Focus On: PiYo

Hey Fitnessista Fans!

My name is Elizabeth and I blog over at FitwithLizzie. I am so honored to be here and completely freaked out when Gina asked me to write a “Focus On” post for her. I’ve followed her shenanigans here for a looong time. I might be geekishly looking forward to finding out whether she’s having a boy or a girl. I’m thinking girl. Any bets?

Like Gina, I’m a group exercise instructor. I teach Zumba, Turbo Kick, Hip Hop Hustle and PiYo. Those last three formats are all invented by the goddess of fitness herself, Queen Chalene Johnson. Chalene is the reason I began teaching group exercise and the woman has changed my life. That’s another post, though.

turbofire_chalene_johnson_kick Source

[Side note from Gina: Chalene is also the goddess behind TurboFire, one of my all-time faves]

PiYo is the newest format I teach and the only one that doesn’t involve vigorous shaking of the buttocks. I went into PiYo a skeptic since I’m not really a mind-body sort of gal. Someone recently called me “high-strung.” I like to think of it as more “energetic,” but whatever. I just have a problem sitting still. Savasana? Torture. How long do I have to lay there before I can get up and get an iced coffee? Two breaths? Four? What’s the protocol here? But because Chalene invented PiYo, I had faith it would rock. Ohhhh, did it rock.

3 legged dog

PiYo is a fusion of Pilates and Yoga with elements of martial arts and dance as well. At this point in the description, most people say, “OH! I’ve taken Yogilates before. Is it like that?” Not really. Yogilates still uses the zen-y music. PiYo uses Rhianna. If the military invented a mind-body workout, I think it would be like PiYo. Holy tricep pushups! Here’s a clip of PiYo 16. Can you feel those diamond pushups? Yowza!

The unique thing about PiYo is you receive strength, flexibility and balance training all at once. Often, the moves will also have a cardio effect as well. Multi-tasking! The hyperactive exerciser’s dream! Because I teach and practice PiYo 3-4 times a week, I find that I don’t need separate strength training. Hauling my body weight through PiYo is plenty! The first week I tried PiYo I was amazed at the results (and soreness) in my body.

tricep pushup with knee pull tricep pushup

PiYo also led me to appreciate pure yoga and pilates. I loved PiYo and found I wanted to explore these disciplines further. I’m even loving savasana!

There are a few downsides to PiYo. For my zen friends who love the tranquility of pilates or yoga, PiYo can be a huge culture shock if they’re not expecting the rockin’ music and faster pace of class. The pushups and downdogs can be a bit hard on the wrists as well. However, a good instructor will notice if the music or moves need to be modified for her students and PiYo is very easy to customize for different tastes.

To wear for PiYo: You’ll need a yoga mat and bare feet (socks are too slippery). Yoga pants and a snug-fitting tank are the best bet (lose shirts tend to slip over your head when you’re upside down).

I absolutely love teaching PiYo and I hope that you get a chance to check it out in a gym near you! Thanks Gina for letting me share this fun format with your readers. Hey, anyone else have a hard time sitting still in savasana?

You might also like:


  1. This looks so amazing, and thanks so much for the info! I’m a group ex instructor too but haven’t even heard of this program. I am on the hunt to find a class somewhere in my area!! 🙂

    • Yay!!! I can’t believe I’m on Fitnessista’s blog — she’s like the Chalene of blogging! Angela, I see you’re in Canada and PiYo and Turbo are really starting to take off there. For information about Master Classes in your area, check out the trainings section of Feel free to holler at me with any questions!

  2. this sounds so awesome! i love hard core fusion type classes…turbo kick is one of my favs! Id love to try this! thanks for the explanation!

  3. This sounds like something I would love to try but I haven’t heard of any gyms where I live teaching it!

    • Hi Leanne! That’s exactly how I got into teaching group exercise — I NEEDED to do TurboKick and there were no instructors near me. So I figured, “Hell, I guess I’m the instructor!” A year and a half later, my life is unrecognizable. If you’re interested in PiYo, think about bringing it to your community. I promise you will thank me. 😉

  4. Love PiYo! It is my favorite format and though I’ve gotten certified to teach all 3 of the Queen’s formats it is the only one I’ve had the cajones to teach so far! I follow E wherever she posts so I thought I’d say hi!

  5. Awesome. Thanks for the info.

  6. MissMolly says:

    I’m a PiYo – certified instructor and I looove teaching and doing this format! I got it about 3 years ago and I think it is time to get the new choreographed classes so I can get some new music! Chalene rocks!

