Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fitness Workouts while Pregnant: Who knows your body better than you?

Today, at the gym, I talked to a girl about working out while pregnant. She said that when she was pregnant, she became borderline diabetic and her doctor had recommended that she stopped working out after the first trimester. She followed his advice and went through her pregnancy gaining excess weight and having difficulty during her delivery because she had lost her endurance and strength since cutting back on exercise. She said that she was generally fit pre-pregnancy and really wanted to continue her workouts at the gym throughout, but followed her doctor's recommendation and merely walked for exercise throughout pregnancy. She is thinking about having another child and she would like to approach fitness and pregnancy differently this time around!

Wow! Ok, I am not a doctor, but I was saddened to hear that she'd received this recommendation from hers! Doctors are great (my dad is one), but sometimes I think we need to listen respectfully to what they offer in certain situations and then listen to your body, do your own research and then make a decision on what is right for you. Everything that I have read about exercising while pregnant does start with consulting your doctor, which is important, especially if you had health issues prior to becoming pregnant. But my motto in life is balance and moderation. If you can find a good balance between maintaining a good fitness level through pregnancy while also monitoring your body to ensure you are doing all that you can to protect and grow the little one inside you, then why not?

Here are a few ways that I modify my fitness workouts while I am pregnant to ensure that I am still remaining active and maintaining my strength and cardiovascular capacity, so that 1. I can keep growing a strong and healthy Little Tuna, but also 2. so that I can be strong throughout my labor and delivery!!

First Trimester - The first trimester is when I did cut back on my exercise level and frequency, however I did not stop!

  • Strength training 2-3 times per week - I am a fitness instructor so this was actually less than I had been, but even if you're not an instructor, 2-3 weeks is great and you can modify your intensity as needed; I already decreased the weight amount I lifted in this trimester
  • Running 2-3 times a week - I had just started training for the Army Ten Miler when I learned I was pregnant and had not been running consistently in over a year, so I only ran very easily during the first two months and walked whenever I felt winded or pulling in my belly - read more on that here
  • Yoga a few times a month (I could have increased this, but I was really tired, so sleep was more important to me)
The only race I'd done in the year prior to pregnancy,
while I was recovering from plantar fasciitis.

  • In the first trimester, you're dealing with increased fatigue and probably some form of morning sickness. I was just nauseous all day and really the only times I felt well were while working out or the 30-45 minutes after I had eaten (So I ate small snacks very frequently). But definitely work with your fatigue and don't overexert yourself any time during your pregnancy.
  • Your body is already making tremendous changes during this trimester, so always listen to your body! For example, my chest was growing fast and hurt, so running did not always feel awesome, hence the slow pace and walking.
  • As for yoga, this is the one trimester when you can still do most of the poses, so, if you are new to yoga and want to incorporate it into your prenatal program, this is when to start it up, learn the poses and then you can build strength, flexibility, and consistency. In the following trimesters, you can then edit poses as needed.
Yoga with my two faves, during the first trimester!
Knight really has Side-Lying Savasana down.

These are a few ideas on how to continue on (or even begin) your fitness journey during pregnancy. Tomorrow, I'll cover the second trimester (which I'm currently enjoying!). 


How have you modified your fitness workouts during a pregnancy? Are you newly pregnant and looking for ideas on where to start? If so, let me know!

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