Pilates vs. Yoga: Which is better for weight loss?

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Losing weight is often a primary fitness goal of most people. Well, it is easy to gain weight, but to get rid of the excess pounds can be more difficult than expected. This is practically because you have to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.

Since physical exercises are essential to weight loss, a lot of people have sought for fitness programs to help them get rid of their unwanted pounds, and these include Pilates and yoga. Both exercise methods have become popular as supplementary programs for weight loss due to their comprehensive approach in muscle toning and strengthening, improved breathing controls, and mind-body coordination.


But in reality, if you compare Pilates vs. yoga in terms of meeting your weight loss goals, then here are some of the things you must understand:

  1. Calories burned

In terms of the number of calories burned, yoga does better than Pilates. Doing yoga for one hour can burn an average of 600 calories and this depends on the type of yoga method being performed. Yoga routines that require more physical activity may go beyond 600 calories, while routines that focus on flexibility and breathing may consume less.

On the other hand, doing Pilates for one hour may only burn up to 300 calories. This is because the movements in Pilates routines are slower and focus on particular muscle groups, and their abilities in burning calories vary.

  1. Muscle toning

Getting rid of fat alone does not automatically mean that you are going to lose weight. In fact, there are instances in which you feel like you have lost significant amounts of fat, but you still weigh the same. This is because there are fitness programs that allow you to burn fat, but at the same time push you to build more muscle, and as a result you get to maintain your current weight.

The good thing about muscle toning is that since your muscles are leaner (but heavier), the lighter you feel when moving around, and your clothes will start to look and feel loose. This is because the space once occupied by fat is no longer there, and is rather replaced by muscle.


When you compare Pilates vs. yoga in terms of muscle toning, Pilates proves to be the better choice. Pilates exercises target all muscle groups in the body, particularly those in the core and pelvic areas, which are sites of visceral fat. When the excess visceral fat is replaced by lean abdominal muscle through Pilates workouts, the slimmer the belly becomes (without actually losing significant amounts of weight).

  1. When paired with diet

As mentioned earlier, losing weight is all about burning more calories than you consume. It takes about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound, but this doesn?t mean that you cannot eat anymore. By following a balanced diet and doing regular exercise, losing the extra pounds will resonate gradually.

Some people say that they are able to lose more weight through yoga. This can be due to the type of yoga method that they are practicing, and if they have also started following diets related to the yoga lifestyle (such as vegan, vegetarian, and lacto-vegetarian diets).

On the other hand, while Pilates does not necessarily focus on losing weight, it can be used as a supplementary exercise to other higher-impact activities, such as basketball, dancing, swimming, or running. Through Pilates routines, the muscles are pushed to continue working but at more relaxed pace, so even if they are not used for other physical activities, they still burn calories at a consistent pace.