Monday, July 21, 2014

PiYo: Strength Intervals Review

Week three of PiYo finished up with a new workout, Strength Intervals. This workout is 22 minutes in length and alternates between cardio intervals and strength training moves that use your body for resistance. 

The workout is divided into three sections, plus a warm-up and cool down. Overall, the focus is more on the lower body that upper body. For the most part, the cardio sections are low impact though some jogging and burpees add a small degree of impact. Of course, you can always follow Michelle and do the workout completely non-impact.

In general, the cardio sections are short and not extremely challenging. Chalene has you start with a move and build in intensity (for both the cardio and strength segments). The intervals all seemed to be less than a minute long, so they flew by -- just when you're getting uncomfortable, you switch from doing cardio to strength of vice versa. I do, in a way, wish that the intervals had been a little bit longer and more strenuous (increasing the length of the workout overall), but I certainly understand the appeal of a 20ish minute workout, especially for those just starting to workout or people tight on time.

My favorite part of this workout was how it seemed to really incorporate all of the elements of PiYo: flexibility, cardio, and strength. As you read through the moves list you'll see there is a little something for everyone!

Squat, 3-Count
Add knee lift
Squat > knee lift
Squat with arm circles > 2 lunges
Repeat (alt. lead)
PiYo Cross
Relax down
Calf stretch

Jogging side to side
Turn to side > jog > turn to front > jog
Deep lunge > toe tap
Deep lunge (hold)
Repeat from jogging (high knees, alt. lead)
Add one arm reach, wider skate
Bowlers lunge > toe tap
Bowlers lunge (hold)

Toe tap back
Add hop
Add jumping lunge
Squat slow
Squat hold
Repeat series
Wide sumo squat
Rock off alternating feet
Squat with pulse
Squat with Single arm, single leg Burpee
Squat to double Burpee
Add jack to Burpee
Lunge pulse
4-count push-ups
Single-count push-ups
Down dog

Lower to plank
Beast (This move has you on all fours. Lift your knees from the floor balancing your weight evenly on both arms and feet)
Down dog
Down dog
Jumping low lunges with pulse
Slow Tricep push-ups, legs wide
8-count down, push-up for 4 > down dog
Repeat series to Tricep push-ups
Kick through
One-count beast to kick through
Child's pose

Down dog
Walk back hands
Roll up
Side stretch
Flat back down, round up
Reach forward, quad stretch
Lift arms, deep breath
Half bend

I definitely like the variety in this quick workout. As I mentioned before, you move quickly from section to section, so there is no fear of getting bored. The workout is finished almost before you know it. 

The moves are all ones that we've seen before in other workouts. My favorite parts of the workout are probably the burpees and the section with Beast. The entire Legs section is fairly basic; however, it's nice to see stretching segments worked in with cardio. (Though in my option this is done much more effectively in Focus T25: Speed 1.0.)

I have noticed Beachbody, the company that puts out PiYo, moving to shorted workouts, such as Focus T25 and P90X3, which are 25 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. The PiYo workouts are also short. Almost all of them clock in at between 20 - 30 minutes. I am not against short workouts -- I love to do a P90X3 workout on a cardio day for some supplemental strength training. However, I hope Beachbody continues to put out some more of the more challenging longer-length programs, like Insanity: The Asylum.

If you are looking for the most bang for your buck time-wise, I would recommend Focus T25 and P90X3 over PiYo. Those two workouts are a bit more challenging and seem to feel like a more complete workout. I would probably rate T25 highest based on my personal proclivity for the instructor Shaun T over P90X3's instructor Tony Horton. However, if you're interested more on strength do P90X3 and if you're more interested in doing cardio to T25. I think PiYo is best for people who have real limitations with their exercise, such as injuries, or are getting into exercise for the first time. The moves are basic and everyone can feel successful doing them. 

I'm now entering week four of PiYo. Up next will be two new workouts, Hardcore on the Floor and Drench. Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Anniversary Adventures: Mount Norwottuck and Jacob's Pillow

July 17, 2014 was Seth and my 4-year anniversary. To celebrate, we took the day off from work and spent a lovely day enjoying the wonderful weather and each other's company.

One of our main activities for the day was a lovely hike along the M+M trail up Mount Norwottuck. Amherst and the surrounding towns boasts a ton of conservation land and loads of trails. For example, the Robert Frost Trail is less than half a mile away from my door, and I run along there all the time. I was excited to check out some new trails in the area.

