Stink like a girl / Vapor Fresh sports laundry detergent review.

 

#FitGirlProblem: The stinky jacket.

The stinky jacket is the jacket you wear to and from the gym, or put on after your workout before you take a shower. The stinky jacket could also be the layer you start your run in, but eventually peel off, about three minutes after you’ve sweat into it. I have 1.5 stinky jackets. I wear them because they’re my coolest, longest, best jackets. They make me feel like a superhero badass person. They’re the ones that made me say “really? over $100 for a hoodie?” when I bought them, but I reach for them every single day and they make me realize how absolutely unflattering and shitty the cheap ones are.

But I also hate wearing them as stinky jackets because they’re the kind of jacket/hoodie things that I like to wear in athleisure situations, too. (This is where the .5 comes in. One of my stinky jackets I very rarely use as a stinky jacket, mostly as a running around jacket, but all it takes is one time and…yeah. I think it’s probably a stinky jacket.) It would be nice if stinky jackets didn’t have to be stinky jackets only, and I didn’t feel like I had to buy yet ANOTHER expensive fancy hoodie jacket thingie for everyday use because the other one and a half fucking reek. And they do. They fucking reek. I don’t think other people can necessarily smell them, but I sure can. Because they get jammed up in the armpits after workouts when I’m wearing sleeveless tops, grinding stinky deodorant wax and weight training funk all up in that fabric…not their fault. They’re armpit thongs, basically. How could I expect them to not fucking reek?

And yes, of course I wash them. I wash them all the time. And yes I use my special detergents. But that’s not cutting it. Them shits still stink.

MEANWHILE, as I was pouting about my 1.5 stinky jackets and trying not to buy another expensive workout jacket…Vapor Fresh sent me a new sample of their detergent! So I thought I’d tackle two birds with one post.
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What’s this Vapor Fresh you speak of?

Vapor Fresh by Raw Athletics (rawathletics.com, vaporfresh.com) is a sports laundry detergent that says it has stain and odor lifting technology and is designed to clean sports apparel and everyday laundry. Perfect, because that’s how I roll. I wash everything together and just use my fancy delicate detergent for the whole lot. Which I shouldn’t. See my earlier post about washing your workout wear here.

FYI: liquid detergent = usually bad for stinky and/or sweat-wicking things. Why? Fragrances, dyes, softeners and brighteners can clog fabric, trap the stink, and jam the wicking fibers so they can’t wick anymore. (Read more about it in the drop-downs here.)

What’s good about Vapor Fresh Sports Laundry Detergent:

  • not liquid
  • fragrance and dye-free, hypoallergenic
  • eco-friendly, biodegradable
  • no harsh chemicals
  • uses cold water compatible surfactants (soapy sudsy things that break down oils)
  • a lot smaller than a box of Tide or a jug of Cheer or whatever
  • can be used with regular and HE washing machines
  • made in Illinois!

Did it make your stinky jackets not stink anymore?

No, and then yes.

First pass: no. They still stunk. Then I read the directions on the package of Vapor Fresh, and it said “for heavily soiled laundry, allow laundry to soak with detergent for at least 10 minutes prior to washing.” And the website says to do it for “at least 30 minutes (!)” So technically, I didn’t give the stuff a chance to do its job on those deodorant-filled stinky jacket armpits.

So I dug out my washing machine manual, learned that I have, of course, been using it incorrectly for years, and figured out which settings have extra long soak times. Alternatively, you could just pre-soak the items in question Woolite-style in the sink like this.

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Pre-soaking is a bit of a pain in the ass, but it’s worth it to save an expensive jacket from stinky jacket doom, right? Now we know.

DID IT WORK, THEN?

YES. They came out…NOT-STINKY JACKETS!

Shit. Now I don’t get to go buy a new fancy workout jacket. 😦

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VAPOR FRESH: THE VERDICT

I know that Vapor Fresh won’t harm the performance (wicking, stretching, compression) of my workout clothes, and I am happy to report that does remove B.O. when you follow the directions. Which you think would be, like, the definition of any laundry detergent’s job, but you tell me. How many of your workout shirt and jacket armpits can you stick your nose into? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Available on Amazon , $22 for a 5lb tub, which is good for 36 regular/ 72 HE loads of laundry.

