about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



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!

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93 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Gina @ Running to the Kitchen     at 6:08 pm

Good for you! Your strength training post is one of my favs and bookmarked for reference :)

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Chelsea @ Go Chelsea Go!     at 6:09 pm

Those tops look awesome on you! I didn’t even notice the baby bump in the first picture.

I love how you are taking a proactive attitude towards exercise and fitness during your pregnancy! I think we often live in this world where we think pregnant women should just sit at home and now exercise, so it’s refreshing to see you just maintaining the habits you had before being pregnant (just adapted somewhat).

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Marci     at 6:10 pm

I have been curious about this lately because there used to be that knowledge of no heavy weights while pregnant, or nothing heavier than a baby after delivery. I still do CrossFit twice/week and there are some very pregnant women. They modify most movements, but still left about 70% of what they were lifting before. Our trainer says he doesn’t want them to lose strength and did lots of reading before these women started. I also think keeping fitness and flexibility is really important for labor and delivery, which I’m sure you’ll write about soon!

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Charmaine Reply:

YES!! There’s a blog/box dedicated to Crossfit training while pregnant… so awesome. Incredible vids on Youtube of crossfit women doing pullups, kettlebell swings, etc.. they built their base before conception and maintained it throughout. We need to fight for this sort of thing and challenge the status quo re: pregnant women and exercise.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think as long as you were doing it before, there is no reason you can’t continue! I have heard Crossfit is a great workout.

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Katherina @ Zephyr Runs     at 6:10 pm

Thanks for posting this! I’m not pregnant but will bookmark this for when that time comes :P I think it’s an awesome step in providing a good life for your baby that you’re getting them familiar with healthy activity while still in the womb! As silly as it sounds, I think it’s totally important. <3

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Julia     at 6:10 pm

Good for you for continueing to exercise. The baby appreciates it too! A healthy mama is a happy mama!

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Brittany @ a healthy slice of life     at 6:15 pm

Plus, our blood volume doubles! That’s been the biggest difference I’ve noticed.

Good for you getting active! :)

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Lauren (PB&G)     at 6:19 pm

I’m such an admirer of the fact that you’re still staying so fit and active while pregnant! I’m also curious (even though it doesn’t matter) how people react when they see you weight lifting and working out while pregnant. It may be different in your neck of the woods but I rarely see pregnant people working out around me. It’s such a great thing to do, though!

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Leah Reply:

I used to see a few pregnant women working out at my old gym (Boston Sports Clubs) and also taking some classes. My current gym has a HUGE kids program so mostly I see Moms with babies heading to a swim class or entire families going on a Saturday morning (and the kids heading to the kids program while the adults work out). :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

So far not a lot of reactions, but with my billowy tops I’m not sure how pregnant I really look at the gym just yet.

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Lauren (PB&G) Reply:

Leah – Wow! What a great idea to have a separate kids program at the gym while the parents are working out! I must be sheltered all the way out here in Illinois! Haha!

Emily – That is true. I do love that top, too. Looks super comfy! =) Keep up the awesome workouts!

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Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn     at 6:21 pm

Giiiirl look at you so skinnay even though you’ve got a baby on board!! You look absolutely beautiful, and it is great that you are still exercising — did you know that Kara Goucher ran for 50 minutes the day she gave birth?!

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Emily Malone Reply:

You are so sweet! :) Kara is awesome.

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Lindsay     at 6:28 pm

Love your top!! Have two myself which I bought after reading your original review!!

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 6:40 pm

i’m so impressed! most of my pregnant friends never exercise, so i love seeing that it is possible–you just have to be smart about it!

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Laura     at 6:41 pm

Good for you! I love hearing other pregnant women talk about their fitness routines. I worked out (both cardio & lifting) until 37 weeks with both my pregnancies. It made a world of difference in how I felt. As the months went on, I had to modify things even more, but I really believe it helped me through labor, recovery, and getting back to my pre-baby body more quickly. It was good for me and my babies! Keep it up!