We started our hike at the Mount Holyoke Range Notch Visitors Center.

We took a quick tour of the Visitors Center, which offered some brief exhibits, before beginning our hike. We had plans to climb to the top of Mount Norwottuck, the highest point in the Mount Holyoke range at 1,100 feet. We were starting at probably around 800 feet, so this would be a relaxed and fun hike.

We planned to take the M+M trail up the mountain and come back a different way, taking the M+M trail father out past the summit, walking through the Horse Caves, and then returning back to the Notch along the Robert Frost Trail. The hike would be around 3.5 miles through some lovely trails.

Our relaxed hike went great. The trails were easy to follow and perfect for someone wanting a nice walk without too much difficulty.

It took us around forty minutes to get to the summit. The views were amazing! We could even see the UMass library clearly in the distance.

One of the most exciting parts of our hike was the return trip which took us through the Horse Caves. These were more of a rocky outcropping than deep caves where one might go spelunking, but it was a very cool area to get to explore and climb around.

We returned from our hike at around 1:00 and were ready for some lunch. We decided to head up to Mount Pollux, where we had a picnic lunch.

Mount Pollux is another conservation area in Amherst and one of the most lovely spots around. For the non-hiker, you can drive right up and enjoy the sights and scenery without any extra effort.

We finished our anniversary with a lovely dinner at the Lumber Yard restaurant in Amherst and a movie at the Amherst Cinema. A wonderful day!

Our second adventure of the week happened yesterday. The long-awaited trip to Jacob's Pillow. Located about an hour away in the town of Becket in the Berkshires, Jacob's Pillow is home to the oldest dance festival around. It's also a mecca for dance with educational components, such as classes, and rehearsal space for dance troupes to come and do retreats.

We had tickets to see Ballet 2014, a performance put on by some of the best New York City Ballet dancers coordinated and featuring Daniel Ulbricht, a NYC Ballet principal dancer. The show was at 2:00 p.m., but we arrived a little bit early so that we could walk around and enjoy the area.

Our trip to Jacob's Pillow was during the dance festival. There were lots of free things to enjoy. We got to check out an exhibit of old movie posters that featured dance.

During the festival, there are free talks and free outdoor performances in addition to the performances you can purchase tickets for. After wandering around, we headed back to the Ted Shawn Theatre to take our seats for Ballet 2014.

The performance was absolutely amazing! Seth said it was the best ballet he had ever seen. He's used to seeing a lot of the classical ballet (think Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and ballerinas in tutus) and was really excited to see some slightly different and more modern works.

The performance was about an hour and a half, including an intermission. The first half of the program featured five shorter works. Furiant, Pas de Duex from Two Hearts, Liturgy, Opus 19 Andante, and Sunshine. The most stand out pieces were the pas de duex from Two Hearts and Sunshine. The pas de duex was amazingly emotive and flawlessly performed. The music was a very interesting almost folk-inspired song with words. I am not a ballet critic by any means, so it's hard for me to describe how excellent this piece was. The performance of Sunshine by Daniel Ulbricht was a ball of energy and technically masterful. It was a short piece, but I think it stole every one's breath!

The second half was one ballet, Fancy Free, which was a fun and energetic story about three sailors on shore leave. The ballet had been performed in the mid-40s and not since. It was a fun period piece with a lot of lighthearted humor, seemingly well suited for a summer show at Jacob's Pillow.

After Ballet 2014, we headed over to the Inside/Out theatre, where you can see performances for free. The group there (which I believe was from the school at Jacob's Pillow) was performing some very modern ballet with "Thriller" inspired music and zombie-like moves. It was very interesting to watch.

I cannot say enough about the fantastic trip we had to Jacob's Pillow. I definitely want to go again next year. I know that they offer discounted tickets to individuals under 35 for Friday night performances, so I might look into that for next year. Jacob's Pillow certainly seems like a very special place and a must-see location for anyone who enjoys dance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

PiYo: Buns Review

Last night, I got to experience a new PiYo workout, (the unfortunately named) Buns. Poor name aside, I have to say that this was probably the PiYo workout that felt most effective so far. All of the moves are body weight exercises focused on the legs. You'll be doing tons of squats and lunges, which are, in my mind, the best way to work the legs.