 

 

 

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Striped Stretch Pant Fail

Striped Athleta Chaturangas

When they came out last year, I was like “Whaaaaa? Those are cyuuuute.” But I own at least 4 pairs of Chaturangas already, and sort of doubted horizontal stripes across my widest bits would be a good idea.

But I have seen them on different ladies with different body types, and they do kind of look cute on a lot of people, so I kept them in the back of my mind…

Then I was out negative-shopping last week (returning things) and saw a pair on the sale rack at Athleta, so I had to try them on.

If you were wondering if striped leggings are for you, (and you’ve got a booty) here’s your answer: 

NOPE.

Oh well. A few more notes on them:

FABRIC:  much less stretchy than the other chaturangas I have.

FIT: the cut and rise are the same.

EXP Core Review (Fitness fashion from Express)

Hey, guess who else has a new fitness wear line.  Express. Yep, that Express. It’s called EXP Core Performance, and they sent me an outfit to review, so I happily shall. Someone wants to send me clothes? YAASSS!

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Hello, EXP Core Performance.

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What they have: Workout Clothes for Women. A whole line of workout leggings,  workout tops, sports bras, and jackets.They say they’re “sexy, stylish, and built for maximum performance.” Oh. You wanna go after VSX Victoria’s Secret Sport? Ok. I hear you. Go for it.

They let me pick out from a selection of a few different pants and tops, and I chose these leggings because 1. I have too many crops right now and 2. HOLY SHIT CRAZY BUTTERFLY PATTERN I LOVE IT. And I chose the black top, obviously, because that’s what I wear. Black tops. And the lovely folks at EXP Core Performance sent me a sports bra to wear under it, too. Sweet!Outfit math expFullSizeRender

The workout leggings kind of rule. Ombre Animal Print EXP Core Compression Legging $69.90. And I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to pay for them. The pattern is really fun, and it’s the first big, all-over pattern like this that has been flattering on my shape. ( Pear / T-Rex / Thunder-thighs.) The white at the bottom definitely helps because white looks bigger, so the effect is almost the same as if I were wearing bootcut/flared yoga pants. They balance out the thunder thighs. And the pattern at the top (read: the pattern across my ass) is dark and keeps the eye moving, so we’re good there, too. The only drawback is that this fabric is white with a print on it, so the inside of the pants are white, which means when the fabric stretches, it gets lighter because you’re seeing a little bit of that white come through. The black becomes dark grey when it is stretched across my thighs. So. Shopping tip: pay attention to the color of the inside of your workout pants. It’s not a deal breaker in this case, though. I think they still look good.FullSizeRender_2

But more importantly, they make me feel good. I feel like an olympic skier in them. They are edgy and obnoxious and you can’t really wear them and sit on the couch, because look at them! They are ACTION PANTS MADE FOR ACTION! Right?

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The tech and specs:

Fabric: They’re a slippery, almost bathing suit-type material, like Onzie leggings. Which means they wick well, and you could probably use them for bikram yoga or even swimming if you wanted to. Surfing? Maybe. But only if you get them really tight. There’s no drawstring. The fabric is not thick, and  that’s usually a deal breaker for me,  because: cellulite. But the pattern does the camouflaging that I usually count on a thicker fabric to do, so NBD.

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Fit: They have a high rise with a wide waistband, so that’s perfect. Everybody seems to be catching on to that now. As they should be. There’s no reason for anybody to have to have a muffin top. Hooray progress! Also, there’s a waistband key pocket, which is mandatory. I’m between sizes right now, so I ordered the higher size. So they’re not “performance” tight on me. (Except for on the thighs because everything is.)  But despite that, they didn’t slide down during a long walk, and they stayed in place pretty well during burpees and bouncing in a HIIT workout.

I’m impressed, Express. These are thoughtfully designed. Respect.

The workout top is a soft, drapey cotton.  Black EXP Core Strappy Tank $34.90. It’s loose enough and long enough, with some showy interest in the back. What more could you want? You might think “eh, it’s fine” when you look at it online, but it’s the kind of easy-to-wear piece you (I) will probably reach for first again and again. No brainer.

