Workout guide for expecting moms
THE EARLY MONTHS
Trying to lose weight? Stop. Now is the time to gain strength and master your squat.
Q: I feel awkward about telling people I’m pregnant before I’m 12-weeks gone
A: In your first trimester it’s unlikely that you’ll go to pregnancy-specific classes, so simply let your PT or instructor know that you’re working out for two. If they’re not aware they may push you to do something you’re not capable of doing or really shouldn’t be doing. Worried about friends or fellow class goers overhearing? Arrive at the studio 10-minutes early and talk privately with the professional. They’ll help calm any anxiety about exercise during pregnancy that you may have.
Q: Okay. So what’s the best class I can book myself into?
A: As mentioned, the best exercise depends on your current regime. If you regularly hit the gym, or come to Barry’s Bootcamp, then continuing with this is fine. Be aware that you’ll get hotter quicker, as your temperature rises when pregnant. Take frequent breaks – don’t feel awkward about this – and limit exercise to about 45-minutes so as not to overdo it.
Q: If I have morning sickness should I still work out?
A: The days when you feel really sick are not the time to push yourself. Cut yourself a break and return to your routine when you’re feeling like you again.
Q: I don’t like the gym or classes. Can I work out outside?
A: Yes, absolutely. Here’s a circuit that I’ve put together for you.
Complete ten reps of each exercise every time you come across a bench in the park, jogging in between to maintain a steady heart rate.
- 10 push ups with toes on the bench if you’re used to press ups and want to make it more advanced. If this is too tough you can bring it to your knees next to the bench
- 10 tricep dips. Extend your legs straight if you like a challenge or bend at the knees for a slightly easier option
- 10 mountain climbers, resting your hands on the bench
Remember: jog between the benches keeping a steady heart rate.
Hopefully, by now you’ll feel less sick and more ready to work on your ‘labour body’ – strong legs and a good squat can really help you in the delivery room. It’s time to cut out crunches and lying on your back for prolonged periods, particularly after 16 weeks, as this can make you feel faint.
Q: I regularly lift weights, am I okay to continue?
A: During pregnancy, your body is loosened by relaxin (the stretchy hormone) so be wary and don’t overload your joints. If you’ve been using heavy weights prior to pregnancy, then you should be fine to carry on using these. But it’s not the time to suddenly start lifting heavy in the gym.
Q: I’ve always been a keen treadmill runner. How do I adapt my hill and sprint sessions?
A: If you’ve been running on the treadmill and feel stable on this exercise equipment then you know how to move your body on it. However, don’t be complacent as pregnancy can throw your balance and centre of gravity off. My tip is to reduce speed, increase incline and power walk rather than run. Plus, when you have a baby pressing on your bladder you’ll need to pee more frequently and during sprints is not the time – perhaps the best tip I have on exercise during pregnancy.
Q: Can I run outside?
- By now, you can really feel that you’re carrying extra weight and you’ll have to slow down. Try this bodyweight workout instead. Complete 10 reps of each exercise each time you come across a bench in the park, jogging in between to keep a steady heart rate.
- 10 squats thinking ‘bum to bench’
- 10 walking lunges one way, 10 walking lunges back
- 30-second plank with hands or elbows on bench
Jog or walk between each bench (this will depend on how big your bump is and how you are feeling. If you are still feeling strong and have no pelvic floor issues pick up the pace).
Oh, baby – you’re on the home straight. Remember, the more muscle mass you retain now the easier it is to return to your pre-baby body after.
How can I keep my strength up without using extra weight?
At seven, eight and nine months you’ve got all the weight you need to maintain muscle tone. Simply ditch the dumbbells and modify your exercises: pushups can be done standing using a wall and you don’t need a barbell for squats, you’ve got a baby-on-board. If you’re feeling stable bodyweight lunges are great too.
How about in classes. I don’t want to be the one who can’t do things?
First off, you’ve done a great job getting to class – don’t forget that. During the workout drop to your knees: exercises such a side plank are as beneficial for your knees, as are donkey kickbacks.
And cardio? Is this okay?
You might have never regretted a run… until now. Swap your regular run for more gentle LISS.
Pack this bodyweight workout in your gym bag. You can do it anywhere, including your local cul-de-sac. Power walk between lampposts stopping at every third to complete 10 reps of each exercise. Walk home, put your feet up.
- 10 sumo squats – keep your legs nice and wide to accommodate your bump, supporting your bump with your hands as you squat
- 10 side lunges right and left – rest your hand on the back of the bench if you need some more support
- 10 standing push ups with hands on the back of the bench (the tallest part)