In some ways, the Buns workout, especially this part, reminded me a little of a "friendlier" version of P90X3: Eccentric Lower. I don't mean, easier. I mean more approachable. PiYo is probably best for beginners, and Buns is a great lower body workout for someone who doesn't want to worry about counting reps or figuring out what weights they need to use. All of the exercises in Buns just use your body, you can follow the modifier, Michelle, and it's easy to make things easier (just don't go so low). Buns is also great because it's, as far as I can tell, the only workouts in PiYo that you can actually make harder by going really deep in your lunges and squats. I do a fair amount of leg work and definitely still felt my legs shaking a little bit at the end.

I especially liked the glute work that was in this workout. The Last Blast section was devoted to working just the glutes. Lots of running injuries are traced to "lazy" glutes and for many people who sit all day, it's hard to get the glute muscles activated. I admit that I probably don't use my glutes as much as I should when doing squats and lunges. Floor work that carefully isolates the glute muscles is a huge help. 

The workout finished with a stretch section. The hamstrings got a good stretch and the glutes and hip were stretched by doing pigeon back in the Last Blast section, but I wish there had been a nice quad stretch. After all, squats especially seem to work the quads. 

Here's the moves list from the workout to give you an even better idea of what to expect.

Circle arms
Reach arms over shoulders
Stepping lunge front and back
PiYo CrossFan arms & fold & half-lift
Bend knee, stretch

Narrow squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges (lunge four times -- forward, to the side, diagonally to the rear, and directly back)
Squat and sumo down and up
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Wide squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges
Burpee with jack
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Sumo pliƩ squat
-Add three pulses
-Add bowler lunge
Clockwork lunges
Burpee with jack
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Half lift & bend knee(s)

4-count backward lunge
4-count bowler lunge and tap
4-count back lunge with T arms, knee lift
4-count Bowler and tap
4-count bowlers with side knee raise
Alternating bowlers
Wide sumo squat
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Hands to thigh
Lift tailbone

On all fours
Leg back & side & back & knee tucks in
Leg back & circle
Leg back & tap toe
Down on elbows in low plank
Knee in & leg out and up
Elbow plank & leg up & tap toe
Swing legs around
Leg over knee
Lie back into Bridge 
Leg out more, toes up
Legs together & circle
Repeat series (alt. lead)

Seated hamstring stretch (each leg separately)
Double seated hamstring stretch
Wide straddle
Arm reach to each side
Cross ankles / soles of feet together
Knees into chest & round back

One important note about Buns is that it is definitely not a workout that promotes flexibility. This is resistant training (using your body-weight) plain and simple. Define: Lower Body had more of a yoga-feel with stretching and balance. Buns is all about toning. The moves in this workout are those you might see in a traditional aerobics or boot-camp class; they did not have that Pilates/yoga feel. Instead, this was more of a traditional workout for the legs. The moves were, overall, fairly simple -- squats and lunges -- which is good because that's what works. Buns is a good introduction to leg work because you don't have to worry about reps or fancy equipment. I think this is one of the more solid workouts in the program and good for a variety of fitness levels.

Friday, July 11, 2014

PiYo: Core Review

Yesterday, I got to check out a new PiYo workout, Core. This was a 30 minute workout that focused on your abs and back.

I think we can all agree that half an hour is a decent time to spend just on the core, but Chalene, as with the other PiYo workouts, keeps this beginner-friendly with frequent breaks. There wasn't any point where I felt like I might collapse because the workout was non-stop. We kept the reps low and went back into Child's Pose frequently.

There were six parts to the workout. The most ab-specific, were the exercises done on the back and side (see Supine & Side Plank). We did a lot sets of criss-cross, which really works the abs. The side plank moves are all ones that we've seen in earlier workouts, like Sweat. I am really starting to get the hang of the PiYo Pike and find I can really tuck my hips under quite well in side-plank.

The section of the workout that introduced the most new moves was the penultimate one, PiYo Pedal and Punter. The new move here was the Punter. In this move you are in plank with one leg down. You bring your other leg up to the side towards the elbow and then kick it out. I don't have great hip mobility, and I was a challenge getting that leg up there! This is one move where I will need to practice to get my alignment in good shape -- it's an awkward motion to be sure.

Here is the moves list for the workout. You can see how much ab work is involved. Chalene does a good job of mixing up the types of ab work that you do -- standing, on the back, on the side -- so that you are working different muscles throughout.

