Pregnancy Workout Routine

Credit: Fitnessista.com

Since announcing that we are expecting I have gotten a lot of questions and comments about my fitness routine. So, I wanted to share what I have been and am currently doing at 26 weeks and talk about why working out while pregnant, for me personally, is more important than ever.

Normal routine – give or take depending on work and other scheduling conflicts 

  • Monday: Spin + yoga class (30 minutes of each)
  • Tuesday: Yoga sculpt class (60 minutes) or spin + yoga class again
  • Wednesday: Spin + circuit class (core, balance and barre type work; 30 minutes of each)
  • Thursday and Friday: Depends, but usually spin + yoga again one of the days but not both
  • Saturday: Kettle bells + barre class (60 minutes)

The instructors at my gym are knowledgeable about what is and is not safe as my pregnancy progresses. A few of the female teachers also have little ones themselves and have shared their personal experiences with me. I have also asked my doctor a lot of questions and done a ton of research on my own. Because I was working out regularly before I got pregnant my doctor did not think it was necessary for me to wear a heart monitor. She said that as long as I felt okay and never got completely out of breath, my body was used to the pace.

And at the end of the day, I listen to my body. If a move doesn’t feel right I don’t do it. When I need to take a water break I do and catch up with the class when I’m ready, and when I need a day off altogether I take it without hesitation (well, that last part about having “no hesitation” is a lie but I do take it off).

Workout modifications

  • Cut out handstands and inversions completely once I found out I was pregnant
  • Avoid any position that has me lying flat on my back (started at 20 weeks) or on my belly (started around 16 weeks)
  • Lowered which weights I use in most classes, or switch back and forth between a lighter and heavier set depending on the exercise and exertion level
  • Avoid all heated classes and will likely switch to morning classes, when the gym is the coolest, as the temperatures heat up in May and June
  • Avoid all deep twists in yoga
  • Move from a chaturanga pushup back to plank position instead of into upward facing dog (started around 16 weeks when upward dog became uncomfortable)
  • Use yoga blocks in some poses, such as pyramid, as it gets harder to bend all the way over
  • Eat a protein-rich snack before every class (e.g., Greek yogurt, Larabar, apple and peanut or almond butter)

What working out, especially pregnant, does for me 

  • Relieves my stress after work or puts me in the best frame of mind for the day ahead
  • Helps me sleep
  • Keeps me limber and stretched, a god send as my hips and lower back have rebelled against sleeping on my left side starting at about 18 weeks
  • Helped/s me deal emotionally with the changes my body is going through (and the numbers I see on the scale at each doctor visit). I know that I am taking care of little sprout and myself
  • Keeps me strong, which I am told will help me during labor. I used to say “white dress, white dress” to myself during grueling workouts pre-wedding. Now I close my eyes and think, “labor, labor labor,” when the going gets tough in a class
  • Keeps what I have worked so hard for, fitness-wise, within reach for after the pregnancy. Aside from my random decision to run a marathon in 2007, I have never stuck with a workout routine until two years ago and I am determined to keep fitness, in whatever form it looks like once sprout arrives, in my life

I realize that I am very lucky to still be feeling as strong as I do. Many women are forced to take it easy for the safety of their baby and I have tremendous respect for whatever is needed and feels best for your body.

But if I can offer any unsolicited advice for friends and readers who are not yet pregnant but may be one day, do yourself a favor and establish some sort of workout routine now. It is much easier to maintain your stamina and motivation if fitness is already part of your life.

A yoga/spin/sculpt teacher that I adore recently had a baby, but last year I’ll never forget what she told me when I said I wanted to have a baby one day. She said, “train to be pregnant now, before you are even pregnant. Work hard now and you will be grateful when the time comes.” She could not have been be more right.

I have no idea what months seven through nine will hold for me and I realize that at one point, not slowing down will not be an option. As the basketball protruding from my front side turns into a watermelon I look forward to trying some prenatal yoga classes and on potentially more days than not, giving myself a break entirely.

