As I write this post, I’m 36 weeks pregnant (yay! #homestretch!) with our second child and my 41st birthday is fast approaching! Even though I’m an older mama this time, I feel so much better than last time because I’ve kept up with my workouts and healthy eating (for the most part). Many of you have asked about my exercise routine during this pregnancy and today I’m happy to share what I’ve been doing and what’s worked for me to help keep me at a healthy weight gain (my doctor recommended 25-35 pounds). I’ve worked hard to stay healthy and fit during this pregnancy, and so far have gained right about 35 pounds. I hope I can keep it at that for the last month!
lesson learned from my 1st pregnancy
I was so miserable with the 55 pounds I gained with my first and definitely did not want to repeat that experience. I’m only 5 feet tall, and began both pregnancies around 105 pounds, so you can imagine a 55 pound weight gain was too much to comfortably bear. With my first, even though I was active and in good shape pre-pregnancy, I completely stopped working out when I found out I was pregnant. Part of me was so scared that I would harm or lose the baby while exercising and another part was just exhausted and tired because I was working full-time and the last thing I felt like doing at the beginning or end of the day was going to the gym. In retrospect, that was a bad decision and I wished I had done things differently.
I always said, if I’m able to get pregnant again, I’m definitely going to watch my weight, keep exercising and eat better. I’ve done that this second time around and I feel a million times better, even though it’s still really hard being big and pregnant at the end.
To give you some background, I was training for a fitness bikini competition when I found out I was pregnant this time. I didn’t realize I was pregnant until a few days before the contest, but I actually got pregnant 5 weeks out from the contest date. So, for the first 5 weeks of my pregnancy, I was working out very hard (3 days a week lifting weights and probably cardio 4-5 times week, 45 minutes at a time). Below is a quick snap I took after a run outside- it was July in Houston, so super hot out, just to give you an idea of how hard I had been exercising and pushing myself.
Below is 1 week pregnant and didn’t know it yet. When I look back at that girl, I think, “dang, she was in good shape!” I know I worked hard for that muscle!
I was just starting to show at 13 weeks pregnant. From about week 6-12, I didn’t workout that much because I was pretty exhausted and I had several BAD meals, like McDonald’s Big Macs because that’s what I felt like I could stomach. Terrible, I know. It wasn’t until my second trimester that I got back into the workout and healthy eating groove.
I’ve continued working out with my awesome friend and trainer, John Sherman, 3 days a week. That’s him in the picture below and he does online training and meal plans if you’re interested. You can shoot him an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There have been weeks where we’ve only done 2 workouts when the workout conflicted with an appointment or something, but for the most part, 3 days it is. Toward the middle of my pregnancy, I started doing cardio as well, 30 – 45 minutes of walking a few days a week.
A couple weeks ago, I asked John to snap some iPhone pics of the exercises we were doing that week. He was super sweet to oblige. I warn you the pictures below aren’t pretty. I’m not a “get gussied up or put makeup on for the gym” kinda girl. We workout right after I drop my son off at school, so it’s just wash face, brush teeth, pull hair up and go! But, rather than worrying about how I look, I wanted to provide you the information, so here goes:
1: This isn’t necessarily everything we do, but does provide a good idea of the kinds of exercises that you can still do while pregnant. Most importantly, make sure your exercise program is approved by your doctor. I made sure from the beginning that continuing to workout was safe and healthy for both me and our baby and I still ask at every appointment to double check. I’ve always been given the go ahead to continue exercising and lifting weights up to 20 pounds.
2: We take it much easier now and the intensity has been dialed way down lately as the baby grows and I get winded more easily. I go so much slower than I did pre-pregnancy and we don’t do the fast paced plyometric exercises I was used to. Now, I lift weights, or just use my body weight a lot of the time, and our workouts last about 45 minutes to 1 hour. We used to do 4 exercises in a row, but we moved that down to three, and now two with rests in between.
3: We don’t do any exercises where I’m jumping or lying on my back and no crunches or ab-specific exercises.
On the days I train with John, we typically split the three workouts into: 1) legs, 2) shoulders, chest & triceps, and 3) back and biceps. We typically do 3 sets of each exercise for about 15 reps. Again, this is what I’m doing and what has been approved by my doctor; your doctor should specifically advise you of what’s safe before you start or continue a pregnancy workout routine. Below are the pictures of some of the exercises I did that week and have been doing in every trimester of this pregnancy.
I still do lots of lunges just with my body weight. They are great for for legs and booty. The first picture below is a stationary lunge, but we also do walking lunges.
The important thing is just to keep moving. Even if I’m going slow and especially now that I’m getting bigger and bigger, I just stick to it and do what I can. When I exercise, I tend to make healthier meal choices so it’s a double benefit. And, I walk more, just head out my front door with my iPod and go for 20 minutes, then turn around and walk back. You don’t need a trainer or gym for that! I always come back feeling great from getting outside and getting moving.
My first pregnancy, I was so swollen that I couldn’t wear my rings from very early on and I was in flip flops at the end because my feet were sausages. This time, I’m happy to report the swelling is minimal (maybe just a few mornings I’ve woken up swollen lately, and just make sure to watch what I eat that day). I can hardly believe I can still wear my rings!
Bottom Line: I’m in awe and amazed by what our bodies are capable of and how they grow and change to support a tiny little life growing inside. Of course, we’re going to get bigger and gain weight during pregnancy, but we don’t have to be miserable from too much weight gain. From my experience, this second pregnancy (even at a much older age!) has been so much better from a physical standpoint. I feel so much better now than I did the first time.
I really have to give a lot of credit to John for encouraging me along the way and for having so much experience and knowledge about fitness and exercise. He’s gotten me prepared for two bikini competitions and now is helping keep me in shape during an “advanced maternal age” pregnancy. I plan to keep working out with him until the baby comes! And then, when the time is right, we’ll be back at it after baby arrives. I’d highly recommend him if you’re looking for training in Houston or an online exercise program or meal plan. Email him at: email@example.com for more information. On top of being an excellent trainer, he’s a really great guy!
If you have questions, please let me know in the comments so I can answer them! One month to go!!