Well, fast-forward several months to…today. How’d we do with MuTu? Do we sport, as the program promises, an undeniably stronger core and pelvic floor?
Check out our video below to see what MuTu in action really looks like, according to the primary protagonist—the toddler, of course. (And pray tell, multitasking nursing mothers, do you resonate with that clip at 0:33?)
What is MuTu? If you need a quick refresher, MuTu System is an internationally acclaimed, holistic, realistic, and supportive exercise and recovery program for women who want their bodies to look, feel, and function better after having a baby. Created by postpartum fitness expert Wendy Powell, the 12-week online coaching program provides step-by-step instructions and exercises, in convenient 15- to 20-minute segments, to help women repair damage and build a strong, healthy, confident body after childbirth. It not only targets the core, thereby addressing the all-too-prevalent diastasis recti, but also strengthens the pelvic floor, essential for reproductive health and bladder and bowel continence.
Now for our take. How seamlessly did it fit into life with a toddler? And did it resolve Erin’s diastasis recti? For a more realistic depiction of MuTu in action, check out the video. For those of you more orthographically inclined, a written recap of our experience, with our kudos and critiques, follows below.
Video courtesy of eric-mcclellan.com
1. Firmer? Fitter? For sure!
If you do any well-crafted exercise regimen with consistency, you’re bound to see results. And Wendy’s program certainly fits the bill: with a slew of masterfully created movements—from squats to squeezes, lunges to lifts, rows to raises, pushes to pulls—you’ll be activating muscles hitherto undiscovered, plus strengthening, stabilizing, and stretching all at the same time. Whether it’s toned triceps, a tighter derriere, or a more stalwart southern half, Wendy’s program done right guarantees you’ll condition and accentuate some neglected areas, apart from the advertised core and pelvic floor.
Erin definitely noticed a difference—and given lifelong athleticism, we were already firmer and fitter than the average folks. So if your fitness baseline is a little lower (and no judgment if it is!), then can you imagine what this program might do for you? It could be truly transformational!
2. Is your whole body aligned? Now’s the time to set things straight!
While MuTu targets diastasis recti and associated pelvic floor dysfunction, Wendy doesn’t let you get all wrapped up in your midsection. This is whole-body fitness. That includes daily activity, especially walking with proper alignment. Wendy addresses body positioning for the other 23-plus hours a day you’re not engaged in her program, including sitting, standing, and walking. She also broaches the ubiquitous bane of modern orthopedists: footwear. Our apologies to any avid shoppers or fashionistas out there, but are you sure you need those shoes? (If you do, Wendy gives you a few better—and still trendsetting—options.)
We’d already caught the barefoot bug, but we’re finding even more ways to liberate our feet these days.
3. Are you minding your breath? Yes!
Acknowledging the breath always gets brownie points with a yoga instructor. Wendy recognizes how proper movement hinges on proper breathing. She emphasizes steady and controlled, instructing you how to engage the core and pelvic floor while exhaling. But she goes beyond the fundamental synching with movement to address breath in relation to stress, which is intimately involved in that vicious hormone-imbalance-and-fat-storage cycle that can sabotage any exercise regimen. If you need a mental health tune-up, you can look forward to week 9, which is all about lying on the floor. You need a lesson called “It’s Chill Out Time,” right? We thought we could handle a relaxation session, until it coincided with the abrupt end of toddler naptime…
Anyway, we like that Wendy gives more than a casual nod to what happens between the ears—and the pivotal roles that stress and overall mental-emotional well-being play in achieving fitness goals.
4. Are you heeding what you eat? Double yes!
Eating real food and ditching the processed stuff gets two thumbs up from a nutrition practitioner. It’s not all about the exercise. In fact, it’s not even mostly about the exercise. Diet comes first, and no activity level can make you immune to improper nutrition. After all, you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet: whole-body fitness rests squarely on a firm foundation of whole-foods nutrition. Wendy has you covered with MuTu Food, her simple rules for healthy eating, plus weekly reminders to make sure her handy PDF isn’t just gathering dust on your desktop.
While we’re already a bit more conscientious than the average eater, we love her down-to-earth approach that favors “single ingredient stuff, straight from nature.” For those needing a little more guidance, she couples dietary baby steps with a healthy dose of inspiration to help you remove temptation, make simple substitutions, eat loads of vegetables, and crowd out caffeine and alcohol with healthy hydration. Have you had your “few glugs of good oil” this week?
