Beachbody’s Chalene Johnson has developed a workout routine called PiYo (pronounced pie-yo). PiYo combines core-developing elements of Pilates with yoga poses, but it’s put together in an interesting way.
The workout is designed to incorporate fat-burning movements that promise faster results than either Pilates or yoga alone. PiYo is a low-impact workout, eliminating movements such as jumps. Nonstop sequences allow you to get the benefits of a core workout while elongating and defining muscles through yoga poses.
PiYo has existed as a gym program for over a decade and has now developed a home-based workout with DVD-based exercises led by Chalene.
Who should do PiYo?
Chalene Johnson’s PiYo workout is designed to appeal to people of all abilities and fitness levels. Marketing materials feature quite a few moms and only a few men, indicating that women might be more of the target audience.
With a low equipment investment level, the PiYo workout is more accessible than some other home-based workout programs. PiYo can be a great starting point for beginners and is also compatible with other Beachbody workouts such as P90 or Insanity Max 30.
PiYo is particularly beneficial as an accessible workout for people recovering from certain injuries or who have certain medical conditions. Some users have had success with PiYo while pregnant, and the low-impact methods are appropriate for people who aren’t able to engage in higher-impact movements like jumping and running. However, if you have any medical conditions or have any concern, please speak with a physician before beginning an intense workout program.
This workout can also help you burn fat quickly without having to make extreme diet and exercise changes. The rapidly flowing movements promise faster fat burning results than traditional Pilates or yoga.
In short, PiYo serves as an introductory-level workout program, a unique introduction to Pilates and yoga, and a low-impact supplement to a pre-existing fitness routine.
What do you get with the PiYo workout?
Chalene Johnson’s workout program is a 60-day program, working 6 days per week. The workout regimen alternates routines to focus on cardio, abs, tone, and strength training.
The PiYo workout kit includes:
- 7 workouts as a 3-DVD set
- Quick start guide
- 60-day workout calendar
- Get Lean eating plan
- Tape measure
- Align: The Fundamentals – You’ll do this workout early in the training program, and it provides a good introduction to the forms and positions you’ll be getting deeper into. If you’re new to these types of positions, or fitness programs in general, take time to review the Quick Start Guide as well as the workout before you begin.
- Define: Lower Body – This workout is designed for developing your legs. Chalene focuses on your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and more, promising lean, toned legs.
- Define: Upper Body – Similar to the lower body workout, the upper body workout is earlier in the training program and focuses on sculpting arms and shoulders.
- Sweat – Using bodyweight resistance and Chalene’s brand of nonstop positioning, the Sweat workout is designed to give you a fierce cardio workout elegantly combined with strength training.
- Drench – This workout focuses on building endurance and burning fat. As described, it promises to make you work up a massive sweat.
- Sculpt – The Sculpt workout focused on holding positions for different periods of time, but not like you can expect out of Pilates and yoga. This workout promises to build muscular endurance and metabolic change.
- Strength Intervals – This short, 25-minute workout using bodyweight resistance and nonstop movement to burn calories while providing ample strength training.
Quick Start Guide
As you may have guessed, the Quick Start Guide gives you a quick lesson in how the program works and what you need to know to get started. Experienced fitness enthusiasts may not find any new information, but it’s a must-read for anyone new to PiYo, or new to working out.
We highly recommend perusing it before your first workout.
60-day Workout Calendar
Included in your PiYo workout package is a wall calendar outlining Chalene’s guide to performing specific workouts on specific days. The calendar is already set for all 60-days of the workout, including one built-in rest day per week.
The workouts are designed to progressively push you further as you get stronger and more flexible. You’ll start with some of the introductory workouts such as alignment and upper and lower body definition, and you’ll see those workouts drop out of circulation in favor of more challenging exercises.
It may sound elementary, but try crossing off each workout as you complete it as a great motivational tool to keep you on target!
Get Lean Eating Plan
You can’t get the body you want without maintaining a healthy diet. The PiYo workout includes the Get Lean Eating Plan, which is essentially a nutrition guide. The Get Lean Eating Plan is very similar to the Insanity Max:30 nutrition guide, but is nonetheless useful.
If you’re new to workout programs, you’ll find the eating plan very helpful. The PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan Food List is an excellent reference tool and guide for healthy eating and appropriate portion sizes.
However, the eating plan does not include recipes, and some users have reported that the recommended foods can get repetitive and boring.
Getting fit isn’t always about losing weight as it is about losing inches. The tape measure included will help you measure your success.
There is literally nothing special about the tape measure (but it is Beachbody branded); however, it’s a really handy perk as part of your kit.
According to the official product page, the PiYo workout includes free “gifts,” which sound like a promotional add-on, but the bonus workouts are already incorporated into the program. That doesn’t make it a bad thing: it’s just an aspect of marketing to be aware of.
Included with your kit are two bonus DVDs: Buns and Core. The Buns workout is tailored to your glutes, quads, and hamstrings and is aimed at giving you a well-defined butt. The PiYo Core workout focuses on abs, obliques, and back muscles, to help give your core tone and definition.
