PiYo Review – the good, the bad and the results

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As promised via Instagram, a PiYo Completion Report is in! (If you’re not following me on Instagram, you really should. I’m just sayin…) Anywho, I DID IT! I completed the eight week PiYo program! If you haven’t been following along and want to catch up, you can see my post about starting PiYo, as well as a recent progress report

So, having completed the official program, I’m ready to give you the down and dirty 411 on my experience with PiYo – my PiYo review.

 

PiYo – in a nutshell

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PiYo was created by BeachBody (you know them for P90X and Insanity). It’s an at-home workout program based on Pilates and Yoga, but with constant movement to provide cardio benefits. There are NO required tools or equipment beyond a yoga mat (no weights). The DVDs contain 9 different workouts that range in length from about 18-48 minutes (bonus workouts come with more expensive packages). Along with the DVDs are an eight week schedule that plots out which workout to complete each day and a lean eating guidebook.

The real difference between PiYo and other BeachBody programs is that PiYo was created to be low-impact (no jumps). As long as you purchase the program through BeachBody, or a BeachBody coach, you automatically get free one-on-one support/coaching, usually through some form of social media (Facebook). BeachBody promises PiYo will provide a longer, leaner and more defined body.

 

This user

 

Prior to starting PiYo, my level of activity was near non-existent. I had been using an elliptical, in my home, for 40 minutes, three times a week, for several months. My eating habits were not exemplary. While I didn’t live off of fast food, I didn’t entirely avoid it. Although I ate items from all the food groups, portion size was a big issue.

 

What you get

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The package I purchased included 11 workouts, two of which were labeled “bonus.” Along with the schedule, DVDs and lean-eating guidebook, there was also a tape-measure and additional written materials to help get started and how to gauge progress over time. I chose to order everything through a coach that I’ve known since first grade. Prior to purchasing, and when I was getting started she gave me lots of encouragement and enthusiasm. She also linked me into a private Facebook group with other people that she was coaching – they all turned out to be very supportive, as well.

 

The Get Lean Eating Plan

 

I followed this for exactly two days. While it’s laid out well, and should be simple enough to follow, it was more complicated than I wanted my meals to be. While I was willing to make changes to my eating habits, I still look at food as enjoyable, a treat, a delicacy and occasionally an indulgence. To see food purely as a source of energy for the body isn’t something I’m willing to do (and, to be honest, I’m not sure I could even if I tried), so I cannot speak to the effectiveness of the Get Lean Eating Plan.

Instead of the provided plan, I did begin making significantly more healthful choices at meals and scaled back on portions. Fast food went from a regular weekend event to just a few times total over the last ten weeks. More salads as an entree when eating out, larger veggie portions with dinner (both in and out), less pasta, and more home-cooked meals, which allowed for the use of real ingredients instead of prepared foods with lots of chemicals.

 

The workout – the good

 

Chalene Johnson (and Mike and MIchelle) making it look easy.

Chalene Johnson (and Mike and MIchelle) making it look easy.

Every movement in every DVD is completely doable. Now, you may not be able to do everything to the fullest extension, or complete an entire 30 minute workout in the beginning, but each movement is feasible. So even if you get winded on Day One, and have to stop halfway through, you know that the moves are attainable, it’ll just take time and practice.

There’s a designated “modified” exerciser in each DVD. There are always four people on the screen – Chalene, Michelle and two others. The two others rotate, but Chalene talks you through each workout, and Michelle is ALWAYS performing a modified version of what Chalene is doing. It’s not only helpful to have it included throughout, but to always be looking at the same person on the same area of the screen. Also, for the most part, the camera shots are full screen, so you can see what Michelle is doing. There are very few times when it’s difficult to see Michelle.

Chalene remembers to address the folks that haven’t got it all together, yet. It’s a workout DVD, so you know the instructor is going to be excessively perky and excited. However, Chalene encourages the users that are still having trouble and lets them know it’s okay not to do everything right away, just do more than last time. You know, supportive without being obnoxious.

The workouts all include a warm-up session and appropriate stretches throughout.

There are form reminders on where weight should fall. This was particularly valuable to me for my knees. There’s a lot of lunging and her tips definitely relieved some knee stress.

The eight week schedule is really well done. The workouts through the first two weeks are for newbies, and the last two weeks has everything amped up and more focused. The workouts are blended together, though, so it’s a gradual process to tougher, more intense sessions.

 

The workout – the bad

PiYo impact

Although there is a video that implies it will go through all the movements that you’ll need throughout the program, it doesn’t. It covers only some. Also, there are a few yoga moves that would benefit from having someone standing there with you to correct/adjust your form. Downward dog is one of those poses, and it is in every single workout save one.

The workout moves transition very quickly, so if you haven’t already memorized the video, it’s tough to know where Chalene is going at all times. There will absolutely be times when the user needs to completely stop doing the moves in order to figure out what’s going on and where arms and legs should be. Some transitions are just very poorly… uh… transitioned.

