Last year we hit a record number of e-mails from people asking us to review a workout. But writing this Piyo review had to wait. I was completely preoccupied with filming our own fitness program, and my friend was coding for the platform day in and day out. My wife (fiancée at the time) was included into the production of Fitness Updated as well, so experimenting with Piyo had to wait.
Luckily though, we reached out to Sandra (who has written another popular review for us in the past), and she agreed to take the challenge. What follows is her 60 day experience with the Piyo workout, described through the most comprehensive Piyo review on the net.
Go on Sandra, I’m leaving this to you…
The last time these guys e-mailed me, I had to sweat for 2 months in a row. The workout in question was Insanity Max 30, and I was up for the challenge of a lifetime. This time around though, herculean effort wasn’t required.
Completing Piyo – they said – was going to be easy.
Having a love-hate relationship with workouts in the past, I was 16 pounds above my usual weight. And though Insanity Max 30 made me look like a bikini model two years back, I made the calculus and decided not to bother with intense programs again. It makes my heart racing just thinking about it. Yikes!
Priorities in life do change, and I’ve decided to approach fitness in a more convenient way.
Piyo seemed doable, and I actually enjoy playing the judge. 60 days to complete the program, and a lengthy review on its way. I took the challenge, and here we are now.
What is Piyo?
I’ve been told to respect a certain structure for this review, so let’s start answering this first.
The Piyo workout is simply described as a 60 day workout program, created by Chalene Johnson from Beachbody, specified as a low-impact routine that doesn’t require weights or any additional equipment. Marketed as a one-size-fits-all type of program, it is said to work for every age and fitness level.
So let’s add some context.
Chalene created this program few years back, and it was part of her routine as a group fitness instructor. According to her, feedback was quite encouraging, so they decided to create a DVD program.
The goal of this program, it seems to me, is to provide an alternative to strenuous workout products. Or to say it in other words- something that can easily fit into the schedule of the average Joe and Jane without them having to sign a military boot camp contract.
Piyo therefore, abandons the all too familiar concept of training. Instead of the garden variety of push-ups, jumping jacks and crunches, it offers something completely different. It combines Pilates, with yoga and fluid movements.
This sounds rather vague, so let me describe each specific video from the program.
Review of the individual workouts
Whereas other programs are a different variation of the same old, Piyo’s workouts point to a far more sophisticated method of training. Think sniper rifle instead of a shotgun.
Laser targeted moves that serve a specific purpose each.
I saw stretching and instantly draw all the wrong conclusions. To me, popular lore held true that if you want to sculpt your body, you’ll need a set of push-ups, jumps and resistance moves. But now I see how such thinking was amateur at best and outward naïve at worst.
The sequences in Piyo are actually quite dynamic. They follow a logical flow and time seems to fly by rather fast. Between yoga poses and Pilates exercises, you are constantly moving your body. Sequences look easy but I really enjoyed going over each and every one. You’ll love the aesthetics and the non-stop flow.
No impact means no jumping whatsoever, and this was a perfect way for me to get back on the fitness wagon. You won’t have to deal with knee and joint issues, and I’ve felt my left knee condition slightly improving (probably due to all the balance moves). Was nothing serious though, only the occasional sharp pain from walking up the stairs.
The sequences are doable regardless of your body type, age and fitness level. There is even the modifier if you cannot follow along, but I found this to be quite unnecessary.
Few dance elements here and there, but mostly in the sense of rhythmic moves. This is not about coordination, and as such I was delighted. While some folks like to sweat with dance workouts, I was born with two feet that are determined not to cooperate with one another.
Piyo doesn’t require coordination, so you will be able to catch each and every move on the fly. Do note, however, that some of the moves require flexibility and balance. Or to put it better, they focus on improving those.
I ended up with better posture, and feel more agile due to improved flexibility and control over my body. I guess slow movements teach you about control.
Align: The Fundamentals
This one goes on for 43 minutes, but think of it as your welcome party. It focuses on improving your form while teaching you the basic moves. Chalene breaks down each move, and you will have enough time to focus on achieving correct form. It won’t feel like work at first, but trust me, you will burn quite a lot of calories.
Define: Lower Body
Just 20 minutes in length, this one is a unique approach to training your legs and lower abs. It has a dynamic flow and lots of cool moves you’ll definitely enjoy.
