PiYo Workout Review
- No high-impact exercises, making it a safer program and perfect for someone in recovery;
- Has a strong focus on developing flexibility;
- Users of all levels will benefit;
- Great value!
- Not ideal for someone looking to build muscle mass;
- Those who prefer a faster, more intense workout may not enjoy this.
PiYo is unique in that it aims to get you the best possible results but without the super-intense, high-impact exercises you typically find in other home workout programs.
Instead, it's a pilates and yoga hybrid with a cardio twist.
PiYo Workout Review: Introduction
This review aims to teach you the benefits of PiYo – one of BeachBody’s latest and greatest home workout programs. From this review, you will learn:
- How and why PiYo was created
- Who it is suitable for
- What makes it unique
- How the PiYo workouts and overall program are structured
- What results you should expect
- If it’s good value for money
PiYo Workout: Overview
If you’re wondering what the term PiYo means, like I wondered before I checked this program out, let me tell you it’s a really simple, but effective, concept. PiYo is a type of exercise that blends pilates and yoga. Pi-lates, Yo-ga. Simple. It is also sometimes termed yogalates. Yoga, pi-lates. True story!
The result of this hybrid is that PiYo is said to be a total ‘mind-body workout’: The pilates exercises strength the body whilst the yoga strengthens the mind.
PiYo was created by Charlene Johnson, a fitness authority and world record holder, when she realised that her 45 year old body was struggling when it came to maintaining the same high-intensity, high-impact workouts she had been doing since the age of 3. After a string of injuries, she was advised by a doctor to lower the intensity of her training and work on increasing her muscular flexibility. Knowing that she was probably not alone in this situation and lots of other people had probably been given the same advice, she set out to create the low-impact, lower-intensity program that focused on toning muscles and building muscular flexibility, now known as…
PiYo took off with a bang thanks to the powerful marketing that BeachBody is known for but, in particular, Charlene’s Instagram marketing campaign really helped to get it noticed. When PiYo first launched I was really curious to try it because of all the positive hype. When I learned that the workouts comprised yoga and pilates, I initially thought PiYo had been developed specifically for women – I think I held the common misconception that yoga and pilates are typically only completed by women – but no, it turns out that plenty of men benefited from PiYo just as much.
What’s In The Box?
- DVDs: 10 workouts on 3 DVDs. PiYo is a 60 day program where you workout 6 days a week. It’s not like other programs where the intensity is broken down into phases that scale up in intensity, it’s just a 60-day sequence of workouts that are easy to follow along with. Although I found that the order of the scheduled workouts did end up ramping up in intensity anyway, it’s not overtly structured like that. Since the focus is on building flexibility and strength, there’s isn’t a phase-one/phase-two setup.
- Quick start guide: This is an add-on common to most home workout programs, so I knew what to expect before I read it, but it’s a helpful get-started guide that explains the premise of the workouts, why they work, what the focus of the program is, and why it’s so effective.
I think this guide would be really great for someone brand new who had stumbled into the program without a whole lot of context or experience. The technical explanations and history of the development can help make the vague and confusing world of at home workout programs more orderly and understandable, so I thought it was a useful little add-on to the workout DVD package.
- Workout calendar: Again, another home workout program standard, and again, a great feature to have. With any DVD-based at home workout program, there are a lot of DVDs and workouts to keep track of because there’s so much variety in Beachbody programs. The calendar is really useful for this, and if you don’t want to hang it on your wall, you could always just take a picture of it to have on your phone or something. That said, I think having the calendar up some place where you can see it is a good motivating tactic, and the calendar is well made and attractive enough that you definitely won’t mind leaving it up where other people can see it.
- Eating plan: Eating clean is essential to the success of any home workout program, and so following the nutrition guide is a really, really good idea when you’re starting out. Even if you do great workouts and really give it your all, if you’re eating crap it’s not going to work. The eating plan is easy to use and has some good, basic recipes. I tried a few and liked them!
I can’t stress the nutrition thing enough, so if you’re in doubt, follow Chalene’s guide and you’ll have pretty good results. For nutrition experts, this packet might seem basic, but I learned some good tips and found the guidelines helpful to use. I’d also recommend using the food logging worksheets to keep track of your eating, and also to download an app like MyFitnessPal to keep on top of your eating while you’re out living life.