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The sports bra looks basic at first sight, too. (Mesh Back EXP Core Sports Bra $49) But the material actually has an almost shiny, leather-look, so it’s different and edgy, without being slutty.  The scoop of the neck and the width of the straps are flattering. It’s not too low cut,  and it covers the upper boob/ armpit fat. They know what they’re doing over there. And you know I don’t say that shit lightly. Of course, this is a “for looks” bra, not a “for running” bra. There’s no padding, and no special support structure. But it’s pretty slick looking. Oh yeah, and the back has mesh panels, too.FullSizeRender_3

EVERYTHING I got was thoughtfully designed. I’m pleasantly surprised, and actually pretty stoked. This EXP stuff is really flattering. For real.

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Seriously, you guys. When I saw Express in my email, I thought “I have not even looked in the window of that store since college.” And I’m 38. I shouldn’t be in there. But workout wear is for everybody, and EXP Core is a nice find. And you can order online so you don’t have to go in there and stand next to a size 00 seventeen year-old who hasn’t even put on her beer weight yet.

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Thumbs up for EXP Core.

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Wish me luck.

So. Girl who talks about workout clothes. Are you working out? What are you doing for fitness these days? Are you trying to lose the baby weight? Like, at all? Because…yeah. You might want to start working on that. You will have to wear pants soon. Winter is coming.

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Yikes.

Yeah. I am. For nutrition, I’m doing Whole30. Which is basically: don’t eat anything processed, and no starches, legumes, sugars, fake sugars, booze, or dairy. I do a lot of that already, but the hard part is ditching the Coke Zero, Pinot Noir and Quest Bars, and watching my portions. I basically live on Coke Zero, Pinot Noir, and Quest Bars, so…yeah. It’s going to be something.

And for fitness, I’m doing Bikini Body Mommy. I know. Worst name ever. I cringe at anything “mommy.” BUT, the program is super simple, the workouts are short as hell, they email you a link to your (free) workout every day so it’s duh-proof, and the lady, Briana Christine, is very real. She’s not skinny. She lost 100 lbs a while back, (in fact, if you’ve ever searched for fitspo or before and afters, you’ve probably seen her photo, below) became a trainer, has had kids and a miscarriage, and is just continuing the lifelong, sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, mission to be fit. So she has expertise, and she’s done it, but at the same time, she’s in a “before” phase of her life and she’s huffing and puffing so I don’t feel intimidated. (I’m doing challenge 4.0.) Kind of a magical combo. I recommend it.

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This is the Bikini Body Mommy lady.

The workouts are very short, though. So I’m trying to get my steps and fit in some barre workouts, too. I stand by barre/ Dailey Method / Barre Amped / Physique 57 etc. as the quickest way to change your shape.

But the point is, I’m on turbo for the next 30 days and I’m not stoked about it because, ew. Effort. Change. Blech. Wish me luck.

WorkOutFits for Mom Boobs.

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Until my post-baby boobs return to pre-baby size, my wardrobe is highly useless to me. Seriously. Everything is cut for a different body. Boobs throw EVERYTHING off. Bless your heart if you want em, but I sure as hell don’t. All of my crewneck drapey sweaters? Nope. Any sweater that’s not a cardigan, actually? Nope. Any T-shirt at all? Nope. They’re all crop tops now. I live in tanks and cardigans, just like when I was pregnant. So until those jerks go back to normal, I have to work with the few things that DO work. Stupid mom boobs. Here are some things I’m loving:

