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Fat Burning Workout Programs and Pilates


Updated June 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Women sitting on the fitness balls and doing stretching exercises.
Kristian Sekulic/E+/Getty Images

It would be my pleasure to tell you that among its many benefits, Pilates is the best fat burning exercise in the world, and all you have to do is Pilates and you will be slim no matter what. That's not quite the case. Pilates can be extremely helpful as part of an overall fat burning workout plan, but a few other elements have to be in place for optimal effectiveness.

How much fat a workout burns depends on how much energy it takes to accomplish it. We get our energy from food calories. If we have calories that are not burned in a workout or by life processes, we store them as fat. If your workout requires more calories than you have taken in, your body will burn fat to help fuel your workout.
Measuring the Calories Pilates Burns

Fat Burning and Pilates

There are ways to increase the fat burning potential of a Pilates workout. Increasing the speed at which you do a routine, the level of difficulty of the exercises, and the length of the workout all burn more calories and move you closer to a fat burning stage. Learn more about how to tweak a Pilates workout toward weight loss:
5 Tips for Weight Loss with Pilates
How Pilates Supports Weight Loss

Weight Loss Exercise Recommendations: Strength and Cardio

According to American College of Sports Medicine (ACM), 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise will promote weight loss. Clinically significant weight loss occurs at over 250 minutes per week. That could be four to five Pilates sessions per week. However, those sessions would have to be fairly high level to meet the intensity to you need for significant fat burning.
Also see: Weight Loss by the Minute

A better solution is to do a mixture of cardio and strength and flexibility training throughout your week. That combination is known to be best for promoting overall fitness and weight loss. Pilates is the moderate weight training/flexibility part of the program. And Pilates is ideal for that. See:
Top Benefits of Pilates
Get in Shape with Pilates

The Aerobic Workout

Don't be intimidated by the idea of adding aerobic (cardio) exercise to your workout program. You can start with all kinds of activity that keeps your heart rate up for a sustained period of time. You can start with a walking program, dancing, jogging, swimming or any number of other fun activities. If you are unsure about what cardio exercise is or how to get started, read:
What Makes a Workout Cardio?

So how much cardio do you need? The physical activity guidelines for Americans suggest 2.5 hours per week of moderate aerobic (cardio) exercise or 1.25 hours of high-intensity cardio. Learn more about combining Pilates and cardio training:
Cross Training with Pilates
Pilates and Interval Training
Get Started in Pilates

Next, based on expert recommendations for health and weight loss, here is a sample fat burning program of moderate cardio and Pilates workouts: page 2

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