My husband and I are excited to announce that I am pregnant (just 10 weeks) with our fifth child! While I do have a difficult time carrying to term without a cerclage (stitch that holds the cervix together), I was blessed enough to be able to exercise until I delivered our fourth child. I hope to be able to do the same with this pregnancy and I plan to share my 5th pregnancy and fitness journey with our Tumblr followers. What a blessing that I work in a fitness specialty that is literally low or no impact – barre!
Currently, my fitness regimen includes barre workouts, weight lifting, heated yoga, some running, and plyometrics. I hope to continue all of my current activities while modifying the intensity at which I run. Unfortunately, I find that when I am pregnant I have a hard time exercising at the intensity I prefer without encountering bladder control issues, which forces me to modify how fast and for how far I run. I also have to be careful about how I perform plyometrics. Jumping jacks are out of the question, as is the case for many of our clients who have had children.
During pregnancy, I find breathing during cardio more difficult, so I tend to increase the size of my weights and the frequency of my weight lifting workouts. The additional muscle mass helps me to burn more calories, and even though I look bulkier than when I am not pregnant, due to additional fat stores, muscle mass, and caloric intake, I find my increased muscle mass incredibly helpful for loosing weight after the baby is born. If you are healthy enough to lift weights throughout your pregnancy, I highly recommend doing it! Alternate your heavy weight workouts with barre workouts to lengthen your muscles and engage your smaller accessory muscles to minimize the appearance of bulk.
What a typical week of workouts has looked like for me:
Monday: Barre, Barre Sculpt (weights)
Tuesday: Barre, 30 Minute Plyo and Weight Lifting Circuit
Wednesday: Burn at the Barre (cardio)
Friday: 30 minute run at base pace, 30 minutes weights
Sunday: 1 Hour Core/Plyo/Weight Lifting Circuit
For the first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I made lots of uncharacteristic food choices: canned ravioli, Taco Bell, pastries, etc. I ate many not so great foods, in addition to the healthful foods I normally eat, which resulted in immediate weight gain, and in particular, fat gain. Thankfully, I am over that, and back to making healthier choices, which has me feeling much less nauseous. The advice given to me was to consume approximately 300 calories more per day than I would normally consume.
My fit pregnancy tips:
- Do your Kegels. Ugh! I will, if you will.
- Exercise helps discipate morning sickness. If you can get moving, you will feel better.
- Don’t over-consume food and make sure you are feeding your body and baby plenty of veggies, fruits, and lean protein (50-60 grams).
- Drink lots of water.
- If possible, exercise in the morning before your bladder has a chance to become over-active. Caffeine and carbonation contribute to an over-active bladder (What a catch 22).
- Set realistic expectations and be nice to yourself! Some days you just don’t have the level of energy needed to exercise at the intensity you’d like. Your body is growing a baby. Get over it!
- Minimize jumping and bouncing. You can participate in big, sweeping movements, without your feet leaving the ground. Ideas for plyometric type moves: Perform a deep squat and rise up to your toes. Perform a grand plie and rise up (releve) to your toes. Perform a plank, walk your feet in, rise up on your toes.
- Don’t exercise harder than you would if you were not pregnant. Now’s not the time to lose weight.
- Exercise at a pace or intensity that would allow you to maintain a conversation.
- Know what your max heart rate is and work at around 60-70%. (Clear this with your doctor!) Many websites say that you should not allow your heart rate to exceed 140. That is such a random number given our different ages and fitness levels and I hope that advice ceases to be given.
- Substitute ab exercises for core strengthening exercises.
I will post an occasional pic with my pregnancy posts, along with more information on what types of exercise to avoid and at what stages of pregnancy to avoid them. Because I work mostly with women, I promise to be honest about the problems that affect me. I don’t want to give the impression that my pregnancies are filled with candy and roses. I get varicose veins, my boobs get smaller after each baby, and the sins of my suntanning, teen-aged past make themselves apparent on my face and chest. I also break out during my first trimester (or two) and I often piddle my pants. There, I hope that makes you feel better. More confessions to come!