Exercise programs that combine Pilates and yoga are great for improving flexibility, strength and overall health and well-being. But they aren't the best for losing weight and getting toned.
Cardio exercises are good for burning calories and shedding pounds, but they don't offer the body conditioning benefits that yoga and Pilates are known for.
So what happens when you combine cardio, Pilates and yoga? You get Piyo!
- Things To Consider Before Starting A Program Of This Type
- PiYo Workout Review
- PiYo Features And Benefits
- Does PiYo Work?
- What People Are Saying
- Alternatives To PiYo
- 3 Week Yoga Retreat
- Yoga Cardio Blend By Fitness Blender
- The Best PiYo Alternative May Be A Custom Program
- My Final Thoughts On PiYo
Things To Consider Before Starting A Program Of This Type
This kind of exercise regimen, which I’ve been thinking of as “sweaty yoga with extra attention to the core,” isn’t just exotic poses and stretches. There is some moderate cardio involved. So you should be able to keep up an increased heart rate for a good 40 minutes or so.
You’ll have to be able to hold intermediate yoga and pilates poses as well. There are usually some kind of modifiers thrown into the exercises, and there are in Piyo, but you’d be wasting your time if you couldn’t at least do beginner’s yoga.
I would recommend doing the exercises daily. You’ll need at least 30 minutes per day. That way you can see the results that you’re promised.
Dieting is a part of it, too. Some people skip it, but they don’t see the results that they want. And they usually complain about it. Go figure.
Do you have that 30 minutes per day? Can you do moderate cardio? Do you think you can handle beginner’s yoga? Are you OK with a moderately restrictive diet? Do you want to lose weight and inches, condition your muscles, and get or stay in overall good physical and mental health? If you nodded to all of the above questions, you’re a good candidate for this kind of program.
On the other hand, if you don’t have the time or can’t perform the physical demands outlined above, you may want to look at walking or spinning for exercise and yoga for absolute beginners as a conditioning regimen instead.
PiYo Workout Review
So you probably have a pretty good idea what it’s all about by now. But let’s get into a little more detail before I start really picking it apart for you.
Yoga is basically stretches and poses that are supposed to improve your flexibility, lengthen and strengthen your muscles and promote a more balanced mood. Pilates is very similar to yoga, but it focuses more on your core. Cardio is more of an actual exercise, and it burns calories, melts fat, boosts metabolism and strengthens your muscles.
PiYo combines yoga, pilates and cardio into a 60-day program that claims to help people lose weight and gain muscle definition. There is one day off per week, and each workout day will take up between 20 and 45 minutes of your time.
It’s designed for people who have at least some exercise experience, but a motivated beginner can do it too.
World-famous trainer Chalene Johnson developed PiYo for Beachbody on Demand, and only members of Beachbody have access to it.
PiYo Features And Benefits
Now it’s time to take an in-depth look at PiYo and what it can do for you.
What Is PiYo Good For?
PiYo can help you lose weight and fat, get more definition and strengthen and condition your muscles. It really does combine the benefits of yoga, pilates and low-impact cardio.
PiYo calories are burned mainly during the cardio routines. You won’t need any equipment for these exercises. They all use body weight for resistance. There are a lot of pushups involved, even in the lighter cardio exercises.
So, does PiYo work for weight loss? The user reviews say yes, and I can see why. You can expect the same weight and fat loss results that you would get from any other moderate cardio program. You can get awesome results if you stick to the eating plan, but we’ll talk about that later.
Now, this isn’t strictly a cardio program, obviously. What can you expect to gain from the yoga and pilates aspects? You’ll gain a surprising amount of flexibility and coordination. By the end of the program, you should notice a marked improvement in both of those areas,
The pilates infusion shouldn’t be ignored. That’s what gives you the firm core and strong abs.
What You Get With The Program
Here’s what comes with it:
- Quick Start Guide
- PiYo Food Tracker
- PiYo Workout Calendar
- Two Hybrid Calendars
- Eating Plan
- 10 base workouts
- Two bonus PiYo Deluxe workouts
- 11 PiYo Pro workouts
And here’s what all that stuff is:
The Quick Start Guide is a bunch of tips to help you get off on the right track. You’ll probably refer to it from time to time throughout the course of the program.
You keep track of what you eat on the PiYo Food Tracker. Honestly, I can’t figure out the point of keeping tally of what you eat. It may be so you can compare what you actually eat with the eating plan. If you have a calorie burning monitor, you can make a chart of your caloric intake with the PiYo calories burned.
The PiYo Eating Plan isn’t a diet. It’s more like a guideline. You won’t have to count calories or control your portions in any precise way. Think of it as a guide to better nutrition. Follow it.
