Can I Do PiYo if I'm Overweight? 11 Success Tips From A Former Fattie


Everyone you know is talking about Beachbody's new PiYo program. Could this be the program that works for you? Could Beachbody's PiYo workouts help you build muscle, strength and confidence? Will the PiYo meal plan help you finally lose weight and keep it off? Chalene Johnson, it's creator and instructor, is incredibly fit. So are many of the people you know who are talking about PiYo. But you're not. And your friends and acquaintances don't understand what it's like to be overweight. If you are reading this I am assuming that you are overweight and are either new to fitness or just getting back in shape.

Welcome! I'm Jacqui, and I have been in your shoes. I will answer your question "Can I do PiYo if I'm overweight?" and I will give you 11 of my best tips to not only "do PiYo," but to rock the program and get you started on a lifelong fitness adventure.

You can purchase PiYo directly from Amazon. Click here for the current price: Beachbody’s PiYo Program


From one overweight person to another…

I may not be overweight now, but I used to weigh over 200 pounds. I understand the pain and frustration of looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger. I know how hard it is to commit to a program when you are unsure if you will be able to complete it. I know what it feels like to be scared of failure. I understand what it feels like to be self-conscious about your body. I get it, because I was you. And I still am a fat girl at heart. I am not sure those feelings every truly go away, and in a way I am grateful. Because I will always relate to those who are out-of-shape. I will always understand what it feels like to stand at the back of a fitness class, feeling out-of-place and nervous. And I will always relate to the walkers lining up at the back of a 5k, hoping they have the energy to finish.

We are in this together.

Because I can relate, you and I are a team. If my experience as a former fattie will help YOU on your journey, then my time as an overweight woman will not have been in vain. I applaud anyone who makes the commitment to living a healthier, more active life. Why? Because I draw strength and motivation from YOU!

Big changes are SCARY!!

It is UNCOMFORTABLE to contemplate eating less food. It is uncomfortable thinking about eating more fruits and veggies and protein. It is SCARY thinking about working out six days a week. It is TERRIFYING to think about a life overhaul and major changes to better your health. But I tell you that IT IS WORTH IT. Being fit and active is the best feeling in the world. Your confidence will soar, girlfriend! You have so much to offer the world so please take care of yourself. You can do this!

I had the same question.

Eleven years ago I was obese and out-of-shape. I got winded walking to the mailbox. I decided to change my life and eventually added gentle exercise to my routine. It was hard choosing a comfortable way to workout because I was:

  • Out-of-shape – I was easily winded

  • Big (ok, FAT) – the fat got in the way of movements liking trying (unsuccessfully) to touch my toes

  • Big (yes, FAT) – fat jiggled uncomfortably when trying to do impact activity like jumping or running

  • Scared – I did not want to fail (even though I had exercised in the past)

  • Self-conscious – I did not want to be seen in a gym and wanted to exercise at home

I DO understand what it means to be obese.

Boring but necessary disclaimer.

You've seen the language everywhere, but I'll repeat it here. Please see your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program. You are probably the picture of good health, excess weight aside, but it's best to have a thorough check-up and get your doctor's clearance. I hate going to the doctor too, but your health is worth it. Be safe.


What is PiYo?


PiYo is a Beachbody DVD program inspired by Pilates and yoga. But it is neither Pilates nor yoga (thank goodness because I hate yoga). Rather it is a dynamic, athletic workout that is entirely grounded – so no jumping or impact of any kind. It was designed to burn calories, build strength and increase flexibility - three essential components of any exercise program all rolled into one. Chalene Johnson, the perky fitness guru who invented PiYo, says PiYo was created for everyone, including the overweight and obese, and it can be adapted for all fitness levels, from total beginner up to advanced athlete. For more details on PiYo, check this out: What is PiYo and Why Chalene Johnson Created it For YOU.


If you're overweight, here 11 Success Tips to get the best results from PiYo:

Keep in mind, these are my opinions based on my experience being a former obese person working her way back into exercise. Be kind to your body as you begin; start slowly if need be, because the ultimate goal is active living for a lifetime, not a 60 day program.

1. Start by congratulating yourself for beginning an exercise program!

I am proud of you making the commitment to change your life! Saying YES to good health is a big deal and your attitude is crucial to your success. Welcome to a brand new journey. A journey where you will overcome obstacles, meet goals and learn how truly strong and amazing you are – both mentally and physically.

You can purchase PiYo directly from Amazon. Click here for the current price: Beachbody’s PiYo Program

2. Get the proper mindset.

Your positive attitude is critical to making big lifestyle changes! You are an athlete now, so begin to think of yourself as one. The mindset of an athlete will help you make good choices every day, from the wholesome food you choose to nourish your body, to starting your workout, to pushing through life when times get tough.

3. Find comfy clothes to work out in.

Make sure you dress like the gorgeous athlete you are! Don't wear a dumpy t-shirt and old sweatpants. Start with an incredibly supportive sports bra – you'll thank me later! Get a cute pair of capris or stretchy workout tights and a pretty tank top or short-sleeved shirt. You will be amazed at how much better you feel about exercising when you look cute!

