What the Heck is PiYo Strength?

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you’ve probably seen me post a lot (like…a LOT) about a program called PiYo Strength.


It’s been kind of a whirlwind journey for me when it comes to becoming a real, live fitness instructor:

  • February 7: Take the AFAA Certification Exam
  • February 22: Take the PiYo Strength Certification Exam
  • February 26: Find out I passed the PiYo Strength Exam
  • February 28: Find out I passed the AFAA Exam
  • March 15: Teach my first PiYo Strength class

In five weeks, my life changed dramatically (and yet not so much, since I still have a full time job that I love, and a toddler who comes first).


(From my awesome mentor Alli Upham.)

I’m extremely lucky to be in a position to teach in a studio that I love (Dance Trance Orlando) with people who love me no matter what (so many friends have been coming out to my classes!) and so far, the response has been absolutely incredible. Week 1, I had 18 people show up, and on Week 2, we “sold” out (these preview classes are free) so quickly that I ended up adding a second class to run back-to-back, just to get everyone in. This weekend is Week 3, and the final free class, and we were booked solid two weeks ago.

Reposted from @andreadennis -- our before and after shots. She has come two weeks in a row to my PiYo Strength class ... what a rock star! #fitfluential

image from @andreadennis on Instagram

What an amazing morning. I taught my very first class this morning and had so many friendly faces in the crowd. Thanks for @runtothefinish and @sequellife_bp for the picture and to everyone who came and stuck through a hard but amazing PiYo Strength class

image from @runtothefinish on Instagram, with @sequellife_BP

I think I’m an OK teacher so far — I have a lot to work on, for sure, but more than a decade of taking group exercise classes has helped me understand proper cueing and energy — but I don’t think it’s me that has people packing the floor.

It’s PiYo Strength.

I'm excited and also a little terrified about teaching PiYo Strength tomorrow morning! Orlando, I still have a few spots open for the 9am class, and I also have room for the next two Saturdays. These first three classes are free!

So, what the heck is PiYo? Here’s the elevator speech I give at the beginning of class:

“PiYo Strength is exactly what it sounds like. It’s strength building — lunges, push-ups, burpees — combined with postures from yoga and pilates — the warrior series, sun salutations — set to Top 40 music. It’s not like any other yoga class you’ve ever taken, but you will build flexibility, balance and sweat a heck of a lot.”

Chalene Johnson — yes, THAT Chalene — created the program, but it’s now become part of the Beachbody offerings. In fact, it’s going to be released as an at-home workout very soon (!!!) and Chalene just released this video trailer:

It’s a pre-designed program, which means that instructors receive new lessons and choreography notes for pre-selected music every couple of months. But we have the ability to adjust things to make them fit for our class. That means that if you take PiYo Lesson 31 in Orlando, Seattle or Boston, it will be the same songs and roughly the same choreography, but if the instructor wants to hold some of the postures a little longer for beginner classes, or the instructor wants to add some plyometric moves or speed up the postures for more advanced students, he/she can.


Each lesson follows the same 10 workout tracks — for example, a warmup, a heat-building session, a lower body session, flow (the most traditional yoga section), etc. — but will change out the songs and the specific moves. If you take any of the Les Mills programs (Body Pump, Body Attack) it’s sort of the same except that Les Mills is much stricter in terms of following the exact choreography.

PiYo is sweaty. It’s tough. (I’ve told some friends recently that it’s a yoga bootcamp, with Rihanna and Katy Perry and Maroon 5 as the soundtrack.)

And it WORKS. Now that I’m teaching, I go through my lessons at least twice during the week to stay fresh, then I lead one or two classes on the weekend. And in just six weeks, my arms have gotten much, much more toned. I’m shocked. But that’s what happens when you hold planks forever and ever, I guess.

I'd say PiYo Strength is a workout, huh? Wore my heart rate monitor for back-to-back classes this weekend.

I’m so excited to be teaching this format, and I’d love to answer any more questions you have about the class, the certification experience or anything else!


TWO BIG THANK YOUS (and one big disclosure: for both the products listed below, I was provided the items for free in exchange for my honest feedback to the company and for an honest — as always, the companies knew this would be honest — review here on the blog. You can learn more about my disclosure policy here.)

1) THANK YOU to Samson Tech for sending me one of the most important tools I’m currently using as a PiYo Strength instructor: a fitness headset and microphone! Because I offer so many verbal cues through class, I really wanted to make sure that my students could hear me clearly over the music, but I had no idea what to get in terms of equipment.


I googled, asked my fellow IDEA Fit advisors, looked on Amazon and ended up more confused than ever. Luckily, I got some GREAT advice from a local Jazzercise instructor, who raved about the Samson Tech Airline system, and strongly advised me to get the wireless version. I took a shot and reached out to Samson to see if they’d consider sending me a review product, and they said yes! I was very, very nervous that it would be hard to set up — I know¬†nothing¬†about audio systems, and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to set it up with the studio’s speakers — but it was super easy and worked like a charm.


It’s wireless, which means I just put the headset around my head, turn on the receiver, plug the receiver into the speakers and start talking. Despite a few bad moments with some nasty feedback, solved by a few adjustments of the master and headset volume pots on the speaker, I really haven’t had any problems. And my students say the microphone helps them hear my cues clearly, which is the main thing.

2) THANK YOU to YogaOutlet.com, which I’ll be spending a lot of time and money on in the future. They let me go on a shopping spree to test out their new website, and I finally got an item that has been on my yoga wishlist for years — a Manduka mat!


I honestly wish I’d invested in this much, much sooner. It’s expensive, I know. But it’s very thick (I have had no wrist pain since using it, despite LONG plank sessions), has a sticky texture that means it grips the floor and is guaranteed for life. There’s a reason that this brand gets so much love from yogis and yoginis.

The prices on YogaOutlet.com are really, really competitive — and you get free shipping when you spend $49 or more. A few things that I didn’t buy yet but are in the cart for consideration right now:

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  1. says

    Congrats on completing your training and getting started on your classes! I just completed Pilates training a month or so ago and have also just started teaching. It’s cool, but crazy being the instructor now! I think PiYo is great and who knows; maybe I’ll go for that cert next!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for posting this, Katy! I’ve had “Get a group class certification” on my bucket list for a LONG time, and knowing what this class is all about makes me SO excited to research what kind of classes I would consider teaching! This looks like a BLAST. I’f I ever make it down to Florida, I’ll have to look your studip up!

  3. says

    This sounds like such a great class! I teach a barre class, and the first about 20 minutes of the class I do pilates, mountain climbers, planks, etc, and then move into barre. I love teaching it, and I love the workout that I get. I’d love to try PiYo at some point!

  4. says

    I’d love to hear more about the certification process. How much did your previous experience attending PiYo classes (as a student) factor into your success with the certification?

  5. says

    That’s fantastic that you finished the training program and that your classes are going so well! It sounds like a lot of fun and it’s great you’ve gotten your friends involved. Congrats and keep up the hard work!

  6. says

    I was actually just searching for bloggers that were PiYo certified and came across your blog! I love that you work in TV as well :) Teaching fitness classes is my side hustle and I’m looking to expand my certs. I think I am going to sign up and take the PiYo training! Thanks for this info and glad to hear you love teaching!


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