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Yoga, pilates, barre: do they burn calories?

November 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Yoga, pilates and barre workouts - they're all popular, but are they effective in burning calories?

Stephanie Grauer, co-owner of Xtend Barre in Mission Viejo, said barre classes helped her when she was pregnant.

"When I was pregnant, I needed cardio and couldn't find it anywhere, and this really helped," Grauer said.

Barre workouts help many get in shape like Jeff Chan of Laguna Hills, who traded pilates for the barre format.

"More focused on certain muscle groups, whereas this is more of a blend," Chan said.

The studio also offers yoga and pilates. Wearing a Bodybugg that tracks energy expenditure, I took all three workouts to find out. Having taught exercise for 30 years, I gave them by best effort.

Keep in mind, there are a handful of factors that determine how many calories you burn, including your age, weight, how much muscle you have, and the most important, how much energy you put out.

Plugging in the Bodybugg data, I consulted with fitness expert Julia Morichelli after finding the barre class burned 200, pilates 194, and yoga 200. The yoga was a stepped up boot camp-style with pushups and other big movements.

"These classes offer a lot of wonderful things. However, calorie burn is not one of them," said Morichelli. "When you're taking a lot of these classes, the pilates, the yoga, a lot of time you spend in a prone position, so you're lying down."

While pilates burned the least, it was the most challenging. All the classes offered great things for the body.

If you want to torch calories, get on your feet.

"Walking, jogging, jump roping, boxing, anything else that they enjoy," Morichelli said.

But beyond the gym, movement of all types is critical, whether it's cleaning the house

"Don't rely just on that one hour a day," Morichelli said.


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