PiYo certification {training day recap}

by Kim on May 6, 2014

Like I mentioned yesterday, I spent the day on Sunday getting certified as a PiYo instructor.


The training was in Green Bay, 2.5 hours away from home, and while we’d originally planned to turn the weekend into a mini family trip, we ended up scratching that idea at the last minute.

The tricky thing about traveling with toddlers is that toddlers need naps, and 11 AM check-out times mean that any one-night hotel stay is going to leave you on the street during prime naptime hours. So we’d have to book the hotel for two nights (Sat and Sun) just for the boys to have somewhere to go on Sunday afternoon, even though we’d be leaving right after my class got out at 3.

In the end, we decided the whole thing wasn’t worth the dough, especially since I’d be out of commission for half of it–and, plus, the weather wasn’t supposed to be that great–so I ended up going it alone.

Which is how I ended up with a 5:15 AM alarm and a 5-hour solo roadtrip.

It actually wasn’t as bad as it sounds, thanks to an iPod full of fresh podcasts and lots & lots of these:


So, let me tell you about the actual certification!

First of all, you might be wondering:

What is PiYo?

PiYo is a new Beachbody workout, created by my girl crush, Chalene Johnson.


We talked about how to describe it in class, and one of the best definitions was “it’s pilates and yoga…with an EDGE.”

It’s also referred to as “yoga for athletes,” since it’s way more up-beat and cardio-intensive than a regular yoga class. It’s designed to be high intensity, but low impact, so it’s kind to the body while also being outrageously effective. (Seriously, my quads are still protesting two days later.)

Strength is a huge component of PiYo, in addition to flexibility, but there are no weights. It’s 100% bodyweight work, which makes it super accessible and convenient.

And, of course, there’s the best part: the workouts are set to high-tempo pop music. It’s really hard to not get into it.

I think PiYo is the perfect workout for people who recognize the benefits of yoga and want to like it, but are zonked-out bored in traditional yoga classes. It’s also a great compromise workout for people who want to do more than “just stretch.”

There is nothing boring about PiYo, and while you’re definitely getting the flexibility benefits you expect from yoga, you’re also building strength and working on that powerhouse pilates core (hope you’re comfortable with planks!). Plus, since all the moves are full-body compound movements, you’re torching major calories.

I know I’m starting to sound like a Beachbody infomercial here, but I wouldn’t have pursued this as my first ever group exercise certification if I wasn’t totally in love with the format. It’s the perfect fit for me, since I decided that “yoga fit” was my soulmate workout. (Funny–that post in the same one where I first mentioned my goal of going after the PiYo cert!)

What was the training day like?

I would have loved to know more about what to expect from the day itself prior to Sunday, especially having never gotten a group exercise certification before, so let me give you a little rundown of what it looked like for us.

In our case, the entire class was held in a yoga studio on a college campus. We spent the day on our yoga mats, either sitting and listening or up doing PiYo moves.


The class was 6 hours long, and I was amazed how fast the time flew by!

Here’s a rough outline of the day:

9:00 – 9:45 – Intro to PiYo (history/future) and what it means to be a Beachbody instructor (+ how it works). We sat and listened to the instructor.

9:45 – 10:30 – Intro to PiYo moves (lots of traditional yoga poses–warriors, chair, down/up dog, chaturanga, triangle), with focus on proper form and correction cues. We were on our feet during this section, going through the moves as the instructor explained each one.

10:30 – 11:15 – Example PiYo class, led by the instructor. Aka Sweatfest USA.

11:15 – Break

11:30 – 12:00 – Intro to cuing with music and the “32 count.” We listened to the music from the warm-up and worked on hearing the beat and understanding how the flow of the phrasing connected with elements of the workout.


12:00 – 12:30 – Lunch

12:30 – 1:00 – My memory’s a bit fuzzy about this part of the day, but I think this is where we went over how to be motivational as a Beachbody coach and PiYo instructor, and how to keep people coming to your classes.

1:00 – 2:00 – Choreography practice. We split up into groups to learn the warm-up and take turns leading it for the 3-4 others in our groups.

The main idea here was not necessarily to learn how to teach specific choreography so much as it was to learn how we would learn it. Did we learn best by watching the example DVD, then listening to the music and practicing the sequencing? Did we need to rewrite the choreography notes in our own words?

