Many people who come from a heavy cardio workout background and try Pilates are often the ones that don’t last or frequently comment that they don’t ‘feel’ anything or they must be doing something wrong because they aren’t sweating.

The body produces sweat to cool the body and regulate its temperature. However, other factors cause us to sweat. The weather, hormones, gender, illness and current fitness level all have an effect on how much you do or do not sweat when exercising. Sweating seems to produce a psychological response. I am sweating more so I must be: a) working harder, b) burning more calories, c) getting more out of my exercise routine. Due to the factors mentioned above, how much you sweat doesn’t really have anything to do with the number of calories burned or how ‘hard’ you are working. Pilates is about connecting the mind with the body, slowing down, focusing within-and having an awareness of what the body is doing. This may lead to sweating, especially for someone new to Pilates, because you are working muscles you are not used to engaging; but often times, people don’t sweat at all. But yes, you are still getting a workout! I had a client say to me the other day, that with regular cardio and weight training, he sees immediate effects like muscle fatigue, endorphins rushing and yes, sweat. But then his body goes back to ‘normal’. Since he’s been doing Pilates, he’s noticed the effects are much more cumulative and longer lasting. He’s standing taller and feeling stronger.  That was amazing to hear, because it is true!

Pilates is all about Resistance Training, of which there are numerous health benefits. One such benefit is the development of lean muscle tissue. The more lean muscle tissue you have the more your metabolism increase remains after your workout. While it’s true you might actually burn more calories during a cardiovascular routine, the metabolic rate returns to normal fairly quickly. SO, after a workout that involves resistance training, i.e. Pilates, your muscles are still metabolically active, meaning you continue to burn calories even after you’ve left the studio. How great is that?!

If you are a die-hard cardio fiend, I really encourage you to give Pilates a try. It’s such a great compliment to a cardio program and you will likely see the results, whether it is weight loss or toning and defining the muscles much faster than with cardio alone.  And while sweating my be cool (pun intended), it’s not a requirement for an amazing workout.

-Jessica Kuiken

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