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Emily Malone Reply:

My hope is that it leads to an easier labor and recovery, so that’s great to hear!

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Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 6:44 pm

I used to scoff when I saw the 5-lb weight recommendations for women, too, until I started taking barre classes and realized how darn tough those things can be if you make your movements small. I think those “light” weights can be very effective! If you’ve ever seen Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones DVD, she uses 3-pounders (I only have 5′s, so that’s what I use).

Not sure what the guidelines are for pregnancy, but if you’d like to use free weights, 5-pounders can make you break quite a sweat. They sell barre method DVDs… maybe you can adapt some of those workouts??

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’d love to take a Barre class if I can find one here – they look awesome!

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erica     at 6:44 pm

i love that top!!! i think i’m gonna have to get me a few! :)

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Christine     at 6:45 pm

This is one of the areas I’m most concerned about for my future pregnancy. I work out 4-5 days a week and will need to make sure to really communicate with my doctor so I can keep up some sort of routine or I know I will have trouble after I do have this hypothetical baby I’m not currently pregnant with ;)

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K     at 6:46 pm

Women world-over continue on with manual labour and agrarian work during pregnancy and go on to have beautiful babies. All of the wonderful women in my life who have positive, natural birth stories all have one thing in common: active pregnancies! I’m not arguing cause and effect (there is sooo much more than just exercise to take in to consideration), but many of my friends have continued to lift heavy and felt all the better for it. There is a woman at my gym who uses the stairclimber and even KBs and always looks like she’s having a grand time! Good for you for doing what feels right! Some days that means hard and some days that means gentle, but you know best what feels right for you :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Exactly!

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Lisa Fine     at 6:51 pm

So incredible. I assume you read the article a few months ago in Runner’s World about the two pregnant runners [one of them is Kara Goucher].

I always think I’d be nervous about exercising during pregnancy, but what a great way to stay healthy and fit.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, Kara is a badass!

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Laurie M.     at 7:04 pm

Hi Emily,
I’m Laurie! It’s awesome you are continuing to work out while you’re pregnant. I really wish I would have worked out throughout my pregnancy. I was a human garbage disposal.. who never worked out. I am still paying for that decision!!!

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Lisa     at 7:08 pm

I’m 36 weeks and still working out 4X a week!
Honestly, my body only hurts on days I don’t.
It makes for an easy pregnancy! Good job!

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Cynthia (It All Changes)     at 7:16 pm

I’m glad you are showing you can maintain fitness even while pregnant.

I also find it refreshing to hear you say it’s not what you planned. I love to plan everything and it’s a reminder I won’t be able to plan pregnancy reactions.

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gas     at 7:19 pm

Correct form for lifting heavy is to not valsalva but keep your vocal cords open and breathing throughout the movement. In my opinion machines are worse than free weights for heavy lifting because they control the lift, not you and the weight. I make exception for cable machines which I view as a kind of free weight since the cable does not control how your muscles move. This applies to someone who is not a novice. You know what your doing so do what you know. Things like squats and deads will totally save your back as your pregnancy proceeds

I would not try to make muscle mass gains now unless you jack your protein considerably as your baby is competing for every gram of protein. If you can eat it, milk in my opinion is some of the best pre-post workout nutrition. It gives all essential aminos and if you forget just stop off at the 7-11

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Liv @ The Salty n' Sweet     at 7:19 pm

I think that it’s awesome that you’re still doing weight lifting and strength training during your pregnancy :) I think I’d be a little afraid of damaging the baby at first, though!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Babies are much more resilient than people give them credit for. :)

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Marissa     at 7:43 pm

you are just GLOWING! I hope pregnancy is that good to me when the time comes!

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Cait @ Beyond Bananas     at 7:56 pm

I love the last part .. great insight.. and something I really never thought about. I always think of how I want to stay fit whenevr I get prgnant.. but you are so right.. you don’t know how you will feel.. so you can’t really forsee how active you will be!

