PiYo (pronounced pie-yo) is a fast-paced exercise program inspired by aerobics, pilates, and yoga; some describe it as “cardio yoga”. The main benefits include muscle toning, body strengthening, calorie burn, and flexibility.
This trademarked form of exercise is taught by personal trainer Chalene Johnson in the Beachbody video series that’s available on DVD or streamed through Beachbody On Demand. Although Beachbody are phasing out DVDs, you can still purchase PiYo on DVD as well as streaming it, which allows you to decide which option is best for you. Keep in mind that the online streaming option gives you access to some additional PiYo workouts and online program materials.
The PiYo DVD set currently costs about $70 including shipping (the total is $72.80 to be exact).
Read on for FitRated’s full PiYo review.
Our Rating: 80/100
|Program||PiYo by Beachbody|
Pros & Cons
- Dramatic Weight Loss Results: If you’re looking to lose weight quickly, PiYo is a great choice. It boosts your metabolism, revs your heart rate, and helps increase total fat burning.
- Ramp Up Your Energy Level: This workout variety will get your blood flowing and muscles moving. You’ll have far more energy at the end of your session than you did going in.
- Low Impact: A great workout routine that still protects the joints which is perfect for those looking to prevent or recover from an injury.
- Very Little Equipment: To perform this workout, you’ll only need a towel or yoga mat along with appropriate clothing.
- 20% Negative Reviews: About half of these negative customer reviews came from customers who had trouble playing the DVDs, and others who considered the workouts as too easy or too hard.
- Intermediate Level: PiYo might be too difficult for home workout beginners and too easy for those in great shape.
- Advertisements: Get ready to see ads for Beachbody products throughout the DVDs and on the screening service.
- DVD Errors: Roughly 10% of customer reviews complain that the DVDs “freeze” or have other playback issues, so it’s a good idea to check that the discs play correctly immediately after they arrive.
- Basic Meal Guide: If you already eat well, the Get Lean eating guide won’t provide 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 to fit your body size and fitness goal.
PiYo Full Review
PiYo is an approximately eight-week (60-day) home fitness program with workouts scheduled 6 days a week 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 training. Each exercise routine is about 20 to 45 minutes long, with the majority clocking in at around half an hour. Trainees are encouraged to also follow the Get Lean approach to nutrition (book included with DVD packages or in the program materials section online).
The name “PiYo” is taken from pilates and yoga, but PiYo is a higher energy workout 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). One of the best things about daily PiYo routine is that the sessions range in length, so no matter what your schedule happens to be, you can fit them in. These workouts are ideal for those who are looking for light to moderate exercise and have a few months or years of experience under their belt. Since it does incorporate some intermediate-to-advanced workout demands, beginners may feel a bit awkward trying these routines.
How It Works
PiYo addresses whole-body fitness through daily exercise videos and balanced nutrition. The DVD set arrives with a large wall calendar displaying your 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, toning your muscles, and gaining flexibility.
Each video is led by celebrity personal trainer 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, and a thick mat is especially useful here during exercises that touch your knees to the floor.
Here are the seven PiYo videos (in order of difficulty):
- 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. It’s 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 program materials sell for $72.80 which includes the shipping fee. You can also watch PiYo videos with a Beachbody On Demand subscription, and there’s a variety of packages to choose from. Choosing the On Demand option, you’ll have 24/7 access to hundreds of fitness videos including exercise classes and cooking shows.
PiYo especially appeals to trainees who appreciate the strengthening and flexibility benefits of yoga and pilates, but want faster-paced workouts with more cardio intensity.
This home workout program works 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 have quality control issues and getting three or six month access to Beachbody On Demand is cheaper than buying the whole PiYo DVD set, as well as giving you a whole range of workout programs at your fingertips.