Summer’s right around the corner, so we’ve got fitness on our mind. So we’re super-excited to continue our Gorgeous Glow Prenatal Workout Series with our friends at Mama Mio at one of NYC’s hottest studios: Body Conceptions on June 14.
Founded by fitness guru and former dancer Mahri Relin, Body Conceptions (or for those in the know, BoCo) is an exhilarating workout set to an amazing playlist. Not only can you get your groove on, but you can also create long and lean muscles, and build stamina and functional strength. BoCo has become a hot ticket for pregnant gals all over the city who are looking for a fun, challenging and totally safe alternative to those late nights on the town.
Below Relin gives us the lowdown on why Boco is so great for pregnancy. Get a feel for the class, then come feel it yourself on June 14 at 9am…mini spa treatments and post-workout refreshments included! Register here.
What happens in a typical Body Conceptions class?
A signature BoCo class intertwines dance sections consisting of simple, high energy dancing and jumping movements with sculpting exercises that focus on the arms, thighs, abs, and seat. While each part of the body has its own dedicated section of class, many exercises integrate several muscles at once and require recruitment of the core. The exercises can range from very small, exhaustive movements (like pulsing up and down repeatedly in a low lunge) to bigger dynamic movements (like throwing in a few mountain climbers or punching the arms with weights), all set to music. There is also a strong emphasis on stretching, both in the middle and end of class.
Once we have methodically targeted all parts of the body, we turn off the lights and dance with abandon. I don’t care about form at this point. This is the moment to feel sexy and strong! We then stretch and breath together to end the class.
Although this isn’t prenatal, per se, why are so many pregnant women drawn to this workout?
Pregnant women love our workout because they find it challenging, fun and effective. This workout keeps them flexible and strong. Many of them go through their pregnancies without any aches and pains because of the muscles we target, and they also feel happier and more energized after their sessions. It also helps them continue strengthening their abs so that they feel stronger during labor and recover more quickly after the pregnancy.
What adjustments do you make to the concept for pregnancy?
This is a little complicated to answer because every pregnant woman is different and because things change from trimester to trimester. I tell every pregnant client that they are in charge of our workouts and that they need to tell me the minute something feels uncomfortable. These thresholds may be very different from person to person. Also, clients who have been working with me for a long time tend to train at a completely different level because they can tolerate greater intensity, and they’re not asking their body to do anything that feels new or crazy (which is never a good idea during pregnancy!).
Regardless of the person I’m training, there are still a few universal adjustments I tend to make:
-Some clients continue to do a little cardio, which consists of lots of jumping. By mid-second trimester, we usually end the jumping and choose different methods of raising the heart rate. We pay attention to the rate of exertion (which can be different for different women). On a scale of 1-10, we never take it beyond 8.
-We never put our women on their stomachs
-We don’t do extra deep lunging that can stress the lower pelvic ligaments and tendons
-We don’t do any extreme twists
-We don’t ask women to lie directly on their back for extended periods of time after 19 weeks. (We’ve worked around this using rollers – very fun discovery for us!)
What are some of the Body Conceptions exercises that benefit a pregnant woman in particular?
We have a pretty big roster of exercises, so it’s a little hard to be too specific here. For the most part, our pregnant women really benefit from the thigh work, which gives them lots of leg strength and joint stability. Our abdominal work adapted for pregnancy has been key for getting women through labor and regaining strength post-pregnancy because it focuses so much on the pelvic floor and deep transverse “corset” ab muscles. Our glute work is also essential to supporting the body during pregnancy and taking pressure off the quads and lower back.
Can you give us one Body Conceptions-style “do-at-home” exercise that pregnant women can try when they can’t get out to a class?
One of my favorite thigh exercises during pregnancy is called “Wide Second.”
-You stand with your feet turned out and placed slightly wider than the hips.
-Bend both knees to about 90-degree angles, keeping the knees aligned directly over the feet (not rolling forward).
– Adjust your position so that your feet are not too wide apart and hard to control or so close together that your knees are bending past your toes.
-Make sure your upper body is straight up and down (not tilted forward), and your chest is lifted with the shoulders relaxed.
-I always recommend doing our exercises to music. Try using something with a medium tempo.
-Start with your hands on your hips. Staying deep and low in your Wide Second bend*, pulse your body slightly up and down 30x to the beat of the music.
-Stay deep in your lower body position*, and reach your arms wide out to each side of your body.
-Keeping your legs still, alternate reaching your arms out to each side 20x to the music.
-Reach long through the arms. (In fact, you can even let your ribcage pull out to each side as you reach.)
-Keep your lower abs engaged.
-Put your hands back on your hips.
-Staying in your Wide Second position*, pulse both knees back at the same time 30x. These are very tiny movements that should make you feel the back of your upper thighs and glutes engaging.
-Repeat 1-3 as needed.
*If you need to straighten your knees in the middle of this exercise at any time, please do. Take one or two breaths, and return to your Wide Second position. If you have trouble keeping your balance during this exercise, feel free to keep at least one hand on a chair or tabletop in front of you.
Hope to see you on June 14 from 9-10:15!