The latest piece of fitness misinformation is making the rounds on TikTok, but I’ve seen it pop up in other places, very. Young women sing the praises of Pilates (sometimes alongside barre, yoga, and walking), saying it helped them lose weight and strengthen their muscles where weightlifting didn’t. Something about cortisol. And I’m here to tell you, as a certified personal trainer, weightlifter, and someone who has attended a Pilates class once or twice:His is total nonsense.
pilates won’t give you “longer,“ ‘Slender’ or ‘more lean’ muscles
When you strengthen your muscles, you are not giving them more “muscle strength.” Tone just means you’re showing off all the time. You also don’t make your muscles “longer.” They’re the length they are, silly goose, because they’re attached to your bones at each end.
And you don’t make it “more lean” because muscle is made up of muscle, and “thin” refers to a lack of body fat. You can lose fat during strength training, but The type of strength training doesn’t really affect this.
What are the real differences between Pilates and weight training?
Pilates is a form of strength training that grew out of physical therapy-like rehabilitation programs for injured people. It emphasizes core strength, controlled movements, and movement learning patterns –Not only moving the most weight or doing the most repetitions, but also moving your body the “right” way. In these respects, it is very similar to certain types of files Functional training It is performed using coffee bells and foam rollers, but with a different set of movements.
Exclusive Pilates exercises are practiced on the floor, like yoga, with little or no equipment. There are a large number of free Pilates videos online, and their quality ranges widely. Some are just basic exercises you do on your back, often mixed with yoga moves, and people who are serious about Pilates make fun of them. Others are more diverse and deep.
Then there are classes, which are often very expensive, that are accomplished with equipment. Sometimes they use things like wall-mounted springs, but the cooler, more modern chaps are done with something called a reformer, a sliding track machine. have A brief guide to what to expect in a Pilates class is here.
Good Pilates exercises will work your muscles, and can contribute to your strengthening over time. Pilates usually Not A good choice if your main goal is to move heavy weights or build a lot of muscle. People who switch from weightlifting to Pilates often report that they are losing muscle mass.
Depending on the type of classes you take and whether you’re trying to really challenge yourself, you can have anything from a low-dose and not-too-helpful routine to something that builds enough strength to stay healthy and feel more functional each day. life. To be fair, the same goes for a lot of classes and lightweight strength training routines (barre, yoga, dumbbell-waving classes). Your results are a combination of whether the class was good and whether you challenge yourself appropriately.
Will cortisol prevent me from losing weight?
yesSo, let’s delve into the misinformation. The story you’ll hear from a lot of people talking on TikTok is that they used to do heavy lifting and/or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but they couldn’t lose weight or weren’t happy with their looks. They may also notice that they were tired, sore, or didn’t enjoy their workout. Then they switched to Pilates and walked, and the weight came down right away.
The explanation given—and please remember, this is totally fiction—is that heavy lifting and HIIT increase levels of the stress hormone in your body called cortisol. Cortisol tells your body to retain body fat. (There are likely some long biochemical details here.) So doing easier exercises will allow your body to lose weight.
Related, you’ll see influencers talking about how cortisol can make you gain or maintain weight during certain weeks of your period, requiring you to plan your training around your cycle; Or that certain foods or lifestyle habits cause “hormonal imbalances” or cause you to gain weight they call the “cortisol belly”.
It is true that cortisol levels are associated with stress, and that stress is sometimes associated with weight gain, and that Medical conditions that affect cortisol It can affect the way your body uses fat and energy. But none of this applies to what you can expect from doing weight training exercises in the gym.
Cortisol levels in the blood rise after high-intensity exercise, but those levels return to normal within an hour. We also adapt very quickly to high intensity exercises, such as Exercise physiologist John Hogg points out here: WThe ork from his research group showed that after 11 days of high-intensity cycling, transient cortisol elevations decreased a lot. (Other research supports this.) In other words, we got it better In dealing with physiological stress, the more we practice – which any athlete or coach would have told you.