5. Do you need to be a fitness expert / gym buff / exercise whiz to follow along? Absolutely not!
The whole program has you—the average mama—in mind. The membership site is easy to navigate, the information is educational but concise, the videos are professionally produced, and the demonstrations are clear, crisp, and convenient so you can replicate the routine on your own in no time. In short, the whole program is thoughtfully crafted, on a user-friendly platform, for maximum compliance with minimal effort. Plus, Wendy includes easy-to-follow cheat sheets that make the whole exercise regimen, well, easy to follow.
We especially liked these illustrated one-pagers, which helped us recall the next exercise on the fly without replaying the demonstration video—always welcome with a no-screen-time toddler around. Wendy’s demos and supplemental tools help you feel equipped, unlike those ’80s aerobic videos that leave the uninitiated floundering. It’s like a toned-down Jane Fonda so you can actually tone up!
6. Do you need a lot of stuff? No way!
And thank goodness for that: we’re pretty minimalist, so a bundle of required new merchandise would have sent us running for the hills in nothing flat. Wendy emphasizes simple exercises that you can perform largely with your own body weight and a few common objects. As a result, you expand your fitness toolkit with lots of no-cost, multi-muscle movements you can do anytime. While some props—like resistance bands, a pilates ball, or dumbbells—might be handy, we made do mostly with what we had around the house—like an old football, a backpack of books, and bottles of sparkling apple cider from those new year’s guests…
And hey, you don’t even need any workout gear! If a deficient fitness wardrobe is preventing you from sweating in public, this program has you covered: when you’re lunging, squatting, lifting, and pressing from the comfort of your living room, then baggy, bum-around, and barefoot all past muster. (Or you could embrace your birthday suit, if the fancy strikes—or you’re two and that sounds like a fun thing to do. Did you check out our video, by the way?) Get yourself on track with a stopwatch or free app like Interval Timer (where you can set different intervals and buzzers), and you’re on your way to 20 minutes of pressure-free sweating in (your own) style. It’s exercise empowerment without all the power tools and paraphernalia! Beats the gym any day, in our opinion…
7. Do you have to wait weeks to see progress? Not at all!
Wendy’s all about incremental advancement. With consistent practice, lessons that build on prior ones, and new variations each week, you really get to see some progress, whatever your baseline. If you’re starting from scratch, then you could advance by leaps and bounds. If you’re already in fine fettle, then the changes might be subtle, but they’re still there. Regardless, the point is that your progress is your own—lacking a roomful of gym rats and yoginis, you can make strides in your own way, at your own pace, without the motivation-sucking threat of judgment or comparison.
There are infinite ways to measure progress, so you can choose to count your success however you see fit—from workouts ticked off the to-do list to attire that better flatters to improved body confidence. We dutifully started week 1 with “The Lamp-Post Pee (Wiener Version)” and now we’re pros at “The Lamp-Post Pee (German Shepherd Version) with a Flourish and a Pulse.” Woo-hoo! Who knew we were such talented imitators of urinating canines?
8. Genuine? Realistic? Endearing? You bet!
Have we mentioned how much we like Wendy? She’s authentic and articulate, poised and professional, pragmatic and winsome, with a dash of charisma and a boatload of commonsense tools to educate, empower, and engage. (And have you seen our mission statement lately?) She’s got a healthy perspective on the body, kindly exhorting women to connect with and nourish that priceless vessel of their humanity. She reminds us time and again to conscientiously do what makes our bodies feel good and serves their higher purpose, rather than coercing our bodies into submission, inflicting punishment upon them in superficial desperation, or dismissing them to hopeless infirmity. And she obviously practices what she preaches.
With expertise, encouragement, the experience of a fellow mama, and, yes, a wee bit of humor, Wendy can be a bona fide teammate in your pursuit of tummy toning, weight loss, strength building, body confidence, or whatever your goal may be. She’s a whole lot cheaper—and definitely more fun—than a gym membership and a personal trainer!
1. Can I fit in getting fit?
We won’t lie: it is a comprehensive program. And that can be challenging for full-time moms, not to mention full-time moms with full-time (out-of-home) jobs. If you’re starting from zero with your health and wellness regimen, then making space for all the different components—a daily core session, a daily walk, and several weekly warm-ups and intensive workouts, all while minding your alignment, breath, stress, and nutrition—might seem overwhelming. On the other hand, if you already have a balanced routine, then the 10 or 20 minutes here and there might feel negligible. Wendy clearly maps out sequential sessions to make it easy, but you can only streamline a well-rounded program so much.
