Whew…pregnancy! It’s a time when our bodies drastically change, our lives begin to morph and prepare us for the season ahead, and for a lot of us, is a time where so much of our old “normal” is no longer there. And whether you’re a runner, a weightlifter, a body builder, or a CrossFitter, you can definitely relate to the notion that your normal fitness routine must be changed and adapted to the current season of growing a little one.I am currently at the very end of my second pregnancy and getting ready to welcome our third baby into the world. With my first pregnancy, I was pregnant with twins. I truly had not done a whole lot of research or prep when it came to how I should change my fitness and workout regimen to best suit me and the babies I had growing inside. I continued going to CrossFit classes, and only modifying when it became super obvious that a movement was no longer “working” for my size. By the time I reached my third trimester with the twins, I absolutely could not workout anymore. I was uncomfortable 24/7 and even walking was too much of a workout for me.When I found out I was pregnant again this past summer, I knew I wanted to do things differently. I had made some decisions I wasn’t super proud of my first go-around when it came to maxing out, keeping certain movements in my routine, etc. This time, I took a totally different approach and I am really pleased and proud of how much I’ve grown from a mental standpoint when it comes to fitness and pregnancy.I wanted to share with you some key lessons I have learned this pregnancy:
1. Find a coach or fitness program who you TRUST.
Photo courtesy of yourfitmom.com
It is super important that you find some resources who are credible in this space. While your coach at the gym likely has some experience dealing with pregnant athletes, they most likely haven’t actually taken any specific training courses in this space. I *highly* recommend finding someone (this can be virtually!) who specializes in pregnancy and postpartum exercise and can help you find a tailored plan to meet you where you are at in pregnancy. I have absolutely no affiliation with her/her brand, but I absolutely love Brianna Battles and highly recommend her pregnancy training and fitness program if you’re looking for a good place to start!
2. Coming off of the first point - just because someone has had a baby, does not make them a coach.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Having a baby does not give you the credentials to write fitness programs, just like losing weight doesn’t mean you should be writing nutrition programs. This is a period of life where you want to be getting information from someone with TRUE knowledge on the subject.
3. Work on turning off the “athlete brain” and channeling your competitiveness in new ways.
Photo courtesy of momjunction.com
This was a concept I really struggled with during my first pregnancy. I hated scaling things. I hated that on “max out” days, I was encouraged not to fully max out. I didn’t like having to pace even slower than I was already moving (because, WOOF, it's easy to get out of breath while pregnant!). This time around, I have constantly reminded myself: I am playing the long game. While it may be fun to try and max out and claim I hit xxx lbs on my deadlift while pregnant - what does that really matter? Is the risk worth it? Am I drawing my recovery out to be WAY longer because I insisted on thrashing my pelvic floor and core when I really didn’t need to be?So this pregnancy, I have been super hyper-focused on movement patterns. Your body is ever-changing throughout pregnancy, and the way you must adapt your balance, how you shift weight, etc, truly change from day to day. Allowing myself to focus and concentrate on that, versus how much weight I am lifting or if I can do a workout Rx, has been so much more healthy and productive.
4. If you don’t find a pregnancy coach/program and want to continue your current programing, do your research to find appropriate scaling options.
There are tons of resources and guides out there, including free ones, that teach you about the modifications that would benefit you the most from trimester to trimester, or even month to month. These are so helpful in keeping you and baby safe, while still getting the intended stimulus of a workout. While I do generally follow a specific pregnancy workout plan, this type of information has come in handy when either wanting to do a specific charity or hero workout our gym has hosted, or during the Open this year.
5. Try new things.
Photo courtesy of bumpboxes.com
This pregnancy, rather than “needing” to do CrossFit x times per week, I have found other ways to move that are a bit less intense but so helpful to this baby-growing bod! I have been walking most mornings and absolutely love the way it makes me feel (pro tip - make a plan with a friend or family member who can walk at the same time as you, and either meet up in person or call each other for your walk time! It can make it so much more fun, and gives you accountability to get out and keep up on your commitment to walk!). I also have been finding pregnancy yoga videos on YouTube, which help on the days where I feel extra tight or sore, or just really don’t have the motivation for a typical sweaty workout.Those are the ways I have been keeping my fitness a priority, yet keeping my “athlete brain” in check this pregnancy. Is this something you have ever struggled with in your own pregnancies? What are some suggestions you would add to this list of adjusting your fitness while pregnant?
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