Exercise-induced cortisol release isn’t a significant factor in weight gain, when you talk to actual endocrinologists (hormone specialists) or scientists who study exercise or metabolism. Not to mention that neither Pilates nor strength training is new; If lifting weights causes people to accumulate body fat, it will be a long-understood phenomenon that athletes and coaches already know how to plan and work around for, and not a shocking new trend for TikTok the world is now beginning to take hold. .
If Pilates isn’t that special, why are all these women saying it worked better for them?
There are so many reasons why Immediately It is the perfect moment for this trend to become popular.
One of the main reasons is that in response to a trend that’s been going on for years now, where there’s a body type, weightlifting has been touted as a way to build your butt. (This direction also Contains a lot of misinformation, including The idea that “hip depressions” are an aesthetic defect and that they can be filled by performing certain exercises; Both of these allegations are utter nonsense.)
When an idea is popular, being part of the backlash against that idea can boost engagement. You scroll through a file Many From Pilates TikTok for writing this article, this is clearly an opportunity a lot of influencers are jumping on. One young woman in particular said she’s seen results of “two weeks of Pilates” she hadn’t seen from years of strength training. (I don’t care what you do, two weeks later anything It won’t change your body.) After this video, a series of reaction videos surfaced with dismissive responses from people who didn’t believe her claim. The algorithm obviously rewards her for this – one of her videos was among the top hits in my searches for Pilates – but she’s no expert on exercise, health, or anything else. She posted a video with her much needed Pilates routine, and by her own admission, it’s just a few basic exercises she picked up from her free YouTube videos.
after too I wrote about strength training trends on TikTokI can pretty much guarantee that many of those people who claim that lifting “didn’t work” for them weren’t lifting heavy objects or appropriately. Aerobic squats won’t give you bootycrunches won’t give you abs, Exercising does not make you lose weightMost people who do strength training exercises Use very light weights to make a difference. Scroll back in any of the Pilates fan profiles and you will see their previous workout routines. It is educational.
Another thing to be aware of is that when someone tells you what they are doing Currently (Even if they assume they’re telling the truth), their bodies were largely built by what they were doing Before. If someone is lifting heavy weights, and has recently switched to less intense exercise, they are still benefiting from the strength and muscle they built before.
And finally: THe thought that these people enjoy Their current routine may be more correct than the previous one. If they force themselves to do HIIT (or other types of hard workouts labeled HIIT), naturally They hated him. HIIT is bad, fake HIIT is bad, and if you’re only doing it because you think it’s the best way to lose weight, you’ll resent it because it makes you suffer and not even work out.
To be honest, something similar happens with lift:If you are always in the gym and lifting as hard as you can, you will feel very tired. At first, it will be easy to gain weight with each exercise, but you will soon reach a point where this does not work anymore. If you follow a Well-designed strength training programYou’ll avoid the grind and frustration, but most people don’t. So – again – switching to a different form of exercise can legitimately make you happier. It’s not because weightlifting is doomed to make you miserable, but because you got out of a frustrating situation and turned into something you love.
There is one final aspect to the element of this pro-Pilates moment: Pilates lessons Expensive as fuck. Small class sizes and private lessons are part of the reason why it is so “better” than other types of training. You get a lot of personal attention and learn to engage your muscles exactly the way you’re trying, which can be legitimately beneficial. But this comes with a financial cost. So is specialized equipment (you won’t find repairmen at Planet Fitness) as well as simply an exercise that is currently popular among wealthy white women. You pay for it all.
To sum up: Pilates is seen as better than sweating it out in the gym because it’s trendy and somewhat exclusive; It’s easier and arguably more fun than doing the bad workout trends that came before it; And it’s also the hot new thing to talk about on social media. If you prefer Pilates exercises and can afford it, enjoy it! But if not, believe me, you will not miss the opportunity.