Have you ever been looking for a workout program that will invigorate both your body and your senses, all while having a low impact? There’s a workout that promises to do both, and it does so by taking the aspects of one exercise, and combining it with another. The workout plan is called PiYo, which is a portmanteau between Pilates and Yoga. You take the physical training that you get from Pilates while also getting the mental and spiritual enhancement that you normally do from Yoga.
PiYo is a plan that was developed by Chalene Johnson, who’s an author, entrepreneur and much more. Johnson has been the brain behind many fitness trends, and has been responsible for workouts that have sold more than 10 million copies worldwide. You might recognize some of her other workouts like TurboKick and TurboFire, but PiYo is a different program that is a big switch. It’s also much newer, having been released in 2014.
So what are the aspects of PiYo, and how can it work for you? Let’s take a look into the program and see if it’s a plan that might work for you.
Behind the PiYo Workout
One thing that people are trying to stay away from in their exercises these days are high impact movements and having to buy a lot of extra equipment like free weights. PiYo avoids both of these by not incorporating jumps or weights, instead focusing on using your own bodyweight. The only bonus equipment that you’ll need is a Yoga mat. Also, it differs from Yoga as you will be moving nonstop instead of holding long poses.
PiYo is also a good plan if you don’t have much time during the day. The total PiYo plan takes up a 60 day cycle, and all of the workouts last between 25 to 45 minutes, with a workout scheduled six days per week. Before you even get started, there is a fundamentals workout that will show you how to get all of the poses down so you that you hit the ground running for your first workout. Thankfully, you don’t have to remember how to do each pose heading into a workout.
Let’s glance at some of the workouts from the PiYo program:
Runner – Starting on your left leg with the other knee bent, bend your right arm back and bring your left hand forward, making it look like you are in mid-stride of a run.
Flip – The flip bends your knee 90 degrees and then rotating into a side plank by balancing on your hand, performing the same exercise on the other side.
Connector – Starting in a V-position, the connector has you balancing on your hands and feet, then crossing your ankle over the other while tucking in, repeating on both sides.
Kick-Through – The kick-through starts you on all fours, lifting one arm up and rotating your body while kicking your leg out, repeating on both sides multiple times.
Cross – The cross starts you on your feet while you lower into a squat, then pressing your arms back. After starting to stand up you go into a dive position and then return into a squat formation.
Resources on the PiYo Plan
Now, you can do all of the PiYo workouts on your own for free, and there is an open Facebook group where you can discuss the workouts on a forum. But PiYo does have a paid plan for a total of around $60 plus $12 shipping and handling (though there are usually some deals where you can get free shipping). Is it going to be worth more than $70 for the PiYo package?
It does come with a 24/7 premium forum where you can have live chats with experts, including Chalene Johnson (who sometimes does personal video chat). It’s more exclusive than talking on Facebook with other people on the workout. This also comes with motivational emails, tips on the workouts and nutritional guides. There are two bonus DVDs, as well, including workouts that focus on your glutes and core muscles.
The other three ‘gifts’ that come with ordering the total package include a calendar to track your workouts (and which ones you’ll be doing), an eating plan that gives you nutritious food lists and meals, and finally the quick start guide that is basically a brochure that tells you which muscle groups are being targeted by PiYo workouts. Outside of the DVDs, the bonus gifts don’t add up to much value.
As for the standard DVDs that come with the program, there are three. There is a total of seven workouts spread across the three discs. The first DVD has the fundamentals, lower body, upper body and sweat (a cardio workout). The second has drench (cardio) and sculpt (strength training). Finally, the third DVD contains strength intervals, which is a 25 minute workout that combines cardio and strength training. So all in all, you are getting nine workouts (eight if you don’t include the fundamentals) for more than $70.
There are a few different calendars involved with the PiYo plan. The first one is your basic program, the next is for workouts that focus only on strength, then one that combines PiYo with Focus T25 (another BeachBody workout) and finally the calendar that combines PiYo with P90X. Here is what your schedule will look like for the first week if you follow the basic calendar:
Monday – Align: The Fundamentals
Tuesday – Define: Lower Body
Wednesday – Define: Upper Body
Thursday – Sweat
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Define: Lower Body
Sunday – Define: Upper Body
Losing Weight with PiYo
You can certainly build muscle with workouts like Pilates and other strength training exercises no matter what you’re eating (and probably even more muscle if you’re overeating). But if you just want to lose weight by burning fat, how well is PiYo going to work? The amount of calories burned on average is between 300 and 400 per hour. That’s certainly much lower than something like jogging, but doesn’t have the high impact on your joints.
Even PiYo’s parent company (BeachBody) has said that their test group that helped them roll out PiYo all lost weight, though they were also on a low calorie eating plan that comes with the package. However, there is not an independent study that has shown exactly how many calories PiYo can burn, and they did not say how many calories their participants were eating.
Eating between 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day (depending on your size) should ensure that you’re losing weight even without exercise. However, adding PiYo to your daily routine should allow you to lose about one or two pounds per week at the highest. You might not see immediate weight loss since this workout plan does have a lot of muscle building exercises, so don’t be deterred if the scale doesn’t budge at first. Once you have reached your goal weight, you can continue to do the exercises to maintain your weight, though you might be able to get away with doing three exercises per week instead of six.
There is a free food tracker that you can get through PiYo to make sure that you’re getting the proper nutrition. On the tracker, you’re able to tally how many servings you have had from vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins and healthy fats. There isn’t much and it’s all written down, so you might want to use a more detailed nutrition tracking app like Lose It! or MyFitnessPal.
Summing it Up
Is PiYo a good workout plan that is able to burn more calories than traditional Yoga while not being as physically intense as Pilates? Yes. Is it going to be worth the amount of money that you have to pay for the program? That’s really up to you. It’s definitely not a cheap workout plan at more than $70 with shipping included, especially considering that the package only comes with seven workouts at its core with a few pieces of paper and access to a forum.
The workouts, eating plans and more can all be found for free, so really what you’re paying for is the access to the forum and emails that don’t give you much more information than Google can find for you. All in all, we have to say that the workout plan itself is very beneficial, just not quite worth the money.
Getting the basic workouts down and a yoga mat is really all you need to get started. From there, you can combine one of the many diets that we have reviewed (such as the highly rated Mediterranean Diet) and you should see the pounds melt off. Since this is a low impact exercise that doesn’t require an expensive gym membership or equipment, you will also find this easy to stick to for a long time, which is a huge bonus.