BeachBody’s PiYo: Mid-Week Review

So here’s what’s happening: in order to enter the BB Challenge presented on the PiYo Facebook site, we had to start the program by August 20, so we began this past Monday. Currently, this means for me that on some days, I have three workouts to complete, since I am also finishing the last two and a half weeks of Les Mills Combat (review when I’m done). Phew!

What am I hoping to gain from PiYo? Flexibility and perhaps an improvement on balance. If you’ve read previous posts, you’ll remember that I am a major klutz and quite accident-prone. PiYo is a bodyweight workout designed to, well, improve strength, flexibility and balance, and if I end up developing a bit more definition, I certainly won’t cry about it. What else am I doing? I’m eating fairly clean, at least when we eat at home, which is most of the time. I’ve cut back but not given up alcohol, and once I’m done with Combat, I will add my 5K running routine back into the mix.

But you came here to learn about PiYo, so here’s the scoop: at the beginning of every workout, you’re told what equipment you need. Why they say a mat is optional, though, is beyond me. A lot of the routines require some cushioning (think yoga), and it certainly helps to have a non-slip surface to stand on when you’re beginning to sweat and lunge at the same time. So please ignore that “optional” bit and get yourself a good sticky mat! If you have balance problems, keep a chair nearby or exercise near a wall or table that you can hold on to. The recommended towel is an excellent idea, and so is the water, especially during the longer workouts.

We are following the regular PiYo schedule (purple), partially because we’re new and partially because I wasn’t about to shell out extra cash for the two workouts required for the Strength schedule (green). The schedule for both is four days on, one day of rest, two more days on. Yes, you are really working out six days in a row; it just doesn’t look that way. The week begins innocuously enough with Align: the Fundamentals, a 45 minute session of explanation and try-outs. I wouldn’t exactly call it a workout per se, but don’t skip it, especially if you’re new to yoga and/or Pilates. This is the only time you’ll see this workout.

Next, we did Define: Lower Body. You can guess where the focus of this workout is. It runs about 30 minutes and incorporates lunging, squatting and stretching. Unfortunately, there are two points I take issue with: 1) nobody explained the PiYo cross in Fundamentals, which is silly, because it shows up in virtually every warmup. 2) There is a warrior sequence the team goes through twice on one leg, but only once on the other. If you’re looking for symmetry, switch legs next time or pause the DVD and repeat the sequence.

Workout #3 is Define: Upper Body. Make friends with pushups, both triceps and regular, because Chalene loves them and you’ll be doing a lot. There’s a typo in the Quick Start booklet; this workout is only 19 minutes long, not 35. A lot of people combine Lower and Upper Body on the same day. I don’t know what they do on the extra day. Take rest? Anyone?

Workout #4 is called Sweat, and sweat you will during the 42 minutes or so! This is a comprehensive, fairly fast paced total body workout which requires enough space for long side steps (one to each side) and to stretch out your leg sideways from a table position. Here, another boo-boo crept into the DVD (which makes me think they should have paid someone to actually review these things for errors before releasing them, but who’s niggling): during one sequence, you’re in down dog and stretch your right leg out to the side (hence, you need the room). When you do the same sequence on the other leg, you only bring your knee to the elbow. Eh-hem!

Tomorrow is a rest day, then we basically go through the above workouts again, adding Core on Wednesday. Check back in a couple of weeks for an update and a review of two new routines.

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