Most studios offer classes on a mat — usually with props like weights, elastic bands, and a squishy plastic circle called a Magic Circle— or a machine called a reformer, which basically looks like a hospital bed with pulleys, ropes, and levers attached. The intensity level depends on the studio but, for the most part, Pilates is comparable to a barre or somewhat-intensive Vinyasa yoga class. It can be tough, but the focus is mainly on toning, not cardio, so it is unlikely that you will leave a class dripping in sweat.
It’s not always about how much you eat, but the nutritional balance of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in what you’re eating. Endurance athletes need extra carbs to fuel their rides, fat to feel satiated, and protein to repair your muscles post-workout. It usually isn’t necessary to make radical adjustments to achieve this balance—small changes work best. For instance, don’t eat a whole bowl of chili with meat. Instead, fill half the bowl with brown rice, then ladle a small amount of chili on top. You can also try substituting fat-free yogurt for sour cream and fruit for sweets.