When I first began my fitness journey last year, I actually started on a Beach Body program called Asylum I which I absolutely loved doing. I was moving, I was sweating. It ignited a love affair for all things fitness related. Basically, it’s a set of DVD’s you do in your home that combines cardio, plyometrics, and some strength training (I use the word “some” very loosely here). My husband and I completed a full 60 days using the videos and both of us definitely saw results. My actual weight didn’t change much but my body composition did (although, I’m not sure how anyone could be consistent with this or any other program and not see results after coming off YEARS of doing absolutely nothing… that’s a story for another day). Asylum I was great to jump start things for me and set my husband and I up on a good structured routine of being active and off the couch, but ultimately not a program that I could use to get the results I was looking for after those 60 days were up. I think it’s perfect for people who love cardio, simply need to get moving, and/or enjoy following at home structured workouts. Don’t get me wrong though, the DVD’s can be challenging, they will push you out of your comfort zone at times, get your heart rate to sky rocket at times, and get ya winded, but once I began actual weight training after those 60 days of the Beach Body stuff… nothing else would ever be able to compete. I immediately fell in love with lifting, what it does for my body, my heart, my soul, and my mind. I found my comfort zone pushing and pulling the weights. I fell in love with how it made me feel. I was motivated. I felt challenged. No program, no rules, just simple happiness. After I found lifting, Asylum I was then laid to rest in the comfort of a bedroom drawer and I didn’t look back.
Since then, my lifting, clean eating, flexible dieting, intuitive eating, reverse dieting, cutting/dieting, educating myself, growing, experimenting, I really feel like came full circle about 3 months ago. Prior to this mini cutting phase I’m currently on, I was so focused on an “end goal”, a certain body fat percentage, fitting into certain clothes, growing specific muscle groups, getting my nutrient timing and food intake completely on point, stressing out if something I did or didn’t do would hinder my goals, and basically making sure I did everything “right”. What I learned during that process was that although I enjoyed what I was doing and I felt great doing most of it, ultimately I was doing SO much of it for the wrong reasons.
I stopped doing things simply because I LOVED working out & how lifting, training, and eating properly make me FEEL.
I felt pressured to look a certain way and was so focused on what everyone else was doing, why they were doing it, and how they were doing it that I lost a little of myself in the process. I lost how I felt during those initial months of lifting… the sheer love of what I was doing and what “fitness” in gerneal did for my mind, body, and spirit. Again, don’t get me wrong… EVERY single time I lift I am 100% in the zone, I feel strong, empowered, and am on cloud nine BUT the motivation was coming from the wrong place which proved to make the journey bumpy. When you do anything in life, you have to do it with your whole heart in order to truly be successful. I think that’s the main reason why my last cutting/dieting phase went awry. I was so focused on my “timeline” & end goal body fat % that everything I was doing began to feel like a chore AND again, I was so stressed out about doing everything “right”. God forbid I miss a day of lifting or wait an hour longer for my next meal because “life” happens! Where would my those muscles go I was trying so hard to build?! Surely I will deflate if I do extra cardio OR gain weight if I skipped cardio. It drove me crazy and at that point I had to force myself to take step back and reassess WHY I was doing everything I was.
In the end, I stopped tracking macros after my last cut, deleted My Fitness Pal from my phone, reversed dieted on my own (“intuitively”), took a couple of weeks off from anything fitness related, and basically started over with a fresh new outlook on my journey ahead. At that point, I decided I would no longer abide by the “rules”. If I felt like doing cardio, I would. If it was technically a leg day and I felt like doing shoulders, I would. If I wanted to incorporate super sets or drop sets when I lifted, I would. If I felt like skipping a day of lifting completely, I would. If I wanted to eat more or less a certain day, I would. If “life” happened and something didn’t go according to my “plan”, I wouldn’t stress out about it. I began to do EVERYTHING simply because I wanted OR didn’t want to. I was finally back to looking at all things fitness related how I was meant to… because it made me feel GOOD on the inside! I found that results came so much better on the outside after that point.
Now this is where PIYO comes in… finally right lol?
I had seen this new Beach Body program was going to be released that I thought might be fun! Pilates & Yoga combined? Sounds interesting right? It wasn’t going to be too intense with a lot of heart pumping cardio (afterall, I do hate cardio) and it didn’t incorporate weights so it was perfect for an active rest day, it was low impact enough for my knee which still continues to give me pain, it would allow me to get some much needed stretching in, and most importantly I felt like it was something my 8 year old daughter and I could do TOGETHER!!! Huge bonus for me. I told her about it and we couldn’t wait for it to arrive! It was great being excited to try something new… again, simply because I wanted to and NOT because I thought it would impact any progress or hinder any kind of results. Just something for my daughter and I to do together, no expectations, no ulterior motives, no hopes other than to be active WITH my daughter. Our package arrived a few days after I ordered it and we couldn’t wait to get started!!! I don’t think the mail man was gone for 15 minutes before one of the DVD’s was set to play.
