What's My Pregnancy Workout, You Ask?
When I was younger, I just assumed that when I eventually got pregnant some day, I’d gain a zillion pounds and feel pretty crummy about myself.
I had been a yo-yo dieter my whole life, and was perpetually 10 pounds overweight. Life inside my skin was uncomfortable, and I always felt like I was in a struggle with myself to control my eating and force myself to workout.
By the time I found my fitness footing, I was an adult… and truthfully, I didn’t fully hit my stride until I met George and it became a shared lifestyle that was no longer a chore… it was a passion.
It was right around then that I got pregnant with Mason, and because that fit lifestyle carried me through, I can honestly say that my first pregnancy was pretty awesome! Sure, I felt awful during my first trimester, but once I rounded the corner into the second trimester, I found that I was fully able to get back to the gym... and it made me feel super strong.
So, I leaned into that feeling of strength… hard! I did Barry’s Bootcamp every day, and continued running. I didn’t work frontal abs, but did a ton of obliques, including side planks & side bends every day. I was determined to show people how tough I was. I worked out until the day before I went into labor… 10 days after my due date.
A lot of what I did was great... but some of it was questionable. Even though I had tried to modify exercises and be mindful, I was left with diastasis recti (the permanent separation of the abdominal muscles), a disc herniation in my lower back, and some pretty major pelvic floor issues. I’ve had to work on all of these in physical therapy, and it’s not been a fun part of my journey, to say the least.
For that reason, during this second pregnancy I focused on SAFETY FIRST. I didn’t run after my fourth month of pregnancy. I did more SoulCycle. I still did Barry’s, but would only do “double floor,” meaning you just do the weightlifting part of class, and don’t run on the treadmill. I’d do my weight training seated on the bench, so as not to put extra strain on my pelvic floor. I was very careful of staying far away from any abdominal work, and mindful of the weights I chose, so as not to go to heavy.
My biggest tip to any preggo mamas-to-be out there would be to focus on what you CAN control, rather than worrying about what you can’t. For me, that meant doing a lot of arms, butt, & legs and just letting my core go for now. I’ll get back to it when my body is ready… and not a moment before!
Here’s where I stay focused, today:
Arms & Shoulders
Since I can safely work arms, I double down on this muscle group, big time! Hey, if I can be two shredded guns poking out of a potato, then bring it on... this is my time to snag those Madonna arms, and I’m so here for it!
I favor tricep dips, seated bicep curls, and seated shoulder presses. I do a lot of my pregnancy arm workouts seated to reduce strain on the pelvic floor.
Lunges are great, especially since you have a “built-in weight” around your middle! Make sure you do them slowly, as balance is affected during pregnancy.
Stability & Glute Work
I do a lot of my pregnancy work on all fours, focusing on glutes as well as core stability without risking abdominal injury. I do kick-backs, donkey kicks, fire hydrants and lots of slow, intentional “bird dogs.”
Especially now in my third trimester when I don’t always feel up to a heavy sweat session, I make sure to do something to engage my body every day. Stretching and gentle yoga can reconnect me and relieve some of the late stage pregnancy pressure & pain. Make sure if you’re doing yoga, you are practicing with an instructor who understands pregnancy modifications.
My biggest goal right now doesn't have to do with a number on a scale... my intention is to simply do something 3-4 times per week to connect with my body, be around other sweaty people, and listen to good music that makes my soul happy.
My body is already doing it’s own workout all day every day creating a human, so I’ve learned to be more gentle on myself and to be grateful for what the universe has given me during this time… not worried about what abilities it’s (temporarily) taken away!