Personally, I thought repetition was the biggest key. The more times I physically went through the routine, the more comfortable I was with it, and the more easily cues came to mind. We were also encouraged to remember that even if we got off track–like, if we did one too many rounds of the chair/lunge sequence–it was easy to get back on, as long as we were familiar with the phrasing of the music and the smaller chunks the workout was divided into. So you could easily botch the workout and no one would know. :)

2:00 – 3:00 – Going through the PiYo manual as a group. We didn’t have time to read the whole thing–the instructor just went over key parts with us.


And that was it! I’d thought class was supposed to go until 4, so the 3 PM finish time was a nice surprise. I buzzed home and made it in time to hang out with Mase for a few hours before bed.

How did it go doing the class pregnant?

I chatted with the instructor prior to class about the fact that I was preggo, and she said it was no prob. The only time it was even slightly an issue was during our chaturangas, which I had to modify a little.

Of course, I did sort of feel like the elephant in the room (literally and figuratively) a few times. It’s probably not super common to see a preggo chick in a group exercise certification class.

I also ended up front and center in the room for the day, thanks to a late entrance (which was thanks to some crappy GPS directions–thanks GPS!! grr!) so I couldn’t even hide out in the back. Luckily, it was a very relaxed and welcoming environment (the instructor said several times, “you are exactly where you’re supposed to be,” which is an amazingly comforting thing to hear!), so I didn’t feel too self-conscious.

If nothing else, I thought maybe my being there might inspire some people and/or give them a story to use later–even preggo chicks can do this!


What’s next?

I don’t plan to pursue any teaching opportunities until after the baby’s born, but I do hope to start once I’m back on my postpartum feet. (Nothing crazy–just a class or two a week, for fun.)

Even though I won’t be using it for awhile, I’m glad I got the certification now (much easier to leave a toddler for the day than a toddler and a nursing newborn!).

To keep my skillz sharp, I plan to work on the class we all got for attending the cert over the summer. I might actually need the whole time between now and the baby to get comfortable with it!

Local friends, anyone want to be my practice audience??

So that was my experience! Let me know if you have any questions about PiYo or the certification–I’d be happy to help!

Fellow group ex. instructors, how have your training experiences been similar/different?

Any advice for a new instructor??

Have you heard of PiYo? Any interest in trying it?





{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Christine March 27, 2016 at 8:04 pm

Thank you for sharing! I’m getting ready to do my overall AFAA certification but one of the exercise programs I want to get certified in is PiYo as I take it at my local Y and absolutely love it. As I’ve never done ANY sort of workout certification, your breakdown really helped me to get an idea of what to expect.


Miranda September 26, 2015 at 9:01 am

Hello! Thanks for such a fantastic, informative post on this. I am considering instructor training and this really answered many of my questions!

I’m curious:
1) I know they send DVD training materials every 2 months with new choreography, do you know how much those cost.
2) In reference to the above DVDs, do they keep your certification going, like the Les Mills programs do?
3)How long is the certification good for?

Thanks so much for a great post and any help with the above. :)


Kim October 18, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Hi Miranda! Sorry, I’m actually not actively teaching Piyo right now so I don’t know the answers to your questions. :( I’m sure you could reach out to Beachbody and get some help! Sorry!! Thanks for reading. :)


Hannah Edge September 3, 2015 at 3:23 pm

Hi. Thanks for the fab review. I am so close to booking on to train as an instructor so it is great to hear people’s experiences before I jump in.


Victoria August 26, 2015 at 10:06 am

So perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for in terms of a break down. Honestly, I was a little intimidated about having to possibly teach a segment on my own during the class. I have some pose I have to work on, is that a problem? I wasn’t planning on jumping into teaching as soon as I got my certification, it’s more of just something to have under my belt – and it’s a bonus that I love Piyo!


Kim September 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I think you’ll do great!! :) I definitely had a lot of work to do on my form when I trained.


Theresa January 25, 2015 at 3:03 pm

Hi Kim–let me first of all thank you for taking us through “a day of training”. good to know! My question is re: what happens after training ? Support materials (DVD/CD/choreo notes). Sounds like something I would love to do but, I don’t want to plan my own class. Thanks for your advise.