Here we are with a little downward dog action…
We had such a good time getting through the first week of videos! I figured it was only fitting that I give an honest review of the program now that I have my hands on PIYO!
So… here ya go….
- Align The Fundamentals- basically an intro to the movements used
- Define: Lower Body- lower body focused workout
- Define: Upper Body- upper body focused workout
- Sweat- easy cardio movements combined with PIYO movements
- Buns- glute workout
- Strength Intervals
- BONUS: Turbo Fire Low HIIT (20 minutes)
- Constantly moving
- Pace was perfect through transitions and explanations
- Chalene is GREAT and very motivating/encouraging throughout
- My 8 year old could easily keep up and/or modify moves for her level
- It was very low impact so perfect for my ongoing knee issue
- No equipment needed
- Lots of much needed stretching that I typically tend to neglect
CONS (for me):
- It was no where near as challenging as I hoped for even with the modified, more difficult moves… no question, lifting has improved my strength and endurance
- Felt somewhat limited and repetitive with very basic movements
- Although there was constant movement, I did find myself a little bored at times
This is ABSOLUTELY where this and every other Beach Body program completely loses me… I literally cringe when I look at their calculators, meal plans, suggestions, and everything else related to food. I won’t even go into the “you should only eat from this list of foods” business, but all of these diet programs really bug the crap out of me if I have to be honest with you. If I followed the suggested plan for PIYO, I would be eating less than 1200 calories (which they actually say isn’t suggested thank God and FYI I was maintaining weight eating over 2,300 calories earlier this year). These “coaches” and programs have NO idea where YOU are currently at, where YOUR metabolism is currently at, what YOUR eating patterns are, what YOUR actual caloric burn is, what macro split would be most ideal for YOU, if YOU have or have ever had an eating disorder that could greatly effect your progress and mental state. NONE of these very important factors are taken into consideration or even discussed. Luckily, I’ve learned enough this year to steer clear of similar nutrition plans like this but what about the woman with an already damaged metabolism who is currently eating over 2,700+ calories daily. If a program suggests that she eat 1,500 calories right at the start of this program, there could have VERY negative consequences which I don’t feel warrant the risk. #1 The change is SO drastic, she will most likely feel extremely hungry & deprived right from the start… in most cases, people just can’t handle those feelings for more than a few days then they resort back to their old habits and give up altogether. #2 The more aggressive you start to diet down, the greater the chances are to rebound. Ever hear of someone starting a diet, seeing GREAT results, then you see them again 6 months down the line and they not only gained back the weight they lost BUT gained an extra 20 pounds to boot? Crash dieting=Yo-Yo dieting and most of the time it’s a cycle that lasts for life. And #3 Eating that much in a deficit & for an extended period of time can have serious effects on your metabolism and hormones. Your metabolic rate is NOT linear. It can constantly be changed, manipulated, improved, and slowed. You aren’t stuck with the metabolism you currently have. At 36 years old, most women my age would say they have a terrible metabolism… why? Because they haven’t treated it properly and more often than not, they followed meal plans and diets like this one that will drastically cut your overall caloric intake far too FAST.
Can you tell how ticked I get when it comes to “diets”?
Will you lose weight on this or any plan if you are consistent? YES… if anyone goes into a caloric deficit, they will most likely lose weight. This is not brain surgery. Eat less than your body needs & burns… weight loss will probably follow. Just don’t stay there too long (search REVERSE DIETING here on my blog).
The main point here I’m trying to make is people need to be gentle with their bodies. Although amazing & resilient, the body does need time to adjust so don’t do the quick fixes & crash dieting for the short term goal. Instead, stick with something that is manageable AND sustainable. Will you have to probably eat LESS and watch your portions? Yes. Do you need to completely cut out an entire macronutrient (um, like carbohydrates) and a long list of other foods to stay on track for your goals? NO.
Protect your body by walking and enjoying the “race” VS. sprinting to the finish. In the end, your body will thank you and your results will hold out that much longer.
OK nutrition rant over….
I purchased PIYO with the sole intent of doing something that my daughter and I could enjoy together. I wasn’t after fat/weight loss (not that it can’t be achieved with this program… again, caloric deficit & activity from a non active state will usually equal weight loss). I was looking for extra stretching, do something “active” without the intensity of my usual training, and simply just to try something new because I wanted to. Would I personally use this as my main program for weight/fat loss or even to shape my body? Uh, no. Absolutely not. However, for another individual who is completely inactive, scared or hesitant to join a gym, doesn’t like traditional programs that require equipment, not quite able to do a lot of difficult movements due to injury or pain, OR for people who just want to supplement their routine with something new… this is a good option (not great, but good)! Following the DVD program may even give you some extra motivation to try something new and more challenging. I think it would be a great step to get the body moving just like Asylum I did for me when I first started my own journey. You may even love the moves so much that you join a yoga & pilates studio!
For me though, it’s a good addition to my usual lifting, conditioning, training program and a good way to change things up BUT not something I will continue to use as a staple!!!
There ya have it!