There is some jumping. It’s all in the Strength Intervals video, and it’s moderate, but it is definite jumping and my knees were not happy about it. After attempting Strength Intervals without shoes, I’d say that shoes are a necessity for that video, but they aren’t listed as a recommendation in the video.

Towards the end of eight weeks, it’s easy to become tired of the same moves. It would be nice to have more variation, particularly if one wants to continue doing PiYo past week eight.

 

The results

 

I completed the first four weeks of PiYo right before I left town for December holidays. Although I took the DVDs with me (and did use them a few times!), I essentially took two weeks off. After the holidays were over, I started back up with week five and completed the second four weeks.

The day before beginning PiYo, I weighed myself, took “before” photos (front, each side, back) and took measurements (chest, arms, waist, hips, thighs). I repeated those steps only two other times – at the end of week 5 and yesterday, at the end of week 8. Since I’m not done working on my body, I’m not comfortable sharing my photos or measurements at this time. I am happy, however, to share the changes at each check-in compared to the initial numbers.

Weight:

Week 5: + 1 lb
Week 8: -1 lb (from pre-PiYo)

Chest:

Chalene Johnson

Chalene Johnson

Week 5: +1.5 ”
Week 8: +1.5″ (from pre-PiYo)

Right Arm:

Week 5: -.25″
Week 8: -1″

Left Arm:

Week 5: no change
Week 8: -.75″

Waist:

Week 5: +.25″
Week 8: + 1″ (But I’m blaming this on bloat)

Hips:

Week 5: +.75″
Week 8: back to Pre-PiYo msmt

Right Thigh:

Week 5: +.75″
Week 8: -1″ (from Pre-PiYo)

Left Thigh:

Week 5: +.75″
Week 8: -1″

Overall, even without the setbacks at week 5, I’ve progressed. Is it the kind of results I was hoping for at the end of eight weeks? No. Not even close. But it is enough to keep me on track for a little longer, assuming I continue to see additional progress.

Also, I’ve definitely got increased flexibility in my legs, which makes me happy. There’s a younger version of myself, doing the splits, just waiting for me to get back there.

 

Summing it up

 

I’m happy with PiYo. The mid-program setbacks were really, really, hard on me. However, progress is progress, and I can’t argue with that. It’s not easy just because it’s low impact – don’t be fooled by that. It’s still an intense workout that will kick your butt. I would absolutely recommend it to friends.

There you have it! If you have any other questions about PiYo, just ask. I am NOT working for, or compensated by, BeachBody, nor do I ever have any intention of becoming a coach. Nope, I’m just happy to share my experience in any way that it might help someone else. Happy Monday, y’all!

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** All images via BeachBody

4 Comments
  • Shannon Edmondson
    July 27, 2017

    Hi, thank you for an honest review. Even though it seems you are satisfied overall with the program, your results are nothing like what’s advertised in the infomercial. Do you think it’s because of the break or possibly your diet? I was considering purchasing but now I am not sure.

    • Jeans and a Tank Top
      July 27, 2017

      Hi, Shannon! Over the past few years I’ve tried a few different things to lose weight and get into better shape. What I’ve learned, overall, is that diet is just as – if not more – important than exercise. My diet during my PiYo time was improved, but still not ideal (to be clear, I believe that a healthy diet can still include every food group). I believe that if I’d had a better handle on my diet while I was doing PiYo, I would have seen more significant results. The break also slowed down my progress – particularly since the two-week break included the holidays and time with my family (we like to eat and drink together). I do NOT believe that my results would have been DRAMATICALLY different, just significantly different. In the end, I recommend PiYo for someone who wants a low-impact program that they can do at home on their time. It absolutely will give results if you follow it and a healthy diet. But, from my experience, it’s not an 8-weeks to perfection program. It’s 8 weeks to seeing enough of a difference that you’ll be motivated to keep going and keep making additional progress. I would recommend PiYo for flexibility and adding exercise into one’s life smoothly. If the goal is strictly weight loss, I’d add in a guided/planned eating plan, as well. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Nancy
    March 18, 2018

    Hi. Do you think this could be a good choice for a 60 year old who is pretty overweight and WAY out of shape. I’ve been office bound for 30 years….

    • Jeans and a Tank Top
      March 20, 2018

      Hi, Nancy! Some of the PiYo videos seem like they would be a good fit for someone who hasn’t been active in some time. While I found that each new video built upon the previous videos, the pace picks up along with the difficulty. Since I don’t know you personally, I hesitate to offer advice on what would be best. However, perhaps I could suggest starting with one of the easier videos (Define Lower Body or Define Upper Body) to see whether this is a good fit for you. Generally, if you want to ease back into exercise I’d suggest an introductory yoga class, pilates class or a barre class. And, as always, check with your doctor before launching into any new exercise regimen.

      Upshot? Age and weight alone are not reasons to skip PiYo. There are modified versions of all the movements – and remember to give yourself grace and time to ramp up purely because you’ve been out of the habit of exercise.

      I have no idea if I’ve been helpful or just muddied the waters further. Hopefully the former! Good luck, Nancy – I’d love to hear what you end up going with!

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