PiYo Certification Review

I woke up at 5:45 a.m. on Saturday to make the drive to Durham, North Carolina to attend the PiYo LIVE certification training. It was a long and sweaty day but it was also tons of fun!!

PiYo Certification Review

First things first… What is PiYo?

From the PiYo website: “PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. And, we crank up the speed to deliver a true fat-burning, low-impact workout that leaves your body looking long, lean, and incredibly defined.”

And now… Why PiYo?

I first had the chance to take PiYo with Chalene Johnson, the incredibly charismatic creator of the workout, at the IDEA World Fitness Convention back in August.

PiYo LIVE Certification

I was really excited to try the class during the conference because Katy spoke so highly of the workout. After one class, I walked away raving about the workout. I absolutely LOVED it. During my quick review of the workout on my blog, mentioned that I thought it would be a fun workout to teach one day. Well, I am planning to do just that as soon as my new gym has an opening in their group exercise schedule (likely in December). An added bonus? This certification counts toward my CEUs for my AFAA group exercise certification, so that’s a big plus!

Now let’s get to the recap, shall we? Below you will find a recap of my experience through a Q&A format featuring many of your questions…

  • Do you need to be a certified personal trainer or certified group exercise instructor to teach PiYo?

No. But many gyms do want their instructors to have at least a general group exercise certification. I have my personal training certification through NASM and my group exercise certification through AFAA and highly recommend both. You also do not need any prior yoga or Pilates experience to obtain your PiYo certification, though I personally found it very helpful to have an understanding of basic yoga poses.

  • How long is the certification process?

The certification process takes place during a one-day training that lasts for eight hours. My training went from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • How much does the certification cost?


  • What should I wear?

Workout clothes! During the certification, you will take one master class with a PiYo LIVE master trainer. It’s super sweaty, so I was happy I packed a new shirt and sports bra to change into once we were done. I would also highly recommend packing a sweatshirt or pullover to keep yourself warm when you’re not working out.

piyo certification training

(Photo credit: PiYo LIVE Master Trainer Amanda Henderson)

  • What should I bring with me?

I packed the following: A mat, water bottle, towel, cleansing wipes, lots of snacks, my lunch and a pen and paper to take notes.

  • What about lunch?

You’re given a 35-45 minute break for lunch. Most people packed a lunch (myself included), but a few walked to nearby restaurants to quickly grab something to eat.

  • What can I expect to learn during the training?

During the training, you will not only take a PiYo class with a master trainer, but you will go through lots of practicals that involve group work.


During this time, groups of four to five review different tracks and practice cuing, identifying beats in music, choreography, modifications and more. Your master trainer will spend lots of time discussing how and when to cue and will also demonstrate proper modifications for various exercises. After you’ve had time to practice, each group must come to the front of the class and demo everything, but the entire class is incredibly supportive and encouraging, so there’s nothing to be worried about!

Time is also spent on discussing ways to make your PiYo class yours. I did not realize PiYo LIVE instructors have the ability to make their class 30 or 45 minutes if desired. You may also change the counts of the exercises within a song, but you may not change the songs or the order of the tracks.

  • Do you feel prepared to teach right away when you’re done?

No. There is a lot of choreography to learn and there’s no way you could leave the training and teach the next day. You’re given a pre-designed workout DVD to use to help you learn all of the choreography with choreography notes, but mastering everything will take time and a lot of practice.


Our master trainer recommended giving yourself a month or two to really learn it before diving in and teaching unless you’re great with choreography and have a lot of time to dedicate to learning the exercises and practicing.

  • How long does your certification last?

Two years. But our master trainer said this may change in the future and that we may be one of the last groups to have our certification last a full two years. It sounds like they may be changing it to a one-year certification soon.

  • Do you have to follow the choreography you receive?

Yes. You can make small changes here and there related to the counts and how long you want to hold certain exercises, but you must follow the exercises and poses demonstrated on the DVDs and you must use the provided music and do the tracks in the order they’re demoed on the DVD.

  • How often are you given new choreography to learn? Do you have to pay for new lessons?

A new lesson comes out every two months and you must buy these lessons. Only your first lesson is included in the cost of your PiYo certification.

