Thursday, 3 December 2015

Review: Pregnancy Pilates with Dr Joanna Helcke

Although I am near the end of my second pregnancy, I am still keen to keep as active as I can. I really do feel that instead of curling up on the sofa, I feel so much better when I keep active. I feel less inclined to nap, and often have more energy. I'm not going abseiling or running, but I tend to go for a brisk walk most days and keep moving about the house. To be fair, with a 2 year old to run around after, I am automatically keeping active most of the day anyway. 

But until recently, bar going for walks, I haven't actually done any form of exercise or workout at all during this pregnancy, until I was contacted by Dr Joanna Helcke who asked if I fancied trying out her online pregnancy pilates programme. The programme features week-by-week pregnancy and new-mum fitness videos, all around 15-30 minutes long, and perfectly tailored to your particular stage for that week, be it pre-natally or post-natally. 

I was given my log in a couple of weeks ago, so quite late into this pregnancy, and so I began with the week 34 workout. I have never been good with doing workouts as I struggle with self-motivation and actually getting on and doing exercise. I am actually very lazy when it comes to fitness, but once I had logged on and completed the medical questionnaire, I was all set to go (almost)...

I hadn't initially realised that I'd need fitness equipment and so having found a precious slot of time in my day to do the workout, I realised I needed a resistance band, an up and over ball, blocks and a yoga mat. I found an old resistance band Mr F had from his physiotherapist for his shoulder, and a yoga mat, but no ball or blocks, so I improvised. Each video gives a list of things you'll need, so I will go and purchase those items this week as I'll be continuing with the workouts for a few weeks and then post-natally as well. One comprehensive list of equipment needed for the entire programme would be a useful addition to the website. 

The workouts are really easy to follow and go at a nice steady pace. Joanna has a lovely manner and she explains each exercise clearly. She also begins the workouts by reminding you to do your pelvic floor exercises too- a reminder I need as I am terrible and always forget to do them. Some of the positions can be a bit difficult with a huge 30 + week sized bump, but she always offers an alternative positioning solution if you are struggling with bump being in the way. 

The programme itself costs £12 a month, which I think is good value for money for what you receive in return. This gets you week by week pilates videos by trained instructor (Dr Joanna Helcke), access to the online community on the website, membership to the forum where you can chat to other members and experts, a weekly newsletter, meal plans direct to your email inbox and the opportunity to email Dr Joanna herself for advice. You also have access to a closed Facebook group where you can chat to other mums on the programme. 

With a toddler, I would have found it quite difficult to get out to a weekly pregnancy pilates class, and while classes are more sociable than sitting in your lounge watching a laptop screen, I find doing an online programme is definitely more practicle. I can do my weekly workout 2-3 times a week at a time which suits me. LO can even join in with me (we've yet to try that out!).

I have really enjoyed my first couple of workouts, my only regret is that I didn't know about the programme earlier on in my pregnancy! For me, the most valuable aspect of the prorgramme is the week-by-week video workouts which I know are totally appropriate for my week of pregnancy. In a pilates class, unless you had expensive one to one coaching, the instructor wouldn't be able to tailor a workout for each specific woman in the class dependent on which week she was in, so this is a real bonus of the programme.I am especially looking forward to getting going with the post-natal workouts as I feel it will really inspire and encourage me to get fit and get into shape after baby is born. 

You can sign up for a two week free trial of the online pregnancy pilates programme here.

NB: I was offered free subscription to use the online pregnancy pilates website in return for an honest opinion of the service. All opinions are my own. 


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