PiYo (pronounced pie-yo) is fast-paced exercise inspired by aerobics, pilates and yoga. Some describe it as “cardio yoga.” The main benefits are muscle toning, body strengthening, calorie burn and flexibility. This trademarked form of exercise is taught by personal trainer Chalene Johnson in a Beachbody video series that’s sold on DVDs and streamed online by Beachbody On Demand. Read on for a full PiYo review.
|Program||Piyo by Beachbody|
Rating: 80/100. PiYo is an eight-week home workout program produced by Beachbody and presented by the celebrity personal trainer Chalene Johnson. The name “PiYo” is taken from pilates and yoga, but PiYo is higher energy than its namesakes. PiYo exercise is cardiovascular like classic aerobics, but with the influence of pilates and yoga its moves are low impact (gentle on joints).
Daily PiYo video sessions range from 19 to 48 minutes long. Overall these workout routines are best for women with light to moderate exercise experience. Absolute beginners and experts might feel out of place.
You can watch PiYo videos two ways: online and with DVDs. We recommend the online option if your WiFi is dependable. That’s because a small percentage of the PiYo DVDs seem to be faulty, plus it’s cheaper to choose the streaming option.
The PiYo DVD set costs about $75. It includes three DVDs with seven cross training workouts as described below. Also included is a 60-day workout calendar and the Get Lean Eating Plan book.
Alternatively you could subscribe to Beachbody On Demand for 90 days and pay just $39. You’d get 24/7 access to the PiYo videos AND hundreds of others.
Beachbody is nearly 20 years old. The company is accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
- Fast weight loss and body sculpting. PiYo has brought dramatic fitness results to people who commit to the exercise and balance their diets.
- High energy but low impact. No jumping or weight lifting is involved. Inspired by yoga and pilates, PiYo is gentle on joints and tendons.
- Minimal equipment needed. A towel, yoga mat and appropriate clothes are all the gear you need for PiYo. Strength training is accomplished using only your bodyweight, so no accessories are needed.
- Available online & on DVD. You can buy the PiYo home workout program as a DVD set or stream the videos anytime from Beachbody On Demand.
- Bonus DVD. If you buy the PiYo DVDs, you’ll receive a bonus DVD with Beachbody exercise programs focused on the glutes and abdominal muscles.
- Satisfaction guaranteed. Within 60 days of receipt you can return the DVDs for a refund if you aren’t satisfied.
- Free trial of streaming fitness videos. Beachbody On Demand members get a 14-day trial.
PiYo gets about 20% negative reviews. Of customers who are disappointed, about half had trouble playing their DVDs. Others consider the workouts as too easy or too hard.
- Best for intermediate level. PiYo might be too difficult for home workout beginners and too easy for those in great shape.
- Advertisements. Ads for Beachbody products are played on the workout DVD.
- DVD Errors. In about 10 percent of customer reviews of PiYo, people complain that the DVDs “freeze” or have other play issues… so if you buy the DVDs, it’s a good idea to verify right away that they play correctly. For PiYo DVDs the advertised return period is usually 60 days.
- Meal guide is wise but basic. If you already eat healthfully, information in the Get Lean eating guide would probably be a review, not anything new. The book explains how to balance foods to maximize your workout payoff without feeling deprived. It shows how to calculate the number of daily servings of proteins, carbs, etc. that fit your body size and fitness goal.
PiYo is an eight-week home fitness program presented by Chalene Johnson for Beachbody. Pronounced pie-yo, the workout style combines cardiovascular exercise with features of pilates and yoga for strength and flexibility. Each exercise routine is about 20 to 45 minutes long. Trainees are encouraged to also follow the Get Lean approach to nutrition.
How it Works
PiYo addresses whole-body fitness through daily exercise videos and balanced nutrition. The DVD set arrives with a large wall calendar, which makes it easy to see the daily exercise plan. The schedule alternates between seven video classes. The shortest PiYo video is 19 minutes and the longest is 48. The set also arrives with a booklet, the Get Lean Eating Plan.
The PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan is based on portion size but not calorie counting. It’s essentially what we’ve seen with other Beachbody home workout programs: The main idea is that in order to lose weight and feel energized, you should eat food types in a certain ratio (including lots of vegetables and little oil, for instance).
Many people like Beachbody’s color-coded food containers (sold separately from PiYo) because they make portioning easy. The food containers help people plan their daily intake in terms of proteins, carbs, healthy fats and more.
Seven workout videos are repeated over the eight-week PiYo program. All seven videos show how to boost your heart rate while losing pounds and inches, toning your muscles, and gaining flexibility.
Each video is led by celebrity personal Chalene Johnson, whose coaching approach is more about encouragement than being a “drill sergeant.” Alongside Chalene are male and female assistants who show exercise modifications.
No special equipment is needed besides an exercise mat. A thick mat is especially appreciated during exercises that touch your knees to the floor.
Here are the seven PiYo videos. The first is easiest, and the last is most difficult.
- Align: The Fundamentals – 43 minutes – This video serves as an introduction to PiYo. It focuses on basic moves that are used in other videos, but here they are broken down to help newcomers achieve proper form. This video is also useful for calorie burn after you’ve learned the basics.
- Define: Lower Body – 20 minutes – Here Chalene helps sculpt your lower core and legs, especially the thighs, with exercises that stretch and tone.
- Define: Upper Body – 19 minutes – This is the shortest PiYo exercise video. It targets the shoulders, biceps and triceps.
- Sculpt – 26 minutes – Chalene’s “Sculpt” PiYo workout alternates between slow and fast-paced exercise. It focuses on lengthening the muscles, and it tones different muscle groups in isolation.
- Strength Intervals – 25 minutes – This video focuses on light resistance training to build whole-body strength without adding bulk.
- Sweat – 37 minutes – You’ll sweat during any PiYo workout, but this workout is more challenging than those described above. It’s especially fast-paced cross training with cardio yoga and resistance exercises.
- Drench – 48 minutes – This intense cardio yoga video targets all the major muscle groups. It’s the longest and most difficult workout in the PiYo set, and it burns the most calories per minute.
The PiYo DVD set and accessories sell for a one-time payment of $72.80, or three payments of $19.95 plus $12.95 shipping and handling. You can also watch PiYo videos with a Beachbody On Demand subscription, which costs $39 for three months, $59 for six months or $99 for a year. Choosing the On Demand option, you’ll have 24/7 access to about 600 health and fitness videos including exercise classes and cooking shows.
PiYo especially appeals to women who appreciate the strengthening and flexibility benefits of yoga and pilates but want faster-paced workouts with more cardio intensity.
This home workout program seems best for those who occupy the middle of the bell curve; if you need an especially easy or advanced fitness program, then PiYo isn’t for you.
We generally recommend that you try PiYo through Beachbody On Demand instead of buying the DVDs. The DVDs might have quality control issues, and getting three or six months of access to Beachbody On Demand is cheaper than buying the whole PiYo DVD set.