Is Pilates a Workout?

Jennifer Dixon on the Wunda Chair

You may not have heard this yet, but Thrive Yoga and Wellness now offers Private Pilates Apparatus sessions!

Now, you may be one of those people that are like,

“oh, that’s nice. What’s Pilates? Is it a workout?”

Well, to answer your question let me give you a bit of background.

Pilates used to be called “Contrology.”

It was developed by a man named Joseph Pilates. A lifelong athlete, he developed this system of exercises to help people get and stay fit- whether they were locked up with him in a interment camp during World war 1, or if they were dancers and singers in NYC looking to recover from injuries.

This means, that the specific exercises he created were all designed to help the human body function optimally, regardless their preferred sport, profession or lifestyle. Pilates is similar to yoga in that it can be taylored to your own body’s specific needs, which means it can be very intensive or very therapeutic in nature.

Unlike yoga training, which can be completed in as little as 200 hours, Pilates takes over 1000 hours of training to teach, plus hundreds of practice teaching hours, to ensure the teacher is experienced and knowledgeable enough to assist a student. It is an intensive program that requires the teacher to know how to perform and modify numerous exercises and combine them into effective combinations to optimally train you, the client.

Ya, but does it burn calories?

The answer is every movement burns calories.

Pilates is a low impact form of exercise that, when performed with intensity and speed (Something that takes practice, time, stamina and endurance) it can become quite the effective calorie burning tool in your repertoire. However, depending on your own individual needs, it may make more sense to start out slowly, with deliberate movements, to train your body how to move more functionally correct, improving posture, alignment, muscular build and stature.

Recently, I had a conversation with my sister, a HIIT enthusiast (read here, she likes to beat up her body). She’s 39, pregnant with her 3rd child, and suffering from chronic knee pain. She tried Pilates years ago in a public gym, practicing at a more deliberate pace.

Essentially, her idea of a mat Pilates class was laying on the floor doing crunches and leg lifts.

Yes, there is a component of both those types of exercises involved, but for a fit person, even those sequences of execises can be very challenging and yield amazing results in physical strength and stamina over time.

The verdict of our conversation was an admonishment on my part to her to be open minded, and to give it a shot. She promised to do so, and we scheduled a time to meet privately.

In the meantime, I sent her a link to a beginner/intermediate side lying exercise video (be sure to subscribe to our channel if you haven’t!. She followed the quick video and although it wasn’t the same calorie burn she’d have gotten in a similarly timed run, she said she left with her knee feeling better and her booty definitely burning (always a plus, right friends?!)

With my sister, because she is a bit “energetic” the type of class that will speak to her would be faster paced, higher energy, challenging exercises, but only after strengthening the supporting muscles for the hips and knees to provide the stability her joints need to freely move.

Joseph Pilates said:

Are you ready to feel, look and be changed?

Is Pilates a workout?

The answer most certainly is…


To practice Pilates is to practice exercises that will be perfect for you, in a sequence designed to challenge and strengthen you, specifically. That’s why Pilates is typically practiced in a private or semi-private setting where the teacher can design a sequence specifically for your needs. Of course, you can always find group mat Pilates classes on our schedule, but to truly see the amazing benefits of a regular Pilates practice, you should try our Introduction to Pilates Special. you get 3 Private Pilates Sessions for the price of 2. In 1 visit you will be challenged, but by the 3rd visit, you’ll be hooked on the newest workout that’s good for your body!

The best part is, here at Thrive Yoga and Wellness, you can take advantage of any of our 3 Pilates Apparatus teachers! So go ahead and get your Intro package and schedule your first Pilates Session today!