Training when pregnant (with number 2!)

Have you heard? Yes I’m pregnant! Number two is on the way and we’re all super excited – including Atari, who has started to point at mummy’s tummy whenever I ask where the baby is 🙂

 

Is there a baby in there? 

 

So, I’m 13 weeks and as you will see from my Instagram feed, I’m still training. Yes, you can still train when pregnant (ALWAYS speak with a Health Professional first), in fact exercising when expecting can have many benefits such as;

  • Helping to decrease any pain or discomfort that you may experience,
  • Helping to energise you and overcome fatigue,
  • Improving the quality of your sleep,
  • Preventing constipation (another common symptom during pregnancy),
  • Easing back, pelvic pain and any other niggles like sciatica,
  • Reducing the risk of complications during pregnancy and birth

(I found that it also really sped up my recovery after having Atari),

and

  • last but not least it can help to regulate and boost your mood – which is great considering my emotions are all over the place right now (sorry to my hubby Tom!).

There are so many benefits to exercising throughout your pregnancy that I hope to train all the way to the end. With Atari I trained right up until the last week, albeit modifying my workouts and slowing things down as I approached my due date. And of course I will be sharing my journey (and bump pics) along the way!

Here’s my pregnancy journey so far!

 

How have you felt during the first trimester of your pregnancy?

Fairly good and much better than my first pregnancy where I felt nauseous everyday from around seven to seventeen weeks.

Don’t get me wrong, this time round I’ve had an occasional bout of nausea, but it quickly subsides. My main complaint is tiredness! Some days the fatigue has actually floored me and I’ve had to nap in the day when Atari naps (if she naps!).  I’ve certainly struggled to find the energy to workout and my appetite has been very up and down.

 

Has it been different to your first pregnancy with Atari?

It’s completely different. This time round I have a toddler to run after, plus Tom, my husband works away a lot, so my weekends are busy keeping Atari entertained – there’s not much downtime.

 

How’s your training so far?

It’s up and down and some days my motivation for working out is non-existent. Luckily over the years I’ve got used to listening to my body, so I know when it’s time take it easy and just rest. My aim is to lift three times per week and swim twice a week.

Training wise I’ve had to really reduce the load I’m used to lifting and take longer rest periods, but right now my focus isn’t strength or fitness. My main focus is purely for my unborn baby and making sure he or she is developing well, whilst using exercise to boost my mood to feel good, which should then encourage me to eat healthier (more on that in a minute!).

 

Has your training been different to your first pregnancy?

Yes, I actually feel like I have more energy for training this time around and because I’ve been through it before I feel like I know my limits a little better – plus there’s not so much nausea to contend with!

My goal isn’t strength or to keep my body fat at a certain level – the most important thing right now is to workout for a fit and healthy pregnancy. The goal of keeping my abs for the summer has well and truly gone!

 

Keeping fit & active throughout pregnancy is a must for me!

 

Do you think you are showing quicker this time?

Most definitely earlier for the first trimester! My tummy changes in size by the day – sometimes by the hour!

In the morning I don’t look pregnant, but by the evening – wow!

I must say that it’s been very hard to hide these last weeks of my first trimester and most people who know me and have seen me have spotted it straight away! I’m so pleased that the cat is finally out of the bag it and that I don’t have to hide my little baby bump away anymore.


Comparison between my 1st pregnancy and current pregnancy at 13 weeks 🙂

 

How about the dreaded cravings?

Ha! They are all over the place! When I was pregnant with Atari all I wanted was potatoes! Fish & chips was also a regular occurrence and I totally went off vegetables!

This time round I want biscuits or cake (or both!). In fact all last week all I could think about was cheesecake! It got so bad so that Tom actually had to go and get me some at 8pm at night!

When I’m not obsessing over sweet things, I’ve wanted simple things like baked potatoes with cheese, cheese and pickle sandwiches, cream cheese on toast… cheese, cheese, cheese!

It’s also so hot in Ibiza that the only thing that really quenches my thirst at the moment are fizzy drinks like Fanta Lemon & Diet Coke. I’ve been trying not to drink so much of these as they’re not too good for you, and instead trying to have sparkling water with some fresh juice.

 

Dolce de leche cheesecake heaven (I blame the baby!)

 

Have you tried to resist or replace these cravings with something else?

I’m certainly trying!

Today for instance I opted for a bowl of broccoli, tuna, sweetcorn and a little mayo, instead of giving in to my craving for cheese and pickle sandwiches with salt and vinegar crisps (don’t judge me!).