4. Watch Align: The Fundamentals DVD.

It's time to pop in the first DVD. Grab a bottle of water and follow along as you are able. According to the official PiYo calendar (you can print a copy HERE) you are to watch this video once for basic instruction. I recommend you watch it, and follow along, at least twice. Reason being, Align: The Fundamentals is a teaching video and is purposely slow-paced. If you are new to working out you will have lots of opportunities to rest as you become familiar with the movements and your proper form is being reinforced. If the 45 minute video is too much for you to tackle all at once, start with the first 20 minutes one day and do the rest the next day.


5. Make exercise a daily habit.

The official PiYo calendar is six days of workouts and one day of rest. If you are very sedentary, suddenly committing to six days of exercise is a big change. However, six days of exercise doesn't mean six days of hour-long grueling torture sessions. Think of your workout time as "me time" and an opportunity to honor your body by moving it and making it stronger. Maybe you only move for 10 minutes, but that's OK to start.

Whether you complete an entire DVD workout or not, at least commit to doing something active. And make your workout time non-negotiable. Your health is worth it.

One of my favorite quotes is this: By committing to a daily workout you are making progress toward your goals EVERY SINGLE DAY. These small efforts will compound and you will find a new sense of motivation and excitement as you make exercise a daily habit.

6. It's OK to end your workout early.

What? You're not a quitter! But you heard me right. If you are overweight and brand new to exercise, even a 20 minute PiYo workout may be too much. I promise the world will not end if you stop before the workout is officially over. There will come a time when you will want to challenge and push yourself to work harder, but your first week or two is probably not that time. There is no shame if you work out for 10 minutes and call it a day. Just be sure to come back for your workout tomorrow.


7. Modify your movements as much as necessary.

Each of the PiYo DVD's shows one participant, Michelle, modifying the movements. She is showing you the beginner level and it's a great feature since we all start out at different fitness levels. HOWEVER, if you are obese and new to exercise, even the modified version may be too much. Listen to your body. Do what is comfortable. Stay more upright, stretch less. Don't be afraid to move slowly. You WILL improve.


8. Repeat Weeks 1 and 2 if necessary.

There's no sense in moving to some of the more advanced workouts if you are struggling with the foundational ones. My advice would be to repeat Weeks 1 and 2 to build your endurance, strength, flexibility and confidence. Ask yourself "am I ready to move on?" Do so when the time is right.


9. Slowly build time and intensity to complete the program.

There will come a day (and it may arrive sooner than you think!) when you are progressing and are ready to tackle the new workouts. Hooray for you! Jump into the full PiYo Calendar when you are ready. If you ever feel stuck, repeat a week as often as necessary.


10. For weight loss, don't forget about nutrition.

You may have heard that 80% of your results come from your diet. The exact percentage may be debatable, but what is important is that you must fuel your body properly in order to lose weight. (I wrote an article all about losing weight with PiYo HERE: Will I Lose Weight Doing PiYo?) Crazy fad diets are not necessary, but good healthy eating is. There is an easy-to-follow nutrition plan in your PiYo materials. I've broken down the meal plan and have some printable worksheets to help you HERE: PiYo Meal Plan with Printables. It's not absolutely necessary to use Beachbody's meal plan to lose weight (you may have already discovered that there is no magic diet on the planet, unfortunately), but you should have some healthy dietary guidelines.


11. Keep the faith.

Starting a new healthy life and developing the habit of consistent exercise is not easy. It's been six years since I committed to losing weight and being active and I still struggle – often! Be sure to reward yourself for your progress – and I don't mean the number on the scale, although you will find that number moving steadily downward. Reward yourself for goals under your control, such as working out six days per week, or eating a serving of veggies at each meal. Read books and web sites that motivate you and inspire you to lead a healthier life. Commit to doing something for your health EVERY SINGLE DAY.


So, can I do PiYo if I'm obese??

If you have your doctor's clearance, then I have every reason to believe that YES YOU CAN do PiYo. You may (or may not) need to modify some exercises, and you may move through the program a bit slower than someone who is already fit. What is a few weeks building a good foundation of fitness when compared to a lifetime of healthy living? However, there is a long list of things you absolutely CAN achieve:

  • You CAN absolutely establish the habit of regular exercise.

  • You CAN wear cute workout clothes. (Fashionable fitness gear may not be important to you, but it's very motivating to me!)

  • You CAN develop an athlete's mindset from your regular workouts which is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself.

  • You CAN move at your own pace and decide what is right for you.

  • You CAN learn an awful lot about yourself on this fitness journey.

  • You CAN set a good example for those around you. And they ARE watching you!

  • You CAN learn to love exercise!

  • You CAN set fitness and weight loss goals and achieve those goals.

  • You CAN gain strength, endurance and flexibility.

  • You ABSOLUTELY CAN be proud of yourself!


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Can I do Beachbody's PiYo workout if I'm overweight? The answer is YES, and learn 11 success tips from a former fattie | PLAN A HEALTHY LIFE.
Can I do Beachbody's PiYo workout if I'm overweight? The answer is YES, and learn 11 success tips from a former fattie | PLAN A HEALTHY LIFE.