I consider myself a cardio girl. I love any form of exercise that raises my heart rate. This is probably due to the fact that I am a hyperactive person, but cardio just seems to calm me down. I also live for those endorphins that are released, and it feels good to know that I have burned 1000 calories in just 1 hour. Many of my girlfriends are die-hard yogis and pilates heads. They rarely participate in cardiovascular activities, and opt for either yoga or pilates. Two of my friends in particular try to have a daily debate about the differences between pilates and yoga, in order to see which one is better. So, which bodies look better? Yoga bodies or pilates bodies? I am here to settle this once and for all.
Both yoga and pilates have a physical and mental component to their practice. According to evidence based studies, yoga does not provide any cardiovascular benefits, so calorie burning can not be a motivating factor for trying yoga. Pilates also does nothing for the heart, and in order to receive moderate cardiovascular benefits, an advanced class is needed.
As I previously mentioned, yoga is not the exercise for you if you are looking to lose weight. An average 60 minute yoga class will only burn between 145-250 calories. So, if weight loss is your goal, then yoga is not the sole exercise for you. Interestingly, research has shown that faithful yogis gain less weight throughout their midlife crisis years, than those that do not practice yoga. There is more calorie burning when it comes to pilates. A 60 minute pilates class burns between 175-375 calories on average, with the most calories being burned in an advanced class. This is great for weight maintenance, and could also be rotated into a cardio workout regimen, in order to maximize results.
Yoga promotes flexibility throughout the entire body, and has been proven to decrease cortisol, which are stress hormones, in the body. It also can help reduce back pain and arthritis, so it is great for grandma and grandpa! Pilates is more effective in getting your beach body toned and ready for its close-up. Since pilates focuses on the core, abdominal muscles and the difficult obliques are targeted and will be toned and rock hard in no time. Pilates also promotes structural alignment which ultimately leads to better posture.
The verdict: Pilates is better than yoga for weight loss, but it is necessary to alternate your workouts with cardiovascular activities for at least 60 minutes, in order to be ready for that bikini!! So don’t ever say never to pilates!