Your workout kit also includes online access to PiYo community forums, live video chats with celebrity trainer Chalene Johnson, and receive tips and tricks for fitness, diet, and staying motivated. PiYo users can reach out to others following the program to share success stories and get peer support.
PiYo Food Tracker
For extra assistance with the Get Lean Eating Plan, you can access a printable Food Tracker from the Beachbody website. The Food Tracker helps you identify target goals by food groups and flexibility on which meals to incorporate these foods, such as vegetables, fresh fruits, and lean protein.
Hybrid Workout Calendars
One of the perks of the PiYo workout is that it is designed to integrate with other Beachbody workouts, such as P90 and the Insanity workouts. The PiYo website provides hybrid calendars that create a balanced, integrated workout with P90X and Focus T25, leaving out the guesswork.
What experience level is required?
The beauty of Chalene’s program is that no experience is required. Exercise novices and people new to Pilates and yoga movements will want to thoroughly review the Quick Start Guide and watch the first DVD before you start so you can get a better understanding of some of the movements and positions.
Day one of the program starts with alignment, which will be an important feature in the workouts to follow. Experienced yoga practitioners may notice some differences between traditional yoga position alignment and PiYo positioning.
PiYo is intended for a broad audience, but it’s important to contact a doctor if you have any medical concerns. The PiYo workout program can be done by many people, but like many workout programs is not appropriate for everyone.
Cost and Required Equipment
One of the good things about the PiYo workout is the fact that you don’t need to invest in a lot of additional equipment. Beyond the PiYo workout package ($59.85 plus $12.95 shipping and handling), all you need to own is a yoga mat.
Yoga mats are inexpensive ($10-20) and are readily available at sporting goods stores and many big box stores. If you don’t already own a pair of athletic shoes that may be another investment, but one that is multi-purpose for your fitness goals. That said, confident people and experienced yogis might want to work barefoot; about one-third of the video participants work barefoot.
If you’re interested in turning the PiYo workout into a hybrid program, you do need to consider the extra investment. Not only is there another workout package to purchase, but there may be recommended equipment to accompany it (P90, for example).
PiYo Reviews and Results
Beachbody’s PiYo website features four women, averaging 30.7 pounds in weight loss. No men were featured. Consumer reviews also show positive results, but not as dramatic as the women featured on the site.
Convenience factor – outside of a yoga mat, you don’t need any additional equipment, making this a low-cost investment.
Approachable – the PiYo workout is accessible to most fitness and experience levels, body types, and age groups. One of the hallmarks of the workout program is the low-impact nature with no emphasis on jump movements and joint stress.
Workouts are short, ranging from 25 to 45 minutes, six days per week. Many users report that even if a lot of time has passed, the workouts feel as if they move quickly, at least giving the impression that workouts are faster.
Meshes easily with other Beachbody workouts – the PiYo workout is designed to integrate neatly with other workout programs like P90, P90X, and Insanity.
Flexibility – many users report increased flexibility by the end of the 60-day workout period, which is important in assisting your other fitness goals.
Modifiers – the PiYo workout helps out beginners by offering modified positions that you can work in until you have the strength or stamina to perform the full range. This allows you to advance at a pace comfortable for you – key for safety.
Chalene, while a great motivator, loves to talk. A lot. Some users have said that she can talk to the point of distraction, but unfortunately there is not an audio option that allows you to only hear commands. This also eliminates the ability to listen to your own music.
Workouts are short – some consumers report wanting more out of their workouts, but this may be an individual preference.
Hybrid workouts can get lengthy. If you combine the PiYo workout with other workouts like P90X, you can start to get into one-and-a-half hour workouts.
Workouts are sometimes unbalanced. In the interest of maintaining a promised workout time, some of the workouts heavily favor the right side, giving you an unbalanced workout.
You may notice the Chalene can move through exercises quickly, leaving little time for you to transition with her. Reviewing these exercises ahead of time might be helpful but also eat up more valuable time.
Where to Buy PiYo
You can buy PiYo from Beachbody’s official website. As you can see, PiYo is only available from Beachbody. If you’re ever asked to buy it from any other site, don’t purchase, as it’s almost certainly not authentic.
PiYo Workout Package = $59.85
Shipping & Handling = $12.95
Total Cost = $72.80
Promotional free shipping (3–6 business days)
3-Month Payment Option
First month is $19.95 + $12.95 (S&H); the second and third months are $19.95 each
Beachbody offers a 60-day money back guarantee, minus shipping and handling.
In short, the PiYo workout is an approachable workout program that is appropriate for beginners and experienced users. While some consumers have reported that the program is too difficult, overall, the workout shows positive weight loss results. The workout is geared towards weight loss, so you may want to investigate an alternative if you’re really looking to build strength.
Questions or comments?
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Have you tried the PiYo workout? Have you seen results losing weight or inches or gaining definition?
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