Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Favorite Postnatal Workout DVDs

I can't claim that I have tried every postnatal workout DVD there is, by any means. But after my oldest was born and I decided I would be losing more than the pregnancy weight, I did check out every single postnatal DVD that my pretty awesome library (back in Champaign-Urbana) had to offer. And after that I decided which DVDs I liked best from those options.

So I thought I'd share my picks with you.

For me, there was clearly two winners:

One for the early days.


One for when you really mean business.

Yeah, I know, you want to really mean business right off the bat, but honestly, you need to respect your body enough to let it heal and recover. No matter your birth experience, your body just went through some major changes!
And it still is going through changes.
And you are still full of relaxin, so you really don't want to over stress your joints.
AND your muscles need to relearn a lot of things.

That's why I love
"Postnatal Rescue" with Erin O'Brien

She walks you through a physical rehabilitation after your pregnancy. She has three progressions you go through, in order to get your body ready for regular workouts after you have a baby. It retrains your muscles to fire the way they used to before you got pregnant. (Since many of them have been out of commission for a while, or not used in the same way.)

I feel like that is a big deal.
I really like the idea of slowly getting back into things so that I don't hurt my body.
I'd much rather start with something like this, than try to go straight into a major workout and do some damage and get set back even further.

I really like her demeanor on this video. She is really calming, reassuring, and encouraging.
She struggled with postpartum depression after her pregnancy and you can tell how sensitive she is to the new mother's emotional state. (Even down to the fact that she wears a baggier shirt for the initial workouts -- maybe no one but me notices that -- but its really nice to not have to stare down a skinny lady in spandex when you just had a baby.)
I love having her sweet type of treatment in the new-mommy days.

The workouts are only 15 mins long. (Awesome for when you have a new baby, and you don't know how to fit much more than that in.) And they might seem too easy on first viewing, but they really are effective on your new mommy muscles. 
I hardly felt the burn during my first run through last week, but the next day I sure could feel those muscles when I was walking around. (And I wasn't un-active during my pregnancy.)

*If you already had your baby a while ago, this workout may not be necessary, and it may feel too easy. (Or at least that's what some reviews I read have said.)

once I have worked through that 
and am ready to really work out hard, 
I like

This work out is HARD.
It's not a make you sweat and wheeze hard, like Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.
But it is just plain difficult to make your muscles keep going through these reps.
Those muscles will burn.
It's an hour long.
So stamina wise, kinda rough.
But that can also be hard in the way of mommy-time.
I found it difficult to get through a whole workout without needing to go check on J. (I tried to do it once she went to bed, but still with the two of us worked, it was just tricky.)

In spite of {or because of} that,
I could tell that it's really effective at getting those mommy spots back in shape.
You can REALLY it feel it the next day.
She of course focuses on abs, but she also does arms, legs and butt.
Tracy Anderson gained 60 lbs during her first pregnancy and used her method to {clearly} get back into great shape.
So I'd say it works.
(I don't know if it will get the skin to come back to the muscle likes she claims, but even if it doesn't, I know it will tone!)

I wasn't awesome at consistency with this work out after my first was born.
Partially because, like I said, it was hard to get an hour's time free for a workout fit into my day (especially when my daughter was younger.)
But also because for me personally, I didn't care if I got my belly flat again, because my whole goal in losing weight at that time was getting ready for my next pregnancy. So I spent more time swimming than toning. But when I did use this DVD I could feel a real difference.

I think I will try a bit harder this time to be consistent with it this time.
I feel like since I have less weight to lose after this pregnancy, I'll have potentially more time to enjoy a potentially flat belly before a potential next baby.

So yeah. Those are my two post-natal favs.
If you click the link to see them on amazon there is a short video clip of each you can watch.
And you should see if your library carries them so you can give the whole thing a whirl.
But for my money, they are worth the purchase.

I also did the
30 Day Shred 
after I had my first.

Its not a post-natal work out, but I'd totally give that DVD a recommendation too. It kicks your butt, and therefore is really effective.
****But once again, be aware that your body is still in recovery, ****
I started this workout at 4 months postpartum and really hurt my knee (so that I couldn't do the work out anymore) because I was still full of relaxin. This workout is HIGH impact. A LOT of jumping and pressure on the knees. So please be careful and wise in its use.
*As far as I have read, you are full of relaxin for about 5 months postpartum, but potentially you can be still full of it the entire time you breastfeed. (No one seems to be really sure quite when the stuff clears out.)

I hope you find those helpful!

But then again, you could always just do what I did...and grab a ton of stuff from your library and see what you think!

I'm not a doctor or professional of any kind. Please seek professional medical advice and get your doctor or midwife's clearance before you start any workout routine. 


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