I love that you are up and at em again! Staying fit and healthy for lil baby G!

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Danica     at 8:15 pm

Thank you for being such a great example of how pregnant women can and should still workout/exercise to keep themselves and their babies healthy! Good for you!

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Shayla     at 8:25 pm

Have you seen these exercise tops??!! Too cute and I thought you’d might like them :)
http://fortwofitness.com/category_23/bGraphic-Fitness-Tanksb.htm
You are absolutely glowing and are such an inspiration…thank you again for these fabulous pregnancy posts…I can’t wait to look back on them again when it’s my turn (hopefully soon!) :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I LOVE those! Thanks for the link – so cute!

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Stacy @ Stacy Eats     at 8:57 pm

Glad to hear you are feeling better and have a good workout schedule!
Target is selling those empire waist tops again!! I just got my first one the other day after remembering you raving about them last year!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I just saw them again at Target too! So excited to pick up a few more. :)

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Sophie     at 9:44 pm

I saw these tank tops at Target a few weeks ago for the first time and bought them in every color. They are the best thing I have ever worked out in!

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a     at 9:57 pm

I’m six months pregnant and have found a Velcro belly band to be a lifesaver in allowing me to jog without feeling like I’m bouncing or have to go the the bathroom every 2 minutes. I’ve definitely cut down mileage though. Thanks for sharing your workout!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I will check out the velcro band – thanks for the tip!

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sallymae     at 10:00 pm

You look amazing Emily! It sounds like you are really listening to your body and knowing your limits. It’s crazy how pregnancy changes EVERYTHING! At 15 weeks I’ve still been staying very active, but running is getting HARDER because I’m so out of breath and it’s getting hot out. Swimming and walking are my new favorite activities. I also love weights, but I’m struggling a bit with exercising so much and feeling like I need to eat WAY more because of it. I’ve already gained 7 lbs, which sometimes gets me down, but I’m doing my best to stay positive about my new body image. Your posts have been great and right on par;) I’m excited to be following your journey with my own little one on the way! Stay healthy and positive – you are an inspiration for healthy moms!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am stepping OFF the scale and just doing what feels right from now on. It’s too easy to get caught up in numbers, when everyone gains weight so differently in pregnancy! I’m sure you are doing well. :)

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Ashley     at 10:13 pm

Highly recommend prenatal yoga! A great way to meet other new moms (esp. being in a new city) and eventually plan some baby playmates.

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Julie @ Wearing Mascara     at 11:08 pm

Hey girl – I’ve been really enjoying your pregnancy posts! I love how you keep it real. They are really informative! Keep it up!!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Julie!

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Tracy     at 11:30 pm

I’ve been totally waiting for this post! I love all of your fitness/strength training posts so much. Keep them coming! You look great :-)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much!

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Namaste Gurl     at 12:33 am

Yay- that’s great your keeping up physical activity even while you’re pregnant :-) Many people who are having babies make excuses that they can do this or that and get away with this, while in reality, you should still keep up a healthy lifestyle while being pregnant :) Seems like you’re doing just that! xx

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Rachel (Olalliberry)     at 2:12 am

You might check out Cassandra Forsythe’s blog, she wrote a whole series about her fit pregnancy including lots of heavy lifting. She is a big nutrition and fitness expert who contributed to the New Rules of Lifting for Women book (not affiliated but I love it!).

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have read all her posts – very inspiring!!

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Jumanah @ Healthy Living in the Middle East     at 4:41 am

Its so great that you are getting back into your fitness routine! Glad your feeling better now!

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Babs     at 7:02 am

Sounds like a good plan. Would you ever consider doing a lifting class, like bodypump, while pregnant?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I have never done a lifting class before, so I probably wouldn’t start now just because it would be new to me. But I know plenty of people continue to do classes in pregnancy who were regulars before!

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Megan     at 7:09 am

i’m joining the others and saying, you look so beautiful!!! I love following your journey. You have overcome so much in the past few months, you are without a doubt, a role model to me! Cant wait to hear baby g’s name.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you so much!

