One of the most difficult challenges for me during this pregnancy, is staying active. Not because I don’t want to, but because no matter how much I eat, my energy levels feel virtually depleted. (What’s worse, if I try to overeat, I just feel nauseous and develop a strong case of, ahem, postprandial somnolence. Food coma, if you will.)
My gym is a train ride away. There’s a gym that is closer to me, but it’s a 15 minute walk.
Let me tell you what I’m not interested in, particularly in -11 degree temperatures with lowered energy levels and an increasingly large bun in the oven.
With all due respect to The Fitness Gods, I’m not leaving my house if I don’t have to… which means, it’s time to set up that at-home gym, right?
That’s why, with the help of my friends at Kohl’s, I’m putting together a quick guide to what you need to #MakeYourMove during your pregnancy, staying active and doing what you can while you wait for your own #babysprout to arrive!
1) Working out at home is incredibly effective and beneficial… if you know what your goals are beforehand. In pregnancy, an active lifestyle can help ease the birthing process and speed up the recovery process at the same time, but what kind of active is best for a pregnant body? Without taking your own individual fitness levels into consideration, my personal recommendation is that pregnancy is an ideal time to focus on flexibility, moderate to low-impact activities that help you maintain your current strength levels, and interval training that gets your heart rate moderately high.
2) Yes, train for strength! Free weights are your friend. (I discourage machine use because they often restrict movement in muscle groups that need to adapt, as well.) Train with free weights that are approximately 50-70% of your total strength for that particular muscle group. (If your 1 rep max for an arm curl – the most you can lift in one rep – is 25lbs, then stick to 15lb weights.) Of course you should consult with your doctor, but to me, barring any other physical challenges, it’s still safe – and necessary – to train your full body while you’re pregnant, because full body training helps with delivery if you’re having a non c-section delivery. A good squat, a good overhead press (or two in one!), and a good push-up (on the wall if necessary!) can make a huge difference in how you feel while pregnant, and can also limit the amount of muscle you’ve lost after pregnancy anyway.
3) Invest in the right tools. The right tools are going to make it easy for you to commit to your training, keep you safe while you get it done, and store neatly and safely away when it comes time to get on with the rest of the day.
- A quality exercise mat, like this gorgeous 3mm thick mat from Gaiam, will help you avoid sliding all over the place. It’s worth noting that an exercise mat can double as a yoga mat, but a yoga mat won’t always have the necessary texture, traction, and slip resistance to qualify as an exercise mat. I find that the Gaiam mat is thick enough to help sensitive knees on a hard floor, and textured enough to stop slipping.
- A good pair of weights, or even a kettlebell, to help you add a little weight to your moves. Some calisthenics moves may become a bit more challenging – not because of the weight of your bump, but the circumference of it (think about it: a floor push-up or a burpee might become a bit more complicated in your third trimester) – so, if you’re a beginner, sticking with moves that can keep you injury free while still being a bit challenging is the best idea. (More on that later.)
- Shoes with great control and traction: these Asics Gel-Excites are inexpensive, offer great traction, and offer quality support around your ankles and heel to help you stay on solid ground. Sometimes, pregnancy can throw off your balance. Having a shoe reserved exclusively for your training can help you train for that, and when the baby is finally here, you won’t feel completely out of whack.
- Fitness DVDs that you love enough to keep you coming back for more. Why else? Because it feels like you’re getting personalized attention, you’re being cheered on by someone who’s a pro, and if you’ve got enough DVDs, you can have a different trainer every day of the week!
- A heart rate monitor like this cute little Polar FT2 to help you keep a watchful eye on when your heart rate is getting too high. A little quick math will help you determine your heart rate zones, and you never want to get close enough to zone 3.
4) Always remember, that if you’re not felling up to it, don’t do it. Save it for when your energy levels are highest! For me, the later in the day it gets, no matter how much I’ve eaten or how healthy it was, the more tired I am. Exercising in the morning is the only way to get it done, so that’s when I do it. Take a good look at when your energy levels are highest, and how much time you can spare for a little training. If everything is at home, even ten minute high intensity interval training circuits can make a huge difference in how you prepare for delivery and beyond!
What have you used to #MakeYourMove and stay active during your pregnancy? What tips do you have to share? What questions do you have? Let’s hear it!
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.