A few months ago, Beachbody released it’s newest workout program PiYo.  If you haven’t heard of PiYo before, it’s a combination of strength and stretching moves from Pilates and yoga.  But it’s definitely not traditional Pilates or yoga.  I’ll be completely honest here….I have practiced yoga on and off over the past several years but only because I know the benefits to me as a runner.  The stretching aspect of yoga is really important to runners.  And as a runner with tight hamstrings, I need that stretching.  But I never loved yoga or really even liked it that much.  So I wasn’t overly excited about trying PiYo but it promised a great core workout and that’s what I was looking for.  It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with PiYo.  The moves were quick (but not too quick) and it was low-impact.  There are no weights and no jumps in any of the exercises but you’ll still get your heart pumping whether you’re new to working out or are already fit.  Since I run almost daily, I don’t want any additional impact on my joints.  After seeing my results after 6 weeks of regular PiYo workouts, I’m hooked!  Just look at my before and after photos:

And I’ll even confess that the after picture was the week after my birthday and did not watch I ate (or drank) for several days near my birthday.  I didn’t follow the food plan that came with the PiYo DVDs since I eat pretty clean anyway.  The only change I made from what I had been doing in the before picture was adding the PiYo workouts.

I got the basic DVD set which includes 8 workouts on 3 DVDs.  It also comes with a quick start guide, a 60 day workout calendar, food guide and tape measure.  Each workout is focused on a different area but everything works your core.  You don’t even need any equipment (although a yoga mat is helpful).

Here’s a summary of each workout and my favorite and least favorite move:

Define: Lower Body

Obviously this focuses on the lower body but there are some full body moves too that work everything.  The entire workout is only about 21 minutes including a warmup and goes by quickly.  It goes through several warrior poses and sun salutations but move more quickly through the poses that traditional yoga.  There are several modifications of some of the balance poses in case you struggle balancing on one leg (which I do sometimes).  I had a hard time picking my favorite move from this one so I’m selecting two since they are so different.  My first favorite is the warrior three pose.  Balance poses are really helpful to develop strength and balance and I really find this one challenging and it makes me work.  My other favorite is pigeon pose.  It’s a great stretch for runners and feels really good.  Least favorite move is tricep pushups (but don’t worry, there are only a few…I just don’t like them).  The stretching was just what I needed after a hard run yesterday.

Define: Upper Body

I’ll be honest here….my upper body strength could use some work.  I have always tended to shy away from pushups or really anything upper body-related.  But I realize that I need upper body strength to be a stronger runner.  This video is under 19 minutes so I have no excuse not to do it.  One thing I especially love about this workout is that there are beginner, intermediate and advanced versions of almost every move.  That’s nice for me since I can do the advanced version of many moves but need the beginner or intermediate for others.  This makes it easy for me to work at my level.  Now on to the least favorite move.  I’m going to have to go with tricep pushups again.  There are quite a few in this video since it is upper body that we’re working but I’ll probably never like them (but I do them anyway).  I actually have a couple of favorite moves on this one too.  I love the v-sits as well as the beast moves.  The beast move just sounds tough, right?  It’s basically just on all fours but your knees hover above the ground.  It gets more advanced from there so it’s a great move to be able to see your progress.

Sweat

I know why they call this one sweat!  Not just a cute name for it!  I really like this video even though it’s a little longer than the others so far (36 minutes) but it’s still easy to fit in and it’s a great workout.  I especially enjoyed the sun salutation flows and how quickly they move through them.  My least favorite move from this one again was tricep pushups.  There aren’t a lot of pushups so it wasn’t too bad.  I just still don’t like them!

Core

I have a very love/hate relationship with core work.  It’s tough but effective and makes a huge difference in so many ways.  As a runner, a strong core really helps me run strong even when I’m tired.  This 30 minute core workout gave my core a tough workout without doing traditional crunches.  And there were no tricep pushups so that’s the bonus of this video!  Anyway, my favorite move of this workout is the crossover crunches.  I love these because I can really feel my core engage so clearly it’s working.  My least favorite move of this video is the PiYo pike.  I struggle with sequences of moves since I am uncoordinated but I eventually got the hang of these and got them done.

Buns

I can’t say exactly why I didn’t think I’d enjoy this video but I really did.  I guess because I don’t have much of a booty so there’s not much to work.  I don’t know.  Anyway, I really liked this workout and could really feel it working.  It’s got lots of squats and quite a few lunges in it too and really combines stretching and strengthening.  My favorite move is the hip bridges and my least favorite is burpees.  My legs and buns are feeling this one!

Strength Intervals

This is one of my favorite PiYo videos.  It feels very athletic and includes lots of cardio.  I think the biggest thing is that most of these moves feel fun to me.  It’s only 21 minutes long and the time just flies by!  My favorite move is skaters.  I’m not very coordinated so this makes me feel like I am somewhat coordinated and doing some fancy footwork even though it doesn’t take a lot of skill.  My least favorite move of this one is burpees.  If I stick with the modification though, it’s not so bad.

Drench

This was by far the toughest workout of all!  I was definitely drenched by the time it was done.  Actually, I was pretty drenched after only a few minutes into it.  But for as tough as it was, it’s a great workout.  Most of the work is leg and core and there is a combination of moves from the other workouts so it’s nothing new.  I really enjoyed some of the flow segments and liked that they moved quickly through them.  My heart rate was definitely up!  There were also some tricep pushups…I’m still not a fan of those!  This was actually the longest workout in the set at 48 minutes.  If you want to strengthen, stretch and sweat, this one is for you!

Sculpt

This is a pretty short video (around 26 minutes) but is one of the tougher ones for me.  I was dripping sweat within the first few minutes and could definitely feel all of my muscles working.  With as much running as I do, my legs are strong but I was feeling the squats here.  But, again, just in time, they ended when I thought I couldn’t go on.  I’m not going to pick out a favorite and least favorite move here because it had lots of pushups in this one.  While I have previously said I hate pushups, I did them here and feel stronger.  I’m not going to say I like them because I probably never will, but I did them and didn’t die.

My conclusion

PiYo is a great workout for anyone.  The moves are easily modified if you need more or less of a challenge.  The calendar is a great way to keep on a regular workout schedule and measure your progress.  The workouts are challenging and effective and great on their own or added to your existing program. You’ll stay motivated and engaged.  And the super nice part is that most of the workouts are 30 minutes or less!  Even if you’ve never had success with workout videos at home, this is designed to help you succeed!

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