You may have heard of Chalene Johnson’s PiYo and wonder if it’s an effective way to keep fit and burn fat. Well, PiYo is one of the best low-impact yet high-intensity exercise video programs you can follow as a woman. It was developed by the founder of Turbo Kick system, Chalene Johnson and it combines the muscle-sculpting benefits of Pilates with the flexibility and strength advantages of yoga.

PiYo introduces you to a dynamic, flowing sequence of exercises that can help you burn serious calories and help you tone and lengthen your muscles which leads to increased flexibility. This is not like standard yoga or Pilates classes that lead you through dozens of repetitive movements or poses.

This program is effective if you desire an incredibly defined physique because it cranks up the speed to deliver a true-fat burning, low impact workout. You don’t have to lift unwieldy weights or suffer the jumps; neither do you have to stress your joints. The program is laid-back, and it features some upbeat tunes to ensure you have a fun-filled experience.

The Chalene Johnson’s PiYo Base kit contains 10-easy-to-follow workouts on 3 DVDs. It also comes with a workout calendar and a quick guide. Beyond that, it contains some bonuses including a measuring tape and a Get-Lean Eating Plan.

With every PiYo session, you can burn calories and fat while sculpting and defining your whole body.

The workouts found on the 3 DVDs include:

  • Core: This hits your powerhouse at every side. It helps you build a strong core, obliques, flat, and sculpted abs. Additionally, it aids you in building a strong and sexy back.
  • Align the fundamentals: This includes effective moves tailored to give you a perfect form. It breaks down the movements in the program for maximum effect and the best result possible.
  • Define Upper body: This workout helps to chisel your upper body, carve your triceps, shape your arms and give you defined, sexy shoulders. It’s incredibly effective for building a perfect body shape.
  • Define Lower body. Get lean and sleek legs with this workout. It helps to lengthen and strengthen your entire lower body, from hamstrings and glutes to your shoulders.
  • Drench: This works every muscle in your body and helps to maximize fat burning. It will kick-start your metabolisms and leaves you drenched as you melt away excess body fat.
  • Buns: This helps to give you that perfect tight and round butt. It focuses on your glutes by lifting and tightening the muscles in your entire backside.
  • Sweat: This is a traditional PiYo workout that helps to sculpt your entire body in dynamic fashion. It includes some fast-paced cardio yoga flows and body weight resistance strength training.
  • Strength intervals: This non-stop body carving, calorie-incinerating workout does not require any equipment or weights. In just twenty-five minutes, you’ll experience the maximum effect, all while avoiding bulk.
  • TurboFire HIIT 20: Intense workout that pushes you to the limit to grant you that perfect body.
  • Sculpt: This routine keeps your muscles under tension for a period of time. It works by varying tempos to trigger metabolic changes and this generates muscular endurance. On top of all that, it burns fat and transforms your figure in an amazing way.

Apart from these, the Chalene Johnson’s PiYo video program also comes with some strength workouts including:

  • Strong leg: This helps to build amazing quads, hamstrings, and glutes for the strongest and most defined legs. It guides you through slides demonstrating stretches, squats, and lunges to achieve strong legs.
  • Full body blast: It features slides which help you to speed up your fat-burning potential in just 30 minutes.

What you need to follow the PiYo program

The first thing you need is you. Then, you need a space wide enough to carry out each lesson given by the instructor from all directions. You also need a Yoga mat, a towel, and water to stay hydrated. This program also throws in a PiYo 60-Day Calendar which supports you in keeping up with a routine. This way you can monitor your progress as you build strength, stamina, and flexibility. The Get-Lean Eating Plan helps you to adopt clean and lean eating habits which you can fit into your lifestyle.

What is the duration of the program?

PiYo is a 60-day program that involves various workouts scheduled 6 days a week. Each workout ranges from 25-45 minutes, but most sessions are completed within 30 minutes. However, you’ll get faster results with PiYo than most traditional yoga or Pilates programs because PiYo involves intense cardio which has a quick fat-burning effect.

