With pregnancy comes a whole lot of confusion, worry and changes. Even as a coach I felt a little lost at just how to continue my workout passions without causing harm to my little bump. I’m currently 23 weeks pregnant and am so happy to say that I have continued to train at my CrossFit box at least three to five times a week, as well as walk our little French Bulldog Steven for an hour each day. Before I begin, please remember this is what I was doing before I was pregnant, I have not ramped up my exercise, I have actually slowed it down and reduced intensity but PLEASE don’t see how much I’m doing and aim to do the same if you weren’t doing it previously.
DO: continue to do as you did pre-pregnancy, reduce the intensity and weight but increase the rest and focus on form, breathing and functional moves. DON’T: panic about weight gain and vamp up your training, calorie count or put your body into routines or exercises that could cause you to hurt yourself.
As you progress through your trimesters you will realise that with each day, week and month you will feel different. Somedays I feel like superwoman, while other days I feel like curling up on the sofa with a jar of Marmite, or any of my other odd cravings!
Cardio: I was never a huge fan of cardio pre-pregnancy and only ever want to run if it’s towards a cocktail bar or along a beach. My cardio now consists of walking my dog for an hour each day and the small CV intervals during workouts at my box. With cardio, I make sure I leave my mouth open to make sure I take in enough air and never push past 75% of my maximum output. I have longer breaks at the end and make sure I have pre-hydrated myself efficiently.
Weights: During pregnancy you want to focus on strengthening your joints, bones, muscles and maintain a good range of motion through your compound movements, e.g. squats and deadlifts. These exercises reflect movements you use during your daily routine: squats = sitting down, deadlifts = picking something up. To adapt throughout your pregnancy reduce the weight and intensity to 75% of your maximum and listen to your body. If you feel dizzy or tired then don’t lift above your head or anything that involves you holding your breath.
Core: Core and ab exercises are where I’ve had to make my biggest adaptions. You no longer need to focus on your aesthetic muscles but everything underneath, including your pelvic floor. No more isometric holds such as planks and hollow holds, instead opt for side movements such as a side plank. If you notice a ‘coning’ of your stomach then you need to focus on breathing and pelvic floor and 100% step away from ab movements, if this doesn’t seem to be happening to you then you are free to do a little more abdominal work – however, think about why you are doing it.
Rest: What becomes more important with pregnant workouts is the rest. Aim to have 2 to 3 rest days per week, if you’re like me and struggle to simply relax try going to a yoga class, swimming or perhaps a ROMWOD at home. If you have any questions either check out my YouTube channel or leave me a comment below!