Kim February 5, 2015 at 9:40 pm

Hey Theresa! Yep, you sign up to get new classes (DVD/CD/choreo) sent to you every few months. I actually didn’t end up going forward with PiYo, just because the gym I’m teaching for offers something else that I had to learn instead (Les Mills BodyFlow) but I still LOVE the class and would love to get the opportunity to teach it someday. I hope you go for it!! (Just make sure to find somewhere that you can teach it FIRST – that was my mistake!)


Tiffany November 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Hi! I really enjoyed your run down for the cert. class, because that’s exactly what I was searching for! How far along were you when you went? Like you, I have a toddler, and I am due in January…so I would love to get it done before the baby comes and I am nursing! Thank you!!!!! :)


Tiffany November 14, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Due in February..would like to go before January…pregnant brain already kicking in and messing me up!


Kim November 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm

I was 6 months! It wasn’t very challenging at all, physically–especially now that I’ve done a Les Mills training (much more intense!). If you can make it through one class, you can do the training. :) Good luck, and congrats on the baby! :)


Lindsay September 30, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I am loving the DVDs too and am really considering the certification course. Loved reading about what your day was like – I’m a little intimidated as what to expect so that was helpful. Did you leave with actually full workouts to teach? Do you feel like you have enough to start teaching a class once or twice a week?


Kim September 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Hey Lindsay! The class was super laid back and more about learning how you WOULD learn a class than actually walking out with a class down pat. We did get one class DVD to take home and practice with, so I left with all the tools I needed to dive in a start learning, but I definitely wasn’t ready to start teaching right away. Hope that helps! I say go for it! :)


Adrienne Johnson July 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

Thank you so much for sharing your experience! It sounds really fun. I just picked up the PiYo DVDs and I love it!! Seriously the best workout I’ve ever done. Its my favorite by far, and I’m really sore to prove it!

There are no PiYo classes in my area, at all. How does one go about changing that? There is a certification in my area tomorrow and I’m seriously considering going. Ihave no group exercise certification, I guess you need that too, right? I am just so in love with PiYo that I want to do this! Do you also have to sign up to be a beach body coach? I love beach body, I’m not thrilled about shakeology (too sweet for me). I guess some people might like it though, and it has helped a lot of people achieve better health. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!


Sherri July 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Thank you for your response!


Sherri July 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Hi. I just found your blog after googling “piyo instructors.” Thanks for all the valuable information. I’m loving piyo and saw that there is an instructor training 30 min from my home in August. I am seriously contemplating it because it is so new. Currently, I don’t have any fitness certifications. Do you think that will be a problem? Were there people at your training who were delving into the fitness industry for the first time?


Kim July 7, 2014 at 10:57 am

Definitely not a problem–it was my first too! Depending on where you want to teach, some gyms require a group exercise certification in addition to your workout-specific cert, but you can always get that later. I think it’s a great starter cert!


Kelly July 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm

I’m planning on becoming certified as well. I currently teach Zumba. Was there any testing you had to take during certification?


Kim July 1, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Not really! There was some small group teaching, and I think the instructor was kind of watching us during that time, but we didn’t do anything formal. I’m not sure if all classes are the same though. Good luck!! You’ll love PiYo!


Meg June 10, 2014 at 10:00 am

Hey Kim!

I’m a new follower (literally … as of yesterday) who found you through Facebook. Thank you for posting about your certification process. I’m intrigued by the BeachBody opportunity and love Chalene Johnson! I can’t wait for the PiYo DVDs to be out so I can do them at home. I didn’t know you can become certified though. Are there gyms in your area that already offer these classes or are you going to approach them to see if they will add them to their schedule? I don’t think there are any gyms in my area (northern NJ) that currently offer these classes, but perhaps becoming a coach and introducing them would be a great way for me to do this on the side!

xo Meg


Kim June 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

Hey Meg! Thanks for stopping by!! I’ve heard of a few local places offering a version of “piyo” (as in pilates + yoga) but I don’t think it’s the official Beachbody version. It’s definitely still a pretty new format, and yes, my plan is to approach gyms to see if they’re interested in adding it! I keep getting emails from Beachbody saying there’s going to be a massive surge of interest in PiYo with the release of the home DVDs, so this is an awesome time to go after it!! I’d definitely encourage you to look for a certification class in your area–you’d be sort of getting in on the ground floor. :) I hope you go for it!!


