There seems to be so much buzz around post baby workouts and how to get your body back in shape after having a baby. But, what about working out WHILE you are pregnant? I had some questions about what I should and shouldn’t do during my workouts and asked the advice of my good friend Rachel Doell, from Daily Routine Fitness.
I reached out to Rachel, not only because she’s in killer shape and has a set of abs that make me want to cry, but she has two young boys and worked out during both of her pregnancies. I knew she would be able to answer the questions I had and relate to my needs as she helped me build a program that would work for me throughout my entire pregnancy. First thing we did was sit down to discuss my goals and concerns.
My first question for Rachel was, “is it safe to workout while pregnant?”. The answer is YES! If you were physically active before your pregnancy, it’s safe to continue working out at a mild to moderate level. For those who where not physically active before they became pregnant, starting a brand new workout routine and going hard core is not a good idea. Always consult your physician first to evaluate which stage you are at.
I expressed my main concerns:
I have started to notice weight gain in my hips and thighs since I got pregnant, which I know is normal, but am conscious about.
I want to strengthen my upper body for when I have a 10lbs plus bundle of love to carry around all day.
I’ve also noticed that as my chest has increased in size during the pregnancy, I have a tendency for my shoulders to roll forward. NOT attractive and I want to nip that in the bud ASAP!
Rachel listened to everything I had to say and came up with a sequence of exercises that could help me control all of my concerns and stay fit throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. Then we got right down to business!
Walking lunges were first on the list! What is great about lunges, is that you can do them anywhere. No gym membership required! In your hallway or at the park. You can even do them while holding your baby…for those who want to step it up a notch! A couple keys to these lunges where to make sure your knee didn’t extend over your toes and to twist your torso toward the leg stepping forward then rotate to the other side for each step. You can immediately feel the burn after a couple sets of these babies! Everyone will be at a different level, so do as many as you feel comfortable with. I was aiming for 3 sets of 15 lunges.We decided to alternate between lower body and upper body exercises to give my body a chance to rest. Next was a standing row using a resistance band to help strengthen my upper middle back and arms. Resistance bands are a favorite of mine because they are so versatile, easy to use and you can take them anywhere. If your morning workout is getting super boring on your living room floor, meet a friend at the park and take your workout outdoors!
We started this exercise with a mild squat, engaging my thighs and butt. Keeping my core stabilized, I pulled my elbows in and back, squeezing my shoulder blades together. For a more intense burn, sit deeper into your squat.
An alternative to this exercise would be to raise in and out of your squats while pulling the bands out to the side, ( see below), also isolating the same muscle groups in your upper back.
Back to legs with some side step ups. An awesome exercise for your butt and to keep your inner thighs looking toned!
Anchor one foot on the step, push through your heel to isolate your glutes. Add a kick at the end with the foot you raise off the ground. Do a set of 15 and then switch legs. Can you feel your booty getting tighter by the second??
My goal was to do 3 sets of 15 reps. To take it to the next level, you can raise one foot off the ground for the entire set. ( See below) Then switch legs for the next set. This was a challenge for me and made me realize how much I need to strengthen my core!
Flip right over and you are in the perfect position for a variety of other exercises. You can do push ups to strengthen your chest or keep your arms straight and pull your knee up to your chest and twist to the side to strengthen your abs and core. This is a great alternative to traditional crunches, as they are out of the question with a growing baby bump!
Rachel also showed me how to strengthen my middle upper back to pull my shoulders back and help my posture. Start out in the same push up position, with your shoulder blades down your back. Then roll your shoulder blades up and over, like a cat curling its back. Continue to repeat. This exercise will help to combat my shoulders rolling forward. Do as many reps as you can.
The next exercise is a great combination of lower and upper body. You will start in a lunge position, but instead raise your back foot so your toes are resting on a step. Make sure your other foot is forward enough that when you go to lunge, your knee doesn’t extend over your toes.
Using your resistance band, extend your arms out to the side and you dip into the lunge. Remember to keep your core tight. Try 15 reps for each leg, and then repeat.
Working out with Rachel was so much fun and I wish I could have her by my side each time. What is great about her service, is that she offers an online membership, with access to amazing workout videos, recipes and customized meal planning to help you along and keep you motivated. Check out her treadmill video here, it blew my mind! I had no idea you could use a treadmill like that.
I hope you enjoyed our workout and are feeling motivated to get out there and get active! I am really looking forward to hearing about your workouts and exercises that you love. Share your comments with me below!
Photography: Studio 86 Creative Design