For a Lean, Toned Body, Pilates is the Way to Go

36682Whether you’re looking to lose weight or get in shape, Pilates offers a great combination of trimming and toning your body for a leaner, longer look. As someone who started taking Pilates classes two months ago, it has helped me tremendously with toning my muscles and improving my posture. The great thing about Pilates is that it’s meant to create lean muscle - not bulk. So for many girls out there who are concerned that doing too many strength-training exercises will make them seem too muscular or chunky, Pilates will actually strengthen and tone your body for slender thighs and arms.

During the 1920s, Joseph Pilates, a German boxer and fitness trainer, created 500 defined dance movements, based on the philosophy of yoga and Zen meditation, used to develop strong abs and spine. Pilates focuses on using the “powerhouse” or “core” (the part of your body that is between your bottom ribs and your pelvic bone) of the body to create resistance in order to strengthen muscles. You’ll notice that a lot of Pilates exercises use your abs, lower back and arms to tone the other parts of your body.

You don’t need to shell out a lot of cash to take advantage of what Pilates has to offer. If you’re a beginner like me and can’t afford posh individualized Pilates classes, most gyms now offer Pilates classes as part of their regular gym membership. Not all gyms carry Pilates equipment, but many of the workouts can be done by using a yoga mat and some free weights. Plus, there are Pilates DVDs that provide workout routines that you can do at the comfort of your own home, apartment or dorm room. Just taking an hour once a week from your schedule to do a Pilates workout will make a significant difference in the way your body looks and feels.

Photo via eHow