Dear Fitness Expert,
I was just wondering if there is a fitness workout plan that I can follow to stay in shape during my pregnancy? I enjoy walking and lifting weights (3 pound) to exercise my triceps and biceps. My significant other seems to think I need to work out in a gym in order to stay in shape. Can you please advise?
Hullo,There is no need to go to the gym to get in shape. There are a variety of ways to work out to build muscle, endurance, flexibility -- all things you want to prepare yourself for labor.
Here are some tips to consider:
- All too often women work out to fight fat. Yes, yes, they know they are pregnant but remain hopeful they can stop the "beached whale" image. This is not the time to be worried about appearance as much as you should want to prepare yourself for the "big day" and post-partum days in caring for the baby.
- Many pregnant women who work out focus on one kind of work out. That is, some focus on lifting light weights because they have been told to stay away from "impact" workouts. Others fear they will get "bigger" by lifting weights and stick to more of a cardio program, such as walking, biking, or step. They best kind of workout includes both.
By lifting (light) weights, you build muscle. Even pregnant, a pound of muscle will burn four more calories a day than a pound of fat -- and yes, even pregnant, you can replace fat with muscle. It is possible to come out of a pregnancy in better shape than when you went in. By working with the nutritionists and trainer (who is qualified to work with pregnant clients), you can actually get into the best shape of your life.
Cardio is important because while it does burn fat -- not something we focus on at this point in your life/pregnancy -- this activity will prepare you for the endurance needed during labor and delivery. Many C-sections are the direct result of an exhausted mother who needs medical assistance when she can no longer push.
So, what can/should you do?
- Check with your OB/GYN to get a green light for working out
- Contact a personal trainer. Many of my clients also work with a nutritionist at this time, keeping a food journal. You will be amazed how what you eat effects your mood, energy, sleep, complexion, not to mention weight.
It is difficult for give you a specific workout as I have very little information to go on. For example, if you only walk once or twice a week, at a leisure pace, for about 15 minutes, I do not want to set you with a workout routine that exhausts you. All too often, women come to me in a panic because they just learned they are pregnant and suddenly want to work out. Wrong.Continue with the exercise routine you are currently with.
Ideally, you want to work out four to five times a week -- I will offer a sample workout of a moderate workout:
|Monday:||Walk 2 milesUpper body workout: biceps, triceps, shoulders, lower back (there is a variety of workouts for each of these muscle groups)|
|Tuesday:||Bike (stationary only!) -- 20 minutesWalk if you do not have access to a stationary bikeLower Body: extensions, hamstring, buttocks (leg press and squats) (again, if you do not have access to a gym, there are a variety of home exercises you trainer can provide)|
|Thursday:||Repeat of Monday with a variation of walking -- jog if possible or change walking route|
|Friday:||Repeat of Tuesday Walk track with skip walking or lunges|
|Saturday:||Play exercise. This can a variety of activities that simply raises your heart rate.|
Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for our pregnant model, demonstrating the upper and lower body workouts you can do at home!Finally, if you want more specific details regarding how to lift/exercise, give me a more detailed account of how you work out. Good luck and be looking for our home workout routine.