Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PiYo Overview and PiYo: Align: The Fundamentals Review

Yesterday, I returned home from a late night at work to an exciting package. Beachbody's newest program, Chalene Johnson's PiYo, had arrived.

For those not familiar with PiYo, it's a yoga/pilates hybrid done with a cardio twist. It markets itself as non-impact stretching for body-weight strength training for people who are inflexible non-yoga/pilates people.

Now I'd admit it; I have the flexibility of an 80-year-old. I stretch and foam roll and use the massage stick, but probably do as little as possible to prevent injury. On the other hand, I love my cardio and really enjoy strength training, especially with body-weight moves (because they are the most useful for the things I like to do, such as obstacle course racing). I do really want to improve my flexibility and mobility. The injury to my calf this year really highlighted for me the importance of these sorts of activities.

Enter PiYo. I was really hoping that this would be the solution -- a workout that would get me working on my flexibility that I wouldn't resent doing.

The night I received PiYo, I cracked open the package to see what was included.

The PiYo workout consists of eight workouts, plus an introductory 40 minute "workout" called Align: The Fundamentals. Also included was a bonus workout, TurboFire: Low HIIT 20, which is not part of the workout calendar. The eight main workouts are:
  • Define: Lower Body (25 minutes) -- Beachbody description: Get your sleekest and leanest legs ever as you lengthen and strengthen your entire lower body from your glutes and hamstrings to your calves.
  • Define: Upper Body (35 minutes) -- Beachbody description: Use this incredibly effective workout to start chiseling away at your upper body to shape your arms, carve out your triceps, and sculpt sexy shoulder.
  • Sweat (35 minutes) -- Beachbody description: A traditional PiYo workout that incorporates effective dynamic conditioning, fast-paced cardio, yoga-flows, and bodyweight resistance strength training to help sculpts your entire body!
  • Core (30 minutes) -- Beachbody description: This ab-centric workout hits your powerhouse from every angle. You'll build a strong core, flat, sculpted abs and obliques, and a strong sexy back.
  • Buns (25 minutes) -- Beachbody description: Focused on the glutes, this workout is designed to lift, redefine, and tighten the netire backside of your body for the perfect tight and round butt.
  • Strength Intervals (25 minutes) -- Beachbody description: Twenty-five minutes is all your need of this nonstop body-carving, calorie-incinerating workout that uses no weights, no equipment, and gives you no bulk!
  • Drench (45 minutes) -- Beachbody description: This endurance workout maximizes fat burning while it works every muscles in your body. It will not only leave you drenched, it will kick-start your metabolism as you scorch away the fat.
  • Sculpt (30 minutes) -- Beachbody description: This workout uses varying tempos to keep your muscles under tension for different periods of time. This generates muscular endurance and metabolic changes that will totally transform your figure.
There is also the option to purchase the PiYo set with two additional strength workouts (which I did not do), Full Body Blast and Strong Legs.

Team Beachbody members or those individuals who have a coach, also get a bonus workout, Hardcore on the Floor. The program also came with a nutrition guide, quick start guide, and two workout calendars.

The first workout calendar is the one that I will be doing and is the traditional calendar.

The second calendar is for the strength workout and is designed to be done after finishing the first calendar and by people who have purchased the extra DVDs and equipment.

Today, I decided to check out the introductory DVD Align: The Fundamentals. This workout is designed to help you focus on your form and learn proper form before you launch into the program. I have done yoga and pilates workout DVDs before, but have never taken a formal class in either, so I thought this DVD would be a must.

The workout started with Chalene in her standard upbeat, chipper, quirky form. I rather like her personality, but know that she is... a lot with the enthusiasm, as it were. She starts by talking your through the basics of posture, as it pertains to the workout, and going through some of the most basic forward folds and lower body moves. Here is the moves list for this part of the workout.

Stand up naturally
-Neutral Posture
-Best Posture
-Inch Taller
-Spinal Flexion
-Extended Spine
-Forward Fold/Hold
Lower Body
-High Lunge
-Low Lunge
-Runner's Lunge

Through this part of the DVD and really the entire "workout", you are not so much exercising as watching to learn form. This is the type of DVD you'd put in the player if you had a question about the form of a move. It's not the kind of thing you'd do to replace a day of exercise or to beak out in a sweat. I spent about half of the time watching the three people (two women, one man) in the DVD with Chalene and then half the time trying the moves on my own. Chalene spends the DVD pointing out alignment and form on the people in the video and giving details about how you should feel and look when doing the moves.

The second segment of the video reviews yoga poses. I had seen all of these in previous workouts, such as P90X3's X3 Yoga.

-Child's Pose
-Tricep Push-up
-Chaturanga & Up Dog
-Down Dog
-Down Dog Split
Warrior Series
-Warrior 1
-Warrior 2
-Right Angle
Flow (Warrior Series - Right Leg, Left Leg Leads)
-Tricep Push-up
-PiYo Push-up (Left, Right, Left, Tricep Push-up x3, Back Three, Roll Up, Chair Squat)
Warrior Series Redux
-Warrior 3
-Half Moon

I really struggle with yoga because of my lack of flexibility. Even more so that in some video, Chalene did a great job showing modifications. One of the women even modified using a chair for some of the moves. Chalene also made suggestions about how to start the moves at the modified level and then "graduate" to a more advanced level. X3 Yoga also had a modifier, but her flexibility was so great that I sometimes wasn't able to keep us with her. It's nice to see a lot of options being offered in PiYo. It was one of many things that made the program, at a glance, seem very beginner friendly.

The last segment of the video was devoted to PiYo moves. This was definitely the most fun part of the workout for me. Since PiYo moves are less common than yoga moves, I'll try to describe each move on the list.

-3-Point Balance: This was a fairly basic case of just having three out of four limbs on the floor. It set the stage for other moves.
-Crow Crouch (Tricep): From a 3-point balance with two hands on the floor and one leg in the air, draw your leg in and curl under into a ball supporting your self on your triceps.
-Side Plank: Also known as a t-stand.
-PiYo Pike: From the t-stand position, take the raised arm and curl it under your body lifting your hips into the air in a pike and crunching your abs.
-PiYo Flip: I could not for the life of me get this move at first, but after watching a break down of it on YouTube totally get it and find it fun! Lying on your stomach with one foot up in the air "like a tail", bring the leg over your body so the ball of the foot touches the floor. Push yourself up on your arms and rotate over and up into a bridge with the same hand in the air as rotating leg.
-Beast: One all fours, lift your knees off the ground and hold in tabletop.
-Kick Thru: From the Beast, bring one leg through and kick it, rotating in that direction and lifting the opposite arm in the air.

The PiYo moves finished off the DVD. Most of the time was spent focusing on yoga moves in a fairly traditional way. I'm hoping that when I get into the real workouts that there will be a bit more of a yoga-cardio balance. I'm thinking there will be and that yoga moves just require a lot of practice, so we needed to focus on them here.

Overall, I am very excited to try the program and kick-off the workouts tomorrow. The workouts are all very modest in length and the form seems designed to be beginner friendly. I'm hoping that these can be a nice add-on to my Spartan Beast training (and, yes!, I signed up for the race -- so nervous!), which I started yesterday.

Tomorrow, I'll post about Define: Lower Body after I get to check it out!


Catarina Owen said...

thank you for taking time to write this. It was very helpful, even after I watched the first DVD I came back to your blog and re-read to be sure I knew all the poses.

Nicole Sibley said...

Thank you so much! I'm glad this was helpful. :)

Prinsesa Jessica said...

Thanks a lot ΓΌ