Does PiYo require you to be in great shape?

This program is suitable for all age groups, body types, and fitness levels. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge or experience. Chalene will take you through each stage and teach you everything you need to know about the program.

The results are dependent on the effort you put into following each video session. Your diet is also important for maximum result, hence, the need to follow the Get-Lean Eating Plan included with the kit.

It’s important to note that it’s prudent to consult or seek advice from your physician before starting any exercise program like PiYo. Not only that; your doctor must also guide you before you begin any nutritional plan or trying a meal replacement therapy. This is imperative, especially if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. You’ll also need medical guidance if you are suffering from any medical condition.

Wrapping it up

Whether you desire to burn unwanted fat and lose weight, or start living a healthier lifestyle, Chalene Johnson’s PiYo Base kit can help you achieve your fitness goals. Join the millions of people it’s helped stick to an exercise routine and maintain a fit body.

It can be hard exercising every day as a woman, especially when you’ve not developed a workout routine for yourself. This is why you need daily motivation to keep going. There are many exercise video programs designed for women, but it can be a daunting task when you want to make the right choice. Don’t worry about that; I am here to help you out.

So, let’s get right to the list of the best exercise video programs that you can pick up and follow to stay fit and improve your mind. They include:

1. Chalene Johnson's PiYo Base Kit

This exercise program was created by Chalene Johnson, the founder of the Turbo Kick system and it is one of the best exercise video programs for women. It combines the practices of Yoga and Pilates and it can help you lose weight, increase flexibility, and build strength.

This exercise program also adds in components of dance and martial art for a more intense, kick booty workout. It also allows you to use upbeat, mainstream music to keep you excited and in the zone during the workout.

When you follow this exercise program, it engages the small and large muscles of your body through poses like side plank, plank, core lunges, and squats, which helps you build strength through resistance. It leaves your body looking long, lean and incredibly defined.

PiYo classes are aerobic and they can help you burn calories, increase your heart rate and give out some tough sweat  Besides that, they also help to add flexibility to your muscles, increase the range of motion in your joints, and improve your balance.

2. Body Groove Delicious Dance

This exercise program was created by Misty Tripoli and over 150,000 women around the world have joined the Body Groove Revolution. This exercise involves some dance moves that are easy and fun. This makes the program suitable for people who find regular exercising programs intimidating, painful or boring.

This exercise program is very fast and consists of a 5-minute routine. When it is combined with healthy eating, it helps with weight loss. However, this is dependent on the intensity of exercise, duration, starting point, and other factors.

Body Groove can be used by women of different shapes, sizes, and ages and it can be modified to match your energy and fitness level. It is a flexible program that has helped a lot of people get their desired gorgeous shape even when regular exercising seemed boring and difficult. Besides, it can help you achieve a healthy weight and a healthy heart.

The program teaches you some easy dance moves that exercise every part of your body. No matter your limitation or fitness level, it teaches you how to make each movement perfect for your body.

3. Jillian Michaels’ Bodyshred Workout

The bodyshred exercise video program was developed by the fiercely fit TV personality and trainer Julian Michaels. You must have seen her if you’re a fan of the reality show “The Biggest Loser”.  This exercise program is based on the popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which encourages you to use short interval to work at your highest intensity. So, if are determined to push yourself to get in shape, this exercise video program can help you a great deal.

The program is designed around Julian’s 3-2-1 interval workout method. This consists of three minutes of strength training, followed by two minutes of cardio, and then one minute of core work. You do each of the exercises within each category for 30 seconds and then you repeat the full circuit until you hit 30 minutes. But you won’t be given a recovery break until the very end of the sweat session; so note that.

When you begin this exercise program, you’ll be taken through a 15-minute introductory period where the moves are demonstrated to you by the instructor. These moves can range from simple squats to advanced donkey-kicks. However, the exercises differ from instructor to instructor and from one class to another.