Chels June 9, 2014 at 11:56 am

Love this! I actually just got my PiYo cert this past weekend. I am already an instructor and have been teaching cycle classes for a couple of years. My best advice would be to just practice a lot, have a date on the calendar for your audition and go for it! You will get better and learn just from teaching classes mostly…and will get in your groove! I know you will love teaching as much as I do!!
Chels recently posted…10 Miles, PiYo Training and Wknd Recap.My Profile


Kim June 9, 2014 at 11:59 am

Thanks for the tips!! It’s scary when the teaching part is also the learning part…I want to come in 100% ready on day 1! :) Congrats on your cert!


Chels June 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Totally get that which is one of the reasons why I’m going to just chip away at practicing before I audition for this format! It’s definitely out of my cardio queen comfort zone. HAHA ;-)
Chels recently posted…10 Miles, PiYo Training and Wknd Recap.My Profile


Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health May 7, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Wow, PiYo really does sound awesome! I had no idea it was to pop music. That’s a huge plus. My favorite classes are LesMills mostly because they’re choreographer to fun and energetic music. I also like that it’s low impact cardio.

Do you know where I can find out if they offer classes by me?
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health recently posted…Our Wedding 4.14.14My Profile


Jenny May 7, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Congrats on your cert!!! I’m proud of you and can’t wait to take your class someday (and am TOTALLY up for being a practice audience member :)

Group cert days are usually a blast (I have four group certs under my belt now), and I love how they leave with you so much info your mind is buzzing, but you’re also (usually happily) exhausted – mentally and physically – by the end.

If you’d ever like to practice and chat about cueing, pace, group dynamic, modifications, and other fitness instructor stuff, I’d love to get together! :)


Amanda May 7, 2014 at 9:04 am

I think PiYo would be awesome to try! I’ve tried Yoga a few times and I just can’t get into it. I really enjoy pilates and think PiYo would be a great combo of the two. I did a quick search to see if I could find somewhere that offered it near me, but I didn’t have much luck… :-(
Amanda recently posted…Hershey Park {round 2}My Profile


Kim May 7, 2014 at 11:11 am

Bummer!! I think you’d really like it!


Karen May 7, 2014 at 7:59 am

I have been enjoying your blog so I nominated you for the Liebster award! It is a fun way to get to know other bloggers better. You can check out the details on my blog: karenszilli.blogspot.com



Kim May 7, 2014 at 11:07 am

Thanks Karen!


emma @ be mom strong May 7, 2014 at 5:00 am

yay for reading this. Can I just say I’m addicted to getting certified. This August baby is just starting to get in the way of them. Glad to know you are still doing them pregnant. I really want to do an Insanity training in July but I will be 8 months pregnant then… awkward?!
emma @ be mom strong recently posted…Race Giveaway!My Profile


Kim May 7, 2014 at 11:09 am

Yeah that might be a little intense at 8 months! But that would be a fun one to get too…hmmmm. :)


Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy May 6, 2014 at 7:13 pm

I’ve heard of this class and it sounds like so much fun! I like yoga and pilates, but sometimes yoga is a little slow, and I would love a more upbeat class. Good luck practicing this summer — you’ll be great once you start teaching!
Emily @ Perfection Isn’t Happy recently posted…Leaving the Phone BehindMy Profile


Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness May 6, 2014 at 6:09 pm

This sounds like so much fun! I became a barre instructor last summer, and for a month I practiced an entire hour class over and over in my living room. I even talked allowed explaining the moves and cueing appropriate connections throughout the work out. This got me used to doing the moves while talking (which does happen at times in class), along with the flow of the class being natural. It helped immensely!
Caroline @ Fighting For Wellness recently posted…Notes From A Blue Bike: The Art of Living IntentionallyMy Profile


Kim May 7, 2014 at 11:09 am

Good to know Caroline! That’s exactly what I was thinking of doing. I’d LOVE to get certified in barre someday!!


Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries May 6, 2014 at 5:49 pm

How awesome!! Major props for going at this while pregnant too. I plan on going through a Les Mills Body Pump training in mid-June. It’s a two-day, all day very rigorous training (or so I hear). I have a feeling I’m going to be wiped after it, but in a very good way. I’m super excited!
Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…Working on that Whole De-Stressing ThingMy Profile


Kim May 7, 2014 at 11:10 am

I’ve heard that’s tough too! Most recently on the Fitnessista’s blog. I know you’ll crush it though–can’t wait to hear about it! :)


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: