Johnson, a former paralegal who holds the world record for the most fitness videos ever produced, came up with the idea for PiYo after seeing an acrobatic show by Cirque du Soleil with her husband in Las Vegas several years ago.
There probably isn’t a single fitness lover on the planet who hasn’t heard of the Insanity workout. The hardcore interval training programme practised by a host of celebrities is the most successful at-home fitness DVD ever made.
Pushing its army of followers to “dig deep” for 60 days to achieve the body of their dreams, the maximum-intensity routine fronted by former choreographer Shaun T became so popular last year that it was expanded into a gym class.
Insanity worked because it delivered what it promised. If you were prepared to high-knee, frog-squat and switch-kick as hard as possible for 60 days, you were guaranteed to transform your body into a lean, mean athletic machine.
But then Beachbody, the American company behind Insanity, realised that not everybody was prepared or willing to sweat several buckets to get into shape. Some people needed a gentler approach without compromising on results. So along came PiYo.
Recently launched in the UK, the latest offering from the Beachbody crew is an eight-week, at-home programme designed by 45-year-old celebrity trainer and mother-of-two Chalene Johnson. Like its more high-impact predecessor,
PiYo also aims to burn up to 1,000 calories per session. But the surprising thing is that it involves no weights, jumps or any strain on the body.
“I wanted to create something that was dynamic, and made people feel athletic and have a strong core, but with flexibility, too,” says Johnson.
“I wanted to wake up in the morning and not feel beaten up. I was sick of only seeing fitness programmes on television showing people jumping up and down, and landing on their hands and feet as if they were shock absorbers.”