The three segments of this exercise help to condition your body, build power, speed, strength, agility, and flexibility. You often have the liberty to create your own HITT interval. For example, you may choose to use strength to ramp heart rate up, cardio to peak it, and then core and repeat for active recovery.

However, the class is just 30 minutes long and it offers a holistic equality fitness regime that covers all modalities including balance, strength, flexibility, and speed.

This program has three levels of difficulty: “basic”, “athletic” and “full throttle” so it can be taken by anybody. Hence, you can actually fit into a category. But I recommend that you begin from the basic level.

4. Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System

This exercise program combines cardio and interval training with serious fun. It actually uses the high energy burst from intense dancing to burn fat. You can even burn up to 1000 calories with this cardio interval bursts.

If you choose this program, you should get ready to sweat profusely because the live class includes some crazy-fun dance moves. But this works for your good. The results are fast you can follow this program to feel more confident and smart, transforming yourself into a happier you.

You can slip a sole control wrap over your favorite sneakers to allow you to move, turn and slide more easily.

Zumba has been around for years in various iterations. This speaks volumes about the effectiveness and staying power of the Zumba approach to exercise.

5. XTFMAX: 90 Day DVD Workout Program

This is a 90-day program that consists of 12 different workouts, specifically designed to transform you into a calorie burning machine. It only takes 35 minutes of your time to help you build lean muscles and tone your body using strength, power, resistance and cardio moves along with plyometric drills.

The program also includes some training guide, training calendar, and a nutritional plan (so it requires you to eat right). It is a challenging program that encourages modification and gives a chance to move from level 1 (beginners) to level 4 (advanced).  So don’t allow the title of the program scare you; it is actually designed for everyone.

It touches all square inch of your abdominal walls and it sculpts your abs, strengthens your entire back, tones your inner and outer thighs and tightens your glutes. The XTFMAX program does not require a full gym. It only requires your own body weight and minimum equipment like dumbbells, supportive shoes, yoga mat, measuring tape, stable, water, and towel.

You can also track your progress by taking your ‘before’ pictures including your front, back and side view. This can help you make a visual comparison and track your progress over the course of the program. You can also take a measurement of your biceps, chest, waist, hips, and thighs. After 90 days, compare your ‘before’ photos and measurements with your ‘after’ photos and measurements. The result should be dramatic.

OK, Let’s Go!

There’s no need to be overwhelmed by all the video programs out there; just take your pick from any of these best programs. They are guaranteed to help you stay fit and healthy if you follow them consistently without missing too many sessions. However, ensure that you consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

1. Wii Fit Plus and Wii Fit U

(Wii, Wii U)

They say that numbers don’t lie, and Wii Fit takes the top spot due to its incredible popularity during the seventh generation console era.

It’s the only fitness title for a home console (Nintendo Wii) to become a top-ten bestseller. 22.67 million and 21.13 million copies of Wii Fit and Wii Fit Plus have sold respectively as of Oct. 2017.

Wii Fit tracks your center of balance, weight and movement via the Balance Board peripheral, so naturally it excels at balance games and yoga. A variety of strength training and aerobic activities are also included.

Even over a decade after its launch, there is nothing out there anything like Wii Fit. And over the years, people have found new ways to better lives by using it for physiotherapy rehabilitation and gaming rehabilitation.

2. Dance Dance Revolution series

(Arcade)

First released in 1998, DDR is a pioneering game in the rhythm and dance genre that has seen various iterations over the years, from the flagship arcade game to home console versions.

Players interact with the “dance platform” by stepping on four colored zones laid out in a cross pattern. Visual cues are provided and players step on the correct square, or combination or squares to the rhythm of the music.

DDR provides an incredibly fun, involving way to do casual step aerobics, and will sneakily give you a cardio workout while you’re preoccupied with reaching a high score.