With full-time jobs and a plethora of other obligations, even we fitness enthusiasts occasionally had trouble squeezing in a core session, a warm up, an intensive workout, the stretches, and a walk, especially since everything takes longer with a toddler around. (Have you watched our video yet?) We’ll fess up and say that some days we ditched the warm up. We know, it’s only 5 minutes, but those extra minutes can tip the scales on that two-year-old attention span…Nevertheless, MuTu is completely doable for the busy mom! You just need to find the time—and then do it.
2. Will I look wacky? (And do I need to do every last whirl?)
Yeah, probably (and perhaps not). Some of the warm-up exercises especially will have your limbs swinging in all directions. Some seem to try to do too much in 30 seconds. Like those pulsing “Warrior Side Bends”? We’d prefer to hold our yoga poses a little longer, thank you very much. And the 2 minutes or so of allocated post-core-exercise stretches? We tended to treat those as most (though not editor-in-residence yours truly!) do the reference section of books: definitely optional. Sure, we know we’re supposed to love the limbering up and we could probably use a little “Hip Heaven,” but we’re former athletes, remember? Sometimes, it’s hard to fully erase that drive to cut to the chase and get in on the action. So if we needed to prioritize, then the intensive workout, aerobic activity, and core strengtheners always won out over “Arm Circles” and “The Swan.” But remember, there’s no judgment here—it’s just you and your living room, so if you want to rock those arm circles, then swing away!
3. The universe is bursting with other MuTu Mamas?
Well, we didn’t meet them. There was some community support on the membership site…Or was it a private Facebook group? We don’t really know because we never checked it out. Call us antisocial, but group fitness has never really been our thing. Did we mention that Erin trained solo for marathons and Stacy was often the lone distance butterflyer in the pool? But if you’re the type that likes virtual support or the group vibe, then you just might find this the best part of the whole deal. (And in fact, Wendy affirms in week 12 that many women do.) We’re confident she’s doing a great job with the MuTu Mama masses, and maybe someday we’ll get around to meeting them…
4. Oh, and those journal sheets…?
We suppose they were nice, but we didn’t use them either. When we set out to do something, we’re pretty committed to getting it done. So we don’t spend a lot of time tracking stuff. But you might like a fitness log to keep you on track—and if that’s the way you roll, more power to you! Wendy’s done the legwork with daily checklists for each week’s activities. Or you can use them as scrap paper for two-year-old scribbling and a few minutes reprieve while you work on your peeing dog and arm swings…
5. Diastasis rectified?
Not entirely. While Erin embarked on the 12-week program with diligence and optimism, it didn’t work wonders. Her diastasis may have shrunk a little, but it didn’t disappear. As with any health and fitness regimen, no result is guaranteed, and many women certifiably report splendid outcomes with MuTu System. Every body is a little different, and as I noted before, since our initial fitness benchmark was a little higher than the average postpartum mom, our results may have been less pronounced. Regardless, Erin reports an unequivocally stronger core and upper body, so we should count our wins, right? We now have a wealth of new fitness moves in our toolkit, which I’m sure we’ll pull out time and again. Even if Erin eventually has to make peace with some parturitional aperture, she—and we at P2P—can build resilience in the meantime.
The lowdown? Do it! Get with the program! It’s worth the investment.
If you are a postpartum mama of any age and haven’t really worked on restoring your core and pelvic floor (and who has these days?), then MuTu System makes it easy. Wendy provides all the tools you need to get started, take action, and keep motivated. You simply supply the time, space, and discipline.
Even if we’re no longer daily squeezing footballs between our knees and hopping around the backyard with a resistance band across our ankles, we are definitely taking these tools, tips, and exercises with us for ongoing self-care and core maintenance. Our kudos abound, and our critique is only mildly critical—there are so many pros to MuTu that our cons are merely secondary.
That’s our verdict. How about you? Interest piqued? Tempted to try it for yourself? If so, don’t delay—check out MuTu System today!
And when you do, if you have more success distracting a toddler while waving arms, legs, footballs, backpacks stuffed with books, bottles of bubbly, and the like, we’d love to see it. Capture it on video and post your versions here!
To a firm foundation, inside and out, together we are “Preparing to Parent: Growing Families with Purpose…on Purpose.”
Stacy Claxton, a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner and Educator, and Perinatal Specialist, is one half of the dynamic duo behind Preparing to Parent, where she and her identical twin, Erin, are “growing families with purpose…on purpose.” This passionate sister pair loves caring for the tender and vulnerable bodies, minds, and souls of new beings and new moms and wielding words with impact on their holistic health blog. Join their family for free recipes and more.