There are 10 base workouts, each one lasting from 20 to 45 minutes.
You’ll start with Align. It helps you develop the proper form for the yoga and pilates poses and gets you used to the transition moves that take you from a pose into a cardio blast.
Think of it as PiYo for beginners. Pay attention to Chalene and her crew when you do this. If you don’t get the form down pat, you’ll fall behind when you get to the other workouts.
There are two Define workouts: upper body and lower body. They strengthen and tone your muscles while burning calories and zapping fat.
Core focuses on your abs and back. There’s a lot of pilates in this workout.
The Buns workout focuses on the glutes and is designed to “lift, redefine and tighten the entire backside of your body.” It lasts for half an hour. Some of the yoga and pilates poses and moves here are definitely not for the beginner. If you can’t nail them at first, follow the modifier.
Sweat is fast-paced, yet low-impact, cardio that uses yoga flows and traditional cardio moves to melt fat and strengthen muscles throughout your body. Drench is built on Sweat, but it is tougher.
Sculpt works different parts of your body for varying lengths of time. It’s not random though. The routine is designed to torch calories and rev metabolism by working various muscle groups in a certain way and in a certain sequence.
Strength Intervals pushes the boundaries of bodyweight resistance training without putting too much force on your joints. Don’t skimp here. This is where you’ll get most of your tone.
Hardcore on the floor works your abs, back and chest. Expect twists, crunches and kicks. Make sure you have a good mat for this one.
You’ve got to have the Beachbody slides to do the two bonus deluxe workouts. Full Body Blast works your entire body to maximize the metabolic benefits and calorie incineration. Strong Legs focuses on your calves, quads, glutes and hamstrings.
The PiYo Pro Team workouts are led by guest Beachbody trainers. Most of them are a bit more intense than Chalene’s low-impact routines, and some of them run over an hour long. I researched a lot of PiYo workout reviews from people who did these bonus workouts.
Many of the reviewers planned on moving on to programs developed by some of these other trainers after they finish PiYo. I consider that to be a testament to how effective and fun these workouts are.
Think of the PiYo Calendar as your workout schedule. Follow it faithfully for the best results.
The Hybrid Calendars are awesome. You get two: PiYo/P90X3 and PiYo/T25. What each calendar does is combine workouts from a different Beachbody program with the regular PiYo schedule. Both Hybrid Calendars enhance the fat and calorie burning aspects of PiYo.
P90X3, developed by Tony Horton, is an intense whole-body cardio workout program. It promises to melt fat and sculpt the body with lean muscle definition. The PiYo/P90X3 Hybrid Calendar adds some of the lighter P90X3 routines for extra tone and higher metabolism.
Shaun T developed T25 as an ab-zapping and fat-killing regimen for busy people who only have 25 minutes to workout every day. When you add some of these workouts to your PiYo routine, you’ll likely see more fat loss and tighter abs by the end of the program.
Does PiYo Work?
That’s the question, isn’t it? You now know what it is and how the fusion of pilates, yoga and cardio can get you into overall better shape and health. You know what to expect from the workouts. But does it work?
It all depends on what your expectations are. If you want to get ripped or gain incredible strength, then you’ll be disappointed. That’s not what PiYo is all about.
If you want to be more flexible, stronger, thinner and have more lean muscle definition, then you should be happy.
Of course, the results of any program depend on how well you follow it. If you ignore the eating plan while working PiYo, you’re probably going to end up eating more carbs to replace the energy you spend during the workouts. In that case, your results will be lackluster. Ditto if you skip workouts or do them halfheartedly. You have to put in the effort to realise what is promised.
If you do all of the workouts as Chalene instructs you to and faithfully follow the eating plan, I can’t see how you wouldn’t meet your goals of having a better physique, more conditioned body and a clearer mind.
Does PiYo work? According to the PiYo workout reviews and the impeccable workout structure, I’d say absolutely yes, it does.
What People Are Saying
Part of putting this PiYo review together was scrutinizing around 100 of the most positive and critical reviews. I got a really good understanding of why people love it and why some people regretted it.
The internet is flush with raves from people who made it through the program about how they lost weight and gained tone after working through the program once. Some people got truly phenomenal results. By that I mean they went from “meh” to well-defined. No one got ripped, but of course that’s not what PiYo results are supposed to be.
Many of the PiYo before and after testimonials are impressive. The claims made by Beachbody On Demand are true. PiYo results in a leaner and more defined body.
On the flip side, there were several complaints that PiYo was not what it promised to be. That really got my attention, so I dove in to see what the deal was.
