For over two years, I have been using a particular workout site on a regular basis. When I first found it, I remember mentioning it to Maria. She already knew of it and eagerly seconded my liking. Recently, while working through one of the videos as usual, I thought again how much I love the site and how it seems especially perfect for moms. I felt like every mom on the planet should know about it. Then I thought, "I should share it on the blog!" So here you go. The site is Fitness Blender.
Why do I love Fitness Blender so much?
The first thing that attracted me was how normal the trainers Kelli and Daniel looked. I've done my fair share of intense workouts. While I get why they appeal to some and are effective, I couldn't help be turned off by the trainers. I would usually think: "Gosh. I don't want to look that ripped." Personally, I'm a big fan of the "happy weight" philosophy. Don't be too extreme with cutting back food or upping your exercise, and be happy and comfortable with where that puts you.
Along similar lines, Kelli and Daniel never yell at you like military leaders. Whereas other videos and programs seem to revel in pushing through pain and taking your body to its limit, almost turning a blind eye to excess, Kelli and Daniel emphasize how important it is to listen to your body. Let's be clear, listening doesn't mean slacking. Rather, you are given tools to know when your body is trying to take the easy way out from when you actually haven't built the strength and/or technique to push through.
It's free. Not gonna lie, this is a huge factor for me.
There are SO MANY videos! Plus, their search engine helps you sort through the pages in seconds. Want something to target your legs? Easy enough. A total body workout? Easy again. Don't have any exercise equipment? (Ahem, that's me.) Easy yet again!
Now, why so great for moms?
First, we're short on time.
But you're covered! There are numerous 5-10-15 minute workouts. Depending on the day, you might get in a solid 30-40 minutes, or you might have to settle for 10 minutes sporadically throughout the day, or heck! Maybe you only fit 5min in. But all that is better than nothing. Moreover, I love that Kelli often says that 20min of exercise is really all you need if you're pushing yourself correctly.
Second, it's balanced.
As I said, Kelli and Daniel repeatedly say to listen to your body and not to push it too hard. To help you out, they provide ample low impact variations for their tougher exercises. I found that I could use their workouts up into my third trimester of pregnancy, modifying just a few of the exercises. Having used their workouts before getting and while pregnant with baby Maria, I could feel how much stronger my body was. Even though I'd done intense rock climbing in high school and crew during college, I think my core was its strongest right before getting pregnant with baby Maria. Super encouraging for us moms, especially as kids often make you feel like you'll never be the same again. Ever.
Third, the modification options.
Following that train of thought, while jumping back into Fitness Blender workouts after having a baby is a little harder as you're avoiding core exercises that worsen diastatis recti, it is still possible to find some good ones. Or, I've found it is easy enough to modify them, either going with a low impact version Kelli and Daniel provide or substituting another exercise (because, at this point, I know a lot of the ones they use and definitely have some favorites!).
fourth, setting an example.
I love that Edith (my two-year-old) gets thrilled when I'm picking out a workout video. She loves standing next to me, trying to follow along. Sometimes, like jump squats, she doesn't do such a bad job! Other times, she bumps into me and we laugh and she says: "Oh, sorry!" Every now and then, especially if it is a familiar video, I'll mute the audio and turn on music. Sometimes I'll call it a dance party. Anyways, I like sharing the time with her and it's a win win for both of us. Plus, I like her realizing that it's good to stay fit and that she can still do it even if she's a mom.
A final personal reflection
As the workouts are so balanced, I'm reminded again to be content with my state in life. So, while I don't think its good or healthy for me to throw away exercise altogether and let my body go completely out of shape after having kids (and anyone who knows me would realize it'd be pretty hard for me to do that anyways), I am reminded to accept where I am. I'm not too many months postpartum, and as a mom, that simply means my tummy isn't necessarily my ideal. Even with regular workouts and moderate eating, that stands true. Where I'm tempted to ramp up the intensity and crack down on my eating, I've found it is better to take a step back, realize that my body did go through a massive change over a long period of time and is still supporting a little being with milk, and be okay with the fact that I have a softer middle at present. But, if I remind myself of after Edith and before baby Maria when I was my strongest, I'm happy to resolve to stick to the same course of 2-3 workouts a week and my usual eating, knowing that I'll be back to my baseline "happy weight" at the proper time.
Some of my favorite videos:
When you want to kill it:
When you have "no" time:
Another short one, but this type is sneakily difficult (at least for me!):
When you want to jumpstart getting back into a workout routine:
When pregnant, I loved this type of workout:
Something I feel like I can use now that I'm nursing: