Last week I received my new toy: Chalene Johnson’s new workout series PiYo! Piyo is as it sounds, a hybrid between Pilates and Yoga. After spending 90 days of hardcore lifting and sweating with Tony in P90X3 and 2 months of a random mixture of workouts, I was ready to get back to my original love of yoga. Piyo has all ready received all sorts of acclaim so this was an obvious purchase for me.
PiYo touts that with no weights or equipment, your body will gain strength, flexibility, and lean muscle. The 8 week program takes you through a combination of 8 workouts: Define Lower Body, Define Upper Body, Sweat, Core, Buns, Strength Intervals, Drench, and Sculpt. Because I ordered the program through teambeachbody.com (versus beachbody.com) I was able to get a bonus disk called Hardcore on the Floor, which is an optional swap for Core on some of the days. There is also an extra HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) thrown in there.
Much like the other Beachbody programs, PiYo comes with a nutrition guide/eating plan to help you reach your goals. I’m trying to follow the eating plan better this go round… I may have indulged a bit on my Canadian vacation, and I’m still getting rid of the some of that week of semi-gluttony. 🙂
MONDAY – DEFINE LOWER (25 minutes)
I was soooo very excited to come home to my yoga mat Monday afternoon! The first day of PiYo you are actually scheduled to follow a video called Align: The Fundamentals. However, I was too pumped about receiving the DVDS the previous Friday and completed that video right then. 🙂 Align is an interesting video and one I wish some of the other BB programs would incorporate into their routines. Align basically teaches you the moves before you are expected to do them, also addressing form and which muscle groups upon which you should be focusing. Even having done yoga for years, I actually learned a couple of things, or rather found new ways of approaching certain poses. You only do Align once, so come Monday I jumped straight into Define Lower.
Hmm… well, I knew going into PiYo that I’m in pretty darn good shape. I’m more flexible than most, and perhaps these two points were working against this particular workout. Admittedly, I was bummed when it was done. While using lots of Warrior poses, tons of squatting, and lunges galore, I ended unsatisfied. IT WAS A GREAT WORKOUT, especially if you are just getting back into shape, but having the best leg muscles and flexibility of my life, Define Lower wasn’t close to enough intensity… at least when being compared to P90X3.
Chalene does a great job of teaching you the routine in an add-a-move format. You do one move for a while and then add a move to create a sequence. It’s all very fluid, using yoga (and yoga-ish) poses while keeping the pulsing momentum of pilates. I can see folks potentially being frustrated by not quite knowing what’s going on if they don’t have a background in yoga, but for those people I would simply suggest watching the workout first.
TUESDAY – DEFINE UPPER (35 minutes)
This is when I got bummed… According to the workout guide, Define Upper is supposed to be a 35 minute workout.
Not. Even. Close.
Define Upper literally starts where Define Lower left off. It was obviously filmed in one big session, and in editing they divided it into 2 workouts. There is no warm up, nothing preparing you for an arm workout. It just… starts. Super strange and very amateur feeling. That being said, the workout is closer to 18 or 20 minutes. The only way it would be 35 minutes is if you did Define Lower AND Upper in combination, which according to the Facebook PiYo for Women group is what a lot of people do.
Upper has some cool moves including PiYo push ups and crunch push ups, which I enjoy tremendously, but it just doesn’t push you like I’m used to after the past 5 months. Honestly, I ended the workout concerned that I was going to lose the muscle I worked so hard to build in my arms with such a pansy workout (comparatively). I can totally see lots of people being sore after this workout who are just starting out, but for anyone who already has a healthy muscle build they just aren’t going to feel the muscle fatigue needed to keep that up. It also seemed like about half of the minuscule amount of time was actually a core workout versus upper body.
All of that said, I was humbled by Define Lower. I have spoken to my incredibly bad wrists before, but PiYo (and yoga in general) is killing them. I have battled extreme tendonitis in both wrists for over a decade – the result of playing flute and typing – but the pressure on my hands is truly reaching a new level of pain. Tuesday evening I ordered a pair of WAGS Gloves, which I will blog about separately as I see how they work out.
WEDNESDAY – SWEAT
And OOOOOH did I sweat!
7 minutes into Sweat, the first drip fell from my nose. I was soaked, something that isn’t a regular occurrence for me. This redeemed PiYo in my eyes. After two consecutive days of “eh”, Sweat kicked my butt, and that was welcome.
This is flow cardio; you add to each sequence one move at a time until you have built a 4-5 move routine that doesn’t slow down, doesn’t give much time for breath, and left my wrists ACHING. I had to adjust many of the moves to, including the MANY tricep (AKA military) push ups, use my fists instead of the palms of my hands. An overabundance of low lunge moves left my hip flexors mighty sore the next day, and I am all about sore. 🙂
Immediately realizing how wonderful Sweat was, I made a decision: the two Define workouts simply won’t fly. Week one is supposed to have 2 rounds of Defines, and the wondrous agony of Sweat confirmed for me I needed something more hardcore for at least one of those rounds. Therefore, instead of a second round of Define Lower and Upper, I would replace them with Eccentric Lower and an upper body workout from P90X3. And so my PiYo/X3 Hybrid was born.
The heavens opened, the angels sang, and my shirt stank.
THURSDAY – NADA
Because I did Align the Friday before, I actually was ahead a workout for the week. An energy zapping day at work called for sushi instead.
FRIDAY – NADA
I say I did nothing. I bounced around at a band party like an idiot the first half of the day and then was attacked by a nap Friday afternoon. I’m sure I burned plenty of calories. Having completed 2 weeks of summer band and a successful week of clean eating, a Chuy’s Grandma’s Rockin’ Rita was a necessity.
The PiYo schedule had me resting on Friday, so I figured this was an acceptable swap.
SATURDAY – ECCENTRIC LOWER
A return to P90X3 was welcome. 🙂 I love that silly program! I love the dumb jokes! I love that I know what I’m doing. 🙂 You can see my write-up of Eccentric Lower here. I woke up today with sore hamstrings, sore quads, and a butt that requires a ton of pigeon today.
SUNDAY – DEFINE UPPER + 1/4 of THE CHALLENGE
Today I got to try out my new fancy gloves that arrived yesterday! My next write up will be on the gloves. I added extra reps to the PiYo arm moves, especially the crunch push ups. Even with the gloves, my wrists are sill inflamed enough that I need the power stands for my push ups. I kept them close to my yoga mat the whole time for quick use. The added reps made Define Upper closer to what I have come to expect from workout.
Still having some energy in there, I did 2 sets of regular pull ups and regular push ups followed by 2 sets of chin ups and military push ups. An added bonus of some dolphin pose and I was done.
KNOWING ALL OF THAT…
I was impressed with the cardio element but disappointed with the toning as it didn’t leave me with a tried and true burn or fatigue. I did, however, really like how much it focused on my hip flexors which are ridiculously tight. I’m excited to see what Week 2 brings as it mixes in 2 days of Core in place of the 2nd round of Define. Hopefully the gloves will help me some regained freedom on my hands again, but more time is needed before we see those results.
On to Week 2!