Blog Mental Health Yoga Is Yoga Or Pilates Better For Weight Loss: A Long-Standing Debate Put To Rest

Is Yoga Or Pilates Better For Weight Loss: A Long-Standing Debate Put To Rest

yoga or pilates to lose weight

Is Yoga Or Pilates Better For Weight Loss

Hundreds of dietary plans and workouts have been developed to help people slim down and control their weight. But this abundance of weight loss methods only creates chaos or leads to misperceptions. Many dieters don’t understand the difference between some nutrition plans or can’t settle on a diet that would put their metabolism in high gear. Exercising is also a hot topic for debate, especially when it comes to Yoga or Pilates. So, is Yoga or Pilates better for weight loss? This article fully explains the difference between these two mainstream workouts. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it.


Yoga Vs Pilates: The Benefits

These workouts offer a number of health benefits. For instance, yoga strengthens your body and improves flexibility. It protects you from injuries, improves athletic performance, increases muscle strength and tone. Yoga also helps to maintain a healthy metabolism and is touted to be a perfect stress management tool. Note, that stress is one of the major factors that cause excessive weight gain. The best thing is that this practice may prevent weight gain in middle aged normal weight adults (5, 6). 

Pilates also has a bunch of health benefits in its arsenal. This workout gives an opportunity to increase your muscle strength without bulking up. It improves your posture. Pilates exercises are commonly used in physical therapy centers and are an effective tool against back pain (4). This type of workout is a perfect way to increase your energy levels. It stimulates all the muscle groups and spine function and teaches to breathe properly (1).  

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As for the heart health, advanced levels of both workouts can have the same effect as, say, walking.

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What Makes Them Different Workouts?

Many people don’t see the difference between yoga and Pilates. Despite the fact that they both are performed on mats and belong to low-impact workouts, the approaches still vary to some extent. 

Most yoga training sessions include a flowing set of poses and focus on improving your flexibility and balance. Yoga also involves special breathing techniques, and helps people to calm down and to lower their stress levels. Put simply, this technique is mostly used for relaxation and flexibility. 

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On the other hand, Pilates workouts consist of slow strength exercises. Breath control is necessary as well. Pilates focuses on stability and core strength. The moves are mostly performed on mats, but in some cases people use a reformer – a special machine. 

As you can see, there is a slight difference, but basically these workouts will provide you with similar effects. You can find a yoga instructor, who will pay special attention to your core muscles. And you can find a Pilates instructor, who will help you boost your flexibility and fill your training session with balance and mindfulness. Both yoga and Pilates require you to focus on the current moment and use your entire body. That’s why it is quite hard to estimate which workout is better for you. But still, is yoga or Pilates better for weight loss?

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What Is Better For Weight Loss – Yoga Or Pilates?

As it was mentioned above, both workouts belong to low-impact exercises. This means that during your training sessions you don’t burn as many calories as during, say, HIIT, strength workouts, cycling, running and more. It is quite challenging to provide you with one hundred percent accurate information about the amounts of burnt calories, as they depend on a number of factors, including your weight, gender, body type, age and more. The type of yoga and Pilates training has its impact as well. 

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For instance, an hour of one of the most popular yoga classes, Hatha yoga, will burn approximately 298 calories for a 155-pound person. There is another popular yoga type, Ashtanga yoga, that is more intensive. An individual with the same weight will burn approximately 362 calories per a 1-hour training session (2). As for Pilates, during 1-hour exercising of a beginner level, a 130-pound individual will burn approximately 180 calories. An hour of more advanced Pilates will help to burn 354 calories for this person (7).

So, as you can see, both yoga and Pilates won’t bring you any impressive weight loss results. However, they can become perfect additional steps in your weight-loss journey. If you aim to trim off unwanted pounds, you need to cut approximately 500 calories each day. It is also necessary to include endurance and high-intensity cardio workouts, that increase your heart rate, to your workout plans. In combination with these recommendations, Yoga and Pilates will create a faultless weight loss plan (7). 

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is yoga or pilates better for weight loss


What Is The Difference Between Pilates And Yoga For Weight Loss?

As it was mentioned above, the calories burned during these types of training sessions are not enough for effective weight loss. There is basically no difference, as advanced levels of both workouts burn approximately equal amounts of calories. However, Pilates is considered to be a little bit more fast-paced than yoga. So you can choose it to start losing weight and then slowly increase the physical load, when your fitness level gets higher.


So, is yoga or Pilates better for weight loss? The answer is that both workouts are not that effective for losing weight, when used as a major type of physical load. The best option will be to combine them with other strength and cardio workouts to make your fitness routine well-rounded. They can be a part of your overall weight-loss plan or a way to reduce stress and improve control over your body. The best thing is that they are adaptable to any fitness level and will allow you to increase your skills gradually. Both Pilates and yoga provide your body with various benefits, that’s why they are worth your attention. A decision, what to choose – yoga or Pilates – to lose weight more effectively, is entirely up to you.

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Remember, that it is crucial to know what workout is more suitable and effective for you, taking into account your fitness goal. This will help you achieve the desired result faster and without additional efforts. Make it a rule to consult a health professional before starting a new workout plan to protect your health and avoid undesirable consequences.BetterMe


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 10 Best Benefits of Pilates Exercise (2020,
  2. Calories Burned During Yoga (2018,
  3. Is Pilates Better Than Yoga? (n.d.,
  4. Pilates and Back Pain (2019,
  5. The Benefits of Yoga (n.d.,
  6. Yoga May Prevent Weight Gain in Middle Age (2005,
  7. Yoga vs. Pilates: Which Is Better for Weight Loss? (2019,