Before I got pregnant, I had a picture in my head of what I thought pregnancy would be like. I had these grand aspirations of being the healthiest, most active, veggie-loving pregnant lady. You know, because that could be real life.
Then I got pregnant and reality kind of hit.
Sometimes a bagel and cream cheese was literally the only thing that sounded appetizing. And I was amazed at how quickly I’d get out of breath while doing cardio.
So after a little bit of a freakout (partially thanks to all these crazy pregnancy emotions), I did what I could to adjust my expectations. My new goal became to eat as healthy as I could manage, and workout as frequently as possible, taking into considering my new growing belly and the limitations that brought with it.
Once I made this adjustment in my expectations for myself, I felt a lot less pressure to be the perfect “healthy” pregnant lady. I realized that doing my best is all I can ask of myself. Sounds silly that it took me so long, but hey, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and these things take time.
Honestly, once I made this change, my workouts became a lot more enjoyable too! I allowed myself to step back from some of those fitness activities that just weren’t going as well thanks to being pregnant (like running – and thus having to pee every 5 minutes), and focused on workouts that worked with my new sense of balance and coordination.
So today, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite workouts while I’ve been pregnant. And hopefully it might give hope to anyone who is pregnant or may be thinking about having kids in the future that you CAN still keep up your fitness, as long as you make reasonable changes to your expectations and goals!
Group Fitness: BodyPump
I’ve always been a BodyPump lover, so I am SO glad that I’ve been able to keep this up throughout my pregnancy so far. Not without making a few modifications though.
The first trimester I was able to complete everything pretty much as written, obviously stopping if anything became uncomfortable. Since I did get winded a little more easily, I had to pay attention and make sure I never got light headed (it happened on occasion during the squat track!), but otherwise things were pretty normal.
During the second trimester though (and now coming up on the 3rd), I’ve made some adjustments like inclining my bench (my doc says no laying flat on my back at all), dropping weights if I feel like I need to, and replacing the normal ab track with some pregnancy-friendly ab exercises.
If you don’t have an actual BodyPump class at your gym, you could easily include any kind of weight-lifting based class or even a circuit workout of your own into the mix. Just make sure to take the adjustments where you need them. But don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t lift weights while pregnant. You just have to be smart about it!
Group Fitness: Spin Class
I was also a huge spin fan pre-pregnancy, and it’s been one of my favorite classes since I became pregnant! What I think is great about it is that, although it’s a group class, spinning is such an individual thing and you can really make the class as challenging as you can handle. So you can easily adjust your speed and resistance based on your needs and how you’re body is feeling. Plus, it’s a dark room, so it’s not like anyone is watching whether you’re going balls-to-the-wall anyway.
The only real ACTUAL adjustment I’ve made (other than speed and resistance as needed) is that I have had to start changing the proportions of my bike and moving the handle bar higher. Leaning over just isn’t as comfortable as it used to be!
Side note: I was talking with a lady in my spin class who noticed I was pregnant, and she was telling me how she was literally taking a spin class the morning she gave birth at 40 weeks. That’s hardcore (and I hope I can be like her!)
10-Minute Prenatal Pilates
There are some workouts that make me a little nervous without being confident that what I’m doing is pregnancy-friendly. For me, pilates was one of those. All the pilates classes I ever took pre-pregnancy were really core focused and we spent a lot of time laying on our backs, which is obviously a pregnancy no-no.
But when I was looking online for pregnancy-based workouts (because I love to get ideas and inspiration from them!), I found these 10 minute solution prenatal pilates videos. I’ll admit, usually I’m not a fan of these cookie cutter “10 minute fix” kinds of workouts. But I decided to give them a shot, and let me tell you, I LOVE them for pregnancy core work!
My two favorites so far have been the Total Body Pilates and Core Pilates. I think they will be especially great once I get into the 3rd trimester and other core work really because harder and harder to manage.
Elliptical or Incline Walking
As I said, after about week 10, running was pretty much out of the question. Baby Freckle is hanging out super low, and basically spends most of his day either hugging or kicking the crap out of my bladder. So every time I attempt to run, I only last about 5 minutes before I have to take a potty break.
I still want to get in plenty of cardio though (gotta get that endurance up for the labor thing!), so I’ve mainly switched to elliptical intervals or incline walking. Both are great for cardiovascular endurance, but are a little more low impact than your regular running.
Prenatal Barre Workouts
Barre, like pilates, is one of those things that I loved pre-pregnancy, but am always worried about doing without being sure of the pregnancy adjustments. I recently found some fun prenatal barre workouts that I’ve been loving because they are body weight focused and are great for core strength and balance (both which tend to be issues during pregnancy).
One thing you may notice is not on this list is yoga. And it’s not because I dont love yoga (in fact, I’m still trying to add it into my routine on a somewhat regular basis). But the truth is, I haven’t really found a yoga class or video that I love right now.
You definitely have some yoga limitations while pregnant, so I’ve found that some of the classes I’ve attended in person haven’t been as clear about what I can and can’t do (and I’m a competitive person, so you need to tell me or I’m going to try it!), and yoga videos just don’t get me into the flow like a real class does. So I’d really like to find an actual prenatal yoga class so that I know what is ok to do!
The moral of the story is that you CAN still workout while pregnant, it just requires some adjustments – both of your actual workout and your expectations. Every pregnancy is going to be different, and your limitations may change completely, so just listen to your body and do what feels best for you! Even if that includes spending some quality time on your couch every once and awhile
So tell me: What kinds of adjustments (actual and mental) have you had to make to your workouts based on injuries or medical situations? Mamas/mamas-to-be, how about you specifically?