Trying PiYo

Beachbody’s PiYo program is the second one I’ve tried and it changed my life. Chalene Johnson has an amazing energy and does a great job explaining how to do the exercises. Each workout is about 20 to 45 minutes but the time flies and feels like almost nothing once you get a week or so into it. Since it is an 8 week program, it’s good that it doesn’t feel like the workouts take long but they still give great results.

One of the great things about this program is its accessibility. There are no weights required for any of the workouts. Just a yoga mat and optionally a chair for some of them are all you need. Really the yoga mat is even optional if you are on a soft enough surface or even if you don’t have one yet. Trust me though, you really won’t need any weights.

However, you will need plenty of water. With titles like Sweat and Drench, you can expect just that from all the videos. As much as I was sweating during the cardio of 21 Day Fix, these videos had me sweating even more. And if you can’t quite keep up with Chalene, Michelle Park is there to modify for you.

The program is a combination of Pilates and Yoga, hence the name. There are lots of yoga moves but you tend to go through them quicker than most yoga sessions. I’ve never successfully done pilates because I can’t get the breathing correct so I can’t say how much of a similarity there is. I will say that the focus on breathing, at least the quick way it was done in all the pilates videos I’ve tried, is not the same in PiYo. There are more longer breathes like in yoga, though maybe not quite as long.

This is a very low impact program so if you are prone to knee or back problems like I am, this is a great way to work on strengthening the muscles around them without stressing them too much. Before I started this there were frequent times when my knees would give out while I was walking and I would just drop. Although there are still some times when that happens, it usually is only once every couple of months or less often instead of multiple times per week.

A couple of Chalene’s naming conventions threw me off at first as well. Instead of Upward Facing Dog or Downward Facing Dog, she shortens them to Up Dog and Down Dog. When we first started the program and Chalene said Up Dog for the first time I relaxed, looked up, and said, “What’s Up Dog?” I think my wife could have killed me with the glare she gave me. She didn’t know I was asking a serious question and I didn’t realize it was going to sound like a joke when I asked it.

What I Got Out Of PiYo

For me, the most important thing I’ve gotten out of PiYo is increased flexibility. I was never too flexible growing up. I could touch my knees with my legs straight if I really strained. I spent a summer with both of my legs in casts when I was in elementary school in an effort to stretch out my hamstrings because they were too tight. Unfortunately, it ended up not helping at all.

Even when I was doing things with dance we would stretch out beforehand to get ready to use our muscles but I was never really able to increase my flexibility. But now I can grab my ankles when I stretch out.

I also saw a great improvement in my balance. I’ve always been pretty good at balancing. Carrying instruments which weigh between 15 and 60 pounds in a drumline for 10 years isn’t easy without balance. But that was mostly balance with both feet on the ground or quickly moving from foot to foot. PiYo has more standing on one foot while moving your body around and shifting your weight. There were plenty of times where my ankle seemed to have a mind of its own with how much it was shaking from side to side. But then by the end of the program it was solid and in control.

Music

All the Beachbody programs have some kind of background music. Some of them are dance based and have the moves match tempi of the music being played. I’ve noticed some people don’t realize the music in PiYo is meant to go with the moves.

While trying to find recordings of the music online I found multiple instances of people asking how to mute the background music and have just the instructions like they can with other programs. They don’t notice how the music consistently matches the moves because, with a few exceptions where they’ve edited songs, the music was written for these programs.

And they did a great job with it. When you have smooth movements the music is smooth. When you have quick movements with holds the music has stress on the beats with the movement. At times it feels almost like you are making the music happen by doing the moves.

Changing My Life

I said PiYo changed my life which is true. But more accurately Chalene Johnson has changed my life. She has a podcast where she shares amazing research she has done and discusses others’ research as well.  I had no idea what leaky gut was before her podcast. And her One 3 One program has helped me find the types of food which do and do not go well with my body. Though I had tried Keto before doing the One 3 One program, I now know it is what works best for my body.

Although I do have a long list of people who I would like to meet and shake their hand, Chalene is on my list of people who I would like to meet, shake their hand, and heartily thank for the impact they’ve had on my life. I’m fairly confident that if I hadn’t gone through PiYo to increase my flexibility, I wouldn’t have done as well with any of the other programs I tried going forward. And without doing as well with other programs I may have lost motivation to keep going through them. And even with workout programs aside, my body feels amazing now that I’ve learned how to feed it correctly.


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