Mega-Fit MommaJillian Moriarty
Year Released: 2009
Categories: Gliding Disks, Pregnancy/Postpartum
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NOTE: I received a free review copy of this DVD from the publicist.
This workout is part of a "family of DVDs" by Happily Ever Active, a product line designed for family fitness. Founder Jillian Moriarty is a physical therapist, Polestar-certified Pilates instructor, and certified yoga instructor. Moriarty blends both Pilates and yoga techniques into this fusion workout, Mega-Fit Momma. Although the DVD case states that it is intended for both pre- and post-natal exercise, both Moriarty and her exercise companion, Kerry Schwalbach, are pregnant: Moriarty is in her second trimester and shows more advanced versions of the exercises, and Schwalback, who is in her third trimester, displays modifications. (Note: Moriarty emphasizes that the workout is safe for women in ALL trimesters.) Moriarty instructs live; she and Schwalback are featured in what appears to be an attractive, glass-enclosed porch overlooking the ocean. Several props are used for the workout: both woman practice on mats, and Moriarty recommends having pillows, cushions, blankets, and water available. Finally, discs are used for some of the exercises--Moriarty suggests using paper plates, plastic plates (this is what she and Schwalback appear to use), or Frisbees.
The Main Menu offers the following options:
Pre and Post Natal Fusion Workout
Physical Therapy Tips
belly2baby DVDs and Downloads
Both the Introduction and the belly2baby option refer back to the Happily Ever Active web site (LiveHappilyEverActive.com) where additional workout DVDs as well as video downloads are available. Selecting "Physical Therapy Tips" brings up a submenu with the following options, each a few minutes in length:
Breath-Work: Yoga vs. Pilates -- Kegel vs. Valsalva -- Prego Mechanics and Balance -- Main Menu
Moriarty begins the fusion workout seated, legs crossed, taking the time to cultivate a yogic ujjayi breath. She also talks about "swaddling" the baby; these references to including the baby are woven throughout the workout. Moving to a position with the legs straight out in front (optional legs bent), she then performs a variation of the Pilates spine curl forward, adding in arm pulses. The next position is on the knees; Moriarty pauses here to take a few sun breaths. Coming to the hands and knees, she performs what she calls "baby hammock/hug" (cat/cow in yoga). This is followed by a series of movements with opposite arm/opposite leg, first reaching away, then bringing the knee in to elbow. Moving on to a single knee, Moriarty and Schwalbach perform yoga gate pose, and balancing in this position, they do a brief, modified version of Pilates side kicks. Now it's time to come to standing for what Moriarty calls the lunging series. Schwalbach uses a chair for balance assistance in some of the poses, but Moriarty moves from lunge to standing balance, or warrior 3 pose. Holding this pose, she also performs a standing version of Pilates swimming; this is quite strenuous!
Following this hard work, Moriarty and Schwalbach take a brief break, with Moriarty moves through a yoga vinyasa to make the transition. Coming to stand behind their mats with their feet on the discs, they perform squats, speed skaters, balance, skier squats, and finish with a forward bend. Then, they return to their mats while keeping their feet on the discs for some plank work. After the planks, they set the discs aside for a moment and perform modified (one arm at a time) camel pose followed by full camel (Moriarty cautions that the latter should be performed only by those with an established yoga practice). Moriarty and Schwalbach then come to seated at the front of their mats with the discs under their feet for additional core work; this involves sliding the feet in and out, lifting the legs up and down, and moving the feet in circles.
With about 10 minutes left, Moriarty begins the cool-down sequence, starting with some gentle seated cross-legged forward bends. She also pays some attention to the feet by threading the fingers between the toes, massaging the feet, and circling the ankles. A one-legged seated side bend/twist rounds out this series. Moriarty concludes the workout with a short (about 2 minutes) side-lying, supported savasana. She provides instruction on how to use 2-3 pillows and a blanket to appropriately support the body and the belly to provide both comfort and rest; following the relaxation, she and Schwalbach return to seated to finish.
This is definitely a well-designed, well-instructed pregnancy workout. It is a true fusion of Pilates and yoga, and Moriarty's expertise in both of these areas shines through. Furthermore, Moriarty is clearly knowledgeable about pregnancy as well, and the fact that both she and Schwalbach are expecting themselves is likely to be a comfort to their target audience. My one caution to potential viewers would be that this is NOT an easy workout! There are quite a few balancing moves (although modifications are shown), and Moriarty offers some fairly challenging exercises. Therefore, I think that this DVD would be most suitable for expectant moms who were already doing Pilates and yoga prior to their pregnancy and who are looking for a workout that will help them to maintain their fitness level.
Moriarty instructs well. As mentioned above, she is obviously very knowledgeable, and she pays attention to detail--for example, how to transition from standing to the floor. Although I have never been pregnant myself, I think that expectant moms would find her to be trustworthy, supportive, and encouraging.