Curl down, lift up
Roll down & All fours
Round back up and down
Neutral posture
Tuck knee & extend leg (then alt. lead)
Crouching down dog & down dog (repeat)
Down dog
Walk feet to hands, roll up

Standing crunches
Add a tap
Add knee up
Bring leg behind & bend in rainbow position
Three bends, then tap
Single bend, single tap
Knee up, contract
Arms down
Life arms, bend down, raise up
Repeat series (alt. lead)

Down dog
Lift leg, open up hips
Tap ankle, lift again
Knee forward, lift again
Knee forward & knee outside
Knees to the mat
Elbow plank
One knee down
Other knee to outside x4
Whole leg outside x4
Child's pose
Repeat series (alt. lead)
Side plank
Reach to front, lower arm and lower hip
PiYo Pike
Child's pose
Repeat series (alt. lead)

Lie back, hands behind head
Lift and slightly bend knees
+ push on thighs
+ reach arms
Lie down, neutral position
Raise arms straight up
Slow roll-up (8-count)
Side plank
Reach overhead & lower down hips
PiYo Pike
PiYo roll down
Repeat entire series (alt. lead)

Pedal legs
Pedal while rising and falling
Swing around to all-fours
Side plank with one knee down
Reach up
Reach leg back & pull forward and tuck
Turn tuck into kick (PUNT!)
Repeat side plank series (alt. lead)
Child's pose

Go to all-fours
Cat cow
Round back
Thread the needle (then alt. lead)
Round back
Sweep legs around
V-sit with feet on ground
Bend and round back
Sit cross-legged

Like all of the PiYo workouts, I think Core works as a supplemental workout to compliment other exercise you might be doing. Except for in the case of beginners, I don't feel that PiYo on it's own would be enough of a workout for weight loss or for developing muscle, depending on your focus.

My favorite part about the Core workout was that I saw some ab exercises that I don't do all the time, such as the Punt and Side Plank moves. There was a lot of criss-cross, which I do all the time, but I find this to be a really effective exercise, so I think it was well placed.

Overall, I feel about this workout like I do most of the PiYo workouts: It's okay. I like it. It's helpful to do something that I wouldn't normally do -- something easier -- but it's not the most effective workout I can imagine. I find myself liking the workouts that focus on dynamic stretching, like Define: Lower Body, the most since that is really what I need from a supplemental program at this point (since I am training hard for the Spartan Beast). The longer workouts, such as Sweat, are better for someone wanting to make this their only workout for the day. Even so, I think Sweat, the longest and "hardest" workout I've done in the program so far, is not what I'd feel is enough for a complete workout.

The main benefit that I feel I've gotten from PiYo is that I certainly feel less tight in my legs. I do think that the dynamic stretching movement, especially in Define: Lower Body, is helping keep my hips healthy and open. That's great considering I've been doing a lot of running. The workouts that focus more on toning, such as Definite: Upper Body and Core might be a nice bonus on weight training day, but I don't think they are a substitute for true resistance training.

Next week, the workout schedule calls for trying out two new workouts, Buns and Strength Intervals. I'm interested to see how those go!

Monday, July 7, 2014

PiYo: Sweat Review

I'm finally writing up my thoughts on the four workout on the PiYo calendar, Sweat. At just under forty minutes, this was the longest PiYo workout I had done to date and certainly the one that felt most like a traditional workout. Sweat was more intense and featured lots of movement. It felt less like a stretch and more like what I was expecting from PiYo all along -- a non-impact workout that has a lot of flowing movement in the tradition of yoga.

You could definitely tell that Sweat was not a traditional aerobics workout, and I would say that, strictly speaking, this is not cardio. My heart-rate got up a little in parts but overall was at a fairly modest level. All of the stretching in this workout was dynamic, much like the other workouts, but I felt like we moved even more quickly through the moves, which increased the difficulty level.

The longer length of the workout allowed us to balance working both upper and lower body all in one workout, which I really liked. The workout was made up of six sections. The first two, the warm-up and heat, were similar from past workouts. The leg workout was also similar to what we did in Define: Lower Body, but felt more dynamic and less like a stretch. I definitely see how PiYo would be a good way to improve flexibility through dynamic stretching.