The biggest complaint in PiYo workout reviews is that it isn’t for beginners, as it’s advertised to be. According to the program details listed in Piyo’s slot on the Beachbody website, it is for “beginner-intermediate” exercisers. But elsewhere on the web, Beachbody claims that beginners can do it.
Here’s the deal: If you’ve never done yoga before, you may get frustrated by the way Chalene smoothly and effortlessly flows from one pose to the next. She’s a pro and so are the others working out with her in the videos. Be warned that you’ll likely get frustrated if this will be your introduction to yoga-type workouts.
I couldn’t find many legitimate complaints about the cardio aspect. Some thought it was too hard; some thought it was too light. Those gripes haunt every workout program. There’s no accounting for taste. It isn’t HIIT, and it isn’t light cardio. It’s intermediate. Just keep that in mind.
All in all, the vast majority of people who had at least a bit of yoga experience and wanted a nice moderate cardio-yoga-pilates fusion were happy with PiYo results and the program itself.
I looked at several reviews from people who did PiYo before and after more strenuous, higher-impact programs as sort of a warm up and cool down regimen. That works great to get you ready for tough exercise and keep you active when you recover.
Alternatives To PiYo
As with most Beachbody on Demand programs, nothing really comes too close in terms of effectiveness and ease of understanding. But there are a few other programs that are worth mentioning.
3 Week Yoga Retreat
3 Week Yoga Retreat, also by Beachbody, isn’t really an alternative, but I want to mention it here because it can be a great primer for PiYo. It is meant for total beginners who have never done yoga before. Most people who work this program can do all of the basic poses by the end of the 21-day program. Remember the complaints about PiYo’s yoga aspect not being beginner friendly? Well, after completing 3 Week Yoga Retreat, you won’t be a beginner anymore.
Yoga Cardio Blend By Fitness Blender
Fitness Blender offers something similar to PiYo, lamely named “Yoga Cardio Blend.” They describe it as cardio combined with “loosely yoga-ish stretching and strengthening movements.”
What it boils down to is 15-minute workouts that are comprised of 10 short yoga poses interrupted by 30-second HIIT exercises.
I may recommend this one as a warmup for more strenuous and longer HIIT workouts, but that’s about it.
The Best PiYo Alternative May Be A Custom Program
If you want a good fusion of yoga and cardio with some pilates thrown in, but don’t want to do PiYo for whatever reason, you may want to consider making your own custom program. That is to say, try doing a yoga program and a cardio regimen at the same time. This can be time consuming, but that’s the price you pay for the benefits of both types of exercise.
The best yoga for beginners is 3 Week Yoga Retreat, hands down. You just can’t beat it.
As far as cardio goes, look into Clean Week, 21-day Fix or some other beginner cardio programs on Beachbody.
If you’re not already a Beachbody On Demand member, head on over there and sign up for the free trail. If you like it and decide to become a paying member, you’ll have access to all of their programs, including 3 Week Yoga Retreat and all of the low-impact cardio regimens.
You can read my full Beachbody on Demand review here to get an idea of what to expect as a member. I go over all of the features and benefits.
Tai Cheng is another option if you want to stick with Beachbody on Demand programs.
I’ve written a full review that you can check out here, but my off-hand thought of this is:
If you're more interested in the yoga aspects of PiYo, Tai Cheng may be a good alternative for you. It's a 90-day program that simplifies the ancient art of Tai Chi so anyone can do it. Instead of static poses, like yoga, it consists of fluid movements.
The benefits are coordination, flexibility, balance and stress relief. There's no cardio or sweating involved, and weight loss is usually minimal. But it's great for older folks, people recovering from an injury, pre- or post-cardio training and anyone who wants to enhance their sense of well-being and balance.
There really aren't any cons to it, but you shouldn't expect to lose weight or gain much tone.
My Final Thoughts On PiYo
There is some debate whether or not PiYo is for beginners. It helps to have some yoga or pilates experience, but each workout has a modifier. So, I would say yes, PiYo is good for beginners.
Does it work? Again, that's a yes. If you put in the effort and follow the routines and eating plan, you're sure to get lean and defined. You'll also notice more flexibility and a shorter recovery period after intense exercise. That's because your muscles will be stronger, longer and better conditioned.
PiYo is also different. If you are bored with the usual workouts, PiYo can be a fun low-impact program for you to do.
When all is said and done, PiYo is a winner. Whether you are new to exercise or are a well-seasoned exerciser, PiYo has something for you.
I hope you've found this PiYo workout review to be helpful in making a decision if it's something you should add to your fitness and workout plans. Or if it's a good standalone.