And that’s it!! I tried my best to cover everything, but if I missed something you’re curious about, please let me know in the comments section of this post and I’ll definitely get back to you. And to anyone out there who may be interested in obtaining their PiYo LIVE certification, GOOD LUCK!!!

Questions of the Day

  • Have you ever taken a PiYo LIVE class? What did you think? 
  • Have you ever tried the PiYo DVDs?


  1. says

    Very cool!! How often do you think you’ll buy the new lessons? Also, do you have a sense of how often most instructors do this? I wouldn’t want to get bored doing the same routines all the time, but it’s sorta crazy that you have to pay for the new ones!


  2. says

    Thanks for all the info! I took PiYo when I went to Fitbloggin this year when it was taught by Katy and Katrina. It was a lot of fun, but I think the intensity of it was dropped a little bit to accommodate everyone in the group. That may or may not be true since your answers seem to indicate that you have to follow the choreography, but I think I had higher expectations of what I got. It was probably a shorter workout too to fit everything in, so I am definitely willing to give it another chance!


  3. says

    I just started the Piyo DVDs a month ago and absolutely love them! I also finish with sore muscles but feel completely energized. My gym is starting their Piyo group classes on Monday, I’m curious to see how it will differ in a group setting.


  4. Tara says

    Thanks for the recap, I have been looking at getting certified since I started PiYO in July. I just LOVE these workouts-I usually hit the gym for weights or HIIT and when I did PiYO, I thought I would be bored. Oh NO! After one week of PiYo, I felt muscles I didnt know I had and Felt soo strong.

    I am curious-do you know how many lessons there are that you need to buy?
    I did take a live class to see how the training is vs the DVD’s but the instructor was very new at it and it was a bit slow, but great to see it getting taught!


  5. Chelsey Lair says

    That looks like so much fun! I follow Chalene on instagram 🙂
    After you have received your certification for PiYo, how much does it cost to get the new choreography every couple months?
    Thank you!


  6. says

    Julie – congrats on your training. I LOVE all things related to Chalene Johnson. I think she is so motivating and positive. Plus her energy is infectious and she definitely seems to be true to her vision and her values. I love that! I have all her tapes and pre-ordered piyo before it even came out. I really like the fusion of yoga and Pilates.
    You probably know this but she has a podcast series as well and several online courses for building your “brand” and enhancing your life. You might be interested in some of those programs too.
    Also- on another note- I appreciate your posts on jazzercise too. I used to practice years ago when we lived in Atlanta and it’s still one of the most fun forms of exercise I have ever done. But I confess that especially in my twenties I did feel like there was sort of a stigma attached to it. Like it was for older women and not a strong enough work out. I’m glad a super fit girl like you occasionally mentions taking a class and getting in a good work out in with a dose of fun! Plus, I’m sure you mom so enjoys being able to take a group class with you.

    Thanks and have a great weekend! Jessica


  7. Kallyn says

    Thank you for sharing! I just signed up for my first Piyo Instructor Class and I had no idea what to expect. Super helpful read. 🙂


  8. Amy Rudakas says

    Hi! Love PiYo homebased program…I was signed up to get certified and have since cancelled because sometimes I have trouble balancing and feel like if I add in trying to cue and teach it will only be worse!! Lol. Thoughts? Overall I am pretty good at PiYo, but tried a live class and new moves were involved and I lost my confidence. Do you sometimes wobble and lose your pose such as in warrior 3 or half crescent I think it is called when you bring your knee up and around and back to warrior 3?


  9. beth says

    Hello, can you please elaborate on the lesson plans that must be purchased? How much do they cost and do you have to buy each one? Thanks a bunch. This article is a huge help.


  10. says

    Hi! Just dropping by to say that as someone considering PiYo training, this blog was incredibly helpful and answered many questions I had in advance. I am curious about two things when you have a chance…
    1) How much do the new videos cost every 2 months?
    2) Does purchasing the videos count towards staying certified like Les Mils programs? Do you get CEC credits for your group fitness certification with those?

    Thanks again for the awesome, informative blog!


  11. Renee says

    Hi there! I have done a couple of the Piyo workouts and really enjoy them! My question for you is did you finish the entire program before you got certified, and is that required? I will have some down time this winter and there is a certification class beginning soon, so I was thinking this would be the perfect opportunity to try something new!! I appreciate any information you can share with me 🙂



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