Hamstrings and thighs are going to have fun as well. Stretching and toning combined into one, the exercises are quite refreshing when compared to traditional moves such as lunges and squats.
You will discover – as you complete more workouts from the pack – that though it doesn’t feel like it, legs are being targeted with almost each move. The core too. It’s like every move contributes to improving core strength.
Define: Upper Body
A cascade of moves that target your arms, shoulder, biceps and triceps… all completed within 19 minutes. Slightly harder than the previous one, but considering the length and the modifier included, it’s still a long way away from traditional workouts in terms of intensity.
This is all about dynamic conditioning- fast paced cardio yoga moves that come in a staccato sequence. Lots of balances work included as well, and few postures to focus on as well. There is some resistance moves included, so it can pass as a strength training of a different kind too.
Length is 37 minutes.
This one is my favorite. Slightly harder than the rest of the pack, it is an endurance rollercoaster. Activating every muscle group it is the fat blaster of the program.
It’s a killer yoga routine, with more innovative moves added. Definitely earns the name for you will be sweating buckets. The goal is to never hang your hat and throw the towel. Just keep pushing, and use the modifier if you have to.
A subset of these moves will target your core as well, so you might feel a bit of discomfort and soreness for the following day or two.
But, we know it in our heart of hearts that concentrated effort is what actually counts the most. And Piyo, though frustrating for some, tends to focus on your weaknesses.
Duration is 48 minutes, and this is the hardest exercise from the program.
This is a 26 minutes video that changes between various tempos. The same flow is experienced throughout the sequences, but you will find yourself changing speed quite often.
The aim for this one, I guess, is to focus more on lengthening the muscles, and toning each muscle group separately.
Somewhat similar to Sculpt, this goes on for 25 minutes, and focuses on resistance moves as well. No bulk, just light exercises to tone your muscles. You will still sweat buckets though.
25 minutes long, this is still a heck of a workout.
Piyo workout program review – the pros and cons
First things first, I hate that some of the workouts are short in length. It feels good when you enter the flow, and somewhat frustrating when you see only 2 minutes left on the clock.
I must however admit that I was a fitness junkie in the past, so you might feel otherwise. It takes some getting used to I think.
Chalene, the instructor, is not your typical boot camp sergeant. And while some people find this to be a huge relief, I kinda like the chatty Katy who screams YOU CAN DO IT in your face. I should try a Tony Horton workout in the future I guess.
I miss some push-ups and more traditional work. Though this different way of training was a thing to enjoy nonetheless.
Stretches feel amazing, especially for someone who has to climb on the fitness wagon after a while.
I love that there are no jumping moves; because I developed the habit of doing the workouts early in the morning and my husband apparently has the hearing apparatus of a prey.
I like the progression of the program. Though completing challenging routines back to back in the past, starting all over again was hard. I’m glad Piyo takes time to easy you into the process.
I also enjoyed the rhythmic pace. It might not look sexy at the very beginning, when you cannot quite perform each move with the same grace Chalene does, but it helps in maintaining the flow and moving forward.
The Piyo calendar and eating plan
Each Beachbody workout comes with a large printed calendar and a comprehensive diet plan specific to the program.
Piyo is not an exception.
The calendar is nicely designed and you can use it to track your progress.
The eating plan on the other hand is quite comprehensive and covers many strategies on how to use food in order to lose weight.
It comes with menus and specific recipes included, but you can have good results even without following the exact plan they describe within the guide.
Who is Piyo for?
To sing a broken record, this feels like the type of program that anyone can do without much hustle.
I would guess that Piyo is ideal for those of you who dread cardio workouts, jumping feats, and endless series of push-ups and similar complex moves.
Though you gotta be patient in order to do Piyo. While the sequences create a dynamic flow, you will still have to exercise control and zoom in on holding certain postures as well as performing moves to the best of your ability. Whereas other workouts allow you to abandon form in favor of adding extra speed, Piyo asks for consistency.
Will Piyo help you lose 10-20 pounds?
Somewhat unsatisfyingly, the answer is a strong maybe.
