Sunday, July 20, 2014

PIYO Challenge Diary: Week 2 of 8

This week's workouts:
Monday:        PIYO Sweat
Tuesday:        PIYO Define: Lower Body
Wednesday:   PIYO Core
Thursday:      PIYO Define: Upper Body
Friday:           REST
Saturday:       PIYO Sweat
Sunday:         PIYO Core
I am picturing myself googling 'PIYO' to find out more about it. What kind of workout is it? Is it within my capabilities? Will I enjoy it? So I'd like to try and answer those questions, but I find it a little difficult because we all have our own point of reference.

I think this is the best I can do as a short summary of where I am coming from:

I'm not super-athletic, I've always thought of myself as kind of wimpy. I did have a gym membership for a few years, but the majority of my exercising has been done at home. I am not a runner. I love Zumba. I prefer a circuit type workout, because I feel like you can get more out of a shorter workout. Over the years, I have worked out in front of my TV with the likes of Kathi Smith, Ellen Barrett and Jackie Warner; there have been others, but those have been my favourites and my "go-tos". I tried 30 Day Shred and I hated it. I  am in no way an advanced yogini, but I do prefer a yoga workout where I actually feel like I am working...Though there are times when a gentle stretch is just the  ticket.

And this is my take on PiYo, two weeks in:

PiYo is described as a Pilates and yoga inspired workout, with the speed cranked up. That's pretty accurate; the workouts are short (at least so far), but definitely challenging. Thanks to my history of yoga and Ellen Barrett DVDs, a lot of this has felt very familiar (sun salutations, warrior flows) and some of it still feels very hard:

  • Side planks - something that I have a hard time with and knew I wanted to work on before starting PiYo. So it's good. But at the same time, you don't really spend a lot of time working on side plank in this workout - it's part of a sequence. For sake of comparison, I've done other workouts that include similar moves, and I usually modify the plank; I think the difference here is that everything goes so fast, and I haven't quite got the feel of them yet. Maybe the downside of the short workouts - there's not a lot of time to demo moves, you just jump right in.
  • Pilates roll ups. I've never been able to do them. PiYo does offer a modification, which is helpful. But after a few of those sequences, I kinda feel like I'm just flinging myself around, trying to keep up with the flow; again needing time to learn the routine likely has something to do with it.
  • Core and Upper Body both include side planks and roll ups, so doing Core on Wednesday,  followed by Upper Body on Thursday was tough.
  • Crouching Pushup or Crouching Crow. A few years back, I was doing a workout program that included something called "V pushups"; basically, you get in a downward-dog-like position, and do pushups, working your arms, but keeping your legs still. With the PiYo crouching pushups, you are doing a similar thing, but bending your knees; watching it on the screen, it looks like they are drawing their knees in, and tucking themselves into a little ball, while doing the  pushup with their upper body. Having done the V pushups before, I thought I should be able to get this, and I was getting really frustrated that I couldn't....Until I figured out that I needed to adjust the position of my feet; I was trying to keep them too close, and needed to move them to more of a downward dog distance. It's still hard mind you, but at least now I feel like I'm getting  somewhere.
There is probably more, but those are the things that stand out in my mind so far. The Define: Upper & Lower workouts are quite short. I finally feel like I am getting  the hang of them, and they are about to disappear from the schedule. One issue I did notice in the Lower Body workout - they repeat the warrior sequence twice on the right side, but only once on the left, which bugs me. Keep the sides even people!

I haven't actually been sore from any of these workouts yet, but I had swapped my rest day last week, so by Thursday I had done 7 days  in a row and I was feeling ready for my rest day on Friday. I do feel like my pushups are improving already!

In summary: I like that it's not taking up a lot of time, I feel like I am getting a good workout, I can't do it all, but I am improving a little bit each time, and I'm enjoying the program.

I want to address the food side of things too, but I should probably leave that for another post since (a) this post is already long enough, and (b) I'm still thinking things through. I thought I would talk about Shakeology though, since Angie asked about it, and because it seems to be a big part of the BeachBody program.

First I should mention that I am not a protein shake or smoothie fan, so I'm probably a bit of a hard sell in this area. I prefer to eat my food, rather than drink it. That said, there are times lately when figuring out what to eat just seems like too complicated, and the idea of downing a dose of superfood nutrition in a shake starts to have some appeal.

I was seeing quite a few mentions of Shakeology from people who were trying out Beach Body programs, and they all seemed to include the word 'delicious', so when I ordered my PiYo, I opted to include a bag of the Vanilla Shakeology as well.

I tried it a couple of times before the official start of the PiYo challenge...The word I would use is: tolerable. I don't like stevia, and it definitely has that dinstinctly unpleasant stevia aftertaste; I also find it a little gritty.

The first week, I did drink it every day, from Monday - Friday, then gave msyelf a break on the weekend. This past week I had it three times.

I have been adding fruit to it - strawberries, frozen cherries, peaches. I make sure to add something tart or bitter, to try and offset the stevia taste - plain yogurt, lemon juice, lime juice, cocoa, black coffee. Sometimes I add more vanilla.

Tolerable. Not delicious.

However, I'll continue to give it a try, to see if I notice any benefit from all those superfoods and antioxidants.

In non-PiYo news, it took the cats all of a week to discover the gap along one corner of the fence, where they can crawl right under. We need to get on that cat proofing! The upside, our fenced in area is a bit larger, and now that the fence is back up my garden is safe again.


Jess said...

I had never heard of PiYo, sounds like a good challenge and achievable. The shakes don't sound so wonderful but hopefully they will help you meet your goals!

Jess said...

PS your photos are amazing as usual!

JavaChick said...

Thanks Jess! As far as the Shakes go, I am choosing to give it a try to see if I notice any benefits, and we'll see how things go. :)

Sonya @ Eyes on the Hourglass said...

Hi there... Thanks for visiting my blog! Sounds like we have some things in common. To name two, I also have two fur babies and also love veggies! Also for ethical reasons and diet reasons. Anyway thank you soooo much for this post. All I keep hearing about is beach body and piyo and shakeology and how amazing it all is. I'm sure it is for some, but your post really gave me a real idea about what it's all about. I appreciate that. I have just started my weight loss journey again and I'm trying to figure out what program to follow so it's very helpful. Thanks :)

JavaChick said...

Hi Sonya! Glad you found it helpful. I think the biggest challenge is to figure out what you like. I do like this a lot so far...Though this week things are definitely getting harder!