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PiYo Workout Review – Beachbody Workout Program by Chalene Johnson

PiYo is a fast-paced home workout program that’s inspired by aerobics, pilates and yoga. Created by world-renowned personal trainer, Chalene Johnson, PiYo is a step-by-step guide to improving your fitness from home.

Daily PiYo video sessions last 19 to 48 minutes, depending on the workout. But do they really work, and is it worth the money?

In this review, we’ll walk you through what to expect from each of the 10 workouts, and take an in-depth look at the nutrition guide.

We’ll also make some important comparisons between PiYo and other bestselling Beachbody video series’, including Cize – a hiphop dance program by personal trainer, Shaun T.

What’s Included with the PiYo Program?

  • PiYo Editable Food Tracker: This is a PDF file that can be edited online (if you have Adobe Acrobat Reader), which means there’s no need to print the sheets and write the daily serving information manually.

    The PiYo Food Tracker includes a table for each day of the week, with space to plan how many servings of each food group you’ll have at each of your 5-6 daily meals. We would love to see this made into an app, with some form of dashboard that gives an overview of your diet, but it doesn’t seem to be an option right now.

  • PiYo/P90X3 Hybrid Calendar: An 8-week program that combines workouts from PiYo and P90X3. The P90X3 workouts are designed to boost your strength and lean muscle, while PiYo workouts burn fat and increase muscle definition. Workouts are 6 days a week, with Sunday as your designated rest and recovery day.
  • PiYo/T25 Hybrid Calendar: An 8-week program that combines PiYo workouts with Focus T25 workouts. This is a better option for anyone with a busy schedule, as the Focus T25 workouts are shorter than P90X3, but deliver many of the same health benefits.
  • PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan: A comprehensive nutrition plan that fuels your workouts using a balanced diet packed with healthy and delicious foods. Also includes a guide to calculating your daily calorie target for weight loss, and a collection of 4 carefully developed meal plans. We have a complete guide to the Eating Plan later in our PiYo review.

What Exercise Equipment Do You Need?

As with most Beachbody workout programs, the amount of exercise equipment you need is minimal. Most Cize workouts require no equipment, but a Yoga mat and chair are recommended.

Strength Slides are required for the two PiYo Deluxe workouts: Full Body Blast (30 min) and Strong Legs (30 min). These are essentially discs that glide on smooth floor surfaces, designed to increase the intensity of PiYo Strength accelerated workouts workouts.

PiYo Workout Program by Beachbody

PiYo Workout Program – Features Summary

  • PiYo is a 60-day program with workouts scheduled 6 days a week
  • Workouts range from 25 to 45 minutes, with most lasting 30 minutes
  • PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga
  • Piyo cranks up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined
  • 10 easy-to-follow workouts on 3 DVDs, Quick Start Guide, Workout Calendar
  • BONUS: Get Lean Eating Plan & Tape Measure

PiYo Workout Guide

The main PiYo workout program is split into two routines: PiYo, and PiYo Strength. For each routine, the first few weeks follow the same workout plan, with a combination of upper and lower body workouts, in addition to cardio and one day of rest (Fridays).

The difference comes in week 3, where if you follow PiYo Strength, you’ll start to incorporate more of the Strength Intervals workouts into your routine.

PiYo Strength accelerates also uses Beachbody Strength Slides to increase the intensity, with a new set of workouts that increase the strength of all your major muscle groups.

Still not sure if PiYo is the best home workout plan for you? Here’s a quick guide to the workout programs.

PiYo Base Kit Workouts

1

Align: The Fundamentals (40 min.)

As with most PiYo workouts, the only equipment you need is water and a towel. You could also use a Yoga mat to improve the comfort of the floor exercises, and a chair to assist with stability and alignment.

Align is a guide to achieving the best posture, with modifiers available through the workout, which adjust each exercise to reduce the impact on your joints.

Throughout the video, you have two timers: one that counts down the duration of the workout, and one to indicate the duration of each exercise. Chalene does a great job of controlling the pace of the workout, taking time to explain how to achieve the best posture.

2

Define: Lower Body (25 min.)

Designed to strengthen all the major muscle groups in your lower body. This includes your glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads.

The main workout lasts around 20 minutes, following a 3 minute warm up. As with the Align workout, modifiers are available for anyone that’s new to health and fitness, with a reduced range of motion for exercises such as push ups, and a chair for improved stability.

Resistance for each exercise is created by your body weight. This means there’s no need to buy dumbbells or a workout bench like you would with a program like Body Beast.

3

Define: Upper Body (20 min.)

Includes exercises that target muscles in your arms, chest, shoulders, back, and core. The focus is on alignment and using your body weight to create the resistance through good form and controlled repetitions.