  1. Racerback Tunics because A. Tunics, duh. and B. Big arm holes are about the only skin-baring feature that I can do right now. And C. you can layer fun sports bras with them. Cute + Coverage. Boom. Done. The grey one with the neon strip on the back is from Old Navy Active. (yes, they have some cool stuff. Maybe like one cool thing I can use per season. But still. that’s not nothing. And it costs next to nothing.) The pink one is Soffee, which is at Sports Authority and also cheap as hell.
  2. My Madewell black heart sweatshirt. It’s kind of somewhere between a sweatshirt and a sweater. So it falls instead of billows like a terry sweatshirt would. Simple, but with an uncommon twist. And the giant graphic camouflages like a boss. I like it with long leggings. (Long is key because short = more gym-ish and not OK for public.) If I were a skinny minnie, it would rule with boyfriend jeans and obnoxious pointy toed heels or something. But on me, that combo would look like Grimace in drag. In this pic I was just schlubbing around the house, but i think with a black boot and a long nicer t-shirt peeking out the bottom? Or maybe a white button-down shirt tied around the waist with my Ash high tops. I just really like the idea of a greyscale, almost goth twist on athleisure. That could be a good fall go-to. You know. Until I can actually wear pants again. Sigh. Fucking pants.

The Derek Lam 10C Athleta Collaboration is here!

Yes. Of course I know there’s a Derek Lam / Athleta collab. Of course I do!!!!

And I was super excited because I buy tons of Athleta. SUPER EXCITED I SAY!!!

Until I saw it.

WAH WAH.

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Here, you can judge for yourself: http://athleta.gap.com/browse/category.do?cid=1038258&mlink=46650,10188358,HP_DL_Main_9_9&clink=10188358

But I think it’s a little basic and boring. And it sometimes makes the model look like a court jester or a character on Star Trek or someone from a really old Old Navy shoot. Not simple and chic. Sigh. These here are the pieces I do like (below). But you’ve been able to find leather joggers (If you wanted to) for a few years now, so…*yawn*.  Maybe they’ll do it again and the next collection will be better. Sorry Derek Lam. Love you. But not this. 😦

This is the good….

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And this is the bad and the ugly…I mean, I get that the color blocking on the tanks is meant to follow that of a sports bra, and that’s good and flattering, and I get that the vertical stripe is there so it’s not just a baby doll color blocking situation. But something about it just falls really frat boy from the 80s-flat. I wish I didn’t feel that way. It’s much better on the tighter tops.(see below). Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.28.48 AM Screen Shot 2015-09-11 at 9.28.31 AM

And I’m not sure how I feel about these. The location of the bust line feels fresher on these… And the cut is good ….

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But still,  grey and white are kind of the two worst colors to use for active wear because white will show your nip-nips and grey shows sweat in less than one second. Hey, Athleta! I know things! Maybe we should do a collab… 🙂

WorkOutFits post-baby, and what it’s like to watch your body change without your permission.

…or lack thereof, if we’re being honest here.

Here are my IG posts of workoutfits/ workout days from today back to when I was 36 month preggo.  IG = @iamaimeeschewe  Starting with today’s pic.

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Today: Day 8 of Bikini Body Mommy Challenge 4 and day 1 of Whole30. More on both of those later. 

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Self-tanner fail.

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Crunches and planks for all.

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I finally “fit” into my favorite green tunic again. And by that I mean I can put it on, but it sure as hell doesn’t fit like a tunic should. Also I lost my UP24 fitness tracker and I am TOTALLY BUMMED ABOUT IT.

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The good news is: where I live, you can throw a scarf on top of a WorkOutFit and you’ll be the best dressed lady around. That is also the bad news.

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All I want for birthday is some new fresh kicks.

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Sad about having no muscles anymore. I guess a year of not working out (basically) will do that to you. Babies. Jerks.

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I’m pretty into my purple and black tie-dye LuluLemon Wonder Under fold-over leggings. Fold-over really just means I always wear them unfolded/up over my poppin’ fresh dough. And of course, always, Nike Frees. The black tongue and laces really make this pair.  I love them to bits.

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Ah yes. This is me trying to get a feature from Fabletics on Lauren Conrad’s blog. I didn’t try very hard. Meaning I only sent in this one image. One time. But dang. Good hair day, right? Also, that is total angle trickery. Everyone looks skinny with their body cut off and from above. Try it. I do really dig that shirt though. Fabletics. Breeze top I think.

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so hipstergram.

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trying to psych up to get back into the swing of things. trying.

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Same Fabletics top. Different color. My wardrobe choices (read: what fits) right now are very 90s/ bold colors and black/ WWF/ Punky Brewster…purples, teals, black and bleachy tie-dye…not sure what’s going on. I actually wore the same type of clothes in 8th grade: tunic, sports bra top, leggings. Weirrrrrrrrd.

