Monday, June 30, 2014
Review: Physique 57 - Prenatal
As I've mentioned many times, I've been using Physique 57 (P57) to keep in shape, even before my pregnancy (which still feels weird to type). It is a great workout that keeps me fit without all the jarring of other activities.
I'm in the camp that believes that, well, I'm pregnant, not invalid. My doctor keeps telling me I can pretty much do whatever, as long as I'm not at risk of falling, overheating, or lying on my stomach or long periods on my back. However, because I hadn't been running as much in general this year, it's kind of hard to keep up now, especially since it feels like most of the terrain in my neighborhood is uphill and it's now summer. Mechanically, I can say that my mobility isn't nearly what I hoped it would be due to some stretching and associated pain, so I guess everyone is just built differently.
Also, I am embarrassed to admit that hearing people's comments about running/jumping during pregnancy scare me in spite of my research that tells me it's fine. I figure I can come back to that stuff later when it's more comfortable both physically and mentally. I used to think that this would be like the end of the world for me, but it really hasn't. Fitness can be defined in SO many ways, and taking a relatively short break from one activity in the grand scheme of things is no big deal, especially because it's for a *very* great cause. Thus, I think barre-type workouts could be a great for any fitness routine, even my ever-changing one, because it tones large muscle groups while still providing cardio.
I'll elaborate on what I'm doing for exercise these days in a later post, though I'll throw in that besides limits in my activities, I've been very consistent. For now, as I approached the end of the first trimester, I started skipping the ab portion of the regular Physique 57 DVDs but otherwise proceeded as normal. Even better, I was able to try the Physique 57 Prenatal workout that is available for rent on their website. A two-day rental is $5.
The instructor is in her second trimester, with two (pretty bad-@$$, I think) third-trimester ladies behind her. One of them shows easier modifications. Overall, I thought the instructor was peppy and kept saying stuff like, "wrap around your baby," but it wasn't too annoying. You see, it has been hard for me to find prenatal videos that are challenging and not reminding me that I have to stay in shape for pushing or something.
The 36-ish minute video is broken up into these sections:
With a "heavier" set (~5 lbs.), you start with a lot of bicep curls and lifts holding the weights away from your body. Admittedly, this actually felt quite tough, but then again, my arms have always been a weaker area of mine. I don't think the arm section is modified much for pregnancy except maybe that weights don't go over your head. Later, you move to 3-lb. weights, but it's still a burn. There was even a push-up section, and one of the third-trimester ladies was doing it the regular way (not on knees). Hope I will be the same!
Using the back of a chair as a support, the thigh portion is similar to regular P57 workouts, besides spending less time with your heels up. Again, I still felt the burn with this one, especially in the sort of sumo squat position pushing your thighs back. A second thigh section uses the playground ball in between your knees, squeezing and pulsing the inner thighs.
The first part is similar to regular P57 workouts where you stand at the chair holding the playground ball with the back of your bent leg. Afterwards, you move to the floor and lay on your side (on a big wedge/cushion, but I used a big pillow) and do leg lifts and circles. So yeah, these definitely burned and felt difficult by the end. Both parts are repeated for the second side.
Working abs is a strange thing, but they set it up so you're lying on the big wedge and raising your legs and such. It's quite involved for prenatal ab work, but I think it's comfortable enough to keep at it, and they do encourage breaks if needed. There is also some lower back work involving pelvic tucks.
Stretching is incorporated throughout, and it makes me feel good to stretch at this point without overdoing it.
Since I was only able to rent/access this video online, I'm pretty sure I will mostly be sticking to my regular DVDs, keeping in mind the variations seen in this video and slowing down as needed. I definitely want to keep active as time goes on, and hopefully I'll look as good as the girls in the video? Hah!
FTC Disclaimer: I was able to try this workout as a promotion from Physique 57 and was not compensated to provide a positive review.