The pace is quicker than during the Align workout, and combines multiple body weight exercises to boost the intensity and burn more calories. This is an excellent workout for if you’re short on time.

Define: Upper Body also acts as an introduction to more challenging workouts later in the program. You’ll only perform this workout in the first few weeks of PiYo or PiYo Strength.

4

Sweat (35 min.)

Combining fast-paced yoga with challenging body weight exercises, this PiYo workout helps to burn fat and build muscle.

Sweat is the only one of the workouts you’ll perform each week of the 8-week program. This is true whether you’re following PiYo or PiYo Strength. For added variation, you’ll perform the workout on a different day each week.

The pace is a lot quicker than the Align workout, and it can take a few minutes to get used to performing the exercise combinations with correct form and posture. But many of the movements are similar to those found in the Upper Body and Lower Body workouts, which come before Sweat on the workout calendar.

5

Core (30 min.)

With its emphasis on good posture and alignment, most PiYo workouts require a large amount of core strength and stability. The Core workout program is designed to sculpt and strengthen your abs, obliques, intercostals, and lower back muscles, by training them from a variety of angles.

6

Strength Intervals (25 min.)

A workout that combines strength training with cardio, to help build endurance and burn more calories. Each body weight exercise focuses on a muscle’s time under tension to create the intensity.

One example is lunges, where you don’t stand completely after each rep, so as to keep the tension on your quads. This is combined with jogging intervals, to maintain an elevated heart rate, even when taking a break from the resistance training.

Many of the exercises are performed on the floor, such as ‘Beast’ and tricep push ups, so you might want to invest in a yoga mat to increase the comfort on your hands and knees.

7

Drench (45 min.)

A low-impact, total body workout designed to boost your metabolism and maximize calorie burn. Despite being the longest of the PiYo home workouts, Drench doesn’t require any exercise equipment, such as elliptical, exercise bike, or treadmill.

The tempo is fast-paced, with a combination of static hold yoga poses (incl. down dog), and body weight exercises, such as squats, plank and tricep push ups. Low impact ‘modifiers’ are shown throughout the video, which reduce the range of motion and impact of some exercises.

To maintain the intensity, you don’t have complete rest periods, but more restful yoga positions, such as Child’s Pose (Bālāsana), are used to relieve tension on your muscles.

8

Sculpt (30 min.)

Challenges your muscles with exercises performed at varying tempos. Requires no additional fitness equipment, but a chair is useful if you perform the modifier variation.

9

Buns (30 min.)

A 30-minute workout that strengthens, sculpts, and tightens your glute muscles.

10

Hardcore on the Floor (30 min.)

A floor-based workout targetting all upper body muscle groups, with a focus on building strength and stability in your core.

PiYo Deluxe Workouts

1

Full Body Blast (30 min.)

Designed to maximize fat burning, Full Body Blast uses Beachbody Strength Slides as part of a total body workout. The Strength Slides are supplied as standard with the PiYo Deluxe Kit, or you can find a selection of very similar products on Amazon for under $30.

Full Body Blast is one of the more advanced PiYo workouts, and scheduled mostly for month 2 of the PiYo Strength program. It isn’t included on the standard PiYo workout calendar.

The Strength Slides encourage you to use correct form with a full range of motion, and you can quickly adjust the tempo of each repetition as you get used to the movement. For safety and stability, you always have at least one heel on the floor, which helps prevent muscle strain.

2

Strong Legs (30 min.)

Another of the PiYo home workouts that requires the Strength Slides. As with Full Body Blast, Strong Legs is a workout that’s only included on the PiYo Strength workout calendar.

Many of the exercises focus on maximizing the time under tension for your quads, which means you don’t fully straighten your legs during slides. Your abs and hip adductor and abductor muscles (inner and outer thigh) are also trained with exercises such as plank and leg slides.

PiYo Pro Team

In addition to the PiYo and PiYo Deluxe workouts, you can also choose to follow one of the workouts created by one of the PiYo PRO Team. This includes a power and strength routine from Michelle Olsen, and a 1-hour total body workout taught by PiYo PRO Team Instructor, Melissa McAllister.

At the time of writing this PiYo review, Beachbody on Demand had 11 of the Pro Team workouts to choose from, each lasting between 30 and 65 minutes.

PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan

Whether your goal is to burn fat, build lean muscle, or simply stay healthy, it’s important to combine your PiYo workouts with a balanced diet, packed with nutritious foods.

The Get Lean eating plan doesn’t tell you to follow super low calorie diets, or restrict yourself to only eating low carb foods. The emphasis is very much on creating a realistic balance that works for you.

1

Calculating Target Calories for Weight Loss

If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll need to maintain a caloric deficit. This means your net caloric intake is less than your body needs to maintain its current weight.

