Since I know I teased you all with the Vegan Eggplant Meatball recipe last week, I’m excited to share that the recipe is up today over on my friend Aileen’s blog, Morsels & Moonshine! Check it out!
Brrrrr, and happy chilly Thursday! I’m not sure what it’s like where you are, but we woke up to a lovely 16 degree morning this morning. Sure made it mighty tempting to stay under my nice down comforter as LONG as humanly possible…
Work, schmerk, right? I wish.
But I was a good girl and braved the cold to head to work. Anyone else kind of over winter? I’m ready for spring to get here!
How my fitness routine has changed since becoming pregnant
Today I wanted to talk about something that I’ve gotten several questions about: how my fitness routine has changed since becoming pregnant, and what I do to get a workout in nowadays.
Before I start though, I want to preface this by saying that if you ARE pregnant, please PLEASE check with your doctor before taking on anything fitness-related. Pregnancy is different for everyone, and sometimes fitness (or certain moves) needs to take a backseat for mamas health or baby’s health (my friend Katy just had a scare about this!) Fitness during pregnancy is also going to be different for every person, and what works for my may not work for you. So listen to your body!
Ok, moving on. How has my fitness routine changed? Honestly, not a lot. Changed probably isn’t a good word for it. Modified is probably better.
And truth be told, I’ve had to modify quite a lot, especially starting in the last couple of weeks. All of a sudden my belly is getting a little bit in the way, certain things don’t feel so comfortable anymore, and Baby Freckle is letting me know when things make him unhappy. But I’m doing my best to make it work and find a fitness routine that will work for both me and the little man.
Honestly, cardio is probably the part of my fitness routine that I’ve had to modify the most. Before I found out I was pregnant, I was about a month in to my half marathon training plan for a December race (Obviously that did not happen). So I was running about 10-15 miles a week.
I managed to keep it up through about week 7 of pregnancy. I still had maybe hopes of run/walking the half marathon, but if nothing else at least figured I could keep up the running thing throughout my pregnancy.
However, this just didn’t work for me. Not only did the fatigue and light nausea hit me HARD in about week 7, but I was also experiencing a lot of cramping, stretching, and general discomfort down there (maybe because I’m carrying REALLY low? Not quite sure if that’s just a coincidence). I pretty much stopped running completely, minus a few short runs here or there when I was feeling up to it. And that’s pretty much where it has stayed up to this point in my pregnancy.
Since the bouncing aspect of running really wasn’t sitting well with me or Baby Freckle, I have switched up my cardio to things that are lower impact but still effective. During the week I try to mix in challenging elliptical intervals, incline walks, or fast-paced flat walks to get my heart rate up.
And believe me, it does! They aren’t kidding when they say that once you’re pregnant, you’ll get winded easily! I have found myself having to tone down the intervals or speed a little bit compared to pre-pregnancy, and I try and remind myself that that is allowed. I’m growing a human! I tend to follow the “conversation” rule, to make sure I’m still getting in enough oxygen, but I try to challenge myself as best as I can.
The other form of cardio that I’ve REALLY been loving lately is spin class. Not only is it a killer leg and glute workout, but it is also a great form of cardio cross-training. And since the bikes are adjustable, I have been able (and will hopefully continue to be able) to adjust the bike as my belly grows. One woman in my class spun all the way up until the morning her baby was born!
(side note: Just make sure to talk to your instructor so that he/she is aware that you’re pregnant. That way if you need to sit out a track, take things a bit easy, or sit out on some of the jumps, they’ll know what’s up!)
Strength training is probably the area that I’ve had to make the fewest changes to my routine. It’s been more about small modifications and adjustments for my comfort level.
Throughout my pregnancy so far, I’ve tried to keep up strength training at least 2x a week, 3 if I can manage. Sometimes I’ll make up my own workout based on what I’m feeling that day, or find a good one off of Pinterest, and sub out moves if I need to in order to make them pregnancy-friendly.
The biggest modification has honestly been the fact that after your first trimester, you are not supposed to lay on your back (some docs say for more than 5 minutes, some say at all, so check with your doc. Mine doesnt want me laying flat on my back at all) because it can put too much pressure on one of your major arteries that supplies blood to your brain. Which can result in lightheadedness or even unconsciousness. No good.
So I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments based on that. One of the best modifications for this is to use an incline bench if possible. Many moves that you would normally do while laying flat can be done with this slight adjustment: Bench presses, chest flies, etc.
Abs have been the hardest thing to adjust, as so many ab moves require you to be flat on your back. But my doc suggested using a stability ball and doing things like sit ups (and even bench presses and other moves) on the ball. This takes the pressure off your back, and still allows you to work your core. Other moves like planks and side planks are also great to do while preggo!
My other favorite way to get strength training in is through BodyPump! Many of my BP instructors (or even blog friends who are also BP instructors, like Becky or Katie) did BP throughout their entire pregnancy, so as long as you give them a head’s up, they can show you some adjustments to make.
For me, the modifications I’ve made so far are:
- Put my bench on an incline. I can still do all the regular chest and tricep tracks, just not laying flat.
- I’m starting to sub out plates for the bar on the back track, because I have a hard time keeping my clean & press form now that I have a belly in the way. I can’t go straight up my torso anymore!
- I don’t do the regular ab track (since most of it is typically on the back), and just sub in my own pregnancy-approved ab moves instead.
Overall, I can do most of the moves in BodyPump, although I’ve heard that as you progress you may need to lower your weights a little bit for fatigue reasons!
Some of the other workouts that I’m trying to sub in during the week are yoga and some barre/pregnancy strength videos.
Yoga can be great during pregnancy, to not only help stretch out sore, tight muscles, but to also help prepare you for labor. However, you DO need to be careful during a yoga class, and make sure your instructor is aware of your pregnancy if you’re not taking a specifically pre-natal yoga class.
First of all, you are not supposed to do any of the twists during a regular class. I’m not quite sure of the biology behind it, but I do know it has to do with the twisting of the spine, and thus internal organs, which are not good for baby. Same goes with any inverted poses.
Second, be aware that when pregnant the Relaxin hormone helps keep your joints loose so that your belly can grow. However, this can also mean that it is really easy to over stretch and/or sprain your muscles during yoga class, when you feel like you can stretch farther than you really can. I learned this one first hand and woke up the morning after a yoga class with a sprained ankle!
Finally, there are a TON of pregnancy-specific workouts on DVD or on YouTube that you can check out that obviously take into consideration all of the requirements and limitations during pregnancy. I love checking some of these out when I’m short on time or need a little inspiration, and have found some great prenatal barre, pilates and strength workouts! So even if you don’t have access to a gym, there are still options!
Phew! That was a super long post! I know that not everyone who reads this blog is pregnant (or planning on ever becoming pregnant), but since I get so many questions on this I thought it would be a great thing to address. I do know that I have several other blog friends who are preggo right now, so if you are, feel free to chime in in the comments section and share some of the fitness changes you have/haven’t made.
The most important thing to remember is to listen to your body. Pregnancy is different for EVERYONE (as I have learned!) and there really is no right or wrong answer. But just know that you CAN still workout during pregnancy and get your fitness on, it just sometimes takes a little extra planning and adjustments!
So tell me: If you have been pregnant or are pregnant, what changes have you had to make? Any tips and tricks?