    • Hey MissMolly! So awesome to see another PiYo girl!! The format has changed quite a bit and gotten a little… sparklier? Right about Lesson 13 it really got a facelift. I hope you enjoy!

  7. I struggle in that last pose so much… I get really anxious. I am a big pilates person. I am not sure I am strong enough for this PiYo, but I will see if my gym has it. thanks for the write up 🙂

  8. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of PiYo! It sounds like something I would LOVE! I’m going to look for a class near me now. Thanks so much for sharing and I can’t wait to check out your blog!

  9. I pretty much don’t take yoga because I can’t just lie there at the end with a quiet mind. I’m making lists, thinking about dinner, you name it.

    Glad to know i’m not alone. I consider myself very un-zen! 🙂

  10. That sounds like an awesome workout! I’m going to find a gym that offers it 🙂

    I can’t stand savasana. Also not a fan of trying a class with a new instructor, because you never know how long you’re going to be sitting there doing nothing. All I can think is “I only had ONE hour to work out today”.

    BUT, I hate when people leave in the middle of savasana nonetheless! I try so hard to sit through it and not be rude, and people interrupt all the thinking going on in my head (you know, all the stuff they tell you not to think about… where I parked my car, if I took the chicken out of the freezer).

  11. This looks fun!!!! I’ll have to look up a place in Chicago that offers this class.

  12. Great post Elizabeth! Really great info and well done. 🙂

  13. Sounds Awesome! I think I’d love that type of class….cause sometimes I find yoga (unless its Bikram) and pilates a little slow paced for me and not a great workout….but PiYo sounds like it would be perfecto for me!

  14. Great post!!! Got me very interested! Thanks for the write up!

  15. Sounds fun but really challenging!

  16. I’ve looked into PiYo training before, and am planning to get my hip hop hustle license sometimes this summer so maybe I’ll look into the PiYo training too!

  17. This looks so fun! 🙂 I hope my gym gets this!

  18. Hey, I recognize that room…its Studio 2! Elizabeth is an instructor at my gym! And now that she’s done a “Focus On” here at Fitnessista, I have no excuses not to check out PiYo myself. Thanks for the great write-up, Elizabeth! Hope to see you in Studio 2, soon! 🙂

  19. I’ve never heard of this form of exercise but it does look like fun! 🙂

  20. ive never seen this workout before but it sounds awesome!

  21. I had heard of PiYo but really had no idea what it was all about.

    Thanks for the detailed post and now I want to try it! 🙂

  22. I thought piyo would be more zen-ish but I loved the tempo and the moves and how strong I felt afterwards.

  23. Oh my gosh, this sounds awesome! I love Chalene and I am a ChaLean Extreme devotee! I can’t wait to try this.

  24. As they always say in PiYo, loose shirts sink ships. Or show off lady goods… either way.

    This looks incredible, I think I’d love mixing up standard yoga with music/pilates/ACTION!

  25. PiYo sounds awesome! I love all the cool fusion classes that are always being invented. Unfortunately my gym isn’t cool enough to offer them. 😛

  26. This sounds fun; I’ve heard of piloxing but, not piyo.

  27. I want to try this!! I don’t think my gym has it though… I’ll have to check. Personally, I adore Pilates, but am never able to take classes because they’re crazy expensive outside of my gym, and the gym classes are never at a time I can get to..

  28. Ah I have such a hard time staying still for yoga! I’m such a jumpy/energetic person I like to be constantly moving around.

  29. There is a PiYo class at my gym that I’ve been thinking about trying. I didn’t realize what it all entailed but after reading this I will definitely be trying it soon. Sometimes yoga is just too slow for me, I’d rather me sweating profusely and huffing and puffing. Thanks for writing!

  30. I’ve never heard of PiYo, I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled in my town to see if anyone offers it! Looks like something I’d enjoy!

  31. Piyo looks so awesome, and intense!! I am going to look to give this a try. Thanks for the awesome post!

  32. Wow this sounds like a fun workout!!! Love the Focus On posts.

  33. This is a great post! I never tried PiYo before – always had the false assumption that it was half yoga/half pilates.Wish we had an instructor like you at my gym and I would have discovered it long ago! I tried the Beachbody home version for the first time yesterday. Here’s what I thought of it – Looking forward to trying a PiYo out in person now that I know what it’s about. Thanks again

  34. Which one of the Piyo workouts is the most challenging in your opinion? I tried #32 and I was so disappointed. I did not think the workout was all that good. I was hoping it was just that one?

Speak Your Mind