Staying fit during pregnancy isn’t always a picnic – that I can assure you. But, I’m 22 weeks in and still at it.
I started training at Contemporary Athlete just a few weeks ago. At that point I was running 1-3 times a week, teaching boot camp classes, taking boot camp classes, doing no heavy lifting, and occasionally practicing prenatal yoga. My goal was to maintain as much fitness as possible through pregnancy. However, when I met Dave and he introduced me to Contemporary Athlete, I was curious to know if I could go beyond just maintaining my fitness. I wanted to challenge myself to continue to grow as an athlete.
So what does that look like? A lot of the same but now I’m incorporating one-on-one sessions with Dave once a week to hone my technical skills. I take Boot camp Level 1 classes once a week at CA to really challenge my cardio and strength conditioning. I’m doing more heavy lifting and keeping up with the CA regulars, with only minor modifications to some of the movements and weights being moved. I’m still running a couple of days a week (albeit slowly and now with some discomfort), teaching, and taking my other classes.
How are things changing? It takes me longer to recover from strenuous training – getting enough sleep is vital. I MUST eat the extra calories recommended by doctors – BUT I haven’t strayed from my previous healthy eating habits, I just eat a little more. Every single day is different. Sometimes I am capable of more. Sometimes I have to pull back. But I still show up. I still train. Because even if my body says that it’s too much, my mind can handle all the training I can throw at it! Hello, labor and delivery!!
So, why do this at all? Why maintain fitness? Why train and strive to improve my abilities as an athlete when my body is constantly changing and won’t be like this in a few months time? I do it for my health and for the health of my baby. For my sanity. Because I love fitness, training, and athletics. Because I don’t want my post pregnancy climb to be any harder than it has to be. And it’s a major component of my life. Just because I’m pregnant doesn’t mean I slam on the brakes and quit doing my life.
This is in no way an absolute experience. Every woman is different and will experience pregnancy fitness differently. During my first pregnancy I wasn’t allowed to workout due to a complication early on. Once it cleared up, I, unfortunately, was de-conditioned. BUT, I got out and walked, moved every day, and stayed active. With my second pregnancy, I ran my first marathon at 2 weeks pregnant. I didn’t know it. And with some resistance I’ve had to give up the mileage the more pregnant I’ve become. However, I can still put in some good cardio interval training and even log some miles every couple of days. So, I get up and do that – I don’t throw in the towel because I’m not at marathon standing anymore.
My humble, and certainly not expert, advice for those ladies who are concerned with fitness during pregnancy: don’t stop training because you’re pregnant. There’s no reason you can’t keep doing what you were doing before you became pregnant. If you’re dealing with nausea and vomiting, you might be surprised that once you get moving you can feel better. It was one of the only times I felt good during those first months with morning sickness.
Learn to accept that pregnancy will change your body and your ability to do what you were doing before. Be flexible and cut yourself some slack – if you’re still showing up and testing those limitations, you’re still training.
Do what feels good. Still push yourself. Take breaks. Drink fluids. LOTS of them. And fuel properly. Additional calories are required in the second and third trimesters – eat them! Especially if you’re still training. Know that recovery times may be extended for you. Allow for this.
Also, work with a trainer you trust. They can guide you, make suggestions, and help ensure your safety and progress throughout. (Hint, hint: The trainers at CA!)
Stay tuned….I’ll be posting again right before the baby arrives to let you know how training through the second half of the pregnancy went.