Pilates has gained popularity in recent years as a form of exercise that helps improve posture, flexibility and core strength. But can it also help you burn calories? In this blog post, we will delve into the topic of Pilates and calorie burning, exploring the benefits, the science behind it, how it compares to other forms of exercise and some tips for maximizing calorie burning with Pilates.

The Benefits of Pilates for Calorie Burning

Pilates is often viewed as a low-intensity workout, which may lead some to believe that it doesn’t burn many calories. However, the calorie-burning potential of Pilates largely depends on the intensity, duration, and frequency of your practice. A challenging Pilates session can elevate your heart rate, engage multiple muscle groups and help you burn a moderate amount of calories. Consistency is also crucial; the more regularly you practice Pilates, the more calories you will burn in the long run.

To quantify how much calories you utilise, a general quide is:

  • Between 4 to 7.5 Calories (16.7 to 31.3 Kilojoules) per min
  • 120 to 225 Calories (501 to 939 Kilojoules) for 30 minutes session

(How many calories can you burn while using pilates reformer?)

However, to put this in context, the Calorie (kilojoule) intact from 1 mars bar is 82 Calories (342kj).  Therefore, just more volume of Pilates exercise is not effective in burning sufficient calories to manage your weight.  However, simply burning energy in NOT the main benefit of PIlates.


The Science Behind Pilates and Calorie Burning

The physiological effects of Pilates on the body contribute to calorie burning. By engaging in controlled, precise movements, you strengthen and tone your muscles, which in turn increases your metabolic rate. A higher metabolic rate means your body will burn more calories at rest. Additionally, the deep, focused breathing that is a hallmark of Pilates helps to improve circulation and increase oxygen uptake.

The 2 biggest benefits of Pilates in helping manage your weight are:

  • Helping improving your overall lean muscle mass, which increases your energy expenditure
  • Helping improving your stabilising muscle groups, which means you can do other exercises such as weight training and cardio training more effectively with less chance of injury.  This indirectly helps with burning more calories by increasing your capacity to perform other forms of exercise.

Pilates and Other Forms of Exercise

When compared to other popular forms of exercise like cardio and weight lifting, Pilates may not be the top calorie-burning activity. High-intensity cardio workouts, such as running or cycling, tend to burn more calories per session. Weight lifting, on the other hand, can increase your muscle mass, which also boosts your resting metabolic rate, leading to higher calorie burning over time. However, it’s essential to remember that Pilates offers unique benefits, such as improved flexibility, balance, and core strength, which can complement other forms of exercise and contribute to overall well-being.

Paddington pilates classes

Tips for Maximizing Calorie Burning with Pilates

If you want to burn more calories with Pilates, here are some practical tips to help you get the most out of your workouts:

Increase the intensity

To burn more calories during your Pilates sessions, consider choosing more advanced exercises or incorporating props like resistance bands or Pilates circles. These tools can help make your movements more challenging, which in turn will increase your calorie burn.

Vary your routine

Keeping your Pilates workouts fresh and engaging is essential for consistent progress. Try incorporating different types of Pilates classes, such as mat, reformer, or even cardio-infused Pilates, to keep yourself motivated and excited about your practice.

Combine Pilates with other forms of exercise

While Pilates is an excellent full-body workout on its own, you can maximize your calorie burning and overall fitness by combining it with other forms of exercise. Alternate Pilates sessions with cardio and strength training workouts to create a well-rounded fitness routine that targets all aspects of your physical health.

Be consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to reaping the benefits of Pilates. Aim to practice at least 2-3 times per week to build strength, flexibility, and endurance, while also increasing calorie burn. Remember that results take time and dedication, so stick to your routine and stay patient. The more consistent you are with your practice, the more benefits you’ll experience in the long run.

Set realistic goals

Establishing realistic and achievable goals for your Pilates practice will help you stay motivated and on track. Whether your goal is to improve your posture, increase flexibility, or simply burn more calories, having a clear objective will help guide your workouts and measure your progress over time.

Be patient and enjoy the process

Lastly, remember that any fitness journey requires time, patience, and dedication. Embrace the process, celebrate your accomplishments, and enjoy the myriad benefits that Pilates has to offer. As you continue to practice regularly and incorporate these tips, you’ll notice improvements in your overall fitness, strength, and flexibility, as well as increased calorie burning.

Take a serious look at your nutrition and food intake

Exercising more, whether it’s Pilates or any other form of exercise is really enough to effectively manage your weight without significantly looking at your diet.  Our strong recommendation is to consult your qualified Dietitian or nutritionist to match your diet with your exercise and weight management goals.

Eg, the Dietitions at Ideal Nutrition – Ideal Nutrition Website


Looking at your diet

I hope these guidelines have provided you with valuable insights on how to make the most of your Pilates practice. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing calorie burning and achieving your fitness goals.

If you’re interested in discovering more about Pilates and how it can benefit you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team at MD Health.

We look forward to welcoming you to our community and helping you experience the transformative power of Pilates for yourself. Remember, at MD Health, we’re here to support you on your journey to better health and wellness. Good luck, and happy practicing!

Do you have any questions?

  • Call us on (03) 9857 0644 or (07) 3505 1494 (Paddington)
  • Email us at admin@mdhealth.com.au
  • Check out our other blog posts here

Our clinical staff would be happy to have chat if you have any questions.


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*Please note only the Full Body Assessment is a FREE service. The Full Body Assessment is for new clients at MD Health or returning clients who haven’t been in for 6 months or longer who intend to particpiate in our 13 Week Clinical Pilates Program**.

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