Review of Leisa Hart's Fit Mama Prenatal Workout

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

This morning I did Leisa Hart's Fit Mama for the first time. Let's face it, there's a need for this kind of program. While there are countless prenatal yoga and pilates DVDs out there, there aren't quite so many available with cardio workouts. And sometimes cardio is really what you need -- not so much to lose weight (obviously), but to get a bit of energy and warm up the muscles in a way that stretches alone don't accomplish.

In case you can't tell, you're supposed to be sexy now.
And, you know, I got it for five bucks at the local Half Price Books.

Having spent almost an hour in Leisa Hart's company today, I'm pretty much speechless. On the one hand, there are some truly good things about this video. It did get me warmed up, it wasn't too hard to follow along, the stretching section had a few moves I haven't seen on other programs (including a very useful stretch for targeting the sciatic nerve), and there were a couple of abdominal exercises that were creative. Also, in the bonus section there is little video with a short stretch program that can be done standing, with a chair. This strikes me as valuable for those of us with desk jobs, who might really feel the need to incorporate a little extra movement into the day. I haven't watched the labor prep/movements bonus video, but that may be useful too.

But who can say no to a sciatic stretch?
On the ooooooother hand... (you knew that was coming, didn't you?). Oh lordy, is this video ever annoying. The salsa cardio section is not too bad, but it is quite repetitive. Hart has the idiotic cardio instructor habit of "encouraging" her audience with phrases such as, "Sexy!" "I see what you're doing there!" "Put a bit of hip into it!" "Sassy!" "Can you be sexy when you're pregnant?" (Wait, did I hear that last one correctly?)

I mean, really. How sexy can I look when I'm six months pregnant and doing the cardio vid version of salsa in yoga pants in the middle of my living room? Why do I even have to look sexy during this?

Move forward to the so-called "yoga" segment. This section of the program looks like a cardio instructor saw photos of yoga moves in a magazine and assumed they were actually stills from a very active practice. There are only a few positions, and each one involves bouncing in place. Rinse, repeat. Hart demonstrates her yoga cred by constantly mentioning "deep breaths." Except, instead of taking the slow, deep breaths typical of yoga, she blows out in the loudest and most off-putting manner imaginable. I don't think this woman has ever been near a yoga class in her life.

So what to say in the end? The video has some real benefits, it gets your blood moving, and the stretches are not bad. (Not complete -- nothing for neck or shoulders -- but not bad.) If you can enter a zen state where you just enjoy the sheer ridiculousness of it, you will probably get something out of it. I can't imagine putting myself through the fake "yoga" workout again, but I would do the fake salsa and the stretching segment. At a fiver, it wasn't a bad purchase, but it's not a program to chase down.

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