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Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun     at 7:36 am

I switched to more machine movements too when pregnant. And then used them to ease back in post pregnancy too. You are setting such a great example.

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R @ Learning As I Chop     at 9:02 am

Thanks for this post. Did the dr say that crunches are ok?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Ab work is fine as long as it’s not too constricting! We’ll see how much I can continue to crunch and bend as the belly grows. :)

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Michelle @ The Cooking Life     at 9:26 am

Thanks for this post, Emily! Though I’m not yet pregnant (I’m hoping this summer!), I’ve started doing some research on exercising while pregnant. I’m a runner and it’s something I’d like to keep doing if and when I am pregnant. Your insights are helpful and I’m sure I’ll be emailing you or reading more of your blog when the time comes! PS – yes, those Seattle hills are killer. I remember in December when my hubby and I visited his family who live in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. We took the train from the airport all the way to the station underneath Nordstrom’s downtown. Everyone met us there and we had haul our luggage up several hills. Great exercise!

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becca (bellebottoms)     at 9:48 am

LOVE the top! I like things that are flowy too…i think I’ll put one in the shopping cart! or maybe two….it IS pay day after all! :)

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Kelly     at 10:29 am

hehe I have that same exact top (same color even!) and it’s the only work out top I wear anymore (at 18weeks). It’s perfect for pregnancy!! I wish they still sold them at target :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

They have them at Target again – just saw them last week!!

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Kelly Reply:

Woot!!

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Jen     at 10:40 am

You’re so awesome! And you look adorable. Ok, I’ll stop saying that so much.

I really want to start lifting (I haven’t lifted regularly in over a year, gulp). My midwife told me it was fine to start now, but my doctor told me just to stick to running. So I don’t know what to do. I’m very tempted to get on the machines at my gym though :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think if you start slowly you will be fine! You are athletic and know how to gauge what works for you.

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Kelly     at 10:44 am

I think this is a great plan and am in full support! I worked out the entire time I was pregnant with twins-cardio, lifting weights, doing yoga, and teaching Pilates. It is incedibly important for you and the baby! Way to go! and you look super cute in the top :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks!

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Tameika     at 11:07 am

Love your plan! And I like that you are not only doing yoga. I love yoga, but I often wonder why more pregnant women don’t do weights as well and cardio! Obviously everyone should follow their doctor’s orders and adjust as needed for their unique pregnancies, but I’m so happy to see you being so active. We are not trying to get pregnant yet, but that is one my concerns when we do. I don’t want to quit my exercise routine. I’m sure it will have to be adjusted but I don’t want to completely quit either.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I love yoga, and I’m definitely into doing it a few days per week, but I don’t think it’s enough on it’s own for maintaining the fitness level that I’d like to have.

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liz     at 11:14 am

I love this post. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, I look forward to these. I myself am pregnant (shy of 9 weeks) and have struggled since week 2 with sickness, attempting to have some sort of exercise schedule, it is depressing. especially when you want to be active with concerns of going back to the fat girl you once were years ago that you worked so hard to overcome! This is my 2nd (in 7 years) pregnancy but it seems as if it is new to me, I was 17 and had a different body back then and no idea of nutrition.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I really struggled at the beginning too, and did almost ZERO activity. I understand how you feel!

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Lauren     at 11:22 am

Wow, good for you that your are committed to exercising throughout your pregnancy! I can never motivate myself to work out and I’m not even pregnant! Haha!

