For many years now I have been a very active and health conscious person. I still have my days where I eat like crap and watch too much America’s Next Top Model, but mostly I lead a healthy lifestyle. It all began in high school…partially because of an eating/image disorder and a lot because of my fears and anxieties of dying of heart disease. I had some unhealthy and extreme habits for a while, but after lots of education, practice, training and even a job and teaching certification through the local gym I learned what it truly meant to be fit and healthy.
Now, I’m so thankful to have started healthy habits at a young age because I was healthy when we decided to conceive and can continue my fit lifestyle throughout my pregnancy, which any doctor will tell you is a very good idea. That being said, there are still many precautions I have had to take to keep active during my pregnancy, which leads me to this post…
I have been a little extreme with my workouts (Beachbody’s Insanity and the Asylum have been my top 2 workouts this pregnancy), but I followed some cardinal prenatal exercise rules before starting these workouts.
1. ALWAYS consult with your doctor before continuing or starting a workout plan. My doctor was happy with my health and encouraged me to continue my regular exercise routine, with caution. He warned me not to work out to fatigue (that’s a challenge) and to always be smart and listen to my body. Throughout the pregnancy I have consulted with him about what I am doing, verified that I am still being safe and got his blessing to keep on keepin’ on. After the “false alarm” a couple of weeks ago I triple checked with the doctor and nurse that my workouts had nothing to do with our hospital visit. Thankfully, they did not.
2. Like the doctor says: Listen to your body! Normally, I will push through my workouts no matter the little aches and pains and fatigue, but not while pregnant. It’s been challenging to change this habit, but I am much more concerned about doing what’s safe and healthy for our baby girl. I have learned to slow down, take breaks, modify and even take a day off or two (gasp!). I actually took two days off of exercising this week because I knew my body needed extra rest and for whatever reason was not up for my normal activity. I did feel guilty, but I certainly don’t regret it.
3. Drink A LOT of water. The week before I found out I was pregnant I was the thirstiest I have ever been, no amount of water could quench my thirst. This pregnancy symptom has stuck with me throughout the whole experience and it turns out there is a good reason for it. Pregnant women don’t necessarily need more water, but need enough water, which most of us typically do not get. If you are working out and pregnant you need even more.
4. Find a supporter. Having someone to workout with or at least hold you accountable is essential. Thankfully, my Husband has become dedicated to working out since we found out about the baby. He encourages me everyday, but is also supportive when I need to take a step back. I’m also participating in a fitness group on Facebook. Two of my friends are Beachbody coaches and they created a group of girls on Facebook to encourage each other to eat healthy, workout and share success stories. I am not even in the same state as any of them, but it is still really nice to know I have that extra support group.
5. Make it part of your routine. It’s hard enough when you aren’t pregnant to workout on a regular basis, but it’s SO much harder when you are growing another human! However, if you make it a habit, consider it as necessary as brushing your teeth and stick with it, then it won’t seem quite so difficult. Keep in mind you can break a 30 minute workout into ten minute increments on busy days: a ten minute walk in the morning, ten minutes of yoga after lunch or whatever you can do for ten minutes…it all counts!
6. Think about your baby. Recent studies show that exercising can actually make your newborn healthier, smarter, and easier!
7. Snack on healthy snacks. You’ll need it to keep up your energy and to make up for too many burnt calories. This is tough for me because I LOVE snacking, but in an unhealthy way…I prefer chips and french fries. Right now, I keep soy yogurt, granola, pistachios, and fruit on hand for easy healthy snacks.
8. Don’t overheat. Getting too hot actually causes blood to go away from the uterus to the skin as an attempt to cool off your body. It also raises your blood pressure. So if it’s too hot outside, stay inside and enjoy working out in the AC.
9. MODIFY! The further along you get, the more difficult it is going to be to continue on as normal. At 27 weeks, I am having to modify something new almost every week. The first 4 or 5 months I could do basically every move full-out, but my body just isn’t capable at this point, and that’s okay.
10. Don’t let naysayers get you down. MOST people around you are looking out for you and will give you advice (good and bad) because they love you and want you and your baby to be healthy. However, there will be the occasional few who try to scare you from working out. They may tell you it’s dangerous, you aren’t gaining enough weight or anything else to discourage you. Just remember, if you have the green light from your doctor and you are being safe and listening to your body, then you’re doing the right thing. Just nod and smile to those who don’t understand. I have to say that most of my friends and family have been really supportive, and I am so grateful.