Anne McClure of Catholic Mommy Brain recently invited me to review the Complete Pregnancy Fitness with Erin O’Brien DVD set as a part of Catholic Mom Pregnancy Giveaway. As someone who was already a big fan of the Prenatal Fix DVD, I was eager to test out the Postnatal Rescue.
I’ve tried my share of prenatal workouts (thanks, Netlfix!), and O’Brien’s Prenatal Fix is by far my favorite prenatal fitness DVD. I’m a big believer in staying fit during pregnancy (providing you get the green light from your midwife or OB/GYN), and this is one of the few prenatal routines I’ve seen that pushes you physically. All the exercises are completely safe for pregnant women, but it’s challenging enough to rev up your heart rate and give you a good workout.
Erin, a personal trainer and certified exercise instructor, leads you through a 40-minute routine that includes cardio, strength training, and tension-relieving stretches. I did the workout once or twice a week while pregnant with my third, and I could feel the burn – in a good way.
The fitness routine’s setting is a living room, and no fancy equipment is required. I hate it when DVDs become impractical for at-home moms because they call for enough fitness gear to equip a small gym. That just seems to defeat the economy and convenience of using DVDs to exercise.
In addition, Erin is very pregnant in the DVD and actually does the same routine she leads the viewer in, and she even thinks to give you a potty stop during the workout (I definitely took advantage of this built-in break later in pregnancy). Erin’s demeanor is encouraging but not too chirpy. (I’d bet most preggos would agree that an overly perky instructor can be a bit unnerving when you’re at the point where you can actually feel your hemorrhoids as you practice your squats.)
The DVD also includes a partner routine where Erin demonstrates moves with her husband, actor James Denton of Desperate Housewives. This is not a selling point for me because number one, I don’t watch the show and because number two, I strongly suspect my husband, as wonderful he is, would find it ridiculous if I asked him to allow me to use him as a human resistant band. (I actually tested my theory by showing him a clip of the partner workout, and his expression said only one thing: “You can’t be serious.”)
I also enjoyed Postnatal Rescue, the second DVD of the set, although I admit I went straight to the third exercise progression since my baby’s nearly seven months now and I was very fortunate to have an easy delivery. However, the DVD is appropriate for brand new moms since it offers three exercise progressions that allow you to ease back into exercise in the postpartum period.
Each of the progressive workouts is 15 minutes and works the back, abs, buttocks, inner thighs, and hips. Research shows that just 15 minutes of resistance training, two to three times a week, can boost your muscle strength. That’s good news for busy moms who are short on time.
The promotional materials say the DVD is designed for women to use from the start of their recovery after labor (the DVD includes a bonus section that guides you through gentle first stretches) to one year postpartum; however, if you’re a regular exerciser, you’ll probably be ready to move on to something more challenging before your baby’s first birthday. Don’t get me wrong: Erin’s Pilates-inspired moves provide a good workout and offer the kind of moves that look effortless but really target the muscle groups affected by pregnancy. But those who are more militant about fitness probably will be ready to up the ante – or at least the length of the workout beyond the 15-minute sessions – before their baby is blowing out her first candles. (Erin does recommend incorporating at least 20 minutes of cardio a day to bounce back from pregnancy more quickly.)
I’ve personally reaped the emotional and physical benefits of breaking a sweat and aim to exercise a little bit almost every day whether pregnant or not, so I’m always looking for new, quality exercise DVDs that provide simple but effective workouts that I can squeeze into my life as an at-home mom. Erin O’Brien’s Complete Pregnancy Fix fits the bill.