PiYo is unique fitness program encompassing a wide range of skills like calisthenics, pilates and yoga from which it takes its acronym name. Unlike traditional pilates and yoga, the workouts blend together these different exercises in a seamless, dynamic fashion designed to increase your metabolic rate, spur fat loss and improve strength in less time, aside from making it more fun. This review of Charlene Johnson’s program will uncover how this program works, who can get the most benefits and what the pros and cons are.
Who Is Chalene Johnson?
As far as fitness programs are concerned, you cannot find better references and online presence than Charlene. She is one of those “elite” fitness trainers that have built a huge following and reputation over the years.
She is virtually on every single media account like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Pinterest, plus she runs her own website and she even has her own dedicated article on Wikipedia.
It does not happens very easily to have Wikipedia writing about someone unless he/she is publicly relevant. She is a New York Times best selling author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and the founder of the SmartLife movement.
What’s The Idea Behind PiYo?
As the name implies, PiYo is a mix of Pilates and Yoga, but not only. It also includes elements of calisthenics all put together in a seamless flow so as to make it more fun, challenging and effective to achieve low body fat and fitness.
The program also includes some elements of strength to spur lean muscle, though not bulky mass, which together with a low body fat will result in a toned, athletic and sexy physique.
Unlike regular cardio or weight resistance training, you do not need any equipment or gym membership as you can do PiYo from the comfort of home with a mat.
The program is well structured in terms of flexibility, stamina and core, but the strength workouts are more suitable for women, as they may be not hard enough for men.
The workouts last from 25 to 45 minutes in a 6 day per week schedule for 60 days. So while it is not overkill, it is not a walk in the park either, you need to stick to the plan and be consistent for best results, as always is the case.
The Pilates element of the program is there for core strength and general muscle tone, while the yoga element provides flexibility. PiYo is quite unique in that it blends them together in a non-stop sequence designed to increase your metabolic rate.
What Are The Workouts Like?
There are 7 different workouts on PiYo, showcased and demonstrated by Chalene Johnson on 3 DVDs. These are:
Align: The Foundamentals. This is like an introduction where the author goes through the foundations like proper posture, rather than a workout. It is the only part of the program that you need to do just once.
Define: Lower Body. The Lower Body is a kind of low impact yoga with elements of Vinyasa flow and exercises like low and high lounges for glutes and hamstrings.
Define: Upper Body. These exercises are planks, pushups and crunches done in slow motion for more effectiveness and strengthening your arms, triceps and shoulders.
Sweat. This is a fast-paced yoga routine divided into different sections that works like cardio. There are different lunges combined with balance exercises, planks, core, pushups, burpees and squats.
Drench. This workout involves a combination of Vinyasa, planks and up/down dogs. It is a king of non-stop yoga routine that starts with push-ups and planks, then move into legs with lunges, squats, burpees and stretching. This endurance workout is in place to kick-start your metabolism and burn fat.
Sculpt. This workout is designed around TUT, time under tension, in order to stimulate muscle growth. Because PiYo is a bodyweight, no-equipment workout protocol, it uses exercises like push ups, yoga warrior postures, lunges and chair dips to do just that.
Strength Intervals. This is a non-stop workout designed for strength without muscle bulking. Bodyweight exercises include crunches, planks, twists, leg lifts and include a cardio blast to increase heart rate. It’s a challenging workout even for advanced trainees.
These are the standard workouts, but Chalene also offers 2 more bonus workouts, one for your booty and one for your core.
The Buns workout. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of squats and sumo burpees to hit your glutes and hamstring, it could be considered a whole leg workout or be done in conjunction with other leg workouts. This workout is designed to lift and tighten your booty with perky butts.
The Core workout. A workout hitting the core section from all angles, abs, obliques and lower back.
What About Diet?
No fitness program would be complete without at least some basic information on nutrition. No matter how dedicated you may be, once you stick to a plan, it is the nutrition that can make or break your results.
PiYo covers your nutritional requirements with a Get Lean Eating Plan. This is a surprisingly good plan , considering that PiYo is mainly marketed as a fitness program, not a diet plan.
Basically, it is focused on non-processed foods with a nice mix of all macro-nutrients balanced in 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat. The PiYo plan considers 5 different main food groups:
- Primary Vegetables
- Secondary Vegetables and Grains
You can then calculate you daily calorie requirements depending on your needs and the PiYo diet has laid out four different calorie plans to choose from.
- Plan A: 1,200-1,399 calories
- Plan B: 1,400-1,599 calories
- Plan C: 1,600-1,799 calories
- Plan D: 1,800+ calories
However, there is also a category of foods and ingredients you can eat as much as you like, like sugar-free lemon juice, green tea, black tea, coffee, garlic and vinegar.
The PiYo diet plan is surprisingly sound and easy to follow, and share some general guidelines with the 21 day sugar detox by Diane Sanfilippo, a fully comprehensive wholesome-food diet plan for everyone, not just people working out [review here].
Who Is The PiYo Workout Program For?
PiYo was designed by a woman for everyone in mind, though it may be more suitable for women. It is especially attractive to those who want a no-equipment, no-gym but sound and effective workout plan from a reputable and qualified fitness expert to be done at home or anywhere.
As such, PiYo may be just right for moms at home, busy people, absolute beginners but also people with a training history or a liking for pilates or bodyweight workouts.
Since the plan is a dynamic blend of all these disciplines, it can be a fun and more effective way to burn calories than traditional, low impact static yoga or pilates.
What Is Included In The PiYo Program?
This is a physical product delivered to your home, no digital version exists as of now. The package includes DVDs, manuals, a calendar and bonuses like this:
- 3 Main DVDs with the regular 7 workouts described above.
- 1 Bonus DVD with the “buns” and “core” workouts described above.
- 1 Quick-Start guide to start immediately.
- 1 60-Day Workout Calendar to keep track of your workouts.
- 1 Get Lean Eating Plan with the nutritional guidelines.
- 24/7 Online Support, very useful for any query.
- 1 Measure Tape. Nice and handy.
What Are The Pros And Cons?
- Workout plan of the beachbody.com range designed by a professional authority. Chalene Johnson knows what works for fitness and fat loss and knows how to keep people motivated.
- Suitable for all fitness levels.
- Effective and fun blend of yoga and pilates packaged in a non-stop format to make you burn fat faster and get results.
- Low impact exercises easy on your joints but high impact on your metabolic rate.
- Time efficient workouts that take from 20 to 40 minutes at most to complete, depending on session and fitness level.
- No gym or equipment necessary except may be a mat.
- 60-Day money back guarantee.
- While the program can be done by men without a problem, it is realistically more suitable for women, especially in the strength department.
What Is The PiYo Bottom Line?
PiYo is a workout and fat loss program mainly suitable for women who want an effective and engaging way to get fit and lose weight without all the traps and expenses of equipment or gym membership.
It is based on a combination of bodyweight, yoga and pilates disciplines done in a seamless format in order to boost metabolic rate, burn more fat and save time.
The exercises are designed for all fitness levels but, while challenging they are also low impact on your joints and can be done a home with just a mat.
The variety of the workouts coupled with a good nutritional plan and the guidance of top fitness expert, coach and creator Charlene Johnson, make PiYo a very attractive workout plan for women who want to improve their fitness level and lose fat.