Does cardio do more damage than good for you? Is it a pain in the neck to get through? Does cardio leave you more exhausted than it should?
PiYo is a blend of Pilates and yoga, and it could be one of the best ways to tone your body. “Erin Scott, a PiYo Instructor and Master Trainer with Beachbody LIVE, adds that […] ‘Consistent practice in PiYo increases core strength, overall strength, stability, and flexibility,’” which are everyday needs. It is described as adding the “muscle sculpting of Pilates”, with the “flexibility of yoga”, and a consistent fluid movement between positions.
What Do I Do?
Every exercise needs a warm up, something to get your muscles ready for the stress you’re about to put them through. To begin, Well Good recommends standing with your feet planted firmly beneath your hips. Take a deep breath in and “sweep your arms up overhead”, and bend forward at your hips. While down there, make sure to reach for the ground as best you can, and bend each knee. You can further your warm up by doing side lunges and “[lifting] two times into the right leg.” Which I interpret as lifting your opposite leg and putting all your weight into the right foot. While doing this, extend the opposite arm over your head (really stretch it over there) and pull down to the side with the other. Repeat twice and then again with the left leg. It is written on Well Good to repeat the warm up process three to four times. If you’re a beginner in any type of sport stretching is always suggested. The more you can get your muscles adjusted the
better, so take your time. Loosen up and get ready!
Let’s Get Into It!
Planks are a great way to initiate the exercise. They incorporate practically every muscle group you have from your core to your arms, to the thighs and the calves, back up to your shoulders. A thirty second plank is ideal but do what you can, even beyond that, but don’t let just a plank tire you out. You can even make it more difficult by doing what’s called “chaturanga.” Which requires going up on your palms and having your elbows at your sides. It is pretty difficult so you can do a “half chaturanga” by putting your knees to the ground and keeping your upper body elevated. Change into upward facing dog, or as I learned in middle school gym class, what’s called “beached whale”. Stretch here and then switch into downward facing dog. Put your hips to the ceiling and your feet on the floor. Inch your hands backwards and your face should be moving towards your knees (put your shoulders to your ears). Lower your hips and bring one knee to your chest in a “low lunge”, then bring the other foot in. Now you can plant your feet and stand straight. Repeat this sequence once more. Adding in regular lunges adds another layer of strength (four times each leg).
Squats Are Your Best Friend
This is the last section you can do, or you can add in a sprint/run for five to ten minutes to get a slightly elevated heart rate. With your feet at shoulder length apart, lower into a wide squat. Then move your right foot behind your left into a “bowler lunge” which looks like that funny stance a bowler finishes his throw in. Your right foot should extend just past your left and both bent at the knee. Keep your chest up, if you cheat the exercise you end up cheating yourself out of gaining strength. Hold this position quickly and step back into the wide squat, as you can guess your left leg is next. Keep this up four more times and you can move onto the last set. When I was in high school we called these “pop, pop, squats” because that’s what you did! Hop your feet out into a wide squat and hop back in. Hold the squat for an extra few seconds, but continue four more times. Repeat this sequence two more times.
It may sound crazy having you stretch so much but it really does help, from personal experience. You can even feel when you haven’t done it for a while. Your muscles are like rubber bands, they need to be stretched when in use. Stretch for a few minutes, hopefully a full five. Don’t forget to hydrate before, during, and after a work-out. Water fuels our body and keeps it running smooth.
The Fitnessista is a blog run by Gina, a certified personal trainer and weight loss
specialist. She tries PiYo for a month and had this to say, “all in all, I loved the workouts and thought it was a fun way to change up my routine since my teaching schedule is very minimal right now.” She also thinks it’s a great option if you want to improve your flexibility and switch up your strength training. One other thing she brought up that I remembered was that you don’t need equipment. You use your own body weight to build that strength. So, if that gym membership is too expensive (most of them are!) or you’re traveling this work out can still help you! No more feeling guilty for not exercising or trying desperately to find a gym nearby that you’ve never been to. Just stay in your room! What are Gina’s cons you may ask? There weren’t many but, she found the workouts to be extremely short and lacking of cardio. Gina, herself added in her own cardio but just “a bit” nothing intense.
Do You Switch?
PiYo seems to be perfect for people who need something quick and easy, something they can squeeze into their busy schedule without hassle, and has low intensity. Personally, cardio tends to take all the wind out of my sails. It makes me dizzy, overly exhausted, and is a bigger burden than it needs to be. PiYo with an added ten minute, quick jog, seems manageable for me; and I can handle the exercise Well Good described. If cardio makes you feel the same way it
makes me feel, I would suggest the switch.
*PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THAT HANNAH IS NOT AN EXPERT, AND THESE ARE SUGGESTIONS BASED ON RESEARCH. PLEASE TAKE THESE SUGGESTIONS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT AND AT YOUR OWN DISCRETION.*
-By Hannah Winnewisser, Dreissig Apparel Inc. Intern