This can be through diet, by reducing the number of calories to around 500 per day below your maintenance level, or through fitness, where you burn calories to create the deficit. But usually it’s a combination of both.

The PiYo eating plan helps you first calculate your caloric baseline, by multiplying your current weight in pounds by 11. So if you weigh 120 lbs, your caloric baseline would be 1320 calories per day.

There’s actually three stages to find your calorie target, but the last two seem a little counter-intuitive.

Stage 2 is to take your caloric baseline and add 400 to calculate your maintenance calories. Stage 3 then asks you to take 600 calories from the total, to determine your calorie target.

So, you can actually combine these two stages and take 200 from your 1320 caloric baseline, and end up with the same result!

One piece of important advice that’s included in the eating plan is to never drop your daily intake below 1200 calories.

2

Choosing the Foods that Match Your Calorie Target

The PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan has created 4 different meal plans, each designed to meet a specific calorie intake range.

Rather than using the concept of 3 square meals per day, PiYo uses a serving system, where you can eat servings of different types of foods throughout the day.

Plan A
  • Calorie target between 1,200 and 1,399.
  • Primary Vegetables: 4 servings
  • Secondary Vegetables and Grains: 2 servings
  • Fresh Fruit: 2 servings
  • Lean Protein: 4 servings
  • Healthy Fats: 3 servings

Plan C

  • Calorie target between 1,600 and 1,799.
  • Primary Vegetables: 6 servings
  • Secondary Vegetables and Grains: 2 servings
  • Fresh Fruit: 3 servings
  • Lean Protein: 6 servings
  • Healthy Fats: 4 servings
Plan B
  • Calorie target between 1,400 and 1,599.
  • Primary Vegetables: 5 servings
  • Secondary Vegetables and Grains: 2 servings
  • Fresh Fruit: 2 servings
  • Lean Protein: 5 servings
  • Healthy Fats: 4 servings

Plan D

  • Calorie target between 1,800+
  • Primary Vegetables: 6 servings
  • Secondary Vegetables and Grains: 3 servings
  • Fresh Fruit: 3 servings
  • Lean Protein: 7 servings
  • Healthy Fats: 4 servings

One thing PiYo won’t tell you is which specific foods to buy from which brands. But they do advise following the macronutrient ratio of 40% carbs, 35% protein, and 25% fat.

This is so that you have enough energy to complete your workouts, but also lose weight and build lean muscle. The fat level may seem high, but this is healthy fats from sources such as specific types of cheese, nuts, and oils.

So you know how many servings you need per day, but which specific foods you should aim for?

3

Choosing Foods you Want to Eat

PiYo does an excellent job of breaking down the diet plan into useful stages. This makes it incredibly easy to put together a realistic shopping list of the best foods for weight loss and muscle gain.

The eating plan even tells you how much of each food counts as a serving!

For each of the food groups we listed above, PiYo gives dozens of examples for the foods that are included. There are lists for primary vegetables, secondary vegetables & grains, fresh fruit, lean protein, and healthy fats.

But healthy cooking and food prep doesn’t have to be bland and flavourless. PiYo has a list of flavors and sauces that you can use as much as you like. This includes hot sauce, tea, vinegars, fresh and dry herbs, and lemon and lime juice.

Hydration is also important. The PiYo Eating Plan recommends drinking at least half your weight, in ounces, every day. So, if you weigh 120 lbs, drink 60 ounces of water.

Beachbody, LLC is also the owner of Shakeology, which is why you’ll often see recommendations to supplement your diet with different Shakeology recipes. The advertising isn’t over the top, but expect to see Shakeology commercials and promotion throughout all Beachbody workout programs.

Sample Daily Eating Plan

PiYo Healthy Eating Plan Sample Day of Meals

Tracking Your Transformation

In addition to the food guide, the PiYo Healthy Eating Plan also has a section dedicated to helping you track your progress.

This mainly comes down to tracking your measurements, such as your chest, arms, legs, and waist, but can be a great way to motivate yourself to stay on track with the program.

Another great source of motivation is the Team Beachbody Club, which is a website packed with useful resources, such as personalized meal plans and message boards to talk to other members following the PiYo workout program.

Team Beachbody also gives you access to a free personal support Coach, who can answer any questions you may have and provide added encouragement.

If you love the results from PiYo but miss the social side of gym classes, you can discover if there are PiYo classes close to you, at PiYoClass.com.

How Much Does PiYo Cost?

If you were wondering about the price of PiYo, expect to pay around $73 for the Base Kit. This includes the DVDs, training schedule, Get Lean Eating Plan, workout calendar, quick start guide, and tape measure.

