Pilates is becoming an increasingly popular workout for people looking to tone their bodies, build strength, and improve flexibility. Unlike boring cardio or weight lifting routines at the gym, Pilates provides a fun, full-body workout that leads to real results. But how often should you do Pilates to see the benefits?
I discovered Pilates a few years ago when I wanted to get in better shape but didn’t enjoy spending hours on the treadmill or doing repetitive weight lifting exercises. What I love about Pilates is that the movements are fluid and energizing. You feel stronger, more flexible, and see a toned body emerge after just a few weeks or months.
Pilates combines elements of running, yoga, and core strengthening for the ultimate full body workout. The variations are almost endless, so you’ll never get bored. And you don’t need a gym membership or any fancy equipment to start. A Pilates mat is all you need, but studio classes and reformer machines provide even better results.
In this article, I’ll go over the many benefits of Pilates and how long it takes to see results. I’ll provide tips on how often you should do Pilates for faster body toning and weight loss. I’ll also give suggestions on whether you should do it every day, the ideal length per workout, when is the best time for sessions, and if using a reformer machine makes a big difference.
- 1 What Exactly is Pilates?
- 2 Top Benefits of Pilates
- 3 How Often Should You Do Pilates?
- 4 How Long Until You See Results from Pilates?
- 5 Is It Okay to Do Pilates Every Day?
- 6 Is 20 Minutes of Pilates Enough to See Results?
- 7 When Is the Best Time of Day for Pilates?
- 8 Do Reformer Machines Provide Better Results?
- 9 Take Your Fitness to New Heights With Pilates
What Exactly is Pilates?
Pilates is a hybrid resistance, flexibility, and cardio workout routine developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. He called it “Contrology” and created specially designed machines, like the reformer, to provide resistance and assist with body movements.
The mat exercises focus on strengthening the entire body with an emphasis on building core strength in the stomach, back, and pelvic muscles. The key principles include centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. Unlike rigid workout regimens, Pilates flows smoothly to avoid injury.
Joseph Pilates believed mental and physical health were closely connected. He designed Pilates to strengthen the body while improving focus and concentration.
The ultimate goal of Pilates is creating a strong body that moves with control, grace, and fluidity.
Top Benefits of Pilates
Wondering why you should add Pilates to your workout schedule? Here are some of the main benefits this workout provides:
- Toned arms, flat abs, lean legs, and a lifted butt. Pilates transforms your entire body.
- Builds strength without bulky muscles. You’ll develop long, lean muscle tone.
- Increases flexibility. The flowing movements enhance agility and range of motion.
- Perfect for injury rehabilitation. Pilates strengthens your body to prevent future injuries.
- Relieves stress. The focus on breath and mind-body connection reduces anxiety.
- Boosts posture. A stronger core improves posture and alleviates back pain.
- Enhances balance. Your proprioception and stability increase with practice.
- Heightens mind-body awareness. You’ll gain better body control.
- Can be done anywhere. All you need is a mat for home workouts.
For the best full body results, combine Pilates with healthy eating habits and adequate sleep. The trio together allows you to shed fat, define muscle tone, support bodily functions, and feel more energized.
How Often Should You Do Pilates?
So how frequently should you include Pilates in your weekly workout schedule for the best results? The ideal frequency is 4-5 days per week of 30-60 minute Pilates workouts.
This allows adequate recovery time between sessions while providing enough resistance exercise to continually challenge your muscles. You’ll burn calories during each workout and boost your metabolism afterward.
For beginners new to Pilates, starting with 2-3 sessions per week is recommended. This gives your body time to adjust to the new movements and prevents excessive soreness or injury. Gradually increase to 4-5 weekly workouts as your endurance and abilities improve.
Advanced Pilates practitioners can enjoy daily sessions since their bodies are accustomed to the exercises. Just be sure to target different muscle groups each day rather than repeating the exact same routine to allow muscles adequate recovery time between sessions.
The key is finding a sustainable routine you can stick to long-term. Pushing too hard with daily intense Pilates when you’re first starting out may lead to burnout. It’s better to start slow and build momentum. Within a few months of regular Pilates exercise, you’ll start seeing amazing results!
How Long Until You See Results from Pilates?
How long does it take to see results from Pilates? Many factors impact the timeline, but here’s a general overview:
- 1-4 Weeks: Improved energy, muscular endurance, flexibility, and posture. Reduced stress levels.
- 1-2 Months: Increased lean muscle tone, particularly in the arms, thighs, butt and abdominal muscles. Clothes fit better and the body looks more toned.