I’d love to hear what you think about working out during pregnancy. I really enjoy learning from others who have paved the way before me!

Gym Guilt

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I could not get up for spin class this morning. Yet, I laid there in bed fretting about missing spin so how much extra sleep did I get this morning? Not much at all. And my mood is worse because of it.

Isn’t it amazing when we can’t listen to our own advice? I’m also constantly surprised by how much going (or not going) to the gym class impacts my mood. It has finally, for the first time in my entire life, become so much more than about how I look. An hour of spinning, lifting or yoga-ing is my mood booster and stress reliever. It’s where I get perspective and realize I can take on anything at work or at home. I need it badly.

But today, I needed the snooze button…and I have to learn to let that be okay too.

Do We Ever Really Meet Our Fitness Goals?

 

The harder I work at the gym each week, the harder it is for this phrase to ring true. Instead of staying “calm” I find myself obsessing over how to get this part of me stronger or that part of me more flexible. It has nothing to do with weight loss (stop freaking out dad!) and everything to do with how competitive I am with myself. As a kid I never played competitive sports (sans a few quick stints on teams to say I tried soccer and basketball. It never ended well.) so the, “I must finish this kettle bell set first and beat everyone around the block” voice in my head during certain gym classes is fairly new to me. I like the voice, but it’s pretty intense. And at times it is impossible to leave that voice at the gym. It follows me home.

So, I have a question for my fellow fitness-minded readers. Are you easier or harder on yourself when you are following a steady fitness routine and eating healthy? Do you find a way to come to grips with your body, and its strengths and weaknesses, or spend a lot of time and energy figuring out how to push to a new level? Is it good to never be 100% comfortable with the progress you’ve made because getting comfortable makes you lazy?

I hope I’m making sense and those of you who hit the gym get where I am coming from. Throughout my entire kettle bells + barre class tonight I couldn’t get this topic out of my head, and sharing my thoughts is what this blog, in its purest form, is all about.

Pin of the Week: Make Workouts a Habit

Make taking care of yourself, however and whenever you can find the time, a HABIT! Motivation comes and goes…just ask any bride a few months after the big white dress has been worn. But a habit can be followed for life, and you’re worth it.

Get to know your gym teachers, schedule workouts on your calendar, plan ahead for meals and other evening responsibilities, and ask your friends, family and coworkers to encourage and respect the time you are carving out for yourself.

Source: fitsugar.com via Alexis on Pinterest

First 30 Days of 30: Day Fifteen

                                                                   Source: backonpointe.tumblr.com via Alexis on Pinterest

 

I’m 30, and probably in the best shape of my life. I truly, 100 percent, don’t mean for that to come across as self-centered. It’s just that I have worked really hard in the past year and a half — harder than I have ever worked aside from the marathon I trained for and completed in 2007. After my marathon I literally gave up everything I had worked for physically, and I never intend to let that happen again.

My motivation and inspiration today goes far beyond skinny jeans and bathing suits. Bodies change and things shift despite hundreds of squats. That’s just life.

It’s different this time around. Being strong gives me confidence. A boot camp session wipes away all stress. How can I worry about a project when I am trying to balance in a handstand following 100 kettle bell swings? The answer is, I can’t.

I also have to give immense credit to the amazing workplace culture of my employer, GroundFloor Media, for being a place where fitness and taking care of yourself is truly a top priority. There is no judgement if you arrive a bit late in order to take an early morning spin class, extend lunch for a yoga session or duck out early to get to a barre class. The flexibility makes us all better and more motivated employees, and is the #1 reason I am able to work out more than I ever have before.