The PiYo Deluxe Kit is an upgraded version of the Base Kit. In addition to everything you get in the base kit, Deluxe also includes 2 exclusive workouts, Beachbody Strength Slides with Booties, and a Yoga Mat. This is usually priced closer to $145.

An alternative to the physical Base Kit is to stream the workout and nutrition program online, via Beachbody On Demand.

On Demand is a subscription service, whereby you sign up to a membership option that gives you access to:

  • Over 600 Beachbody workout programs
  • All-access to every beachbody workout
  • Fitness guides & workout calendars
  • Meal plans & recipes
  • Free personal coach
  • Access to fitness & nutrition experts

The most affordable membership level is $39 for 3 months, which also includes a FREE 14-day trial. The 6-month plan is $59, and the cheapest 12-month plan costs $99, saving $57 over the quarterly billing.

A 12-month membership includes the portion fix container system and a 30-day supply of Shakeology supplements. This is in addition to the all-access subscription you get to the online workout material and nutrition guides.

Unfortunately, a subscription to On Demand doesn’t include any of the exercise equipment you get with the PiYo Deluxe Kit.

Customer Reviews – Does PiYo Work?

An important part of any PiYo review is to consider the feedback from other people who have used the program.

Did they find it good value for money? Is the pace of the workouts easy to keep up with? How quickly did they see results? These are all important questions, and can help you decide if PiYo is the best home workout program for your fitness goals.

But reading through dozens of customer reviews can be time consuming, which is why we’ve created a quick reference guide to the pros and cons. These are taken from the hundreds of reviews currently available on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Workouts feature fast-paced, high energy exercise
  • Bodyweight exercises means there’s minimal impact on your joints and tendons
  • The eight-week home workout can be repeated if you don’t reach your goals during the first cycle
  • Workout routines range from 19 to 48 minutes long, making it easy to fit them into a busy schedule
  • Being inspired by Yoga and Pilates means there’s no jumping or weight lifting involved
  • Ability to boost your motivation at no extra cost, by communicating with a Beachbody Coach and other members of the PiYo program
  • No need for complex and expensive workout equipment. A towel and yoga mat are all you need to complete each PiYo workout
  • Great for keeping fit while you travel – Convenient to follow the fitness routines anywhere in the world, by streaming the videos with Beachbody On Demand
  • Combined with the PiYo Get Lean Eating Plan, you have a complete guide to the workouts and nutrition required to get the best results
  • Fast weight loss and body sculpting – Many people experience excellent results in as little as 21 days
  • Many excellent reports about how effective the Drench and Sculpt videos are
  • PiYo Live classes are now available across much of the country, if you prefer to workout as part of class
  • Strength training, cardio, and stretching in a single workout

Cons:

  • The PiYo workout program isn’t for everyone. If you have a pre-existing neck injury, you may find it difficult to perform some of the weight bearing exercises.
  • A few of the reviewers that were new to fitness routines had difficulty keeping up with the pace of workouts, due to learning the exercise form. Others found the videos a little slow, so they’re best suited to people with an intermediate level of fitness.
  • Commercials for Shakeology and other Beachbody products. In addition to the main workouts, PiYo DVDs and the nutrition plan contained too many advertisements for some people.
  • A small number of customers had technical issues with the DVDs. This was usually due to a disc being scratched, which meant part of the workout was skipped or the video would freeze. They were still able to stream the workouts online. The return period on DVDs is around 60 days.
PiYo is a fast-paced home workout program that's inspired by aerobics, pilates and yoga. Created by world-renowned personal trainer, Chalene Johnson, PiYo is a step-by-step guide to improving your fitness from home. Daily PiYo video sessions last 19 to 48 minutes, depending on the workout. But do they really work, and is it worth the money? In this review, we'll walk you through what to expect from each of the 10 workouts, and take an in-depth look at the nutrition guide. We'll also make some important comparisons between PiYo and other bestselling Beachbody video series', including Cize - a hiphop…

PiYo Review Summary

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

Overall, the structure of the workout calendar and nutrition plan is easy to follow, and incredibly effective. The nutrition side is balanced enough to be realistic, and Chalene does a great job of introducing each exercise, with modifiers to assist anyone new to such a routine.

PiYo doesn't have the same high-intensity dance style as Cize, but it can still help you strengthen and tone all the major muscle groups.

The duration of most PiYo workouts also means it's perfect for anyone with a busy schedule. Most last just 20-30 minutes, but because of the constant movement and short rest periods, you can still experience great results.

So, if you're looking for a home workout that builds bulk and muscle, Body Beast or P90X would be a better choice.

But if your goal is to improve posture, coordination, and stability, in addition to muscle tone, strength, and fat loss, PiYo is, in our opinion, the best home workout available.