A few months ago one of my friends posted on Facebook that she was going to be teaching a new workout class at a local gym called PiYo. I was intrigued, and wanted to add something in on my off time outside of my personal training sessions and cardio. I’ve tried several different types of group exercise in the past- pilates, yoga, barre, and zumba… but I’ve never really loved any of them.
Zumba was a lot of fun, but man I am a terrible dancer. I loved the high energy, the loud music… but I have a really hard time mirror-ing the moves that fast and keeping up. I kinda felt like pilates, yoga, and barre were for “skinny” girls. You know… the girls you see at the gym that don’t look like they need to be doing a workout. I never really felt like I fit in to the mold of those types of classes. I’m all for long, lean muscles… but I also want to build strength as well, not just be skinny.
I decided to give PiYo a try to see what was different about it; honestly since I’m not in the Shakeology crowd, I had no idea who Chalene Johnson (the creator) is or what the hype was about. I’m not going to lie- 20 minutes into the first class I thought I would never come back. I’m used to my personal training sessions where my trainer is throwing crazy moves and lifts at me, and where I am constantly moving and changing, typically burning between 450-600 calories. PiYo was very different from that, I would best describe it as “intense stretching”.
Imagine my surprise when I checked my Polar Heart Rate Monitor (affiliate link) at the end of the class and I burned 480 calories! I couldn’t believe it because it didn’t require any hard-core cardio, weights, or jumps. I felt amazing after. I was surprisingly sweaty, and my muscles felt great. It was the perfect stretch to work out my sore muscles from my lifting sessions, and it really challenged my flexibility. PiYo is the strong girl workout.
What is PiYo?
“PiYo isn’t like standard Pilates and yoga classes that make you hold long, intense poses, or lead you through dozens of repetitive, microscopic core movements. PiYo speeds everything up—including your results—by introducing you to dynamic, flowing sequences that can burn serious calories at the same time as they lengthen and tone your muscles and increase your flexibility
With every action-packed PiYo session, you can burn excess fat and sculpt and define your whole body, as you minimize the aches and pains that can come along with high-impact workouts. No matter your age, no matter your body type, PiYo will help give you dramatically visible, incredibly beautiful results.
PiYo takes you through low-impact stretching, strengthening, and bodyweight resistance-based exercises that promote lean muscle development. But, the fast, flowing pace increases the intensity so you’re not just sculpting and defining every muscle—you’re burning major calories and fat!”
Bodyweight resistance-based exercises are no joke- sometimes those are my most difficult workouts with my trainer (hello squats and push-ups). I have noticed major improvements in my flexibility since doing PiYo for the past two months, and even my trainer noticed my push-ups are getting better.
Another big, big reason I love PiYo is how it has helped me rehabilitate my ankle. I severely sprained my right ankle 10 years ago, and again two years ago that put me in a walking boot for months. I was going to physical therapy weekly, but never really saw improvement in my range of motion or ankle stability. I wear a brace every time I run and lift, and my doctor really wanted me to wear it 24/7 (yeah, right). Because we do PiYo with bare feet on mats, and because it is so low impact, I decided to try it without my brace. Since I’ve been doing that, my ankle has improved dramatically. I can feel (and see) the scar tissue breaking up and my stability and strength in that ankle has increased. This is a major, major win for PiYo in my book.
If you are local to DFW: check out Heather’s PiYo class at Fitness Now on Rufe Snow Drive. Her class is super fun with great music and strobe lights. It’s seriously all ages, shapes, and sizes. She can also get you going with Shakeology if you’re interested, or how to order the PiYo DVDs at home if you’re not local, and she offers great coaching and fitness groups on Facebook.