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Amber K     at 12:11 pm

I see pregnant women at my gym all the time. Very cool that women are staying active throughout their pregnancies. I hope to be able to do the same when or if I’m ever blessed in that way :)

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Kristin @ STUFT Mama     at 12:54 pm

You go girl! I worked out every day while I was pregnant with my twins and it totally paid off. I even taught aerobic classes until I was 30 weeks pregnant (some VERY funny looks by others). Keep it up- it will help you more than you know! :)

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Pam     at 1:07 pm

Great post!! Keep up the exercise as best you can :) I am still lifting my 12lb hand weights at 28 weeks, but only about 1-2x per week… I definitely agree that it is ok to keep it up, just be reasonable and adjust things and listen to our bodies (which is the story of pregnancy anyway!) I was told ok to lift, but make sure not to hold my breath/valsalva. Have fun :) btw, you look great :)

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Pixie     at 1:13 pm

That’s an excellent top; from the front I couldn’t even tell you were pregnant! I love the color too, very summery. I always feel excited to work out when I have cute workout clothes on. So far everything I’ve read has pretty much said exercising during pregnancy isn’t as big of a deal as I originally thought. Obviously there is something to adapt, but I even read an article about a woman doing a half marathon at 8 months. I also thought you couldn’t fly after 6 months but someone sent me something that said it was ok up to 36 weeks, so you learn something new every day.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I know what you mean!

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Adriane     at 1:28 pm

I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your posts. I wish I would’ve found you sooner because now I go back and find topics that I would’ve defintely learned from or commented on! :) Anywho, it’s just such a bright spot. Thanks for the honesty and inspiration!

ps-I love the puppy face in your photo, like, what are you looking at? Cracked me up.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much! :) Huey likes to be in as many photos as possible.

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Theodora     at 2:01 pm

I am so impressed with your working out while pregnant. It gives me no excuse not to!

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Jennifer (The Gourmetour)     at 2:43 pm

I love the champion work out tops!!! I totally thought the same thing when I first bought mine, and it is true for when I FEEL pregnant and bloated.. they’re my go to tops for when I am feeling subpar.

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Tori (Fresh Fruition)     at 2:58 pm

That’s awesome you had some stuff you could wear to work out already! You look adorable :D

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Molly     at 3:02 pm

I loved this post! Very inspirational… hoping to hear more about your pregnancy workouts

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Freya     at 3:38 pm

I don’t know annnything about strength training, so this post is a bit over my head! BUT I want to say that you suddenly look so pregnant! And I mean that in a good way :) You must be getting excited!!!

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Kath     at 9:41 pm

I know comments like this are dumb but: MAN are you looking pregnant!!! I love it!

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skinnyrunner     at 11:39 am

i LOVE those champion tops, i have 4. nope, not pregnant but they’re flattering and super comfortable. double win!

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Emily Malone Reply:

They are THE BEST shirts!

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Lindsay     at 10:51 pm

Exercising is so good for you while pregnant (or not pregnant, of course.) I’ve exercised (run, mostly) through all of my pregnancies and have always been a little amused when people express surprise over that, or seem to think I’m trying to be super woman or something. My pregnancies and labor have been complication-free and I’ve had speedy recoveries–I firmly believe exercising helps a lot with that. I also believe that exercising during pregnancy is all about listening to your body. It will tell you if something is too hard for it, long before it has any negative effects on the baby. Good luck with your routine–sounds great!

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Amy     at 3:24 pm

I didn’t read through all the comments so maybe you answered this already, but are there any guidelines in terms of heart rate when you are exercising while pregnant? Do you have to keep it below a certain level? If so, how has the been going for you? I totally commend you for continuing to work out & I hope that I can do the same when I have kids! Congrats again! :)

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Sarah @ See Sarah Eat     at 1:46 pm

I saw those sports bra tanks at Target last weekend and I totally thought the same thing! Actually I would like them now too as I think they’d be a lot more flattering on me ;-)

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Kim     at 9:54 am

Hi Emily!! First…let me just say that I LOVE your blog…and have especially loved your pregnancy posts. You are awesome.

Second, I remember reading somewhere that you were going to write a more detailed post about your exercise routine now that you are pregnant. Did you do that? If so, how can I find it? I just found out that I’m expecting and would LOVE some tips on how to incorporate a weight lifting routine! Thanks so much : )

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