will pilates give me flat abs? || the hundred pilates studio in dubai
Washboard abs. Toned 6 pack. Sleek stomach. We all wish for that. And so here is a great low down on the most popular question we get from our clients …. will Pilates make me loose weight and give me a flat stomach?
Here is the difference between fat stomach vs flat stomach.
Firstly stomach fat is made up of 3 layers.
The first is the visceral layer around and between your organs, it is there for protection and when you are overweight it will also act as a storage area. Visceral fat is tight, so even though your stomach will bulge it will feel tight.
The second type is subcutaneous fat. This is the layer directly under the skin. This is the fat that feels and looks ‘flabby’. Woman store more subcutaneous fat than men (mainly for use during child rearing). So you may notice that men with excess abdominal fat generally have hard or tight tummies. While woman have lose and flabby tummies. This is due to where we store fat. Subcutaneous as opposed to visercaly.
The third cause of flabby tummy is weak core muscles and this is where Pilates can be of a huge benefit. Not only for strengthening and tightening the core muscles but also for burning fat and increasing blood oxygenation which burns more calories and increases cell renewal.
Let me explain a little bit about how fat loss works, the fat in your stomach is part of the fat in the rest of your body. So it is not possible to directly lose fat from just your stomach, you have to lose fat from all over your body. To do that you have to increase your cardiovascular work, eat less, breath properly and of course do pilates!
So there are 3 components to a flabby stomach.
Visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, and a weak core. The one place we can ‘spot’ train is a weak core and the ideal form of exercise to do that is Pilates. In fact the whole basis of Pilates is about core strength in the pelvic floor, abdomen and back. For visceral and subcutaneous fat, they have to be burned off with the rest of the fat in the body. Pilates makes your muscles stronger and more efficient at burning fat, it also trains the muscles that help you breath (the intercostals ) and makes your lung capacity bigger and more flexible. The easier and faster exchange of oxygen into carbon the more calories you burn and this increased exchange also increases cell function by pumping more oxygen into the blood. However Pilates on its own will not burn large amounts of calories. Which is why we recommend another form of cardio exercise, walking, swimming and cycling are perfect.
There are a few other things to consider in relation to the fat on our stomachs. We all have different genetic make up and some people store fat more on the stomach. Some store on the hips and thighs etc. Also the place that you last stored fat will be the first place that it comes off when you lose fat. Woman tend to store fat on the stomach and thighs first so this will potentially be the last place that will shed excess weight.
There is another factor that will effect stomach fat and that is the insidious beastie – stress. When we have a lot of stress in our lives (who doesn’t have a lot of stress in their lives these days?) we release more of the hormone called cortisol which triggers fat storage in the abdomen. Pilates helps to address the stress in our lives because it takes you out of your day completely for one. two or three hours a week. You focus on your breathing, your body and your mind and that is deeply relaxing and stress reducing.
So to recap, can Pilates give you a flat stomach?
Yes! By doing Pilates to strengthen core muscles, increasing the fat burning efficiency of the body and by reducing stress in your life. In fact Pilates combined with another form of Cardiovascular workout can provide huge weight loss benefits. But a one off session once a week for three or four weeks will only give you a basic understanding of Pilates principles. You will need a more intensive practice of 3 or 4 times per week, plus some form of fat burning cardio exercise, and address the stress in your life, eat a healthy balanced diet to get really great results.
To get the most and best results, it is always advised to train with an expert and we invite you to join us at The Hundred Pilates Studio (soon to be renamed as The Hundred Wellness Center) in Dubai with our watchful Pilates experts to reap the best in your workout. We offer private and small group classes to ensure best results, from Mat Pilates to Reformer, Cadillac, Pole, Chair….don’t let those names scare you off!
Simply call us to book your first consultation in at www.thehundred.ae – the first step to toning up!