I have bad weeks like everyone else where I either can’t get to the gym because of outside commitments/travel or I am just mentally beat. But on those good weeks, my current kick-my-own-ass class regimen goes a little something like this:

  • Monday: KORE (kettle bells) + Barre
  • Tuesday: Spin + Yoga OR Yoga Sculpt (yoga with weights)
  • Wednesday: KORE + Barre
  • Thursday: Spin + Yoga

On Saturdays there is a Detox Yoga class that I love but we never seem to be in town so that class has been tough to stick with this summer. Luckily many Saturday’s have been filled with hikes and fourteeners so I’m still getting in a great workout. I’d like to squeeze in a very easy run/jog on Friday mornings with Kona but by then, I’m usually in need of a break.

I’m lucky to have coworkers, friends and unbelievably inspiring instructors who push me daily. You know who you are…thank you.

                                                              Source: pin4fun4962.blogspot.com via Alison on Pinterest

The Whole9 and Fitness Reflection

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A dear friend from my San Diego days always inspired me with her unwavering and unapologetic commitment to fitness and healthy eating. Maybe it was my age and the stage of life I was in at the time, but I could never understand why she’d skip happy hour for her kettle bell class, or pack healthy snacks for a business trip rather than using it as an excuse to indulge in fast food.

I totally get it now.

Kelly B., if you’re reading this, I completely understand why you always stuck to your guns and made time for those workouts and pursued eating habits that make you feel happy, energized, strong… I’ve finally, for the most part, found that “it” place in myself, which is way more mental than physical.

I thought I found the motivation last year, but that was really only about “the big white dress” for my wedding. Like so many brides, the motivation pretty much dried up after the big day and it was a struggle for months to get back into a routine. At some point this year however, I finally realized that taking gym classes go way beyond how my jeans look. Yoga, sculpt, kettle bells, spin…they all drastically reduce my stress levels and lead to healthier choices throughout the day. Do I really need that bagel when I worked so hard at a 7am class? Sometimes the answer is a resounding “hell yes, I deserve that [insert cookie, bagel, ice cream, beer, cocktail, wine, and so on].” But many other times I’ll give it a second thought and reach for some fruit or other nutritious, REAL food instead.

Which leads me to the inspiration for this long post…the Whole9. Kelly B (mentioned above) has a sister who is lovely inside and out. Melissa is someone we can all envy, she is living out her dream to connect with people worldwide to share her knowledge and insane passion for nutrition and fitness. She and her husband founded Whole9, and I was so thrilled to find out that their brand new (and first) book, It Starts with Food, is jumping up the charts.

Admittedly, I have not dabbled in the Whole30 program yet but I would really like to learn more about their approach to food and adapt it for what would be sustainable long-term for me and Mike. I am not interested in weight loss, but I am very interested in evolving my new “no meat, only fish” approach to food to be more all encompassing. Just because I’ve been avoiding meat does NOT mean I’ve been making great food decisions. Not in the least.

Thanks for sticking with me on a longer than normal rant…I’d love to hear if you’ve been exposed to Whole9 and hope you will spread the word about Melissa and Dallas–they are truly an amazing duo and I am so excited for all of their success!

Ouch: Kettlebell Edition

KettlebellDespite a very hectic February and March I’ve been doing pretty good on keeping up my gym-going momentum. I continue to take yoga sculpt at least once a week, a regular yoga class, and have been trying to get back into something for true cardio, such as spin or Qi Fit. The gym, when I make it, is the ultimate escape for stressed out little me.

So on Monday when my colleagues Ramonna and Amanda suggested trying out Qi KORE, a “workout designed to teach you the fundamentals of a kettlebell workout,” I jumped at the chance to introduce a new routine to my week.

Ouch.

Like, it has only been a few hours as I type this and I know exactly where I am going to hurt…type of ouch.

The class was actually a mix of a genuine kettlebell workout and some sort of insane boot camp. We jumped rope, did box jumps, push-ups, planks, wall squats, jump squats, and many other exercises that I have blocked from my mind. I was pushed to my edge several times, and my body didn’t always win over my brain.

