Woman doing Pilates workout on the LIT Strength Machine

How Many Calories Can You Burn While Using A Pilates Reformer?

Does Rowing Help With Weight Loss? Reading How Many Calories Can You Burn While Using A Pilates Reformer? 6 minutes Next Resistance Bands — How To Properly Use Them: A Beginners Guide
Last Modified:

Pilates is immensely popular for toning, improving posture, and building lean muscle mass as a low-impact exercise. For decades, regardless of age and fitness level, men and women have benefited from Pilates to maintain a healthy weight. 

Yet, the consensus is that Pilates isn’t as effective a workout for burning calories as compared to other cardio exercises such as rowing or swimming. (That’s also one of the reasons why we created the LIT Strength Machine. Our invention combines the fun of Pilates exercises with the calorie-burning benefits of rowing.)

We will explore more about our calories-burned while using a Pilates reformer but let’s first delve deeper into understanding the science behind burning calories with a Pilates reformer.

How many calories does a Pilates reformer burn?

Pilates is a full-body workout, and weight loss/calorie burn is just one of the benefits. Unless you exercise in a controlled lab environment, it is difficult to determine how many calories you burn with Pilates.

Michele Olson, Ph.D., FACSM, a Pilates practitioner studied the impact of Pilates on burning calories in 12 test subjects. The workouts were divided for the study according to level and intensity – beginner, intermediate and advanced. All the subjects were closely monitored and measured for cardiovascular output. The test was conducted for mat workouts, and no extra Pilates equipment was used. An oxygen/metabolic cart was used to measure caloric expenditure. A liter of oxygen [LO2] consumption indicates the burning of 5 kcal. Subjects’ heart rates and perceived exertion (RPE) ratings were regularly monitored.

The results indicated a clear correlation between Pilates workout and calorie burn. The study showed that intermediate and advanced levels of Pilates workouts easily fulfilled the requirements for weight loss when higher levels of frequency and duration were maintained. The study concluded that for weight loss, a person has to do Pilates workouts at least four days a week for 45–60 minutes each session.

Additionally, the results showed that you would burn 4 calories per minute with a beginner Pilates workout, 6 calories per minute, and 7.5 calories per minute with intermediate and advanced Pilates workouts, respectively. That’s 240 to 450 calories burned every 60 minutes. This though is a standard measure of calories one can burn with a mat Pilates workout. The count of calories burnt while using a Pilates reformer can thus be much higher.

The actual calories burnt also depend on the weight of the person. With a Pilates reformer like the LIT Strength Machine, you can combine two or more workouts and thus burn much more calories compared to a regular Pilates workout using traditional Pilates machine and mat workouts.

The difference in the number of calories burned is due to the different basal metabolic rates (BMR). BMR is the number of calories your body needs to function properly and stay alive and the numbers can differ according to age, sex, weight, and body composition. With exercises like Pilates, you can significantly increase your caloric burn rate.

Measuring the results of any workout is essential to know whether you are getting closer to your fitness goals. The rules applied to calories burned Pilates reformer as well.

How to calculate how many calories reformer Pilates burns?

While there are many ways to know how many calories you burn in a Pilates reformer, most can be complicated and require lab equipment. But the following three calculation strategies are much more manageable:

Heart Rate Monitors

Polar Verity Sense heart rate sensor

Heart rate monitors can help you calculate the number of calories burned with Pilates. These monitors measure the performance of the heart. As the body requires oxygen to burn calories and the heart is responsible for pumping the oxygen throughout the body, there is a direct relationship between how the heart works and the number of calories burned by the workout. Several heart rate monitors on the market also project calories burned based on your BMR and the average heart rate during the training.

You can use the Polar Verity Sense heart rate sensor that adds to your LIT metrics when using the LIT Strength Machine as a Pilates reformer. This heart rate sensor connects to the LIT app and displays metrics that include calories burnt, BPM duration, and performance zone.

Heart Rate Calculators

You can also use heart rate-based calorie burn calculators to determine how many calories you burn with Pilates workouts. You do not need any additional device, as all the calculations can be done online. There is a limitation to the accuracy of the heart rate calculators as they cannot monitor how many calories reformer Pilates burns across multiple planes of movement.

Here are two calorie calculators that you can use online:

Runtastic calories burned calculator

Omni calories burned by heart rate calculator

Rating of Perceived Exertion

Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale

Image Source- https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0064/6984/5057/files/RPE-scale_large.png

Another easy way to calculate how many calories you burn in Pilates reformer is using the rating of perceived exertion or RPE. It is a scale that uses the subjective experience of fatigue, breathing rate, and sweat measured on a scale of 6 (no exertion) to 20 (the most exertion possible).

During your workout, keep checking your RPE. For an easy exercise, your RPE will be between 10-12, while for high-intensity training, it can be close to 18 or 19. Calculating the RPE throughout the Pilates session lets you know how many calories you burn. Learn more about the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale.

The LIT Strength Machine Pilates Reformer

A Woman doing Pilates workout on the LIT Strength Machine

Our machine is an all-in-one portable Pilates reformer designed to help you lose calories much faster than any other reformer. Our engineers have taken the classic reformer and its features and improvised it with the principles of Low Impact Training in focus. Simply put, with the LIT Strength Machine, you get the calories burned benefits of a rowing workout with Pilates.


You can start by exploring our online calories burned 45 min reformer Pilates classes. We have beginner, intermediate, and advanced classes that ensure that whatever your weight loss goal is, you achieve it with the LIT Strength Machine.

Try LIT Strength Machine today and see how it can help you to burn more calories.


While weight loss is one of the benefits of Pilates, its advantages exceed more than burned calories. It is a complete body workout that lengthens and strengthens your muscles, aligns your spine, and gives your body better posture and balance. The LIT calories burned Pilates reformer is an excellent machine to lose weight, increase flexibility, and get lean without risking injuries.

A man doing workout with LIT Axis

Join Our Mailing List

Sign up here to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered to your inbox.