Please note: This is just my personal experience I am not giving you advice on how to be fit during your pregnancy. I am not an exercise physican or doctor and you should ALWAYS get approval from your Doctor before starting any exercise ESPECIALLY whilst pregnant. Everyone’s pregnancy is different and this is NOT a time to be pushing yourself! Please seek advice from your doctor and qualified exercise physician if you are pregnant!
When I first found out I was pregnant I pictured myself glowing doing prenatal yoga; being all zen, and not gaining anything other than what the baby weighed. I was very wrong just imagine an uncomfortable sweaty woman trying to bend herself into positions and quitting after one lesson..that was me. I have been training at the gym for a few years now and let’s just say being pregnant did make exercising feel out of my zone. Now I am one of those people who enjoy exercise, not talking at all about cardio- that shit sucks. I am more of a weights girl; I enjoy throwing heavy shit around (not talking about my husband). I managed to do some form of exercise until I was 38 weeks pregnant and that’s only because I couldn’t fit through the gym door anymore.
I gained majority of my pregnancy weight in the first trimester (I gained a total of 16kgs). This was probably due to the fact I couldn’t even look at a vegetable so I lived on bread. I went to the gym about 5 times a week and basically kept doing the same program but I consulted with my doctor and personal trainer and they recommended I slightly change a few things. So I was no longer doing heavy squats/ deadlifts and I decided to stop any abdominal work. I also had to stay away from the cross-trainer, only because with all the bouncing I would of threw my guts up. Obviously any fasted cardio was out of the question which I realised when I attempted to go for my walk on an empty stomach and found myself dry-heaving and oncoming drivers looked at me like I was out of the “The Exorcist of Emily Rose”.
The first trimester I didn’t have to change a lot but I did stop doing a few things because I was worrying about baby. From what I knew I was a low-risk pregnancy and because I had been training for years I could basically continue what I was doing with some adjustments.
The second trimester I felt more like myself (apart from being 10kgs heavier and breaking out in pimples like the teenager that takes your order at KFC). My training until halfway through the third trimester looked something like this:
- Monday: Chest + Back
- Tuesday: Arms
- Wednesday: Legs
- Thursday: Shoulders
- Friday- Sunday: daily walks
After every gym session (well most) I would do 15 minutes on the stationary bike. After a while this got hard as my belly started to get in the way! I did a lot of light walks also which got difficult near the end due to ligament pain.
I found the hardest part of training whilst being pregnant was not so much the physical struggle but more the mental struggle. It is quite strange exercising as you were previously but each week you see yourself getting bigger! Sometimes I felt like it was pointless like I was trying to row a boat without a paddle. However, one of the other main reasons I exercise is that it helps immensely with my anxiety and stress levels. I also knew if I persisted I might be able to keep some of my hard-earned muscle I spent years building and also I might bounce back quicker. I also wasn’t eating as healthy as I usually would. I was smashing a lot of carbs so I was hoping the exercise would help keep the fat-gain on the lower side.
Unfortunately, I was the dickhead who didn’t calculate that I would be heavily pregnant in summer. It is important you don’t overheat whilst pregnant so I had to be careful when exercising on the hotter days. Let’s just say I was sweating in areas I didn’t even know I had.
Halfway through the 3rd trimester I was so big I had my own gravitational pull. I even started getting looks at the gym like I shouldn’t be there. I took it I my stride and tried to take it as a compliment. I cut down the gym sessions to 3 times a week and begun swimming as I was getting some back pain. Swimming was such a great little workout for me as I didn’t have to worry about overheating and feeling weightless was amazing. Bub also seemed to love swimming as she would kick the hell out of me every time I was in the water. I also got to know all the senior citizens at the pool as they would overtake me in laps.
It took me nearly until the end of my 3rd trimester to realise whilst it is great to keep yourself active whilst pregnant you really need to realise that this is the one time we have no control over our body. We need to embrace how huge, uncomfortable and heavy you feel. As long as baby is healthy that is all that matters. So instead of focusing on how much weight I was putting on I was focusing on how well baby was growing and just being proud of myself for still moving my body!
So if you are currently pregnant cut yourself some slack! You are growing another human being. Let go of the reigns and just let your body do what it needs to do even if that includes granny panties and cellulite. But this does not mean you can sit on the couch for 10 months and eat chocolate and pickles. Keep active but don’t let the scales and your decrease in fitness levels upset you! Exercising throughout my pregnancy was the best thing I could have done for not only my health and wellbeing but for bub’s health too!! So pull up those maternity tights, strap down the girls and get moving!