Finally, yours truly…the infamous anti-coach…will review Chalene Johnson’s PiYO by Beachbody.
PiYO ( pronounced pie-yo ) is an acronym for Pilates and Yoga. It is a 60 day system with 8+1 bonus workouts aimed towards intermediate level women. Wait, did I just say women? Looks like you got me. PiYO is absolutely designed primarily for women. I’ll elaborate later.
What you get:
DVD’s in a package that has a sweaty Chalene looking at you like you’re made of chocolate covered pheromones. Also in the box are the food guide, schedule and…why is she looking at me like that?
PiYo Align: The Fundamentals
Time : 43 minutes
This is primarily posture instruction as you’ll spend the first five minutes simply standing. It is unlikely you will visit this workout twice due to it not actually being a workout. Keep in mind that if you’re at all familiar with P90X, Insanity, T25 or the like, you can skip this entirely.
Time: 48 minutes
This is yoga with teeth. Unlike standard yoga with isometric postures, you’ll be switching things fast making it a double whammy of cardio action. Planks, up/down dogs, vinyasas…all in rapid succession. I have to give credit where its due, this is a killer yoga routine.
Time: 28 minutes
The men in PiYO are sporting some amazing wax jobs which look smoother than the spoiler of a Lamborghini. That’s not something unique to PiYO either. Just about every workout video has a policy where if you decide not to wear a shirt, they shear you like a sheep. I guess what I’m saying is, you won’t find me in a workout video any time soon.
Buns is as expected: squats, lunges and some floor work. A quick yet solid way to attack the hind quarters.
There is a downside though…the music. I loathe it. It’s disposable modern love-pop with lyrics and it takes all the pump out of a workout. Women may like it I suppose but most men will turn it off. I had to just about break out AC/DC to overcompensate.
Time: 30 minutes
An abs/core attack that goes after the obliques harder than most abdominal workouts I’ve seen. I was amazed at how tight I am so I felt satisfied with what I was getting here. This one’s a winner in my book.
PiYo Strength Intervals
Time: 21 minutes
A cardio circuit trainer, and as such the name is a little misleading. The closet you get to strength is doing a little plyo and some push ups.
I felt disappointed with this workout as it was crazy easy. If you’ve ever done PAP or Asylum, this will be more of a warmup in comparison. Therefore I class it as a beginner/intermediate level workout. Again I have to mention the music. The tempo is just wrong. Programs like T25 are masterfully in sync with a backbeat, but here not at all.
Time: 26 minutes
I’m starting to wonder why there is a weight rack and push up stands on the set because it seems we’re never going to use them. Sculpt instead uses push ups, lunges, chair dips, and some yoga warrior postures to get the job done.
PiYo Define: Lower Body
Time: 20 minutes
I find the warmup has more in common with awkward Hip Hop Abs moves and dare I say, is somewhat useless. Grab a skip rope for 90 seconds and you’ll be way ahead of the game.
Lower Body is very low impact yoga, vinyasas and leg lifts. Again, no weights so don’t expect Body Beast results. If you’re accustomed to other lower body workouts, this will bore you terribly.
PiYo Define: Upper Body
Time: 19 minutes
Planks, push-ups and crunches. Moves are often slow to get the most out of them but to be honest, I don’t feel like body weight is being used to its full potential here. The short timespan doesn’t leave you feeling satisfied either.
Time: 37 minutes
Like Drench, only now you focus more on balance postures and less speed between moves. It’s a sweet yoga option, just disable the music soundtrack and supply your own.
Hardcore on the Floor
Time: 33 minutes
Get your mind out of the gutter kids. This is leg lifts, crunches, planks and twists. This one is a highly effective gut buster and a winner for the intermediate to advanced audience. If you have any other program, you’ll want to throw this one in your core days often.
I can’t fault the effectiveness of PiYo as a beginner/intermediate workout package It has a lot of excellent things to offer in terms of flexibility and core strength. And make no mistake, you will work hard. But again I must get back to the target demographic.
As a forty year old male, I am clearly not the intended audience for PiYO. This is a great program for women but I have to say that men will not get what they want as the strength options are severely underpowered. The cheerleader training style of Chalene will also not click with the average man ( and many women! ) who deep down inside wants less “happy smiles” and a bit more Drill Sergeant Hartman.
So that means for you women out there, you’d probably like a lot of things about PiYO if you’re looking for a basic program that will keep you fit, make you move and absolutely work your butt off.
As always, Beachbody makes a gorgeous set, but the music falls flat in a huge way. Much of it sounds like whiny girl songs about love. When I’m trying to bring my A-game, some stranger singing about their failed and meaningless love life is not going to charge my batteries. In the future, I would hire the team from Shaun T, the master of rhythm. An effective track can make the difference between “I’ll finish this set or die!” and “meh…good enough.”
But being fair and keeping in mind who this is made for, I’m going to give PiYo a 3.8 Feathers out of 5. It’s an above average program designed for a particular audience who will gain much from it. It wins big on core and cardio, but hardcore masters of physical destruction will want to grab a program with more teeth.