How many calories do we burn in a Pilates class?

March 12, 2021

How many calories do we burn doing Pilates? Does it differ between Mat Pilates and Reformer? How does it differ from other forms of exercise? What's the best way to burn calories? Surely, those long challenging classes are burning sufficient energy to justify a little treat right?!

Well I mean, they are, but you really don't want to be trying to exercise away your calories you've eaten. It is a losing battle from the start. I'm Chris, co-owner of PPF, here to tell it like it is!

How many calories do we burn doing Pilates?

Let's get some perspective. My Apple Watch tells me that I burn 223 calories during a 50 minute class. I am a 32 year old male, I weigh 82kg give or take and stand at 181cm tall. My calories burnt will be drastically different from a 20 year old female, weighing 50kg and being 155cm's tall. Furthermore, a male of identical measurements and age to me who has a greater lean body mass will burn more energy than I would. It is a person specific number.

Does the number differ between Matwork, Reformer or PIT classes?

Logically, due to the added resistance of the reformer machine springs, you would assume that Reformer would burn significantly more calories than a Mat class or a PIT class. However, due to the exercise not being overly strenuous, and the predominant focus being on control, there is very little difference between a Reformer class and a Mat Pilates class when talking about burning calories.

How many calories do you burn doing other activities?

Again, using my own anecdotal data from my ever reliable Apple Watch (they aren't 100% accurate just FYI), the last hour long run I went on I burnt 852 calories. Meaning, if I had done a 50-minute run, I would have burnt approximately 710 calories. Significantly more than the 223 I burnt doing a Pilates class, however, running is a completely different form of exercise and more strenuous on my body!

So, what is the best way to burn calories?

I'm sure this has been less than helpful for you so far. Reading about all the ways that Pilates really doesn't burn the calories you'd be hoping it would. But I have some good news! Exercise is only a very small portion of your daily calories burnt. What burns the most calories? Your everyday activities. Your body just functioning! Your body burns between 50 to 80% of your daily energy. This is also known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Various factors effect your BMR and can greatly impact the amount of energy your body requires (1).

Today's take away!

If you are looking for the magic solution to losing weight and "shredding" up, you won't find it in this blog. If losing weight is your goal, it is hard work and requires a lot of fine tuning. Pilates is a great way to start. Especially, if you are looking at something that will help you with your aches and pains, strengthen your core, and help you to feel better mentally. Remember, the more lean muscle you start to develop, the more energy you will burn at rest and during exercise!

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