I am currently pregnant with my third child, due November 2016. I gave birth to my first two in 2013 and 2014 respectively. They were 18 months apart and this one will be about 2.5 years from my last. I have exercised through all that time, utilizing my own home gym and the equipment I’ve built up over the years.
As I currently take care of my children full time, I need my workouts to be as efficient and effective as possible and the current equipment I’ve chosen to buy have been specifically geared towards that requirement. Over the last several years I’ve learned what my body can handle and the importance of exercising consistently when I’m pregnant.
Keep reading to find out what I do and what I use:
What I do?
There are five main things that I do for exercise. I supplement with other things occasionally but these are the main things I cycle through on a regular basis.
- Cycling: I’ve been a cyclist for about seven years now and I love it! It’s easy on the joints; a great workout and a ton of fun! I currently am mainly a road cyclist and have a road bike that I use whenever I can. This has been a great exercise for me to continue in pregnancy. Because of my experience I’m usually able to ride until the third trimester when I taper off and switch more to walking and rowing. Recumbent bicycles (see the link for some great options from Amazon) are also an excellent option and I purchased and owned one for quite a few years until I had to sell it for space reasons.
- Walking: Towards the end of my pregnancy, and interspersed throughout I go on 2-3 mile walks every day with or without my toddlers. I love keeping track of my fitness and for walking, I’ve used a Fitbit for over 3.5 years now and love it! I own the Fitbit One (found on Amazon) and it keeps track of calories, steps, miles, and stairs climbed. In addition, you can set workout goals, track your food intake with a huge database, track your water intake, record workout sessions, and set weight goals. It’s been a key motivator to me in losing the weight after each baby and staying accountable. I’ve found it so helpful, that I also purchased one on Amazon for a close friend who I was helping get back into regular exercise and she has loved it as well! In addition to the Fitbit One, they also have several other options which you can find on Amazon here.
- Strength training: I also incorporate strength training, aiming for 1-2 times a week. For this, I use the Powerblock Elite Dumbbells which I also got off Amazon. They have been an amazing tool and have really helped in improving my muscle strength. One of my favorite things about them, is that it is very easy to switch how much you are lifting, allowing you to quickly adjust according to the exercise or how you feel that day. In addition, they take up about 1 foot of room but offer a huge range of weight options and are a great solution for those who have small houses (me!). As my pregnancy progresses, I’m able to adjust the weights to what I can safely handle while still performing strength building exercises.
- Rowing: On rainy days; during the winter; and towards the end of my pregnancies I incorporate more rowing. For this, I have the Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rower (also purchased off Amazon). I’ve found rowing to be a great cardio AND strength exercise. Because it’s low impact, it is very safe to do in pregnancy, especially as you can adjust the intensity simply by rowing slower or faster. For a more comprehensive review of the Concept 2 Rower, check out my article on it here.
- Pilates/Yoga: On my rest days, I will do Pilates or Yoga. I find this relaxing while still intense enough to give a good workout/stretch to my body. For those new to this, check Amazon for this book (don’t be put off that it says “for men”, it’s a great resource!) and a great mat to keep your body off the hard floor!
What does my workout week look like?
A typical week during my pregnancy looks like this:
Sunday: Rest day. Usually I take this day completely off but if I have the energy, I sometimes take the opportunity to go on a relaxing bike ride and just enjoy nature. Especially during the summer.
Monday – Saturday: I aim for 40-60 minutes of exercise every day. Depending on my energy levels and the weather, I will typically do 3-4 bike rides or row sessions, 1-2 walks, 1-2 pilates or yoga sessions, and 1-2 strength sessions. Keep in mind I don’t do ALL of these every week, but I typically do some mixture of them all.
In addition, although this is my norm week by week, I always listen to my body first and foremost. If I feel exhausted, light-headed, ill or pain either before or during exercise, I stop or switch to something much easier (depending on the symptoms.) This is because although I love exercise, I’m primarily doing it for health and the health of my baby comes first!
Over the past 4.5 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, I’ve found that consistent exercise has not only improved my mood and lowered my stress levels, but it also has helped keep my weight gain in pregnancy between a healthy 25 and 30 pounds, and it has helped my body bounce back quickly after each baby.
Please comment or send me an email if you have any questions or thoughts and check back soon for more on health, nutrition, pregnancy, exercise and product reviews!
Important Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This article is based off my own personal experience is not necessarily a recommendation of what you should do. Every woman is an individual case and is able to handle more or less amounts of exercise while pregnant. The health of you and your child is the most important, so please consult with your medical adviser about what you should or should not do before starting any exercise program.