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PiYo Review: A Fusion Of Yoga And Pilates

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Have you ever tried an exercise routine that strengthens, tones, and enhances flexibility all in one workout? Introducing PiYo, the pioneering exercise program designed by Chalene Johnson that combines Yoga and Pilates to strengthen and sculpt your body…

Yoga Vs. Pilates: What’s The Difference?

Yoga originated in South East Asia over 5000 years ago. Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates as a form of rehabilitation in Germany in the early 1900s. Yoga involves holding postures whereas Pilates uses fluid and controlled movements.

Pilates is scientifically base and focuses on developing core strength and alignment using fluid movements. Yoga is based on a spiritual practise and largely focuses on increasing flexibility and mindfulness.

Both Yoga and Pilates incorporate breathing techniques and benefit your physical and mental wellbeing.

What Is The PiYo Workout?

Birds eye view of hands doing sneaker laces next to phone, workout mat, and water bottle.

Workout gear.

PiYo combines Yoga, Pilates, and cardio to burn fat and whip your body into shape. You get all the toning and flexibility training that Yoga and Pilates offer in a higher impact version, meaning that you also break a sweat and burn fat thanks to the cardio incorporated into the workout.

The thing I like most about PiYo is that it incorporates a healthy balance of a variety of exercises. It’s not the kind of super high impact workout that wipes you out, nor is it a really low impact workout that, other than stretching and strengthening some muscles, leaves you feeling like you haven’t worked out at all.

PiYo is designed to fit into an 8-week exercise program. The PiYo kit can be purchased for $59 on teambeachbody.com. It includes 8 PiYo workouts on 3 DVD’s, a 60-day workout calendar and measuring tape to track your progress, nutrition guide, buns workout (30-minute lower body workout), free bonus workout DVD, and 24/7 online support to have any questions answered. There is also a deluxe package that costs $119 which includes everything in the basic PiYo kit plus two accelerated workouts using strength slides (plastic disks designed to increase the intensity of the workouts), and a yoga mat valued at $29.95.

Origins Of PiYo Explained

Chalene Johnson was never into flexibility training, nor did she particularly enjoy the “elevator music”, as she puts it, often played in Yoga and Pilates classes. She wanted a strong core and a sculpted body, and she believed that fun, high impact workouts could energize her and empower her. She did not understand the aesthetic benefit of being flexible – you can see when someone is lean and has a strong core, but you can’t tell by looking at someone if they are flexible or not, so flexibility didn’t matter that much, right?

Except that it did. Chalene started to injure herself repeatedly. She felt stiff and beaten up and she had no idea why other than it being a result of growing older. For nine monthS she couldn’t exercise. She began to see a kinesiologist who told her, “your problem is that are so inflexible. If you want to stop injuring yourself, you’ve got to become more flexible.”

So, she set to develop a workout that incorporates everything – cardio, muscle strengthening, and flexibility training. She wanted to create dynamic workouts that everybody could follow. Most of all, her aim was to make the workouts fun. She designed workouts that include simple dance steps, muscle building components, and stretching to increase flexibility. A perfect combo of Yoga, Pilates, plus some cardio. PiYo was born.

Chalene describes PiYo as her “dreamchild. Everything I want to give you to transform your body without beating you up. Everything so that your body will be lean, strong and flexible and you’ll burn calories and you’ll be able to do things you never dreamed possible.”

Top 5 PiYo Moves Explained

1. PiYo Flip

  1. Start in a plank or push up position.
  2. Bend one knee and lift that leg.
  3. Flip the lifted leg over and rotate.
  4. Push hips towards the sky.

2. PiYo Pike

  1. Start in a plank position
  2. Rotate into a side plank position, extending one arm up.
  3. Push your weight back into your feet as you flex your core and curl under.
  4. You can do the modified version with one knee down until you build your core strength.

3. Beast

This exercise is simple. Go down on your knees and elbows and lift your body onto your toes. That’s it! Holding your body in that position strengthens your core.

4. Kick Thru

The kick thru starts from the beast position down on your knees and elbows. Lift up onto your toes, then lift one arm and kick the opposite leg through without letting it touch the floor.

5. Runners Pose

Start from a standing position, lift one leg, and with a bended knee swing your leg back and forth in controlled movements as though you are running except that you aren’t going anywhere! You will need to bend your body forward when you kick your leg back and straighten up when you kick your leg forward to maintain balance. This exercise works your hamstring and glute muscles. When you’re ready, switch legs and practice the same running movement with your other leg.

PiYo Workout Before And After Results

Woman with energy dancing on bed.

Woman danicng on bed.

The PiYo kit includes everything you need to see results– from dynamic video workouts, a workout calendar, and meal plan down to a shopping list so that maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine becomes highly doable. Because PiYo incorporates full-body workouts (cardio, strength, and flexibility training in one workout) the program is great for people who are strapped for time. You get everything in 20-45-minute workouts in the comfort of your home. No traveling necessary. No need to attend an hour-long Pilates or Yoga class and then feel the necessity to go for a thirty-minute run on top of that to get in your cardio for the day. Expect to see results if you follow the program.

Obviously, results vary among people. If you’re out of shape and finding the program too difficult, don’t give up. Just take it slower. Chalene designed the program to fit into 60 days, but you can also do it over a longer period. Before you know it, your endurance level will increase. PiYo is an excellent choice for beginner to intermediate exercisers, or for people who are recovering from an injury. Charlene Johnson wanted to create something that everybody could do, all genders, all ages.

The PiYo program delivers the results of a full-body workout routine. Increase strength, flexibility, higher energy levels, and fat loss, in other words, a healthy, fit, strong, flexible, and toned body. You end up looking and feeling great.

Follow the PiYo meal plan together with the workout program for maximum results. The PiYo meal plan includes primary vegetables, secondary vegetables/grains, fruit, protein, and healthy fats. All the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy.


The nice thing about PiYo is that it’s geared towards a busy lifestyle and it’s designed in a way that almost anyone can do it. When you can get a great workout in just half an hour at home (no traveling to gym and back) not having time to exercise is a weak excuse. PiYo is low impact posing a low risk of injury. All you need is a fun, dynamic workout to leave you energized and feeling amazing! If you can get that in PiYo, go for it!

Otherwise, there are other exercise programs you can experiment with… If you’re super fit and looking for a high impact workout to lose weight fast you might want to try the 21 Day Fix, or Zumba, dancing, cycling, sports, and other options to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Whatever you do, make sure you’re enjoying it. Exercising can and should be enjoyable and invigorating.