3. ARMS

(Switch)

Armed with a heart rate monitor, one Redditor posted the results of playing ARMS for about an hour, showing that he managed to burn over 500 calories.

ARMS may not be generally touted as a great way to exercise, but we’re got all the evidence we need that it’s a very underrated way for a gamer that often shies away from physical activity to boost their BPM.

Called a “far wackier take on the boxing genre” than Nintendo’s Punch-Out! By IGN, it shares a similarity to the Wii classic in that it makes great use of motion controls. Players have the option of employing Joy-Con controllers to strafe, block, jab, and uppercut their way to victory.

ARMS has a lot of depth in its combat system which serious gamers will appreciate. This sets it apart from other more obvious fitness game options, which are generally very casual in terms of gameplay.

4. EA Sports Active and EA Sports Active 2

(Wii, PS3, Xbox 360)

Wii Fit opened the door for other developers to get in on the fitness game trend, and one of the best offerings to come from it is EA Sports Active. The series includes the original game, EA Sports Active: More Workouts, EA Sports Active 2, and an Active 2 spinoff named EA Sports Active: NFL Training Camp, which is geared towards football fans and a male audience.

Whereas Wii Fit was best at balance games and yoga, EA Sports Active delivers a good cardio workout. It successfully takes the place of video workout programs, and adds real-time feedback from a virtual personal trainer, plus the ability to track your progress.

Active and Active 2 both offer different activities; although improved Active 2 isn’t a replacement of the original but a continuation. Each game uses an entirely different approach to track your movements, and most agree that Active 2 beats the original at this as it has proprietary motion detectors you strap to your arm and leg rather than relying solely on the Wii remote and nunchuck.

Those looking to pick these up today should note Active 2 online features have been shut down, but this shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying what it still has to offer.

5. Just Dance series

(PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Wii)

Just Dance started its life as a Wii exclusive and since the release of Just Dance 3 has expanded to all major consoles.

To keep up with the ever-changing pop music landscape, a new version is released each year. Many games in the series boast over 40 tracks made up of recent hits as well as a few classic numbers.

Just Dance offers a fun, immersive experience. A few songs in you’ll notice your heart rate has really ramped up, and you’ll be having such a good time you won’t quit. Another incentive to keep exercising is the added challenge of mastering the dance steps, which are creative, well choreographed, and will consistently pull the average gamer out of their comfort zone.

Its ability to track your movements accurately isn’t a strong suit, although it’s impeccable at detecting if you have the basic rhythm of the dance routine down. Frankly if your stabs at replicating the movements the dancer is doing on-screen are as spotty, it could be seen as a blessing that it’s forgiving about judging your skill.

If you’re into pop music and dancing, but need an excuse to get up and shake it at home, this is it.

Since P90X and P90X3 empowers its users to bypass gym membership fees, as well as eliminating the need for an extensive home gym, accessibility is a prime reason it has become astonishingly popular.

One of the best aspects of the P90X system is that it challenges you without the need for heavy, expensive equipment. Only a pull-up bar and either resistance bands or dumbbells are required.

Why Dumbbells Over Resistance Bands?

Gym rats claiming that dumbbells are objectively the best choice have it wrong. Studies have concluded that a dumbbell or resistance band with the same weight/resistance rating has the same ability to build and tone muscle.

Unlike workout machines, either offers a free range of motion as well. So your movements won’t be restricted in an unnatural manner.

The key difference here in terms of function is that with dumbbells you’re lifting against gravity while with resistance bands you’re lifting against tension.

Although resistance bands are great for travel, dumbbells are incredibly robust and a quality product can last a lifetime. Although manufacturers such as Bodylastics are beefing up their resistance bands so snapping is less likely, their offerings are made from materials that degrade over time (latex, rubber, etc.). If you’re working out at home why not choose what’s best in the long-term?

