Class Review: PiYo

PiYo practice in The Meadows, Edinburgh

From the crowd at Beachbody who first brought us Insanity comes a new high-intensity, low impact workout – PiYo. It “combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of Yoga” and delivers “a true fat-burning workout that leaves your body looking long, lean and incredibly defined.” After just two classes I’m hooked.

I first got into Insanity back in Edinburgh and when I moved to London last summer I kept my eyes out for Insanity classes nearby. Tanya, aka London Insaniacs, brought Insanity to Fulham and I remember our first fit test in the park and post-workout juice trip to Wholefoods. I still keep up with Insanity when I can but now the Wednesday classes clash with my Fulham RC running night so I’m more inclined, especially during the summer, to go out for a run than get sweaty in a community hall. I love Insanity though. The moves, the pace, the variety, the music, it’s everything you would want from a high-intensity class, with power, strength, conditioning, balance and abs all thrown in together. 
Less than a month ago, the team at Beachbody launched PiYo in the UK and of course Tanya was on board, becoming qualified to teach this new class and releasing it to the #fitfam masses. I was intrigued and had to give it a go. I love Pilates and Yoga but if it’s anything like Insanity, this wasn’t going to be an easy ride.

Instructor Tanya demonstrating the PiYo kick-through

Just like Insanity, PiYo is a 50 minute workout but instead of working in sets, there are different tracks focusing on a different theme, building from a yogi warm-up through more power and strength and finishing with stretching and relaxation.

Warm-up: The first track begins with lots of sun salutations, but these are fast-paced and there are some tricep press ups thrown in there too, followed by lunges and squats.
Heat Building: Next up is a booty-building, legs-on-fire track with the classic ‘Bowler’ PiYo move (shown below) and clock lunges, which compared to those bowlers feel like a heavenly release!
Full Body Fusion: A great combo of presses, planks, lunges and squats with an added balance challenge to target the core and create a whole body workout track.
Power: Here come the burpees! Not getting away lightly just because it’s Pilates and Yoga-inspired, this track includes squat jumps, a bizarre rowing-like action in a sumo squat hold, knee pulls and sumo burpees!
Core and More: No simple planks and sit ups here, this track masters the PiYo kick-through and some three-legged dog-inspired leg pulses. Once your entire core is on fire, then comes the Pilates-inspired hundreds and a ballet-inspired double leg drop.
Strength and Stretch: Just when you think it’s going to become easier, a pigeon pose to release tired hip flexors becomes a press up! and triangle pose becomes a glute-burning leg lift and pulse!
Cool down: Finally time to catch your breath, sitting cross-legged and stretching everything out. My favourite move comes in here with mermaid pose, perfect for tight hip flexors and releasing the core.

PiYo ‘Bowler’ move targeting those glutes!
Our three-legged dogs with a PiYo leg pulse!

If you like Insanity but you’re looking for something a little different to compliment the intense workout and you find the usual yoga classes a little dull, PiYo is for you. It’s a full body workout that also lengthens and stretches the muscles and I’m finding it great alongside my marathon training.
If you’re in London and fancy trying it out, classes are every Thursday evening at 7pm in Fulham and fingers crossed Tanya will be adding more workouts to her schedule. Also check out Tanya’s social media as it’s always filled with photos and video clips of the Insanity and PiYo moves to add into your own personal workout or practice before class (TanyaNFitness).

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