- I did NOT follow the PiYo program as directed. The kit has a calendar of workouts, but I just sort of tossed it to the side. Instead, I chose to do the workouts at random two or three times a week, depending on my schedule/needs. Running remains my favorite/primary focus when it comes to exercise. I did, however, perform all the PiYo moves according to the instructor/modifier. Basically, I do NOT recommend doing this program in a manner that could leave you injured, OK? Nobody wants that.
- I purchased the program through my friend Kendra, who is a Beach Body coach. I like Kendra, but I am not personally affiliated with the company, and all opinions in this unofficial review are my own. Savvy?
With that out of the way, let’s talk about WHY I bought the DVDs in the first place.
- I need a good strength-training program. It’s proven that strength/cross training can improve running and decrease your chances of injury. I kept trying different things, but I hadn’t found a program/routine that I liked well enough to do regularly.
- I needed something I could do at home. I have an hour (one-way) commute to/from work, and my husband has an irregular work schedule, so classes or equipment at a gym just aren't convenient for me.
- I wanted a routine that involved bodyweight exercises (because I’m just too cheap to buy extra weights) and kept impact to a minimum (because I work out in the wee hours of the morning while my daughter is still sleeping, so I can’t make a lot of noise on our old, creaking floors).
So, now that I’ve been doing the workouts for eight weeks, here are some things I like about PiYo:
- It fits all of my above criteria – strength training at home with body weight exercises and minimal impact. BOOM! There are a few workouts that require a bit of jumping and even burpees (UGH!), but for the most part, it’s quiet and easy on my joints.
- It’s challenging … but not too challenging. A lot of yoga or pilates DVDs seem to be either so easy I feel like I’m not working out … or so hard I can’t get through a routine without stopping. For me, PiYo offers a nice middle-of-the-road level. I can do a majority of the moves, but I still have to use the modified versions of many and feel like I definitely get a good burn – I’m always sore the next day (the “good” sore). Plus, it's fun to throw around some of the moves as party tricks when you've had too much wine ... Oops!
- It has variety. With eight main workouts, plus one bonus workout (Hardcore on the Floor), I definitely don’t feel bored yet, as I have with other DVDs. I prefer some workouts over others, for sure, but there aren’t any I absolutely hate. (OK, maybe I hate buns ... but that's just because my buns are out of shape!)
- It has really helped my running. When I first started, several people told me “Oh, the stretches will be great for you since you’re a runner.” They were right! I am slowly noticing a difference in my flexibility and core strength, and I have even noticed a difference in my pace! It could be a COMPLETE fluke, but I ran my (accidental) 5K PR three weeks into my training with PiYo, and I recently ran an awesome 10-mile training run that was on pace for a 1:55 half marathon – that would be a 5-minute PR for me! I can really feel a difference in my stride – it’s stronger, easier and more powerful. I never took the recommended “before” pictures of my body because I don’t care about appearance-based results. I doubt you’d SEE much of a difference in my body if I had taken the pictures anyway (lose skin … enough said), but I can definitely FEEL some positive changes, and that’s what matters to me.
All that said, I still think PiYo has some flaws …
- I’m not a fan of the way PiYo is marketed. The system is sold as an ultimate solution to change your life and lose weight … I just have a hard time believing that these DVDs are the ONLY workout you need to achieve the results that Beach Body seems to promise. There’s hardly any cardio in the program, and it’s definitely not “intense” cardio as they advertise. I realize I’m NOT a fitness expert, but it just seems like you’d need some more heart-rate-raising sweat in order to lose/maintain weight. That's probably why Beach Body has so many other programs, which leads me to my second problem ...
- It’s one HUGE commercial for other products. If I have to hear about Shakeology's "dense, superfood nutrition" one more time ... Ugh! And trust me, you can’t avoid any of the commercials for this stuff and the other Beach Body programs. Some of them play before your PiYo workout will begin, and Chalene even starts talking about them while you’re stretching! Ugh. She wants you to be a Beach Body coach and PiYo instructor … and don’t forget to buy her workout clothes! I love you, Chalene, but I need a workout, NOT a commercial! I know this is how Beach Body makes money - they want you to buy their other products/programs ... but the amount of advertising in this program is overkill, in my opinion.
So overall, YES, I would recommend PiYo to other people as a piece of their overall fitness/exercise routine. If you're a beginner, make sure you follow the modified movements, and don't get discouraged ... and don't say I didn't warn you about the ads!