If you’ve followed the blog for a long time, or at least a few years, you’d know that exercise is definitely an integral part of my life. It’s been a journey for me as I’ve learned over the years what works best for my body and my personality. I can be a bit obsessive (…or sometimes a lot) and so I’ve found that it’s been important for me to constantly evaluate my personal expectations and set boundaries around my exercise to keep myself healthy.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had been exercising quite regularly, particularly outdoors, biking, walking, running, and enjoying the Summer! I had in mind that I would maintain a totally consistent exercise routine all throughout my pregnancy….little did I know, the peanut inside of me had a different idea in mind.
From week 6 to week 13 of my pregnancy I barely managed to workout at all. The extent of my exercise was running from the couch to the bathroom to sing sweetly into the porcelain throne as I had some serious “morning” sickness. I remember feeling down on myself that I couldn’t exercise, or find the motivation or energy to do it, and that all my hard work would go down the drain…(no pun intended!).
I realized through the process that life sometimes throws us curveballs, and if my body needed to spend 7 weeks completely inactive and instead focus on building a baby, I’d have to be OK with that, and I reminded myself that this would not last forever. Once I accepted that truth, I was able to place my focus where I needed to: getting ample rest, taking it easy, and showing myself love.
Luckily around week 13, the sickness started to subside and I felt a surge of energy which allowed me to get my body moving again which was good for my physical health, the growing babe, and my mental health.
I decided to make an action plan to keep me motivated and accountable and learned along the way:
- Try at-home workout videos (using the plethora of free and super awesome YouTube videos for pregnancy)
- Get back to the gym to get me outside of the house and keep me motivated
- Go for walks/runs outdoors (so long as the weather cooperated)
- Try pre-natal yoga classes at a local yoga studio
I was surprised getting back into it how different my body felt during exercise. I had less pep in my step and found myself out of breath much faster than normal. Apparently blood volume doubles during pregnancy so these symptoms weren’t anything out of the norm.
Despite the challenges I faced, I knew that keeping up with a good exercise routine would benefit my pregnancy in so many ways so I pressed on and hit the gym! The great thing about working out at the gym is that there is a plethora of exercise options to choose from including circuit training, like the Fit4Less 30-Minute Express Circuit, cardio workouts (every now and then I enjoy a simple walk on the treadmill as I read on my iPad), or more focused resistance training options including resistance training machines and free-weights. I truly believe that well-rounded workouts that produce results include a variety of exercise variations.
Here’s an example of my typical prenatal gym workout for the second trimester:
Warm Up: 15 minutes Elliptical or Incline Treadmill Walk
Superset 1: 10 squats & 20 walking dumbbell lunges, repeat 2 times
Superset 2: 12 seated shoulder press & 10 rear delt fly’s, repeat 2 times
Superset 3: 10 sumo squats & 10 hamstring bridges, repeat 2 times
Superset 4: 12 tricep cable pulls & 10 barbell bicep curls, repeat 2 times
Cool Down: 10 minutes Incline Treadmill Walk
When I’m not at the gym, I often go for walks with friends through the ravine near my house (with no shortage of hills!) or do a YouTube workout video at home. On our recent trip to Maui, I went for tons of walks and hikes, and did quite a bit of snorkelling to keep my body moving and was quite proud of myself, that even at 7 months pregnant I was able to keep up with my hubby (most of the time) and enjoy the exercise!
While pregnancy has surprised me quite a bit by how it has affected my stamina and routine, it has given me a completely new appreciation for my body and all that it is capable of which makes me even more motivated to stay active and healthy for myself and my baby.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced with my nutrition clients is working with them on establishing a workout routine to go along with their efforts in nutrition. It’s no surprise that the HARDEST part is starting, especially if you’ve been out of the exercise game for a while or have never really entered it.
Whether you are planning to get pregnant, you are pregnant, or pregnancy isn’t even a thought, maybe you just want to exercise because of all the amazing health benefits that come along with it, I want to encourage you to accept where you are now and take baby steps to get to the next level, then continue to do so until you feel the benefits of exercise which are guaranteed to keep you at it!
With gyms like Fit4Less offering incredibly affordable memberships, finances shouldn’t be an excuse (…memberships start at just $4.99+taxes every two weeks!), and it’s so important to understand that you are worth it, your family is worth it (as they benefit from a healthier you too!), and there’s no rules as to what exact type of exercise you should do… find out what kind of exercise you love and go with it. This may take some trial and error but that’s all part of the fun.
It’s been a lot of trial and error for me when it comes to exercise during pregnancy, but I’ve found that if I keep my eye on the goal of being a healthy mom for a healthy baby, it’s a lot easier to keep moving forward positively!
What has your experience with exercise been? Have you been through times of trial and error? How do you stay motivated? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!
xo Christal // NITK
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Fit4Less. The opinions and text are all mine.