Circle arms, bend knees, one arm up n' over
Chair Pose & Lunge
PiYo Cross
Inhale up, exhale half fold
Bend knees
Repeat Series

Half lift
Go to knees, feet lifted
Slow Tricep push-ups
Down Dog & Crouch and Lift
Runner's Lunge (each leg) then repeat each
Fan up, half fold
Up dog
Down dog
Lunge back
Half fold
Tricep push-ups
Down dog
Step in
Windmill x2
Chair x2
Repeat Series

Runner's Lunge
Knee Lift
Repeat lunge and lift
Warrior 3
High Lunge & Drop arms and lower
Warrior 3
High Lunge
3 Point Balance
Crouching Crow
Side Lunge
Runner's Balance
Side to Side Skate
Repeat Series, alt. lead

Up dog
Down dog
Slow feet back, roll up to standing
PiYo Push-up
Lift into open leg split
Tap ankles
Knee extend to the side
Lift into open leg split
Down dog / Child's Pose
Crouching Dog dog
Crouching push-up
Child's Pose
Roll up
Repeat Series, alt. lead

Runner's Lunge & Frog stance
Pulse Squat
Tap Floor and Lift
Extend up onto toes
Add Burpee (Note: The burpee was probably the most "difficult" part of the workout. Since the burpee is technically a move with impact, you'll have to follow the modifier, Michelle, to do this section completely non-impact.)
Repeat Series
Pulse Squat

Slow Tricep push-up
Pigeon, alt. lead
Slow Tricep push-up
Walk hand back to feet
Wide leg stretch
Walk back to plank
Standard push-up
Wide leg stretch, alt. lead
Walk back to wide plank
Tricep push-ups, legs wide
Runner's stretch
Standard push-ups
Runner's lunge, alt. lead
Standard push-ups
Lower to knees & Child's Pose

This workout made me see how you could get a good workout and still work on stretching through dynamic continuous movement that didn't pound on your body. I don't think you'll see the same changes with PiYo as you would from, say, Insanity or going for a run. But if more of the workout are like Sweat, I could see someone getting some light toning from this. I also think that for less experienced exercisers, the rewards might be even more in terms of this workout seeming like a cardiovascular and strength challenge. For regular exercisers, this is a nice way to get in some stretching and still feel like you're working out. I can't see it replacing my regular workouts, but it's a nice addition to my program as I try to work on feeling less stiff and more flexible.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

PiYo: Define: Upper Body Review

Day three of PiYo is in the books with Define: Upper Body. This 20 minute workout (incorrectly listed as 35 minutes on the DVD packaging) is the companion to Define: Lower Body. Define: Upper Body is a good mix of yoga and pilates moves. Though it's advertised as an upper body workout that focuses on the arms, I would say around half of the workout targets the core.

More than Define: Lower Body, I think that this workout could actually bring about some change in the upper body. You do find yourself holding plank and side plank (otherwise known as t-stand) positions for a bit of time. Chalene transitions between moves fairly quickly, like in the other workouts. This means that you're only ever doing around four reps. I found that we were moving on at just the moment when things started to feel challenging. Keep in mind though that if you are just getting started with upper body and core exercises, you might find this perfect for you.

Here is the moves list for Define: Upper Body. The workout is comprised of three sections and mixes yoga and pilates moves working the upper body and abs with equal measure.

-Round back to lifted tailbone
-Child's Pose
-Slow Tricep push-ups (Note: Chalene advises you to do these on your knees this first time so that you can warm-up.)
-Child's Pose
-Walk Hands back, slow roll up
-PiYo Push-up Series (Note: This is a move that we reviewed in Align: The Fundamentals. From standing, roll down, walk out into plank moving your hands right, left, right. Do three tricep push-ups and walk back. Roll up to standing.)
-Elbow Plank
-Pike > Plank
-Walk in, lower to knees, sit on mat, lean back
-Criss-Cross (Otherwise known as Bicycle -- this move works your abs and obliques)
-Lie down, press lower back into hands
-PiYo roll-up (With arms overhead roll up into a seated position, stretch forward towards your toes and then roll down)
-PiYo Pedal / Balance (This is done in a v-sit position. pedal your feet back and forth. Chalene had the cast doing this while supporing your legs with your hand. This certainly makes things easier and also takes the tension out of the hipflexors.)

-Side Plank (Otherwise known as a t-stand)
-PiYo Pike (From the Side Plank position, you tuck your raised arm under your body, twisting and bringing your abs and hips up.)
-Child's Pose
-Repeat from Plank on the opposite side
-Swing around to sitting
-Roll back and forth (In V-sit, holding your legs with your hands at 90-degrees, roll back onto your spine and up to sitting. For a more advanced version, try straightening your legs.)
-Beast (In table top, lift you knees off the floor and support yourself evenly with your legs and arms.)
-Kick Out (From Beast, turn to the side kicking one leg through and raising the opposite arm.)
-Plank / Child's Pose
-Child's Pose

-Tricep push-ups
-Plank, hope into crouching position
-Crouching Push-ups
-Child's Pose
-Tricep push-ups
-Child's Pose



All in all, I would say that this workout provides slightly more of a challenge than Definite: Lower Body. For both, I am still not seeing the cardio element yet.


