Before I got pregnant, I was madly in love with spin classes (I had an amazing instructor), I enjoyed HIIT, every now and then did a crossfit WOD at the box near my office, but mostly I was doing free weights at my gym and Yoga on Sundays. When I found out I was expecting, my husband was worried and asked me to take it slow – as in VERY slow. I gave up spinning, to avoid overheating, as well as HIIT and crossfit, since I didn’t know what could have been dangerous for the growing little baby.
Working at the law firm meant being at a desk all day, so being active was a great way to balance it out. I had to modify some workouts, limited my cardio to the stationary bike, the elliptical, stairs and daily long walks. I did continue with vinyasa flow yoga, but my energy level was relatively low by week 8, so I decided to do Prenatal Yoga instead (which is at a much slower pace and the practice is shorter). I also modified the free weights workouts and stayed off my back as much as I could – adding inclines was the way to go. Even though many people (and doctors) tell you not to workout your abs, I truly believe that you should try to maintain the strength in your abdominals, since you’ll be using those to help your back support the entire baby bump and also during labor. I’m glad I continued working out my abs and was able to avoid Diastisis Recti (abdominal separation).
Below is a sample weekly routine of my first trimester workout. I used lighter weights than before being pregnant, but still heavy enough to be somewhat challenging for my body. I would do 3 sets of 8-10 reps per exercise.
*DB = Dumbbell; BB = Barbell; KB = Kettlebell; BW = Bodyweight
If I did not have the energy for a workout, I would just take a break and rest, or switch it up. If I was not up for a Back /Biceps routine, I’d go to Yoga or Pilates instead, and so on. I just wanted to stay active and keep up my routine. Every exercise can be found on youtube if you don’t know how to do them.
I truly believe that staying active, healthy and maintaining the work-life balance throughout your pregnancy gives you more strength and energy, less aches, better sleep, an easier labor & delivery and a faster recovery. (I am writing this almost 6 months post-partum and I can happily say I am back to my previous workout routine and weights, and I feel great!)
As long as you listen to your body, feel confident and good about the workout and would be able to have a conversation while working out (this is the test to make sure you’re not overworking or overheating your body), you’ll be fine and feel great afterwards.
On another note: If anyone has a pool at their gym (or home), go for a swim! Swimming is great for the entire body as you’re working out every body part and getting your cardio in. Also, the water makes you feel light like a feather. 🙂