But I’ll probably go back. In fact, I am sure of it.

Have you tried a new workout lately? What workouts (old or new) push you to the edge?

Yoga Workshop

Source: prAna

On Tuesday night I joined two colleagues for a three hour yoga workshop led by Bryan Kest. I have never taken a yoga class that was longer than an hour so I was pretty apprehensive. He spoke for awhile, and the last part of the class included a meditation (newsflash, I suck at meditating), but overall I really enjoyed it.

Bryan said a lot of things that really stuck with me. Like how we bring our shit (sorry mom) to yoga and turn yoga into shit (again, sorry mom). How we turn yoga into a competitive sport to see who can touch their head to their knees further instead of quieting our minds and working to release those competitive, negative thoughts from our minds. How we are so obsessed with getting a pose “right” instead of getting it correct for our own bodies in that moment.

He challenged us to be okay with falling out of poses instead of judging ourselves–to exercise and eat in moderation, instead of pushing and starving ourselves to fit into the mold that society pushes down our throats–to just surrender to yoga and meditation instead of trying to make it something complicated.

Three hours with Bryan Kest did not change my life, so please don’t think that I am running off to India for my own Eat, Pray, Love experience. However, it made me even more curious about exploring yoga a bit more–beyond the physical practice. It made me want to take a day off for the Wanderlust Festival in Colorado this summer or find a few girlfriends who are up for a yoga retreat. Big Sky Yoga Retreats in Montana look pretty amazing.

I have no idea where yoga will take me in life, but I am quite convinced that I need to take yoga, both the physical and mental, along with me as much as possible.

Have you ever gone on a yoga or wellness-type retreat? I’d love to hear about it!

 

Yoga with Style

Years ago I really disliked yoga. Just ask my dear friend Cindy McGee. She could not drag me to a class if she tried. I couldn’t turn my mind off and preferred a workout that left me panting and drenched.

Oh how things have changed.

Now I crave yoga — both the butt-kicking sculpt version and slower, traditional kind — and realize how much it helps me relieve stress. I still have a hard time turning my mind off completely but I’ve come a long way. I also notice a strength in my legs and arms that I have never had before, and that strength has had a notable impact (positive) on my skiing this year. My goal is to keep exploring this practice and maybe one day, treat myself to a true yoga retreat or multiday workshop of some kind.

But this post is not about preaching to you about the wonderful virtues of yoga. It’s way more vain than that. It is about all the cute gear I wish I was rocking to yoga classes each week.

Manduka eKO Mat

First, I need a new mat in the worst way. I bought mine in 2002 or 2003 when I thought I liked Bikram yoga (I did not). It is from Target and is so thin that I have to put a towel under my butt to protect my tailbone when we do floor work. Good mats aren’t cheap but this Manduka version has stellar reviews and I’ve heard great things about the brand. I love the acai color.

prAna Abi Top

I am a Lululemon fanatic but I also want to branch out and get a few more tops and pants that are from different stores. My friend and colleague Ramonna raves about prAna and I finally visited the Boulder, Colo. store a few weeks ago. They had so many things I wanted, but I really love this prAna top because of the design. Most of my workout tops are plain, but they don’t need to be!

Athleta Chaturanga™ Yoga Knicker

Athleta is one of those brands that I have never tried but am perpetually curious about. These yoga pants caught my eye because of the color and length–a great option for classes that tend to get hot, but don’t necessarily require shorts. I wonder if my calves would automatically look like the model’s if I buy them?

Lululemon No Limit Tank

No yoga fashion post would be complete without at least one Lululemon item to lust over. Overall I prefer my tops to be loose and my yoga pants tight, which is why I love this top. A fun peek at the built-in sports bra but still plenty of movement around the arms, tummy and sides.

I never understood buying nice gym clothes until recently, but they do make a difference for whatever reason!

What gym attire (or gear) do you splurge on for yourself?

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