It didn’t quite hit the spot and the broccoli actually made me feel sick, but I ate it!

I’ve never really had much of a battle in my life with cravings, I guess because I always enjoying eating foods that I know will make me feel good, but this is on a whole new level!

 

I used to love you…now you disgust me, lol!

 

I hope I have given you an insight into my first trimester and that some other mums-to-be can relate to this blog. If you have any pregnancy training questions I will be happy to help whenever I can. Alternatively check out my Yummy Mummy Guide To Pregnancy eBook on my website – and remember to keep following my journey on Instagram.

 

Exercising whilst Pregnant – Is it Safe?



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Exercising whilst pregnant…yes it is safe, and yes it will help you on so many levels during, as well as post, pregnancy.

 

The reasons for doing so are not just about keeping your body “in shape”, that’s not really the focus. But of course, if you feel better about your body, it will help you to embrace the changes and enjoy the journey more than you would if you, let’s say, let yourself go!

 

Having spoken with many women who have had babies, this appears to be something that is all too common in pregnancy, as let’s face it, it’s the best excuse to sit around, put your feet up, and eat cake. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this, now and again, but focus for rest should be on nurturing and eating a whole pack of biscuits every day isn’t exactly looking after your body. I know some women who have found it extremely hard post-baby when the 4 stone they gained during pregnancy doesn’t fall off like they expected it to.

 

Pregnancy is a time to nourish and to take care of your body more than ever before. It’s going to be the most extraordinary journey you have ever been on, so helping yourself to enjoy it by taking care of your general well-being, will also help your moods, eating habits, sleep and positive outlook. What I feel is most valuable about exercising during pregnancy is the mental and emotional strength you will gain.

 

Sadly, many women are frightened of exercising when pregnant, often because of “scare stories” and a lack of information available for pregnant women. Unfortunately, there is more confusion than anything else. I’m here to tell you that there are many benefits to exercising whilst pregnant.

 

Keeping moderatively active can help to decrease any pain or discomfort that you may experience from the structural changes affecting your body. I suffered various niggles throughout my pregnancy, from sciatica to backache, and found that keeping active and gently stretching really helped to keep these niggles at bay. Feeling fit and strong throughout your pregnancy can help you to better embrace the journey, as well go through labour, and after your baby is born.

 

Adapting to life with your baby can be hard at times, particularly finding time for yourself as a new mum, let alone finding time to workout. Plus you will no doubt want to spend all your time with your new baby like I did. I’m pleased I continued to workout throughout my pregnancy as despite having to work on a lot of core rehab post-baby, I feel my body bounced back a lot quicker because I looked after myself whilst pregnant.

 

If you weren’t previously active prior to pregnancy, I personally do not think now is the time for you to start throwing any heavy weights around. But there’s plenty you can do. You can focus on bodyweight, use resistance bands & cables, and even some lighter weight dumbbells. Always consult with your healthcare professional if you are not sure.

 

Regular walking or swimming is also great and will make you feel good. With walking, as with any exercise whilst pregnant, make sure you take note of your posture and alignment of your body and pelvis. With so much more load to carry around, it can be easy to fall into bad postural habits, which can lead to discomfort and injury.

 

As your pregnancy progresses, you may find walking difficult, so this is when swimming can be an easier option. You may also want to decrease the intensity and reduce the load from any weights you may be using, particularly lower body exercises. There will be enough pressure in your pelvis and pelvic floor as your bump gets bigger!

 

Take time to stretch and relax. Some good stretches include:

  • Hamstring stretch with a band (lying on the floor and wrapping the band around your foot, keeping your leg straight and gently pulling it towards your body).
  • Standing quadriceps stretch (hold onto something for support, pull your heel to your bum and push your hips forwards).
  • Kneeling upper body swiss ball stretch for chest/shoulders and back (kneeling on floor with knees quite wide, arms outstretched over a swiss ball. Roll it away from you for more of a stretch.
  • Standing calves stretch off a step (hold onto something for support. Drop heels off the edge of the steps, feeling the stretch in your calves. You can do this one leg at a time or both)

 

You may have heard of Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). It is nothing to be worried about and it happens to most women at some point during their pregnancy. But it is something to be aware of, especially post-pregnancy.

 

Where I mention this in the workouts below (DR), be conscious of creating any intra-abdominal pressure and pushing your stomach out whilst exercising, as well as with daily activities. It is important to maintain a strong core but it is not necessary to work on your abs. Also, for anything on a bench i.e. incline DB press, you will want to “log roll” onto and off the bench before picking up the weights so you are not leaning back or getting up using your abdominals (pushing your tummy out) to do so. Same goes for getting in and out of bed, and up and down from a chair.

