Monday, July 27, 2015

PiYo, Pie, Yo!

Did you have a good weekend? I had some tough workouts and ended up crashing with a big nap Sunday afternoon.

I also finished the 8-week PiYo workout schedule this weekend. 
I'll go ahead and point out that I have NOT been paid to write this review, the people that made the videos don't even know about it (you're shocked because you thought I was totally famous, I know). This post does contain affiliate links, but I'm giving you my honest opinion after going through the whole series myself.

If you've never heard of PiYo before, it's basically a combination of Pilates and Yoga. Everyone has heard of yoga these days and Pilates is a related, yet much newer practice. In comparison, I would say that Pilates is more dynamic, more of a total body workout in the traditional sense of the word "workout." Yoga (depending on the specific practice) is more about flexibility and holding poses.

While I've never been to a live class (a bit of social anxiety about that), I've enjoyed doing yoga for several years be it through videos or by following pictures/descriptions that I've read online or in books or magazines. I've found it relaxing while helping me stay flexible. When I was pregnant with Will (my oldest, now 4) I looked for prenatal workout videos to do and the one I liked the best was 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates with Lizbeth Garcia. I did these short workouts, typically combining 3 to get 30 minutes total, which each pregnancy. I loved them! However, I couldn't find anything comparable for when I wasn't pregnant, that I actually liked. That is, until I found PiYo.
Finally, the workout I've been looking for! I'm very picky when it comes to workout videos, it similar to how I feel about audiobooks, it has a lot to do with the person I'm listening to/watching. For a workout instructor I want someone who can tell me what to do without being in your face, or over-the-top energetic. Also, like audiobooks, they can't have an annoying voice. Lizbeth Garcia met this criteria and so does Chalene Johnson. I don't care for fast-paced or dancey workouts either; I save the speed for running and I guess I'm just not coordinated enough for the dance stuff, I just can't get into it.

What you get
The PiYo DVD set consists of 9 different workouts on 3 discs. The set I got also had 2 bonus workouts, "Hardcore on the Floor," which I never did since it was optional and on the longer side, and "TurboFire HIIT," which I started to watch and discovered it was a fast paced workout that I just wasn't into. One of the workouts, "Align the Fundamentals," is only on the schedule once, it's the workout you do on day one to familiarize yourself with the basic moves and how your body should be aligned for them. So really you're doing 8 different workouts. That may seem like a good amount of variety, and for the first half it is, but when you're doing 1 a day, 6 days a week for 8 weeks, you can still get a little tired of them. You also get an eating plan, a quick-start guide, and a tape measure. I didn't use any of those, save for measuring myself once.

How it works
Like I said, you do one workout a day, six days a week. Fridays you rest. Most of the workouts are around 30 minutes long, including a warm up and cool down. The longest, "Drench," clocks in at around 46 minutes, still short enough that I was able to get it done while my kids were napping in the afternoons. Some days I even doubled up on the workouts if for some reason I had missed the day before or knew I would be too busy the next day.

I was in pretty good shape going into this plan and the first week I was a little worried that the workouts were too easy; I just didn't feel challenged enough. That changed however as the workouts got harder even just doing them the next time, or moving on to a more difficult video. Still, the moves were all doable and I felt encouraged by Chalene to keep going when I felt like giving up. She doesn't act like the workouts are easy and even shares how some moves are hard for her while still stating that you can do it. I like that.

There are a couple workouts that have faster paced segments, which are my least favorite, but there's only a couple and I could do them. There's also a lot of push-ups, I thought I was pretty good at push-ups but, man, this was tough. I had to do them on my knees a few times, but I've definitely improved over the course of the 8 weeks.

Who is it for
Me! Really, I could keep going on about PiYo, but this is getting too long, so let's get to it. If you're picky about workout videos like me, I think you'll find Chalene to be very easy to follow with a great tone of voice and demeanor. She knows this is hard for you and encourages you along without getting in your face. She's also great at explaining the moves and not just showing you how to do them and expecting you to follow along correctly with just a visual. I thought I knew how to do "down dog," but now I really do. She also chats a little with the team that's working out with her and makes little jokes.

The team she works out with allows you to see different people doing the moves. In each video she has 3 others with her, I want to say there's a total of 7 different people. One of them is always the same and that's "modifier," who shows you the easier way to do the workouts. Some of the videos also have someone doing an advanced version. There is a male team member in each of the videos but I would say these workouts are more geared towards women and most men aren't going to be interested in them. My husband did do one with me though, and it was tough for him.

These workouts are great for runners and other athletes. You do some stretches that are great for those muscles that can be overworked and tight from running while increasing your strength and flexibility. Flexibility is essential to runners as it can help prevent injuries. Strength is important as it can help you improve your race times and endurance. PiYo is awesome cross training for runners.

My results
If you read my posts last week, you know that I was the Whole 30 during the first half of the PiYo schedule. Experts say that diet is 80% of weight loss so the results you get from any workout regimen are going to be affected by how you are eating. After my Whole 30 was complete I did not lose any more weight through PiYo, but I did continue to gain muscle and definition. My legs were already defined from running and biking, but now other runners are impressed by them. While I do wish I had gotten better core results, and I'm not quite "ripped like Ripa" yet, I'm much closer than I was. I'm very pleased with my results and much more comfortable wearing tank tops or being seen in a bikini.

I've looked for a maintenance schedule for PiYo, since I read that some other BeachBody workouts come with one, but I've been unable to find one. I might just make one for myself. I'm also considering doing another one of Chalene Johnson's videos, ChaLEAN Xtreme, but I don't know if I can handle this.

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