You will have to:
- invest 60 days, and play 90% of the workouts at least
- at least try to eat clean by following the principles from the guide
- try your best during the workouts, and aim to use the modifier 20% of the time tops
- perform each move with patience, while aiming to stay in correct form
Going over the workouts now, they seem ideal for:
- those of us who want to lose weight without doing cardio and jumping feats
- people with knee or joint problems
- someone who won’t benefit much from traditional workout programs, and pause most of the time
- someone who wants a different approach to losing weight that is more fun than demanding
- older people who want to lose some weight
- someone who likes to push further and aim for perfection with a totally different type of workout
- someone who likes to gain extra strength, and improve flexibility, balance, and agility
- people who want shorter and somewhat easier workouts
Piyo review – the results (does Piyo work?)
I lost 5 pounds during the first month, but that’s what the scale was showing. The picture in the image was far more convincing.
Then dropped 12 more during the second month. I guess muscles finally started to burn that extra fat. Though I was more capable of performing the routines without taking any breaks or breaking away from proper form, so that might be it as well.
My thighs look way leaner than before, and lower abs compliment them so my legs look longer now. Gained extra strength in my upper body (not much though, but I feel super agile). Flexibility is better than ever before, and I can hold some ridiculous balance moves without breaking a sweat now.
The stretching and the overall flow of each video (except drench of course) leave you more energized than you were before hitting the play button. And this is what I like to call a time-positive. Was thinking that exercise might take precious time away from my schedule, and now I have found quite the opposite to be true. While demanding workouts wear you down, Piyo feels uplifting instead. It’s a mood enhancer and an energy bonanza.
I love having more control over my body and movements, but cannot trace if this is due to Piyo alone or simply working out day in and day out for 2 months.
Skipped 5 days during the entire length of the program, so I suspect even better results if I was diligent enough. But it happens, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it as well. As for food, I followed the principles of the nutrition guide, but not the exact recipes. Give this girl a break!
Anyway… my abdomen is flat again, and I love the way my back looks too – defined and chiseled. Bought a dress the other day just to celebrate.
The atmosphere of the workouts was great, and I will definitely continue doing 2 or 3 per week now, just so I stay on the healthy side.
All in all, I feel like I have to pay this program my lip service, and recommend it to those who are trying to get on the fitness wagon again, or are determined enough to start fresh altogether.
Unboxing Piyo – what do you get
- 7 workouts on 3 DVDs
- Quick start guide (some cool tips on how to approach each workout, and explanation of the strategy behind the sequences)
- A large printed workout calendar (6 days of work, and one day of rest)
- Get lean- the eating plan
- 2 bonus workouts on one DVD (Buns, and Core)
- 24/7 online support (they return within a single day)
- 60 day money back guarantee (get done with the program, and if you are not satisfied, just return it and you will get your money minus the shipping)
Where to buy Piyo from?
For 3 monthly payments of $19.95 you can order Piyo from the official Beachbody website. You’ll pay extra $12 for the shipping as well.
Some people sell used packages on Craiglist or Amazon, but buyers often complain about damaged videos, and find it hard to exchange them later.
Buying from the official site gives you the full package, plus the 60 days money back guarantee. I think you can even replace each DVD once it wears down for free. Just contact Beachbody. Though these DVDs will last for ages… My Insanity Max 30 videos still run in perfect condition after 2 years.
And of course you can subscribe to Beachbody On Demand and stream Piyo from there.
Piyo review – my final thoughts
This is a really comprehensive total body workout you’ll probably enjoy doing. Divorced from traditional exercises and routines, Piyo feels rather refreshing.
I’ve lost 17 pounds total, and gained back my muscle definition from before. So it works if you invest yourself.
It’s not hard, nor time consuming, and this is probably the biggest plus. The moves never feel repetitive, and the flow is dynamic and engaging.
All in all, I’ll recommend this to literally everyone who wants to change the way they look. All it takes is determination to be consistent. But with Piyo it is quite easier to achieve this than it is with other programs.
Hope this comprehensive Piyo review answered your questions, and if you like to as anything else, free to drop a line in the comment section below.
Oh, and you should just check the workout these guys are preparing have created. It is the most customizable program I’ve ever seen in the fitness industry bar none.
Hope you guys enjoyed Sandra’s Piyo review, and you now have a better idea of what this workout is all about.
In the meanwhile, just check out Fitness Updated – our own program which combines a library of innovative video workouts that stretch from easy and fun to extra challenging and intense. Hundreds of moves for every age and fitness goal you have in mind.
More than 30 programs, each assigned by a smart algorithm according to your goals and preferences. Plus a personalized nutrition program as well.
Here, try the platform for 7 days completely free (no credit card required!)