Full disclosure #1: I’m not a doctor. I Google health problems, which I think makes me a doctor’s number one enemy. So please (especially if you’re pregnant) don’t read this and run and do it and then wake up tomorrow angry and ready to sue me because your spinal cord has become detached from your body. I’m sure you have a really nice spinal cord and I don’t want anything bad to happen to it.
Full disclosure #2: I’ve always been naturally thin. I eat healthy foods. I like quinoa. Writing that actually makes me wonder if I am naturally thin or just achingly dull.
I don’t believe in Astrology, but according to the results of a fitness quiz I once took, I have a Gemini personality when it comes to exercise. I will try anything. I will not stick with anything. With that said, lots of women asked me how I only gained 20 pounds during pregnancy and how I then lost 22 pounds within 3 months of giving birth. As I said, I am a boring eater. I am also not fond of gyms. I just don’t have three hours to put on workout clothes, walk to the gym, use a bunch of machines without really knowing if I’m doing anything right, and then rush home to cook, feed K, etc.
Anyway, here are some of the home workouts I tried either during or after pregnancy…followed by the number one workout I recommend to all new moms–the one workout that I have been faithful to for a few months now (a record for me)..
Jillian Michaels “The Biggest Winner”
Verdict: Decent abs workout. More back and arms than I think I need..not enough legs. Also, she seems super mean. Can’t deal with that kind of tough love after pregnancy.
Mari Windsor’s “Cardio Pilates”
Verdict: I love pilates because it builds long, lean muscle without adding bulk. I really appreciate the way this DVD consists of three workouts, including a 25 minute “pilates express workout,” 12-minute “Quick Fix Pilates” and 13-minute “Lower Body Workout.” Perfect for days when you are pressed for time but want to feel like you’ve put in some work.
“Pilates During Pregnancy,” with Niece Pecenka
Verdict: Niece appears to be about six months pregnancy as she powers her way through simple, but effective lower body, side legs, and abdominal work. The woman is so zen she actually takes the time during the workout to teach you how to breathe properly, which she stresses will be important during labor (you can say that again). I was addicted to this DVD throughout my pregnancy. Couldn’t recommend it more.
“Supreme 90 Day System,” Hosted by Tom Holland
Verdict: I have a love/hate relationship with this 10 DVD set. I know I’m supposed to value my arm muscles more than I do, but I just can’t get behind all of the exercises dedicated to my bi’s, tri’s, di’s, pi’s, etc. I find the Cardio Challenge and Tabata Inferno keep my heart rate elevated and give me a boost of energy that lasts for hours afterward. I even think host Tom Holland–at his most bulldog moments–is nothing short of enviably compact and adorable in his “Karate Kid” tank top. But one DVD dedicated to the legs and butt isn’t enough, in my opinion. So, unfortunately, this set doesn’t satisfy my needs.
“Ballet Beautiful Total Body Workout,” with Mary Helen Bowers
Verdict: This is the workout to (almost) end all workouts. Ballerina Mary Helen Bowers trained Natalie Portman for her role in “Black Swan”, so her credentials are obviously top-notch. She’s also so sleek and beautiful that she needn’t speak or bark orders at you–her appearance serves as plenty of motivation. It’s like being sweetly cajoled by a Disney Princess to put down that Snickers bar and assume first position. Mary Helen uses what I think are classic ballet warmup moves designed to lengthen and tone your muscles and build flexibility. The DVD is broken up into six segments and you can mix and match sessions as you wish: bridge (amazing butt and lower body exercises), abs, inner thigh, outer thigh (brutal the first few times), arms, and standing (fun as hell–this grown woman embraced the opportunity to Plié). You needn’t own a set of weights and the fact that you can customize your workouts really helps when you’re pressed for time. The one and only fault I find with this workout is that it contains very little cardio–though I hear Mary Helen is working on it.
So that’s that. You can’t starve yourself when you have a child because, you know, you’re a role model now so please don’t, and babies are way too expensive to go dropping a lot of money on cleansers and shakes and all that jazz. All you need is a $10 DVD and a mat or rug. And quinoa. Quinoa doesn’t hurt.