- Tape measure: This one’s pretty straight forward; it’s a tape measure. Often, it’s difficult to measure progress by looking only at the scale, because you may be gaining muscle even as you lose weight. But by taking your measurements before, during and after the program is a useful and fun way to see monitor your progress, and including a tape measure is a nice touch, because I know a lot of people don’t have one lying around.
Included with PiYo is a soft tape measure which, in my experience, can be a bit fiddly to measure yourself with but this purpose-built body-part-measuring tool is a perfect substitute.
The PiYo Workout Program
As I said earlier, I was unsure of PiYo before I tried it, and Chalene’s claim that PiYo is for everyone and anyone initially made me wonder if this was going to be just another Yogilates type of at-home workout DVD that’s more style over substance and wouldn’t generate the serious burn I like in my workouts. Subsequently, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about it as I have been prior to starting other programs. I assumed it was going to consist only of slow, static stretch-and-hold exercises which would present no challenge.
Fortunately, PiYo is not at all the stretch-fest I was anticipating: this is a seriously good toning home workout program that still gave me a lot of flexibility by the end of the 60 days.
If you go into this hoping for traditional yoga moves and light Pilates, you’ll be disappointed, because PiYo is not a relaxation workout or a stretching series. There is no relaxation and the focus isn’t about breathing and getting in touch with your center, it is a workout DVD with a yoga twist, plain and simple, and it’s is kind of a trip. It’s definitely one of the most unique at home workout DVDs I’ve done.
So, onto the the program itself.
The PiYo workout program lasts for 8 weeks. Whilst, in my opinion, the difficulty doesn’t really increase throughout the program, the structure of the program in month 1 is different to that in month 2, which keeps things varied and interesting.
You will exercise 6 days per week, every week. According to the PiYo workout calendar, you will have Fridays off, but obviously you can swap this for another day. If you do swap your rest days, I’d recommend keeping them consistent throughout the program otherwise you run the risk of over-training and burning out if your rest days are too far apart.
Click here to view the full PiYo workout calendar.
The PiYo Workouts
The whole thing starts with the Align DVD, which teaches you about form and stresses breathing. This one is perhaps the most “Yoga-y” part of the series, because the rest of it stresses breathing and centering a whole lot less. I didn’t mind this because, again, I knew going in that it is a workout DVD and not a Yoga series. Align teaches you how to do some fundamental moves, how to keep your form correct, and how to keep in touch with your breathing. It’s a great intro to the series.
Then there’s the Define: Lower Body and Define: Upper Body DVDs that are about strength and toning. These were some of my favorites because the workout flow Chalene uses is more strength focused than on other DVDs in the series, as you can probably guess from the title. You only do these workouts during the first month, but they were some of my favorites. In this set, you do a lot of push up, lunges, and variations of these traditional workouts that will leave you sweating. These two are similar to the Sculpt DVD, which has a similar premise.
Another DVD is called Sweat, and this one will be something pretty new for most workout people. Its focus is really on yoga-flows and bodyweight resistance, and Chalene introduces some pretty out-there workout moves that I’d never tried before. Luckily, the learning curve is very shallow and you pick it up really quick. One of the areas where I think Chalene excels as a trainer is by making the moves clear and explaining what each exercise does for you, because even these new workout moves didn’t throw me off.
Additionally, there’s Core, the ab workout video that left my whole abdominal region sore the next day every time I did it, Strength Intervals, which is body weight HIIT, Drench, the sweatiest and most cardio heavy workout of the series, and Buns, a glute workout that really hit me hard, since I rarely work out my butt. All of these are intense and really get you going. Chalene isn’t afraid to leave you hanging in a tough position; she’s going to make sure you really feel it.
Overall, it’s a really comprehensive series of workouts that target all the main areas of your body. I found the bodyweight resistance exercises to be pretty good even without weights, especially because Chalene goes out of her way to choose workouts that require you to put your body in odd workout positions that capitalize on your body weight. Believe me, you’ll still be sore as hell the next day!
The PiYo Workout: Who Is It Suitable For?
Chalene Johnson’s pitch with PiYo is that it’s low impact, requires little equipment, and can be done by just about anybody, and I definitely think she’s right on all these counts. Anyone could do this program without burning out or getting overwhelmed. It’s fun and well explained, with modifiers throughout and good explanations of the movements.
Because it’s based on Yoga and Pilates, the whole workout process is streamlined and well-choreographed. The low impact consideration makes it accessible for older people, people recovering from injuries, and people who live on upper floors who don’t want to do all the jumps and aggressive stomping that comes with, say, P90x or Insanity: Max 30. There are some movements that involve lunging or moving side to side, but it’s really pretty minimal, and the modifiers are solidly good.
