Many moms are concerned with getting back into shape postpartum. After all, when your belly expands to crazy proportions, it can be hard to believe you can actually get it back to normal. And it’s hard to fit in a new routine when you’ve got small kids, particularly if you’re new to fitness and don’t know where to start. So when I got the opportunity to try The Dia Method, a comprehensive system of workout DVDs and more, I jumped at the chance.
Even though my youngest is almost 20 months old and I’m no longer a newly postpartum mama, I figured the The Dia Method DVDs would be worth giving a whirl, and I was right. I incorporated them here and there into my Tough Mudder training on days I wasn’t running or doing super hardcore workouts, and they were a nice change of pace. Challenging and effective, definitely, but a far cry from Tabata workouts. They’re the perfect way for a new mom to ease back into fitness, with enough of a challenge for moms who’ve been back in the fitness game for a while.
The core (ha) of The Dia Method, developed by Leah Keller, a pre- and postnatal fitness expert, is fighting back against diastisis recti and getting your stomach muscles back where they belong. The nine-disc postnatal set is a full-body workout program, but you’re reminded of your core from start to finish.
Disc 1 starts you off with an explanation of diastisis recti and the fundamental core compressions and breathing techniques you use throughout the series. It’s really informative and optimistic; seeing the anatomy of the abs and how to fix the separation that can occur with pregnancy makes you realize that you’ll get back in gear in no time. Disc 2 includes two 5-minute workouts: one that focuses on belly compressions and breathing, and one that focuses on the same belly compressions while you’re using a manual splint to bring your abs together. Once you see these three discs you likely won’t need to watch them again, but they’ll teach you how to apply the exercises throughout your day.
Disc 3 starts the meat of the workouts, with a full-body workout that uses a resistance band. With 25 minutes or so of multitasking moves, you’ll work a lot of the areas you need to focus on postpartum, like the upper back, chest and butt, all while being reminded of those core compressions throughout. If you’re doing it properly, your midsection really will feel fatigued when it’s all said and done, even if you’re not sore the next day. And while my abs weren’t sore, my bum certainly was. Disc 4 through 7 are similar in that you’re doing multitasking moves that hit multiple muscle groups at once. Each of the workouts are less than 30 minutes and they’re all slightly varied, each with a focus on different muscles, but they’ll hit your full body and are good for mixing up your workouts. While none of the moves are totally earth-shattering, it’s a great intro into fitness, and the “belly back” reminder throughout is great because it reminds you to move your belly button to the spine.
Disc 8 is great in that Leah shows you how to work core compressions and ab work into everyday life. She reminds you that pushing a stroller can double as ab work, and she shows you how to best lift your baby to get the most out of it. She also shows you how to properly lie down and get up out of bed rather than putting pressure on the middle of your abs by getting up improperly. In Disc 9, Leah walks you through wearing corsets, which I would have thought was a total gimmick, but hearing her explain how corsets, like manual splinting, help train the muscles to come back together, I’m thinking it actually makes sense (although I didn’t actually try wearing a corset).
Having so many discs isn’t my favorite thing — I’d rather see a 3-disc set with more workouts and the extras crammed onto fewer discs, but it’s not a deal breaker either. There is also a Dia Method prenatal fitness system to keep you in shape during pregnancy; should there be a baby No. 3, I’ll definitely give it a whirl.
FBM Rating (Out of 5):
Fun Factor: ★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★★
Fit Bottom Line: If you’re a new mom who needs direction in getting back into a fitness routine, The Dia Method is a great beginner/intermediate set for that. The 25-minute workouts are perfect for busy moms trying to squeeze in fitness!
Do you need reminders to engage your abs throughout your workouts? Would you try a system like The Dia Method? —Erin