I needed to write this pregnancy workout guide because I was asked so many times throughout my pregnancy how I stayed in shape and had many people asking if its was still safe for me to work out (insert eye-roll here).
Staying Active while Pregnant
I know how difficult it can be to stay active when you’re pregnant, particularly if you’re experiencing morning sickness or insanely fatigued. I get it, we grow humans inside us and it’s effing exhausting. Even though these things pretty much come hand in hand with pregnancy, it is so important to guide your body through this crazy experience by keeping it in tippity top shape. That being said, I cannot stress enough that you should always listen to your body. (And no, I don’t mean when your body is “telling” you to satisfy your DQ Blizzard cravings).
Before getting pregnant, I was a full on runner and half marathons were my ultimate jam. I thought I would remain a runner at least until baby popped out, but 8 weeks into my pregnancy I just didn’t feel good when I was running. My body felt like a chunk of led, my breathing was all out of whack, not to mention my boobs were insanely sore. So I decided to stop (which was devastating to me at the time) and pick up a lower impact cardio instead. I have many girlfriends, however, who kept on running up to 30 weeks+ and they felt amazing and baby is perfectly healthy. Imma say it again – listen to your body!
Your guide to a rockin’ pregnancy bod
So let’s get to it. Your weekly workouts should consist of a combination of cardio and toning exercises 4-6 times per week. Depending on your level of fitness, feel free to modify as you (or your baby… we all know who’s boss now) see fit. If you were active before, it’s that much easier to stick with a workout routine throughout pregnancy. If you’re new to exercising, well welcome to the club! You may want to consult your physician before starting anything new at this point though.
Walking is your best defence against excess weight gain during pregnancy. Walking keeps you in the fat-burning zone while getting fresh air. What’s not to love? It’s low-impact, making it easy on your joints as they loosen up day after day due to the hormone, relaxin. My husband and I committed to one walk a day during my pregnancy. Some days were harder (and slower) than others, but we stuck with it and damn did it feel amazing.
Spin classes were my absolute favourite during pregnancy. Again, this was another low-impact yet supremely effective workout. If you own a “real” bike, then, weather permitting, hit the streets a few times a week. I loved going to spin class because it’s a workout that you can make as hard or as easy as you’d like. So if you’re having a sluggish day and decide to go, then just take it down a notch. The fact that you showed up and gave your body and your baby a gift is what really matters.
You’ll never feel lighter in your pregnancy than you will being in a pool and pregnant. A few laps to get your heart rate up is just perfect. I would opt for a salt water pool if you have the option, as there are less chemicals and chlorine.
Before I delve into toning, I want to touch on a question I get asked all the time: What do you do for core work when you are pregnant? Are there even muscles under there anymore? The answer is yes, there are still muscles under there, just in different places. Keeping up with modified core work is a fantastic way to prevent rectus diastasis and will help you recover quickly after giving birth. You can pretty much modify any ol’ ab exercise by adding a small pilates ball behind your lower back. This will not only be easier on your back, it will also help control your movements now that your muscles think you can move like Gumby. Here are some of my go-to core exercises during pregnancy:
Crunches with ball behind back – try with hands out in front (beginner), hands behind head (intermediate), or holding a dumbbell in front of you (advanced)
Plank (regular and side)
Standing crunches (bringing your elbow to your knee on same side to target obliques)
Supermans on all fours
And some to avoid:
Any core exercises with a strong twist – a little twist is fine but don’t over extend & keep the movements pretty small
Supermans on tummy… need I explain this one?
Hot yoga is most def not recommended. Regular yoga classes are usually totally fine as long as you chat with your instructor prior to practice so they can take you through any adjustments you may need. Obviously pre-natal yoga is a solid choice too, but I found that good ones are hard to come by and there aren’t many offered making it difficult to jive with your schedule.
Barre is the BOMB during pregnancy. Honestly guys, the effects these classes had on me during my pregnancy were insane. The workouts consists of cardio, an arm series, barre exercises, and core work on the floor. It tones like crazy and I think I had a nicer butt during my pregnancy than I did before.
For those of you familiar with Midwifery Guru, Ina May, she recommends doing 300 squats per day to make for an easier delivery during labour. Sounds crazy right? Go to barre classes a couple times a week, and I swear you’ll achieve the same results. For more on this, read my guide on how to have an easier labour.
Healthy mommy, healthy baby
Staying fit, healthy and active during your pregnancy will boost your energy and your confidence and have people being like, omgeee you don’t look pregnant at all from the back. Your body will also snap back into shape super quickly. But most importantly, your healthy baby will thank you for it.
Download your FREE Just the BUMP workout schedule and be on your way to looking like the cutest li’l preggo chicken on the block.
Love, peace, and so many squats