- 3-6 Months: Noticeable improvements in core strength, balance, and muscular definition. The body begins to transform.
- 6-12 Months: The body has completely transformed with significant muscle tone and fat loss. All bodily systems are functioning optimally.
Results will emerge faster if you do more intense reformer Pilates classes versus just mat work. Using resistance from springs allows you to target muscles from new angles and create deeper burns. Anywhere from 2-4 times weekly on a reformer will ignite changes.
At home mat workouts are a great starting point or for maintaining results. Just don’t expect the same speedy changes you’ll get from reformer workouts done under a Pilates instructor’s guidance. Combine mat and reformer workouts for the best of both worlds!
Is It Okay to Do Pilates Every Day?
Can you perform Pilates workouts daily? In short, yes – but listen to your body.
For advanced Pilates practitioners, daily sessions are fine since the body is used to the movements. Just be sure to target different muscle groups each day rather than repeating the same exact routine daily. This ensures muscles have time to recover and repair between intense workouts targeting those specific areas.
For beginners, daily Pilates is not recommended. Every other day, or 2-4 times weekly, is best when you first start. This allows time for your body to adapt to the new exercises and prevents overuse injuries or excessive soreness. Progress to more frequent Pilates workouts as your endurance improves over time.
The key is mixing up the muscle groups targeted each day and listening to your body. If certain muscles feel fatigued or you’re overly sore, take an extra rest day. As you become more advanced, you can safely increase Pilates frequency to 6-7 days weekly for accelerated results.
Is 20 Minutes of Pilates Enough to See Results?
For beginners, 20 minutes is a good starting goal for Pilates workouts. This allows you to ease into the exercises, focus on proper form, and prevent overdoing it initially. However, 20 minute quickie workouts do have limitations.
Once you’re comfortable with the basic movements, aim for 45-60 minute Pilates sessions for the best body transformation results. This extended workout time allows you to include multiple muscle toning exercises and cardio flows to create deeper muscle burns.
If you’re limited to 20 minutes some days due to time restraints, just make the most of it. Use a reformer machine to increase resistance, focus on breath, and make each movement count. Even short Pilates bursts a few times a week will improve your strength and flexibility. But longer workouts tri-weekly will truly sculpt your body over time.
When Is the Best Time of Day for Pilates?
The optimal time for Pilates is in the morning before eating breakfast. Here are some of the benefits of an AM Pilates routine:
- Your body is energized and muscles are loose after waking up well-rested. This decreases risk of injury.
- Pilates first thing raises your heart rate, circulating oxygen and nutrients through your body. It’s energizing!
- Morning workouts improve your focus and mood throughout the day. Your body will release feel-good endorphins.
- It boosts your metabolism, helping you burn more calories all day long after the workout.
- Limited distractions thing in the morning versus late night workouts when you’re drained.
- Allows you to get your workout done before the day’s responsibilities get in the way.
If morning doesn’t work with your schedule, any time is better than nothing. Just avoid Pilates right before bed as the adrenaline surge can make it tough to wind down for sleep. And be sure to eat a small snack beforehand to fuel your workout if it’s later in the day.
Do Reformer Machines Provide Better Results?
At-home mat Pilates workouts are extremely beneficial, but reformer machines take results to the next level. Here’s how:
- Full range resistance: Reformers allow exercises lying down, sitting, standing. This works all areas of the body in new ways.
- Spring resistance: The reformer springs provide targeted resistance to mimic lifting weights, but in a safer, more joint-friendly way.
- Supports proper form: The machine guides your movements and stabilizes the body to prevent injury.
- More intensity options: Reformers allow tiny fluid adjustments to dial up or down intensity.
- Enhanced cardio: Reformers combine strength and flex moves with accelerated heart-pumping cardio.
- Fun factor: Reformer classes provide variety and challenge different muscle groups so workouts never get dull.
While mat Pilates is beneficial, reformer workouts sculpt muscle tone fast. Many studios offer introductory deals. If you can invest in a high-quality home reformer, it’s worth the price for the long-term health and fitness benefits.
Take Your Fitness to New Heights With Pilates
As you can see, Pilates offers an incredibly effective full body workout that transforms your physique and improves overall health when done consistently. But be patient and start slowly to allow your body time to adapt.
Aim for mat or reformer Pilates workouts 4-5 days weekly for at least 45 minutes to see results in 1-3 months. Complement your workouts with proper nutrition and rest for enhanced benefits.
Within 6-12 months of regular Pilates, you’ll boast a head-turning, toned and lean body, better posture and balance, increased energy, reduced stress, and optimal physical health from head to toe!