Beginners are usually the biggest skeptics when it comes to different fitness workouts. They are always looking for a secret formula, a celebrity routine, or some kick-ass program that guarantees results. Tell them about Yoga workouts and they are quick to raise an eyebrow. But nine out of ten, that’s exactly what they need.
This article will hopefully convince you that yoga routines are an excellent addition to any workout program, especially if you are just starting out.
The success of PIYO
A late release of Beachbody, and completely different from their intense and extreme workout style, PIYO is the third most popular workout this company has ever made.
Our contributor Sandra went through the entire program and wrote a massive PIYO review, figuring out the reason behind its popularity. All in all, it’s a program that utilizes Yoga moves, coupled with Pilates and fluid motions that strengthen many muscle groups while burning fat.
But PIYO is not unique in that regard – many other programs started incorporating yoga and stretching moves, in order to achieve the same result.
Here is why this approach works.
Intensity you can handle
Whereas traditional cardio routines are difficult and painful, yoga moves look easy. And even though you’ll be sweating buckets by the end of the session, your mind reacts positively towards the experience. It says your body “hang on, this is doable”.
And this perfectly correlates with the biggest issue beginners face – instead of quitting thanks to intensity, they stay longer with the program. Ultimately, this is the most important reason for actually seeing results.
Yoga moves, though hard at times, are not going to take your breath. You will definitely feel a lot of pain, discomfort, and fatigue in your muscles, but your anaerobic capacity is not challenged right away.
Take a workout like Insanity or P90X – both Shaun T and Tony Horton are excellent trainers, but they underestimate the lack of willpower when people are on the start of their fitness journey.
Chalene Johnson created the program with beginners in mind, and therefore PIYO became popular while at the same time delivering results.
Range of motion
Stretching moves force you to exercise full range of motion. Compared with cardio stunts where you are doing moves sloppy and without discipline (most of us are guilty of this, especially when we are tired), stretching exercises force you to complete full and deep moves. This is what ultimately stresses the muscle in all the right ways.
And that’s the reason why workouts like PIYO take it slow – you have to, in order to do each move proper.
Balance means more control
The more you try to balance yourself, the more you exercise control over your body. And this leads to discipline, and some hard muscle work. Just look at gymnasts, or better yet ballet dancers… they have sculpted bodies without necessarily lifting tons of weight on regular basis.
Traditional cardio moves are not going to achieve this. You can do tons of push-ups, but short range of motion, speed, and lack of control over your movements will result with exhaustion, without necessarily stressing the muscles properly.
Trying to balance your body, many muscle groups work simultaneously, and fire up one after another in a staccato sequence. You’ll be doing some crazy muscle work without really noticing what’s going on.
Flexibility will improve tenfold
Flexibility is an important aspect of every fitness routine, and it’s the steppingstone to being agile, fast, and strong. You cannot have an athletic body without being flexible.
And yoga moves will definitely transform your body. Chalene knows this, and that’s why she makes flexibility an important backbone of her entire program. PIYO is meant to make you as flexible as it is going to make you lean and defined.
Besides, flexibility will allow you to engage in other strenuous exercises with more ease, and therefore progress faster. It’s not a coincidence that more and more fitness classes around the country are adopting the idea of structuring each workout session with a stretching segment before and after the main part.
Stretching and balance moves will help your body recover faster. Now imagine if your entire program is made out of such exercises. This is thanks to low stress, low impact moves, and of course improved range of motion.
Even if you are not entirely sure whether or not to start with a Yoga routine, try incorporating stretching and balance moves before and after each session. They will help you warm up better, minimize the risk of injury, and relax the muscles after you are done with a challenging workout.
Say farewell to stress
I’ve tried pretty much every workout type and style imaginable. I’ve experimented with calisthenics, cardio bodyweight workouts, endurance sports, weight lifting, and cross-fit… Nothing is as meditative and relaxing as stretching and balance work can be.
Whereas other types of workouts easily lose you in thought, yoga moves make you focus on the here-and-now, and on each breath respectively. This will teach you how to be more disciplined, present, and exercise greater control over your body. Each move is intentional, near-perfect, and deeply meditative.
Coincidently, this is how you battle with stress. One or two such workouts per week and you will feel as good as new, regardless of what life brings along.
When creating Fitness Updated – our own workout program – we figured out that sessions had to be varied and diversified in order to take the best out of both worlds. So we’ve incorporated stretching and balance moves within almost every session, and dedicated one or two separate workouts per week (depending on your calendar), on yoga moves alone.
This is crucial in order to avoid injury, strengthen the joints, knees and ankles, and prepare for all the strenuous work that’s ahead.
It also improves flexibility, as well as control, discipline, and willpower, strengthening the muscles at the same time.
Observing what other fitness companies are doing, like Beachbdody with Beachbody on Demand you can easily spot the same trend. Yoga moves are gaining on popularity, because they are so darn effective. That’s probably the reason why Chalene structured PIYO in a way that puts yoga moves before Pilates and everything else.