If you follow my Insta-stories, I’m sure you’ve seen a complaint from time to time about my sister’s brutal workouts. She’s a personal trainer and phenomenal at it. Long before my pregnancy I was working with her three days a week. We’d tackle everything from weight training to cardio and flexibility. But the end of my first trimester into the start of my second was rough. I had some blood pressure challenges and zero energy to stay on top of our routine. Needless to say, I lagged a bit. But the past couple of months have gotten us right back on track. And I wanted to share with you some of the core practices of my pregnancy workout routine. Because I’ve found tremendous benefits in staying active, feeling better about my body, and knowing I’m preparing for birth as well as recovery.
Now, I can’t speak from a medical perspective. Please know that each body + pregnancy are different; consulting a physician is priority one when knowing what your body can/should handle during this time. So all of the following comes with that grain of salt.
Keep Doing What You’re Doing
A lot of questions fly around about what exercises are safe for pregnancy. Believe me, I wondered the same thing. But what I was pleasantly surprised to learn is that keeping your normal routine is perfectly fine. Meaning, your body has been training to handle certain exercises; therefore, it won’t be negatively affected by continuing them. This can also be a good motivator pre-pregnancy to get into the habit before it’s ‘too late’ to start. Jumping into any strenuous activities that you’re not used to isn’t recommended during pregnancy. Your body is already working on so many out-of-the-norm changes it doesn’t need another.
Listen to Your Body’s Response
With all the pregnancy madness it’s important to become attuned to your body. No one can read your internal signals but you. As I mentioned at the start, I had to pull back on workouts during the tough pregnancy weeks. But that wasn’t weakness or laziness–it was necessary and temporary. Remember that your health translates into baby’s health and that takes top shelf these nine months.
Make the Adjustments
Although I’m certainly a bit biased, part of the reason I tout my sister as being such a phenomenal trainer is her ability to adjust. As I’ve entered different phases of pregnancy, certain movements or exercises weren’t optimal. So she’d switch my position, swap out an activity, or alter the weight. These changes kept up our momentum but put safety in the forefront. So it’s important to learn what adjustments should be made and when (i.e. lying on your back later in pregnancy isn’t advisable).
Be Mindful of Nutrition
In my first OB/GYN appointment, the doctor looked straight in my eyes and said, “Let me be clear: you are not eating for two.” The truth is, a pregnancy diet really only requires a few hundred additional calories each day (think an extra small snack or two). So despite any cravings or major bingeing opportunities, the double appetite is a myth. But this is a time when balanced nutrition matters hugely. Keeping up with protein intake helps fuel your body after workouts. In addition, veggies + fruits offer the variety of vitamins and nutrients you (both) require. A lot of fitness apps nowadays let you track energy output as well as food intake to make sure all needs are being met.
Stop When it Hurts
This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s something I routinely have to tell myself. Oftentimes with workouts we want to push through the pain–get that final rep or run those last few feet. So recognizing the difference between challenge and injury is huge. Ligaments and muscles are making way for that growing baby so things that may have been easy are now proving difficult. That’s okay. Stop, take a breath, make adjustments, and remember that you’re doing the best for both of you.
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