If you’re someone whose primary workout goals involve bulking up or using a lot of weights, this one probably isn’t for you. It’s designed to sculpt and tone, not bulk up, so if that’s what you’re after, better check out INSANITY or P90X, because this one won’t give you what you’re after. The cardio benefits alone would help you out in your process, but you might have to supplement with some additional weight training.
But like I said before, for the average person who who is more interested in general fitness and well-being, as oppose to building muscle or ‘getting shredded’, this program is perfect, fun, and easy to use. The workout flows and routines might be new to you, but I think pretty much anyone could use it, including a total novice.
If you need increased flexibility, PiYo is perfect for you because the program really stresses it throughout the workouts.
There’s no required equipment, so this would be great for someone brand new who doesn’t have a lot of equipment going in. You just need your body weight! A yoga mat, like this one, would also be a good thing to use if you have one, but it’s not mandatory. Personally, I like to use mats for all workout programs because I sometimes end up with lower-back pain if I lie on a hard surface.
The PiYo Workout: What Results Can You Expect?
The area I believe was most improved after completing the PiYo workout program was my abs. My ab muscles certainly feel more prominent and tougher when I go about poking my stomach. They look more defined and feel ‘tight’ (that’s the best way I can describe it!).
I feel stronger generally, and definitely more comfortable with cardio. One of the best results, though, was definitely my flexibility. The workouts use a lot of flexibility elements that tripped me up at first (I’m about as flexible as a hunk of granite), but by the end I’d made noticeable strides towards flexibility. I can touch and hold my toes for minutes on end, and my range of motion has really improved. This has been really nice in my day to day life, because I get sore and stiff much less often while waking up and find doing everyday tasks less tiring.
I found this workout really made me sore the next day. I’ve been sore plenty of times, but this workout exercised muscles I didn’t even know I had. The flows are efficient and don’t take a long time, but they definitely pack a punch. Chalene knows how to push you and your workout to maximize it for the little time you have, and the Yoga focus means that the workouts flow really smoothly into each other. That’s great if you’re someone who likes to be in constant motion all the time, but it does mean that you’re constantly being pushed and toned.
PiYo: Final Thoughts
PiYo is unique among Beachbody at home workout DVDs. It’s Yoga and Pilates focus gives the workouts a really unique flow and toning process that really builds muscle and burns fat. I’ve never done such a fun, unique workout before, and Chalene’s process is effective and accessible. The low impact focus removes a lot of barriers for newbies, those recovering, older folks, and those daunted by working out. It’s just plain easy to start up, easy to modify, and fun to do even while you’re burning a ton of calories and working up a real sweat.
Chalene is an upbeat, chatty coach who I found really inspiring to workout with. Her dialogue is very encouraging and gets into your head, pushing you to think about results and your goals. I always leave her workouts wanting to improve my life and achieve my goals in the world, and her own personal fitness and entrepreneurial journey is really interesting and unique, so I connected with her right away. If you have some time, I’d recommend taking a look at her Instagram page: I find it to be inspiring.
The workouts are challenging and you may have to learn some new techniques, and they don’t use any equipment, so you won’t be bulking or going for extreme body building mass. It’s definitely a sculpting program, and I found that it did a really good job of toning and defining my whole body. Pretty much anyone could do PiYo, and I think everyone should because it’s fun and doable but will still give you a good burn.
If toning, defining and improving your flexibility whilst being lead by an upbeat and chatty coach is your scene, then PiYo is perfect for you!
Where To Buy The PiYo Workout Program
As the most trusted online retailer, I always recommend Amazon as the the go-to re-seller for most products.
Currently, you can get the PiYo workout program from Amazon for $72.80.
However, as with pretty much all BeachBody products, it is cheaper to buy directly from BeachBody. This, combined with BeachBody’s 3-month, interest-free payment plan, makes it ideal for someone on a budget.
PiYo is only $59.85 (or $19.95 per month for 3 months) when ordered directly from BeachBody.
Did this review assist you in your decision? Do you have any questions about this program? If so, leave a ask away in the comments section below and I will help!
If you’re a beginner but would prefer a more traditional workout program, where you will do a lot of jumping around and make lots of noise, then check out the beginner’s category here, where you can view other similar programs aimed specifically at beginners.
Alternatively, if you think you’re ready, check out the advanced category.