I have been meaning to write this post for awhile but #life. Anyways, I am doing it now and that is all that matters! Today I am sharing the whys/hows/tips to working out while pregnant! I’d like to think I know what I am talking about since this is my second pregnancy that I have managed to stay active during. And the first one was with TWINS, so yeah I do know what i’m talking about ok?! I’m kidding. I simply can only speak for myself. You should definitely still check with your doctor about your personal fitness plan during pregnancy.
Speaking of talking to doctors, let’s start there. I remember when I was 20 years old (and of course in the best shape of my life) I found out I was pregnant with twins. YES I WAS PANICKING. For a million reasons. I actually specifically remember this moment when the midwife I was seeing asked if I had any questions during one of my first appointments. I asked if I could remain doing my workouts I have been doing- cardio + weights. I told her I was terrified of gaining an appalling amount of weight. My sister gained (sorry Tina) a crazy amount of weight with her first born at a young age. So I was thinking I would gain DOUBLE that since there’s two, right?
The midwife assured me, as have many other doctors I’ve seen, that whatever activity you were doing before becoming pregnant, you are encouraged to continue doing. You do not need to become a couch potato or a binge eater or any of that. If you’ve been doing cross fit, you can actually still do cross fit. Hiking? Hike away, mama. Weights? Keep it up. Do what you’ve been doing!! Eventually you will have to alter the workouts for safety/your growing belly, but you can and should remain active. (Don’t let me make you feel bad. If the active life isn’t for you, that is fine. You do you!)
For me, during both pregnancies, I have found that working out still comes naturally. It is a HUGE part of my lifestyle. It is my “me time” that I can always count on. Gets me away from the chaos of twins, makes me feel hella good about myself, and also eases my anxiety so much. So no, I am not working out just to keep off the extra baby weight- although that is a major plus. I am doing it because it’s what I’ve always done and it’s what makes me feel best!
Ok so my routine truthfully has not changed much since becoming pregnant, with the exception of abs. I will touch on that later. I workout about 4 days a week. Some weeks it’s 5 which is ideal for me, and some weeks it is only 3, also ideal. I honestly listen to my body. Somedays my back is killing me, or I am extremely sore from the day before. That is when I listen to my body and I either go for walks or I don’t go to the gym at all.
As far as what I am doing, I am doing the same thing I have always done which is a balanced mix of weights + cardio. I did this with the twins pregnancy also. I actually was in the best cardio shape of my life when pregnant with the twins, I ran A LOT. I mixed in weights/machines too during that pregnancy. You eventually will need to alter the routine as it becomes uncomfortable to lie flat on your back and do certain lifts. During this pregnancy I am still doing weights + cardio but doing a little more high intensity training this time around. I signed up for Orange Theory right around the time I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t sign up because I was pregnant, I signed up because it was a workout I enjoyed doing and it pushed me to get uncomfortable, especially on the treadmill. I could go to my gym (still have a membership there too) and do workouts on my own like we do in OTF. But I would never hop on a treadmill and do those cardio intervals without someone directing me.
So a typical week for me looks like OTF 2-3x a week and then heading to my own gym where I do light weights and cardio 1-2x a week. I have a high light section on my instgram page labeled HEALTH where I have a few workouts saved for anyone interested. I don’t necessarily focus so much on “OK today is leg day. Tomorrow is shoulder + biceps..” etc. I used to do that before getting pregnant, but now I just focus on moving all the muscles and getting my heart rate up. Something I have changed is my ab routine. Not that there really was an ab routine before getting pregnant lol. Never been a huge fan of abs. But when I am at OTF and we do abs, I will modify them and keep it very simple so my core isn’t over engaged. Even these little movements make my abs so sore.
Tips for Staying Active
I get asked this a lot, “How are you so motivated while pregnant? I never was like that” Well like I said, it is all about mentality for my. It’s not that I feel guilty when I skip the gym (although truthfully I do, but it’s more than that). When I consecutively skip the gym just for feeling lazy my whole mindset changes. I get in a bad mood, get down on myself, I can sense I’m not as good of a mother/wife because I’m not taking care of myself the way I usually do. So for me, staying active during pregnancy was a no brainer. Like I said, you can continue your fitness routine while pregnant. You should!! Now if you’ve never been one to workout and suddenly you’re pregnant, yes.. maybe not the best time to suddenly pick up cross fit training lol. But doing at home body weight workouts, or lengthy walks/hikes, is going to benefit YOU and the baby. Here are my tips:
- WATER!!! I drink over 100 ounces a day while pregnant. I swear this truly makes all the difference. I physically feel ill on the days I don’t drink this much and I would never be able to make it to the gym without being hydrated.
- Do it in the morning. Trust me, pregnancy is draining as in lol. If you wait till after work or later in the evening, your energy level will non existent and you’ll find every excuse not to go.
- Don’t over do it. That might sound contradicting since I go to Orange Theory and those are intense workouts, but that is what my body has always been used too! Sure it’s intense, but it is the type of my workout that my mind and body do best on. And there are most definitely classes when I am sprinting on the treadmill and I have to start walking before time is called. I’m not a quitter. I’m just a pregnant woman listening to her body.
- Don’t think of it as a punishment. That is a quick way to make you never want to workout again, pregnant or not pregnant. Don’t work out BECAUSE you’re pregnant and want to keep off the extra pounds. Workout because it is good for your mind, body, and baby. If there’s are I don’t want to go because I’m just lazy, I think about labor. I think about my recovery. No, not my “bounce back” body. I genuinely think about how with the twins, I had a vaginal delivery and C section. The same day I had them I was walking through the hospital. Once we were discharged I immediately was taking the kids on 2 or more walks a day to get out of the house. I am amazed at how easily and quickly I recovered and I owe it all to my active body.
- Keep it simple. I am most motivated when taking a class and there is someone pushing me, that is just simple to me. But maybe simple for you is walking daily or doing just 20 minutes of workouts at home. The internet is FULL of amazing workouts you can do right at home. 20 minutes of body weight movements is better than 0 minutes of sitting on the couch. That’s what I tell myself.
So there it is. It’s not much. There is no secret ingredient to make you hop off the couch and be an active pregnant woman. All that is up to you and your mindset. I was on bed rest during the end of my first pregnancy with the twins so I know better than anyone that sometimes you can’t workout while pregnant. But if your body is able to and your doctor says it’s ok, you most definitely should be moving and grovin’ to benefit you and the baby.