PiYo offers the benefits of Pilates and yoga
“Inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth,” certified fitness instructor Deanna Schleigh, 39, tells her student who performs the low-impact, yet effective exercise moves.
Without the use of special equipment or intense exercise moves, PiYo, a combination of Pilates and yoga that consists of body sculpting movements, delivers significant results that one of Schleigh’s students experienced.
For more than a year, Wendy Winters, 53, from Funkstown, has been a part Schleigh’s PiYo class that meets at the Hagerstown Sports Club and Fitness.
“The class has been very beneficial, lots of benefits. I think it probably has helped my immune system be stronger,” Winters said. “I’m the person who’s gotten the full-body workout with PiYo especially. I never thought I would enjoy either yoga or Pilates, but together it’s a different experience. It’s really nice.”
Since taking the class, Winters is convinced that PiYo works and would encourage others to join.
“My endurance and strength has improved tremendously. Because of the benefits I’ve seen within a year and a half, I would definitely recommend it of course for anybody else,” Winters said.
Schleigh will also be teaching a PiYo class at the Fit Room at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. The City of Hagerstown Parks and Recreation Division organized the four-week PiYo series. Classes are at 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Feb. 10, 17, 24 and March 10 (no class March 3).
Emily Conrad, the recreation assistant at the Parks and Recreation Division, handles enrollment for new students and will participate in the series.
Conrad considers PiYo an ideal way to counteract the hustle and bustle of daily living.
“I definitely like the elements of yoga and Pilates together. If I’m sitting at my desk eight hours a day, I’m not doing a lot of twisting and stretching, but a PiYo class offers that physical element,” Conrad said.
She appreciates the customization aspect of PiYo in which Schleigh is able to tailor the exercise moves to the specific needs of all individuals.
“The really great thing about doing PiYo in a class setting is that the instructor helps you customize it to your specific need, so if someone is recovering from an injury or had some sort of personal or physical condition that might discourage them from exercising otherwise, having a face-to-face (interaction) with an instructor can offer modifications that specifically will meet your individual need,” Conrad said.
PiYo can also produce a tranquil feeling within some students that Schleigh has felt for herself.
“For some reason, it’s very calming. There’s a very calming feeling when you’re finished even though it moves a lot quicker than a traditional Pilates or yoga class. It moves quicker, but you do have to keep your mind engaged in what you’re doing so that you are physically aware of what you’re doing,” Schleigh said.
She added these feelings of serenity lasts long after one leaves the gym from a PiYo session.
“The one thing I do tell people when I teach it at night is that it’s usually the best night sleep you’ll ever get and when I teach it here during the day, I always tell people you’ll probably want to nap because it’s just very calming and very centering even though there’s a lot of aspects that it really gets the heart rate up and you’re sweating,” Schleigh said. “We sweat more in this class than probably any other class that I teach, but there’s just something about it that you just feel you’re complete after you’re done.”
Unlike other fitness programs that requires adhering to a diet, PiYo offers greater freedom in what one chooses to eat, according to Schleigh.
While most students who come to her class already follow a diet adapted to their needs, Schleigh suggests the 80/20 rule in which one consumes healthful foods 80 percent of the time and indulge in less nutritious treats in the other 20 percent.
“If you’re coming in here and you’re doing things and you’re not seeing any results, it’s probably because of what you’re eating or not eating, or what you’re not doing. Usually, if people come to me for advice, I preach the 80/20 and always recommend you should always listen to your doctor first. Make sure there’s nothing else going on that you don’t know about like maybe any medical issues that can sometimes hinder your results, but usually when you deprive yourself, you find yourself wanting those things that you’re depriving yourself of,” Schleigh said.
Whether a student is a beginner or advanced in his or her fitness journey, Schleigh wants to instill a sense of achievement into everyone who completes one of her classes.
“I definitely want them to feel successful. For example, some of the rounds or lessons that we do in this class – if they're harder – we’ll stick with them a little bit longer. Usually, everything is about four to six weeks, but if it’s a routine that’s a little bit harder, we’ll stay with it until everyone feels better about it and they feel successful,” Schleigh said.
Top photo: Deanna Schleigh leads a PiYo class at Hagerstown Sports Club and Fitness. Schleigh will be teaching a four-week class at Fit Room at in Hagerstown. (Photo by Crystal Schelle)