Range of Weights Recommended

For best results and to adapt to your current fitness capabilities, you’ll want a wide range of dumbbells at your disposal or adjustable dumbbells. Exercises such as triceps kickbacks require light weights, while others like heavy pants are intended to be executed with heavy resistance.

The P90X Fitness Guide suggests using a range of dumbbells starting at 5 pounds and going as high as 70 pounds.

Fixed vs. Adjustable Dumbbells

You’d need a rack filled with fixed dumbbells (ranging from 5 to 60 lbs.) to replace most adjustable dumbbells. So by going with an adjustable model, you’ll save space and if you need a comprehensive set, money too.

Adjustable dumbbell brands like Bowflex have gone high-tech. SelectTech 560 includes Bluetooth connectivity which syncs and records sets, reps and the weight used. Results are viewed via the Bowflex SelectTech App.

People with plenty of space looking to build a more professional gym at home may prefer the convenience of traditional dumbbells. Rather than pausing the P90X video to change the weight of your adjustable dumbbells, you’ve got the ability to quickly grab what is needed from a rack.

Most people however, will be better off going with adjustable dumbbells as they offer a greater value.

For more analysis on the characteristics of both fixed and adjustable dumbbells, read the full article here.

Which Adjustable Dumbbells to Choose?

Bowflex and PowerBlock are the most popular makers of adjustable dumbbells, and within these two camps the choices are simple.

There is essentially an option for average fitness needs and an amped up version for fitness enthusiasts, power lifters and athletes. Specifically, the Bowflex SelectTech 552/560 or PowerBlock Personal Trainer Set is for most people, and the SelectTech 1090 or PowerBlock Elite for the highest achievers.

On the Bowflex side the SelectTech 560 is the latest model replacing the 552.

Which Fixed Dumbbells to Get?

Dumbbell sets for light lifting are commonly encased in vinyl or neoprene. These are commonly intended for women with average fitness goals.

Sets with weights above 20 lbs. are fundamentally made of cast iron.

Brands are much less significant in this space compared to adjustable dumbbells, as these are comparably simple products to make. That being said, XMARK and CAP offer quality products and are among the best sellers on Amazon.com.

Don’t be fooled by starter fixed dumbbell sets with low price tags, as you’ll easily outgrow these, and the included weights won’t cover what is need to get the most out of P90X or P90X3.

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Photo: Jim

You've made a commitment to start working out and stick to it. Maybe due to health reasons, or maybe just to help you build muscle and strength. However, now you need to consider which type of dumbbell to purchase, to lead you to the realization of your fitness goals. There are two types of dumbbells: Fixed and adjustable dumbbells. So, between these two which should you buy? First of all, let's take a moment to distinguish between fixed dumbbells, and adjustable ones.

Differences: Fixed Dumbbells vs. Adjustable Dumbbells

This particular type of dumbbell is also known as a regular dumbbell. Some refer to them as traditional dumbbells because they have been around for a long time, as compared to adjustable dumbbells. The weights on a regular dumbbell are fixed and cannot be adjusted. Regular dumbbells come in two styles: hex and pro style, which are usually distinguished by the shape of the weight heads.

An adjustable dumbbell, however, can be adjusted. In other words, the weights can be increased or decreased to suit your workout. There are two types of adjustable dumbbells: selectorized, and plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells.

Let's look at the pros and cons of these two different types of dumbbells

Affordability

Traditional dumbbells appear to be a lot more affordable compared to the adjustable variety. However, you will need more than just one set of dumbbell to fit the different types of exercise you might want to take part in. Adjustable dumbbells allow you to change the weight as you wish. Hence, you’ll probably only need one set of adjustable dumbbells.

A pair of good, cast iron dumbells start at around $10 and move upward in price depending on the weight. After adding the cost of all the individual dumbbells you need, you may quickly approach or exceed the price of adjustable dumbbells. Conversely, those with modest needs that gravitate towards 5, 10 or 15 pound weights can save money by going with traditional dumbbells. So the better bargain depends on your needs.

