Your Diet When Practicing Pilates

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Pilates involves a lot of work on your core on the mat. Many people wonder what and when to eat before doing Pilates exercises. There is no special diet for Pilates. However, there are a few things to consider about food choices as you prepare for your workout.

Pilates Nutrition Plan

To fully take advantage of Pilates as a mind/body fitness method, you will want to take a look at what kinds of foods keep you feeling the most balanced.

Before a Pilates Session

Avoid anything that will make you gassy or you know will give you a queasy stomach. Complex carbohydrates and lean proteins, with a little high-quality fat, are good choices for a pre-Pilates meal as they sustain energy better than simple carbs or sugary things.

Suggestions for a small pre-Pilates meal:

  • A protein shake that uses fruit can be a convenient choice. You can adjust the portion size to suit you.
  • Peanut butter on whole grain bread offers a quick source of complex carbohydrates and protein.
  • Yogurt with fruit or a small portion of oatmeal can provide carbohydrates.

Since there is so much emphasis in Pilates on using your abdominal muscles, you will want to ensure that any food you've eaten prior to your session is fully digested. Try to eat light beforehand, perhaps snacking on a banana or sipping on a smoothie for some carbohydrates to give you energy.

Regardless of what you eat, nutrition experts recommend you wait two to three hours after eating before you exercise. Another consideration is that if you skip breakfast or it's been too many hours since you've eaten, you may run out of energy in the middle of your workout. It's best to eat at least a light snack.

After a Pilates Session

You want to make sure your body has enough of the nutrients it will need to strengthen your muscles and replenish your energy. Try a protein-packed green smoothie after class or a light snack that includes lean protein like fish or chicken as well as carbohydrates such as whole grains.

Your diet between workouts will depend on whether you have a goal of weight loss. Either way, eat what is best for your body. While you can use Pilates as a complement for cardiovascular exercise as part of a fat-burning workout program, health experts note that few people will lose weight from exercise alone. You will need to work on reducing your calorie intake overall.

Doing Pilates can inspire you to keep fueling your body with nutritious food while eliminating empty calories. That can have health benefits whether you wish to lose weight or not. Choose a diet that follows the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

Pilates Hydration Tips

Pilates is light- to moderate-intensity exercise and does not usually create a need for special sports drinks, but you will want to be hydrated. Water is always a good choice.

Be sure to drink an 8-ounce glass of water 30 minutes before your class. That way, your body will have time to eliminate the extra and you'll start off well-hydrated. Have a bottle available to sip during class when you feel thirsty, and remember to fully hydrate yourself with at least 16 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after class.

2 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. Food as fuel before, during and after workouts.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Balancing diet and activity to lose and maintain weight.

Additional Reading

By Marguerite Ogle MS, RYT
Marguerite Ogle is a freelance writer and experienced natural wellness and life coach, who has been teaching Pilates for more than 35 years.