Exercising for Two.

Now that my morning sickness has passed and my energy levels are back, I am finally feeling mostly like my old self again.  As soon as we got to Seattle, I knew that first on my list was re-establishing some sort of fitness routine.

We are lucky to live in an easily walkable area with great running trails and lots of sidewalks.  While I know that I could probably get in most of my cardio outside (hello summer!), I also feel really strongly about the importance of strength training and weight lifting.  So I did a bit of research, called around to a few local gyms, and joined one last week!

Yesterday was my first workout at the new gym and MAN oh man and I feeling it!  My body hurts as badly as it did when I first started weight lifting years ago.  My time off has definitely cost me a bit of fitness, but I was still pretty pleased with how well my body responded to being back on the weight machines.   

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I’ve done a lot of exercising throughout my journey to being healthier, but it all feels different and new now that I’m pregnant.  My body is different, and so I have to treat it differently.  A lot of you have shown interest in hearing about my pregnancy fitness routine, so I thought I’d share my plans for the next 20 weeks with you.

What I’m Doing

My general plan is to lift weights and do strength training three times a week – two during the week, and one longer set on the weekends.  I’m trying to mainly focus on staying toned and building muscle, so I’m doing a rotation that typically includes the following:

  • Upper Body – chest press, pushups, rows, chin ups, shoulder press
  • Lower Body – leg press, hamstring curls, squats
  • Total Body – deadlifts, ab crunches (on a ball), and planks

I should note that I am doing most of my weight lifting on the guided machines now, rather than using free weights.  When not pregnant, I prefer to use the free weights for a better range of motion and increased difficulty.  But the guided machines are still a great workout, and are generally regarded as safer during pregnancy, so I am happy to oblige. 

In addition to the weekly weight lifting, I’m also trying to make sure I get some sort of cardio in every day.  I have a very HILLY 2-mile walking loop that I climb with the dogs each day, and also plan to hit the elliptical or stair climber for 30-45 minutes when I am at the gym. 

With my body feeling better and the sun starting to shine more often in Seattle, I’m also getting the itch to try to run again.  I’m not sure if it’s too late into my pregnancy to essentially “start” running again, but I’m considering at least giving it a slow and steady try.  I really miss running, and I’m curious to see if my body will respond better now that I am not quite so sick.

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Adapting for Pregnancy

Even though the workout schedule I’ve shared probably sounds pretty similar to what I would normally do, I’m also quickly learning there are a lot of adaptations I need to make now that I’m exercising for two. 

In the past I have never been very good about hydrating, but now more than ever it is essential for me to make sure I’m getting enough water.  It doesn’t really take much reminding either – my body literally craves water all day long!  Taking plenty of water breaks and carrying a bottle with me is now a regular part of my fitness routine. 

I have also written plenty here before about how passionately I feel about lifting heavy weights, not the 5lb weights that are so frustratingly often recommended for women.  For some reason being pregnant is commonly associated with the understanding that there should be “no heavy lifting.”  While I am by no means doing anything dangerous, I’m also not going to give up my strength training completely for nine (ten!) months.

I have bumped all of my weight sets down a bit so that they are still quite challenging, but don’t give me the “if I do one more of these I might die” feeling that I used to get when lifting at full capacity.  It feels good to continue to challenge my muscles, but know that I’m making safe adaptations that should benefit both me and Baby G.

Cardio is really where I have noticed the biggest difference from my pre-pregnancy days.  My stamina is basically non-existent and I find myself out of breath much more easily now.  I have to make sure to take plenty of breaks and not be tempted to push myself like I used to. 

What I’m Wearing

I have been a huge fan of the Champion Empire Womens Tops for over a year now, and I have always joked that they would be great for pregnancy too.  Guess what?  I was right!

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The tanks have a built in sports bra with a loose, flowy bottom – perfect for fitting around the growing bump.  I am so excited to already have some built in pregnancy workout gear!

I also have one pair of maternity yoga pants (from Gap), and plan to pick up a few pairs of larger shorts and pants in the coming weeks.  I’m also thinking it might finally be time to invest in some larger sports bras…

So that’s what I’ve been doing so far, on my continuing journey to keeping myself and my baby active and fit!  I’m hoping to start incorporating a weekly pre-natal yoga class to my routine soon too, but other than that, I feel good about how much I’m moving and staying active.

It’s funny how many preconceived ideas I had about what type of “pregnant athlete” I would be before getting pregnant.  If pregnancy has taught me anything, it is that you can never really plan for how you will feel, or how things will go.  Some days I feel amazing and get in my full scheduled workout.  Other days I am lucky to have the dogs drag me around the block a few times.

I hope I can continue to feel good and stay active for the next 20 weeks!

For more pregnancy talk, check out my post on Moving During Pregnancy over on Babble!