Space and Storage

Adjustable dumbbells take up very little space in your exercise area or room. The regular ones require you to buy more than one set and end up taking up a lot more space. Hence, can lead to a cluttered room and could be dangerous if not put out of the way; so you’ll want to invest in a dumbbell rack.

Configuration

Each type of dumbbell is structured differently. The regular dumbbells are usually set hence the weights cannot be shifted or changed. This gives the individual working out confidence that the weights won't fall out and cause injury during the workout. As previously mentioned, the weight heads of the regular dumbbells come in two shapes: round and square shaped. The square ones stay in place and do not roll over, reducing the chances of an accident. Furthermore, the weight heads are usually rubber coated to protect floors from getting scratched.

Flexibility

This is where adjustable dumbbells really take the cake. With just one set of of adjustable dumbbells to focus on, it’s much faster to transition to the next set of the workout. Bowflex in particular has made it really easy to change the amount of weight. Simply turn the dial at the end of the barbbell in increments of 2.5 or 5 pounds to reach the desired setting.

Durability

Adjustable dumbbells have wow factor and are certainly impressively engineered, but the plastic and rubber components may wear down or break more easily than a bullet-proof traditional dumbbell. There’s more to go wrong.

On the other side of the coin, adjustable dumbbells are rugged in their own right. And in real world applications few people complain about failed parts or wear.

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Photo: Bill Couch

Bowflex 1090

Whether it be exercises for legs, back, chest, abdominal, arms or shoulders, Bowflex adjustable dumbbells are a good choice for those interested in total body workouts.

The adjustable dumbbell craze was propelled by the 552 with its the innovative, space-aged design. In late 2011 Bowflex added a new model based on its wildly successful cousin but with notable changes and improvements.

For the most part the Bowflex 552 and 1090 aren’t meant to directly compete against each other as these two models serve different needs. Most notably the 1090 can be adjusted up to 90 lbs., while the 552 maxes out at 52.5 lbs. but allows for more exacting weight adjustments.

That said, engineering improvements were made to the 1090 that in some aspects put it in a different league in terms of quality. The base is lighter, handles have been upgraded, etc.

Differences Between the Bowflex 552 and 1090

The Base

The 1090s have a plastic base which may seem like a disadvantage, however in this case it isn’t because it’s rigid, strong and much lighter than the base on the 552s.

If you don’t mind the weight the metal base on the 552 is good too, but to most this will be viewed as an improvement.

Bowflex 552

Weight Specifications and Adjustment Increments

The 552s use a dial system that moves in increments of 5 lbs., or sometimes 2.5 lbs. strategically placed on the dial where finer adjustments are most advantageous.

The starting weight on the 1090 is 10 lbs. and it can go up to 90 lbs. It’s adjusted in increments of 5 lbs.

Due to these differences in capability the 1090 is better suited to bodybuilders and heavy lifters. The 552 is no slouch for building strength and there is indeed some overlap, but this model is best for people that tend to use the lower settings more often as more flexibility is provided for those who do.

Handles

The rubber elements added to the handles on the Bowflex 552 do provide nice grip. However, the price for this product design decision is the rubber may get worn down or even split with heavy use.

In contrast Bowflex switched to all-metal handles for the 1090. Most won’t miss the rubber as the pattern for grip on the metal handles works well too.

Size

Size may matter but in this case the difference isn’t huge. With the 552 each dumbbell is 15.75” long x 8” wide x 9” tall. The 1090 dumbbells measure 17.5” long x 10” wide x 10” in height.

Conclusion

The 1090 may currently be the latest and greatest design offered by Bowflex, but if you’re buying now its best to focus on how much weight you plan on lifting. If that figure is more than 52 lbs. per arm the choice is simple: go with the 1090. If not, the 552 despite lacking the noted improvements is still the best choice.