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Yoga vs. Pilates: Which Is Right for Your Weight Loss Goals?

by | Aug 1, 2020 | Exercise & Fitness | 0 comments

With your weight loss goals in front of you, you may be wondering about the decision between yoga vs pilates. The first thing that you should remind yourself is that you don’t have to do just one or the other.  You can begin both types of practice and enjoy both their advantages.  That said, if you’re deciding to start one before the other, don’t know which one to do today or are simply wondering how each one can impact your weight loss goals, there are a few things to consider.

Why Debate Yoga vs Pilates at All?

When you are deciding on the best way to work out to lose weight and considering options apart from the usual weights and treadmill, you may find yourself facing a tossup of yoga vs. pilates. By reviewing a few facts about each of these possibilities, you can make an educated choice.

First, both yoga and pilates are great for losing weight. They offer similar benefits through different modalities. Both will burn calories, although yoga certainly trumps pilates in that respect.

Calorie Burning

With yoga you can–depending on the discipline and length of practice–burn 150 to 400 calories.  A calmer, shorter practice may bring you less than 200 calories of burning, while a longer, power yoga session could result in a burn much higher in that range.

Yoga strengthens the body, especially in the core. Yoga is also a definite ally when you are losing weight because, depending on what style and discipline you choose, you will also benefit from toning.

However, the same can be said of pilates.  The movements help you to burn calories but will help you to focus on strength building and balance.  These may not sound like they’re going to do much for your weight loss, but they can help you in more ways than you may realize.

When it comes to calorie burning in the yoga vs pilates decision, you’ll likely find that they are both rather low on the scale when compared to cardio sessions.  However, they will help you in ways you wouldn’t expect and that your cardio workout likely won’t even touch.

Breaking the Sedentary Habit: Yoga vs Pilates

If you are someone who is always sedentary and then decide to practice intense pilates, you may eliminate more than a few pounds. When you are doing exercise all the time, however, pilates will not get you far in terms of weight loss. This is because you will have already peaked out before you get to the pilates.

Instead, think about it this way.  In the yoga vs pilates debate for weight loss, neither is going to really help your body to burn through the excess fat during the session itself.  However, they both tone and strengthen your muscles. They improve your balance and enhance your coordination over time. They also help your mind to become clearer and more restful (this has even been shown on fMRI scans!).

In this way, your practices can help you to reduce stress levels, reduce your risk of injury and improve your sleep habits.  These are all very important factors in effective and successful weight loss.  Therefore, while your yoga and pilates may not blast through the fat, they will help to support the rest of your healthy and active lifestyle. In this way, you’ll be primed to burn more body fat on the whole, even if it doesn’t happen while you’re on your mat.

This Also Holds True for Yoga

If you are sedentary, then begin a yoga regimen, you can drop significant pounds. But if you already exercise all the time, don’t expect to lose much additional weight unless you are into the Ashtanga or “hot” yoga, which involves sweating it out and making your calories burn thermogenically.

To revisit the question of yoga vs. pilates for weight loss, the answer is “yes” for either, depending on the precise style, timing, and conditions. Beyond that, the decision is a personal choice, though you should keep certain considerations in mind.

Your Fitness Level is One Thing

If you aren’t in that good of shape, then you probably need to go with yoga vs. pilates. You can start with Hatha yoga, which is very smooth and slow and almost meditative, so that you can use it as an introduction to more challenging yoga. You need to limber up for more advanced forms of yoga, anyway, and this is the best approach. Pilates, meanwhile, is best suited for those who are at least used to floor workouts. This can be a bit strenuous; but if you have done floor work before, you should be good to go!

When all is said and done, in the decision between yoga and pilates, the best choice is the one that you’ll do and enjoy.  This is the case with all workouts. The one you’ll complete is the best option. If you’ll hate it or avoid it, then choose something else!

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