With Define: Lower Body, I could see myself doing that workout again as a good stretch. I'm not sure if I would integrate Define: Upper Body in my workout schedule in the same way. It certainly doesn't provide a stretch if you're tight from doing other upper body work, but it doesn't seem quite challenging enough to serve as a stand-alone workout if you really want to work your arms and core.


I am looking forward to checking out the Sweat workout tomorrow. The workout promises to be a "traditional PiYo" workout and is 40 minutes in length. I'm looking foward to seeing with PiYo is really about and getting my cardio fix with a bit of a stretch!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

PiYo: Define: Lower Body Review

Today I tried the second workout on the PiYo calendar, Define: Lower Body. This workout promised to be a leg-centric 20 minute workout. Define: Lower Body incorporated lots of the yoga moves that were reviewed in Align: The Fundamentals.

One of the things that stuck out for me in this workout was the sense of flow; we were not holding moves for quite as long as you might in a traditional yoga workout. That being said, I definitely wouldn't say this workout had any cardio-flavor. It was yoga, pure and simple.

What made it work for me -- a definite non-yoga person -- was the constant movement which helped keep me focused and left me feeling stretched but not over stretched, as is sometimes the case when I do yoga. I came to this workout with fairly tired legs after doing a run with hill repeats and burpees earlier today. PiYo definitely helped me release my muscles. At just twenty minutes, this workout is a perfect supplement to any strength training or cardio day that leaves you feeling a little tight.

The workout started with a quick warm-up and consisted of four sections. Below I have the move lists for the workout. As you can see they are heavily yoga inspired. The Warrior Series, for example, matches almost exactly the yoga moves practiced in Align: The Fundamentals.

-Bend knees, circle arms
-Reach over side-bend, other arm down
-PiYo Cross: squat, round and open your arms and back
-Fold over
-Roll up into Best Posture


-Fan up, hold, bend over
-Plank, lower knees, raise feet
-Slow tricep push-ups
-Down Dog
-Step in, roll up
-Chaturanga, Tricep push-up, Up Dog
-Down Dog
-High Lunge, lower and lift
-Low Lunge / Runner's Lunge
-Down Dog
-Repeat from High Lunge on opposite side

-Warrior 1, lift and lower
-Warrior 2, lift and lower
-Low Lunge
-Repeat Series, same side
-Down Dog / Child's Pose
-Repeat Warrior Series on opposite side

(Note: I'm not sure why we did one side twice and the other side once for this series. Kind of an odd thing.)


-Pyramid stretch
-Warrior 3
-Half Moon
-Three Point, Crouching Crow (three times)
-Repeat Balance Series on opposite side

(Note: This was definitely the most challenging part of the workout. It reminded me a lot of a sequence in P90X3 X3 Yoga where I often used a wall for balance. Warrior 3 and Half Moon work your standing leg a lot. Chalene mentions the options to take breaks, which I used to sometimes have to do in X3 Yoga. In PiYo, we move quickly enough that this did not end up being as much of an issue. There were also modifications of these moves offered if you wanted the option to ease into them more.)

Down Dog Series

-Fan arms, half bend
-Chaturanga, Up Dog
-Down Dog
-Splits, raise leg
-Open Hip (in Splits)
-Repeat series from Down Dog
-Repeat series from Down Dog on the opposite side, twice
-Down Dog
-Child's Pose

(Note: This was my favorite part of the workout. Pigeon, as always, really helped my tight hips.)

This workout was a nice stretch. I don't really feel that most of the moves required a tremendous amount of strength. The hardest sequence -- the one that did require some focus of the muscles -- was no doubt the balance series. Otherwise, this felt like a quick yoga workout. That's not to say that I didn't like it. I did. I certainly suits my purpose as, at only 20 minutes, it would convince me to do an extra stretch on a day when my legs were feeling tight.

Based on this workout alone, I can't imagine gaining a lot of lean muscle or losing a lot of weight with the program. Like I said, this was more or less yoga, as I know it (though I admit I am no expert) with a bit more flowing speed to the movements. It's a nice supplement for those looking to gently increase their flexibility without wanting to spend time in a yoga class. The modifications make it beginner friendly.

I'll be eager to see what the partner workout, Define: Upper Body, has in store for me tomorrow.