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See? What’d I tell you? Double black tie dye. So obnoxious. So Macho Man Randy Savage. What’s next? Zubaz?

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This is my cardio. Walking. I’m so hard core right now. Not. Can’t wait to be 100%. Srsly. 4rl.

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More with the teal. Hey, lets add neon green! Those are the mom boobs. Gotta say. I’m not a fan. I was totally fine with having smaller boobs and I can’t wait for these jobbies to go away. Oooh. Look how shiny my new fitness ball is. Ooooh. Silver.

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I was proud of my angles and art direction.

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So this was basically my all day post-baby uniform for the summer. Joggers and some kind of a baggy but with big arm holes so you see my bra type of shirt. The top and bottom are both Athleta. The top is sold out now (summer item) but the bottoms are the Metro Slouch capris and you can get them in full length for fall. I recommend them. Comfy. Not tight but not sloppy. If you have an ass, that is.

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This is me starting to work out again. And by that I mean doing my prenatal workout as my postpartum (that just means after baby, not postpartum depression) workout. Note the lack of waist and obvious tip toe leg-lengthening trick.

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Going further back in time, two months after giving birth, even less-little in the middle. Also, I braided my hair one day.

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angles and trickery!! I’m twice as wide when I’m facing forward.

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I thought I’d be using the Ergo Baby Carrier a lot. Too bad baby hated it. He likes the Bjorn.  We’ll try this one again when he grows out of that.

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This was right after my 6 weeks post-baby check up. When my doctor said I could work out again. But she also said I should go to physical therapy. So…yeah. Now it’s 6 months later and I’m basically still fixin’ to get ready to get back in shape. But that’s better than peeing myself for the rest of my life. Probably.

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And this was my belly at 36 weeks. I’m so glad to be not pregnant anymore! Love the baby. But man I LOVE being NOT PREGNANT. aaaaaah. The best thing about being pregnant is appreciating not being pregnant.

I haven’t posted a ton of pics because 1. I haven’t been working out a ton and 2. I don’t fit into much. I basically have three pairs of leggings that I rotate and two big baggy black tunics. That’s what’s comfortable and flowy and makes me the least sad when I look in the mirror. Your body changes a lot when you’re pregnant, and then again after you have a baby (and are breast feeding), and then again as time goes on, and then again when you stop breast feeding. (I hope.)

During pregnancy my waist got thicker before the baby bump showed up. And my boobs got bigger and hurt like hell. I am a pear / T-Rex (little in the middle but she got much back) with a medium-small upper body, so this was not fun for me. Me no likey big booby.  And I gained some cushioning all around. But it wasn’t too incredibly grotesque. Not as freakish as it could have been. I think the baby just took up organ space before growing out toward the world. Sure fucking felt like it. But not as bad as it could have been. I mean. I was still pregnant. It was gross and weird and a total alien parasite situation. But it could have been worse. So I’m thankful for that.

I walked a fair bit, but couldn’t do much more. I had no energy and bouncing was NOT an option. I stopped running pretty early on. It just felt like my organs were going to fall out. So…nope! I guess I didn’t do enough pelvic floor work before and during pregnancy. (be warned!)

Afterward, I wore a belly wrap corset thing and a hip minimizer (highly recommend, more on those later). And after six weeks I started walking again. And I’ve done some barre workouts, but I’ve been taking it very slowly and gradually because I’m still in pelvic floor rehab. (Long story. I’ll write a thing on that soon. I’m not “injured” any more than anyone else who’s ever carried a baby, but it’s important to rehab those muscles first so you don’t pee your pants your whole life. Other countries know this. America apparently doesn’t. Probably not a coincidence that my Physical Therapists are from New Zealand and India. )

Anyway, I’m just trying to give you an idea of what happens to your shape after pregnancy, even without workout out or watching what you eat too much. (me.) My waist is getting smaller on its own/ returning back to a more “me” shape. What isn’t changing is the boobs and upper body weight. Like the fat arms and armpits and upper back and whatnot. That’s still disorienting because it’s not my natural body shape and all of my clothes fit differently/ don’t fit because of the damn boobs. Everything is a crop top all of a sudden. It’s ridiculous. But that should change soon enough, when I stop with the breast feeding. I look forward to that.