 

Your core and DR is something you will want to keep an eye on throughout your pregnancy and any exercises you do simply by placing a hand on your tummy whilst you work out and feeling for any gap in your abs.
Here a few examples of workouts for each trimester.

 

1st & 2nd Trimester:

 

UPPER BODY

 

A1 BB standing shoulder press, 12-15 reps

A2 Resistance band seated row,12-15 reps (DR)

3 sets

 

B1 Lying DB twist chest press, 12 reps

B2 Cable straight arm pulldown (DR), 12 reps

B3 DB semi-supinated grip biceps curls, 15 reps

3 sets

 

B1 Standing face pull, 15 reps (DR)

B2 Triceps dips, 15 reps

B3 DB/Plates bent over rear delts, 15 reps

3 sets

 

LOWER BODY

 

A1 DB backwards lunges, 15-20 reps e/leg

A2 Standing cable glute kick-back (or use ankle weights), 15-20 reps e/leg

A3 Side lying abductors (ankle weights), 20 reps e/leg

3-4 sets

 

B1 DB step ups, 15-20 reps e/leg

B2 DB Walking lunges, 30 reps alternate legs

B3 DB single leg standing calve raises, 20 reps e/leg

B4 Shoulders-elevated glute bridge, 30 reps

3-4 sets

 

CORE (1ST trimester)

 

A1 Plank, 30-40 seconds

A2 Side plank, 20-30 seconds each side

A3 Swiss ball knee tucks, 10-15 reps

2-3 sets

 

CORE (2nd trimester)

 

A1: Cable or band standing Pallof press, 15 e/side

A2: Slow mountain climbers, 20 alternate legs

A3: Rack farmers carry, 20-30 seconds each side

2-3 sets

 

 

3rd Trimester

 

FULL BODY:

 

A1 Curtsey lunge into wide squat, 15 reps each leg

A2 Squat position cable row (DR), 15-20 reps

A3 Shoulders-elevated glute bridge, 30 reps

A4 DB seated lateral raise (SS grip), 15-20 reps

A5 Cardio interval 3 mins (optional)

3 sets

 

B! KB deadlift, 20 reps

B1 KB swing (DR), 20 reps

B3 BW squats, 20 reps

3 sets

 

CORE (3rd trimester)

 

A1 Cable or band kneeling pallof press, 15 each side

A2 Cable straight-arm pulldown with knee raise, 20 alternate sides

A3 Carry bag farmers walk, 20-30 seconds each side

 

The goal from working out whilst pregnant is so you can have a healthy, active pregnancy and enjoy moving your body as it grows your beautiful baby. If you’re pregnant and have any questions about how to have a fit & healthy pregnancy, contact me at mirella@strongbeatsskinny.com, or download my Yummy Mummy Guide to Pregnancy here.

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Any publicity is good publicity…right?

I was really excited about this article going live in the Daily Mail Online and being able to continue my mission to help women on a road to a fitter & healthier pregnancy. Then I read the finished article, already online, and I realise that it’s not an accurate interpretation of what I said. I have been misquoted in the headline, the angle is quite blatantly going to make women feel inadequate if they don’t workout whilst pregnant. Sadly, they have made me out to be some arrogant idiot calling pregnant women who don’t exercise lazy. Those who know me and follow me will know this is not me and certainly not words that would ever come out of my mouth!

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We all know the media like to cause controversy or “shock horror”. The next two articles that follow mine talk about a man’s cold sore eating his face and that prostate cancer can be cured by taking a brisk walk!

 

Sadly, the headline detracts from the real message in the article and the reason why I wrote this ebook…to help and inspire women to look after themselves whilst pregnant. The journey is highly individual and I try to cater for everyone in this book, from real beginners just using bodyweight and bands to exercise, to those who are already confident lifting weights. You do not need to look or “lift like me”, as this rag has wrongly quoted me saying. But for the sake of your own health, well-being and sanity, whilst pregnant and post-baby, and for that little person you’re bringing into this world, it is important to do what you can, within your own ability, to look after yourself and your body.

 

I feel truly mortified. Also upset that this paper has not taken down the quotation marks as my PR Agent had asked. I guess that’s the media for you. I hope those of you that read the story, can read past the headline and between the lines.

 

Thanks for your support!

 

Mirella x

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