Pregnancy and Fitness

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Before I got pregnant, I'd finally gotten back on track with my diet and exercise schedule, had lost right at 20 pounds and significantly lowered my body fat percentage. I was really starting to focus on my athletic performance in things like running and Crossfit type workouts, constantly tying to improve my times and personal bests on weighted dynamic exercises like clean and presses, front and back squats, etc. Obviously, I knew getting pregnant would mean changing my approach to fitness temporarily to accommodate for my changing tolerance and body changes. But one thing I have not done is stop. Up until last week, I was still running two days a week, two miles in interval format (walk 2 minutes, run two minutes). Since I felt like it was time to put running on hold until after baby, I replaced it with interval uphill walking. So same concept, but at a slower pace. My workout schedule most weeks looks something like this:

Monday: Pure Barre DVD
Tuesday: Arms, Core and Cardio (35-40 minutes)
Wednesday: Rest Day or Cardio 30 minutes
Thursday: Shoulders, Thighs and Cardio (30-35 minutes)
Friday: Pure Barre DVD
Saturday: Chest, Quads and Cardio (40 minutes)
Sunday: Back, Glutes and Cardio (40 minutes) 

As I mentioned above, I've made some adjustments to my regular workouts in order to accommodate my growing bump. The changes I've made are listed below. It's nothing extensive, but just some safety precautions. It's worth mentioning that I didn't change anything I was doing all during my first trimester and this was per my doctor's permission. She told me more than once that as long as I didn't feel any discomfort or have any bleeding, cramping, etc, keep going like I had been. Now this is not going to be the case for every expecting woman, so check with your own doctors as I'm obviously no medical expert, simply relaying what has been my own experience. 

How my workouts have changed since my second trimester (roughly):

I rest longer between sets

I go slower on cardio exercise

My target heart rate during cardio is between 140-150 now. If I start getting close to or above 150, I back off my pace or resistance level to bring it back down.

I've lowered my weight on certain exercises like back/front squats, hack squat machine, etc. but I increased my repetitions. So where I was doing 105 pounds for 3 sets of 12 reps on back squats, I now do 65 pounds for 3 sets of 15 instead. 

I listen to my body. If something feels uncomfortable, I don't do it,

I recently stopped weighted overhead exercises per my OB's recommendation. She said I was fine to do weighted overhead until around 30 weeks, so since I'm getting close to that, no more overhead presses, handstand pushups, etc. 

I just last week traded my runs in for fast incline walking. I plan to resume running as early postpartum as my body will allow,

Those are really the only adjustments I have made so far. My goal is to continue on the plan I outlined above or something similar up until I go into labor and to get back to that schedule, albeit modified as soon as possible. I still do core exercises like plank holds, side planks, plank switches, side bends, hyperextensions and med ball crunches to maintain what core strength I can. Keep in mind, when I say core strength, I'm referring not only to abs, but also to the low back as well. 

I think a lot of times, pregnancy becomes and excuse for laziness and overeating which just leads to excessive weight gain, making the road to getting your body back after baby that much longer and tougher. I'm just hoping that by maintaining my physical activity level, I will be able to bounce back to my pre-baby shape that much more quickly, while still being healthy and realistic in my approach and timeline. I wholeheartedly know and believe that getting your body looking just as good after baby is possible, as is looking even better after baby (ies). Anyone who says otherwise just needs to be educated in the proper ways to approach the goal. I've seen lots of women look better after have two or more kids than they looked before having any, so I know it's possible. I'm just going to keep chugging along and stay active as much as possible. 

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