I also don’t want you to think that not working out for 6 months is normal. (Or that I just said “Fuck it, I’m a mom!” I didn’t.) You can totally work out. And I could have gotten to this point quicker if I had been more religious about doing my physical therapy.  But I wasn’t. (I will be now, though. Promise. I’m sick of this.) So it’s taking a long time to get to the point where I can do all the fun high impact/ plank/ quick movement/ boot camp/ real exercise stuff again.  And to be able to wear my ninety seven different pairs of black workout pants.

Also, I should note that I’m finally realizing how much of this shit it is out of my control. Hormones tell your body to store fat because it’s going to use it or baby stuff and baby feeding stuff. Hormones tell your body you don’t need some of that anymore. Hormones tell you to lay the fuck down because your body needs all the energy for other functions you don’t even know are happening. I never went totally nuts food-wise or workout-wise while pregnant or after. I’ve just been normal, up and down, sometimes a total pig, sometimes not -me. Watching my waist get thicker and thinner despite my intake and output has taken some pressure off and given me a little faith in my body actually maybe deciding it wants to be smaller one day and it all happening pretty naturally. Maybe. I mean. That would be cool, right? Is that how normal people think and live? Huh. Must be nice.

But I’m for sure going to get more serious about my PT and keep on working in more working out.

And at least for a little while longer I’ll still be in tunics and leggings town. Hope you like purple tie dye and Punky Brewster…

 

Pregnancy Workout I loved: Susanne Bowen Prenatal Barre

So you know I love me some Dailey Method. And you also know I had me a baby. Which means I haven’t been able/allowed to do traditional core work for a long time. And core work is literally 1/3 of every single Dailey Method workout. So…sad face. No can do.

But, good news! While I was preggo I ordered prenatal workout DVDs by Suzanne Bowen of Barre Amped, and they are THE SHIIIIT!!!  They’re also great for after baby.

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Suzanne Bowen’s Slim & Toned Prenatal Barre Workout is like Dailey Method lite. You get some thigh and butt and core and arm stuff, but it’s do-able. It’s perfect. She also makes sure to incorporate the pelvic floor work in your positioning. Which is key. She calls it “zipping up a tight pair of jeans.” Which is a pretty good cue, I think.

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The Long & Lean Prenatal Workout is a little weird, but it’s really gentle and gets you moving and flowing without feeling like it’s a wussy waste of time. As you get up there in months, it’s a really nice option. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to move in any plane other than forward and backward, and this gets you moving all around and keeps you limber. The movements are repetitive, but almost in a meditative way. Like moving yoga? Strengthening Tai Chi? I don’t know.  I’ve never done anything like it before. Try it. It feels good. Mostly, in my 3rd trimester, it felt good to be able to do ANYTHING other than walk. Especially since I had to pee every four minutes.  Getting some movement in  at home, near the bathroom, became key.

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After I had the kid, I kept on using the Slim and Toned Prenatal Barre workout as my post-baby workout. I still use it, actually. Mostly because it’s broken into short segments that I can A. handle, because I’m out of shape as hell and B. squeeze in before the kid wakes up / shits/ gets bored / starts crying again.

Yeah, 15 minutes of strength training a day isn’t much. But you know what? It’s not nothing. And it’s a super easy, attainable, no-pressure way start building up some consistency. One segment a day? Awesome. Then you work up to two segments a day. Sweet. Pretty soon you’re doing a whole DVD a day. Progress, man. It happens fast and it’s not that hard. Woo hoo!

I also ordered some more of her Barre Amped DVDs now that I can handle more activity, and I love them. To me, Barre Amped is just a more approachable version of Dailey/Barre/Physique 57/ Ballet Body/ whatever. Still with results. Just a hair less serious. Less intimidating. More down to earth. More Southern or something. I like it. I like it a lot.

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So yeah. Suzanne Bowen. Barre Amped and Prenatal workouts. All on Amazon. Check ’em out.