lower back, hips and thighs, these are large muscle groups that not only respond well to training, but are great at burning large amounts of calories.
When Pilates is coupled with body rings, resistance bands and light weights, not only do you burn calories with resistance Pilates, but you burn more calories when not exercising due to the larger muscle mass created which requires more energy to sustain itself.
A secondary effect experienced by many that practice both types of Pilates is a more self-awareness – a desire to take better care of their bodies. As a result, many make better food choices which result in a decreased number of calories consumed. Eating fewer calories, but yet burning the same amount as before results in even more weight loss.
So the answer to the original question is “Yes!” … Pilates can help you lose weight. While classical Pilates work at an indirect weight loss, resistance Pilates is better at direct weight loss – weight loss derived from doing Pilates itself.
The great thing about yoga is it can be practiced by anyone – even if you are overweight. Yes, all the photos you see of people doing yoga are thin, fit and trim, but that for the most part is a marketing hype to sell yoga products and clothes because thin sells. However, there are stylish yet functional yoga clothes for the 36% of the people who are obese; sometimes you just have to look harder and do more research to find them.
Once you have your yoga clothes and mat, it’s time to join a class. The hardest part will be walking into the class for the first time. Yes, you might be the only overweight person there, but you know what, at least you are willing to give it a try. The only one that will hold you back from doing yoga is you. The rest of your classmates could care less how you look as all of you are there for the same reason – to reap the benefits of yoga – like improved fitness, greater flexibility, reduced blood pressure, less stress, and yes weight loss and an improved self-image.
Best Type of Yoga for Plus-Sized Women
There are many different types of yoga. Because plus-size yogis may not be able to do many of the poses, or they may have to modify how they do some postures, one type of yoga is better suited for them – Iyengar. This type of yoga uses props like blankets, blocks, straps, harnesses and incline boards, thus making it easier to do some poses.
Here’s a video demonstrating some of the adjustments that can be made to help you …
As a plus-size person, these tips will help you get the most out of yoga:
Create a good stable base. Spread your feet until they are a comfortable distance apart. While many of the standing poses recommend shoulder-width apart, if it is more stable for you to go wider, then do so.
Make yourself comfortable. You know your body better than anyone, so if a body part gets in the way while doing a pose, move it out of the way.
Use props. While you may not be able to touch your hands to your toes when doing the Standing Half Forward Bend pose, you can use a yoga strap and do the pose the modified way. If you have not used props before, ask your instructor to show you the best way to use the ones you need.
Learn to love yourself. Many overweight people have a low self-esteem. Because yoga is non-competitive, use it as an opportunity to connect with just yourself – body, mind and soul. Not only will you reap the physical benefits of yoga, but you’ll find peace with yourself and learn to accept yourself for who you are – you.
In most classes, you’ll find your classmates don’t care who you are, what you look like, or if you can’t do certain poses. All of you are there for the same thing – yoga. The only person holding you back is you. Find a class and get with it!
If you’ve been looking for a way to lose weight and get in shape, a program that promises results in 20 minutes a week may seem like it’s too good to be true. But with slow motion exercise, you’ll find that you really can get quick results.
Can You Really Transform Your Body in 20 Minutes a Week?
To be clear, slow motion exercising is not for the faint of heart. With slow motion fitness you work hard and do it in a way that allows you to deeply strengthen your muscles quickly. As you build more muscle, you’ll also start to boost your metabolism and burn more calories while sitting still.
This allows you to burn fat and lose weight without having to work out every day. Most of the time, workout programs recommend that you exercise four to five times a week. But when you’re very busy that can be a hard routine to keep.
But with slow motion fitness, you’ll only need to exercise once or twice a week. The other days you can rest your muscles and allow your body to recover and build muscle. Many workouts don’t give the appropriate amount of rest to allow you to do that.
With slow motion fitness you’ll exercise much more slowly than you would with another program. Each rep can take as long as 20 seconds. With most exercise programs, reps take less than half that time.
You’ll only perform one set of each exercise, but you’ll perform it to muscle failure. Muscle failure doesn’t mean that you can’t move the weight. What it does mean is that you can’t move the weight using proper form.
If you’re able to move the weight properly for eight reps, you’ll need to increase the weight during your next routine. If your muscle fails before eight reps, you’ll need to decrease the weight for the next workout. After a few workouts you’ll know how much weight to use.
Many people have had excellent results from performing slow motion exercise routines. It’s said that years ago, even Barbara Walters tried the workout. They’ve reported that they’ve lost weight, toned muscles and felt more energy and better health than ever before – all with just one weekly trip to the gym.
But that one trip isn’t going to be easy. You’ll feel like you’ve worked harder than you ever have before. When you make that one session count, though, you’ll have a whole week before you need to do it again.
If you’ve been looking for a way to transform your body without having to become a gym rat, a slow motion exercise routine is the answer. With just 20 minutes a week you can completely change the way you look and feel.
Still a popular How-To resource . . . you can get this digital version:
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By the way, here’s a WebMD article about slow motion exercise you might find interesting: Lift Slow to Get Fit Fast?
Pilate’s is a low-impact method of exercising that focuses on building core strength, particularly in the abs and the muscles supporting the back, hips and thighs.
While some routines use specialized equipment to add resistance to its exercises, many routines are performed on a mat lying on the floor, meaning you can also practice this form of Pilates at home.
Increased Core Strength
Because all movements originate at the core, not only are the abs strengthened (giving you a flatter flat stomach), but also the muscles supporting the lumbar spine, legs and pelvic floor.
A strong inner core is the starting point … and from there the movements flow outward to develop the extremities.
Better Posture … Better Balance
Many injuries of the back are caused by poor posture. Sitting behind a desk eight hours a day is particular detrimental to good posture. Pilates can bring back your straight erectness that you had as a young adult.
Plus, because Pilates develops muscles equally, you’ll find that you’ll have better balance. Better balance means less chance of falling and suffering a debilitating injury.
Pilates target not only the back, but also front, sides, hamstrings and hips. By working these body parts through their full range of motion, joints become more flexible.
While yoga uses more of a static-type stretching (holding the stretch for up to 30 seconds), Pilates uses dynamic stretching (moving the joint and muscles through a full range of motion, but not holding the stretch).
More flexibility makes it easier to do common tasks like mop the floor, carry laundry and vacuum.
Decreased Back Pain
One of the common causes of back pain is bad posture. As noted above, Pilates improves posture and can alleviate back pain, before it progresses to an injury.
Back pain can also be caused by an imbalance of muscles – one muscle stronger than its opposing muscle. Because Pilates is especially good at improving postural asymmetries, back pain subsides once muscular balance is achieved.
These are only a tip of the iceberg as far as the health benefits that can be derived from Pilates. This exercise program makes a great pre-workout for loosening up muscles and joints in preparation for a more demanding cardio or weight training program.