I’m giving over the blog today to daughter Cassie, who reviews Tracey Mallett’s “Pilates Super Sculpt” and her friend Jessica, who reviews Patricia Friberg’s “Belly Beautiful Workout: Prenatal/Pregnancy.”
You know the routine. If you want to throw your name in the hat to win one of these DVDs, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll draw a winner on Wednesday, June 15.
Belly Beautiful Workout with Patricia Friberg
Reviewer Jessica is a 26-year-old new mother living in Shreveport, Louisiana. Her daughter, Sarah, is two months old. Getting back into shape post-baby means taking long morning strolls with her little girl and doing some regular light strength training to get her arms and legs in baby lifting shape! She documents-her family life and travels at http://www.leelafish.com/.
“Belly Beautiful” is a post-natal DVD has several short workouts, each designed for different stages of post-partum strength. It took me a while to complete this DVD because I thought I had to have an exercise ball, and let’s face it, a new mom doesn’t have much time to go exercise equipment shopping. However, after watching a bit I discovered that a pillow works in its place just fine.
Abdominal Rehab: This workout is great for easing back into exercise. It focuses on basic, controlled movements to boost strength and help repair your pelvic floor. This short workout helps prepare for other, more challenging workouts on the DVD.
Baby and Me Workout: This is similar to the abdominal rehab, but requires more strength. While it touts that it is a workout you can do “with your baby,” only the first five minutes or so actually involve baby, the rest of the time she kind of lets the baby play around her while she works out. I personally found that my two-month-old got tired of it rather quickly, so I put her down for a nap and finished the routine. This particular routine really focuses on your glutes with a little bit of arm and ab toning.
Toning Workout: This was by far my favorite workout. It was one of the longer ones. Using your exercise ball (or pillow) for support, Patricia takes you through toning exercises for the hips, glutes, abs, calves and arms that build in intensity as the workout goes on. She gives options for different strength levels, which makes this one great for about 6 weeks+ post partum.
Busy Mom Bootcamp: You need to be feeling stronger when you attempt this one. As Patricia says, “this is good for when you’re sleeping through the night.” Lots of short cardio bursts and lots and lots of different lunges. I was winded after several minutes into it, but felt great (and sore!) afterward.
Rejuvenation Stretch: These stretches allude to yoga and slowly allow you to stretch each muscle of your body, allowing for a great cool down.
Diastasis Recti: This short segment explains what happens to your ab muscles during and after pregnancy and how to tell if your muscles are still separated. She gives you a few tips on exercises to avoid or modify if your abs are still recovering.
What I loved: Workout leader Patricia Friberg is real. You can tell by looking at her that she has had a baby, but she is still in great shape! Each workout is short, about 10-15 minutes, so you can get a quick one in while baby naps, or you can string several together to get in a long, tough workout. It really focuses on repairing the areas that are weak after childbirth (abs, pelvic floor) and strengthening the muscles you need to take care of baby now (arms and legs).
What I wasn’t crazy about: The “baby and me” title is a bit misleading, and your baby needs to be just the right age for this workout to be effective (between 3 and 6 months).
Overall, I think this was a great video for easing back into exercise and toning those muscles weak from pregnancy. It definitely helps rebuild strength and made me feel good after I completed it!
Tracey Mallett “Pilates Super Sculpt”
The DVD is about an hour long, but it is so seamless, it just flew by. The instructor, Tracey Mallett, is very calm and relaxing. She also has a killer accent.
It’s broken down into six segments, all about 10 minutes long, give or take a few seconds. There’s a warm up, a classic Pilates ab segment, oblique and buns sculpt, legs and thigh burn, total body challenge and a flexibility segment all while using a ball. I loved them all.
My favorite, however, would be the legs and thigh burn. In it, there’s a frog movement in which you lay on your back with the ball placed under your tailbone. Flexing both legs outward, you bring both feet together, simulating frog legs. It is an amazing stretch. Just make sure your blinds are pulled, because otherwise it’d get the neighbors talking.
Most of the work is done laying on the ground, so I’d suggest you use a mat. I relied on my carpet as a buffer and now I have a bruised tailbone. Also, you need a ball for this routine. I used my daughter’s playground ball, but this lead to a tantrum. So I’d suggest that you buy one of your own. Something like you’d see at the grocery store in those large wire bins. You also need to be able to grip it with one hand, so make sure that it’s not over inflated and not incredibly smooth.
It is recommended on the site that it’s for advanced beginners and up, but what is an advanced beginner anyway? We all have to start somewhere. Might as well be here and now with this DVD. (I’m seriously not getting paid to say any of this.) In my opinion it is perfect for people of all fitness levels and joint ability. There’s only one part that puts heavy strain on your wrists, and that’s in the Total Body Challenge in which you do walk out pushups. That’s the only bit of upper body training you’ll get in this DVD, however. That’s fine with me, because I do most of my arm work at the gym, but I know a lot of people rely on that in a workout DVD. So please note that.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this is tough. There are several simple moves, but every so often she’ll throw in one that’ll have your muscles shaking. At least mine were. There are a lot of classic Pilates moves thrown in, such as the teaser sequence, but then there’s a lot of original moves as well that specifically targeted all the problem areas I have. And if I’m like most women, that would include saddlebags, love handles and lower belly pooch. It hits them all.
Best part of all, the next morning I wasn’t the slightest bit sore. I felt stretched and strong. That’s the beauty of Pilates. It works you out, makes you tired and leaves you more beautiful than before you started.
You want to win this. I want you to win this. And if you don’t win it, I want you to go out with your hard earned money and buy it. I’m serious. It’s amazing. In fact, it’s in my Amazon.com shopping cart as we speak. (Because I’m seriously not getting paid to say this.) This workout just blew me away with how it was both challenging and efficient. I don’t like to waste my time with lame workouts, and with three kids that’s not an option. I want to get the most out of my workout and I did with this one. Truly.