In a word, no, but then how much does Pippa Middleton weigh? Jennifer Lopez, Angelina Jolie, or Beyonce? They all seem to have the shape that many women desire, so perhaps a better question is, “can Pilates help improve my shape?”
If we are unhappy with our shape, then there are two main causes; either there is too much fat hiding our “real” shape or our muscles lack tone – or (horror) both!
Far from having a Pippa Middleton derriere, my life changed in April 1994 after seeing video footage of my bottom eclipsing the sun! I weighed in at 14st 6lbs (91kg) but within 8 months I had shed 72lbs (5 stone) and I haven’t weighed more than 9 1/2 stone ever since. Every day is a battle but I train hard so that I can eat and drink what I want while maintaining a shape I am happy with. So what follows here, and in two further articles, is based on personal experience of what works.
In theory, reducing fat/weight is simple – just burn up more calories than you eat. Make friends with exercise and develop a healthier approach to eating. Will Pilates help me burn the fat? No, but Pilates strengthens and stretches every muscle group in the body giving you the ability to embark on a cardio-vascular (CV) exercise programme while keeping your joints and muscles free from injury. It also creates more lean muscle mass which helps to burn calories even when you are not exercising. In Part 3, ‘Keep it Keen to Keep it Lean’ we will look more at fat burning and how to spend the minimum amount of time in the gym.
Although it is critical to fat burning, it’s a misconception that aerobic (CV) exercise tones and firms muscle. To make your new, slim body worth looking at, you need shape – after all, would you rather be 9 stone, flabby and weak or 9 1/2 stone, toned and strong?
For that you need weight or ‘resistance’ training. Again, Pilates is a catalyst for change as its focus on strengthening the stabilising muscles keeps your joints and, in particular, your back safe. It also stretches and lengthens the muscles as you build them to give the long and elegant look of Ms Middleton, Jolie and Knowles. In Part 2 – ‘Smart Girls do Dumb Bells’, we will look at weight training and how it can help you improve and maintain your shape without turning you into a body-builder!
And if you were hoping for a magic wand to make you look better in an instant? Two top tips – work on your posture – if you stand tall you will look slimmer (guess what Pilates helps here too) and SMILE!
How to Change Your Body Shape & Maintain It