Do you consider yourself to be a bit of a gym junkie? A fitness fanatic that loves to exercise daily and feel the burn, one who pushes harder each time to achieve a new personal best? Does your social life revolve around workouts and do you monitor your macros plus spend time prepping food and measuring your body composition? Did you answer yes because that was me too, before I found out I was pregnant.
If you spend your life in Lycra and trainers and the gym is your happy place discovering you are pregnant can be quite overwhelming and some women, myself included, can find it hard to adjust workouts accordingly and more importantly change their mindset to allow this adjustment to be done guilt free.
On numerous occasions I have seen women still trying to push through a workout with their bump in tow and whilst I am a massive advocate for staying active during pregnancy I do feel it essential that regular exercisers adapt their normal training program to more of a maintenance mindset as well as introduce new activities that will be suitable for their growing shape and demands of pregnancy.
I understand that you do not wish to lose the strength and fitness you have worked so hard for and allowing yourself to become softer is challenging for a body conscious female at the best of times yet it’s important to remember that it is only a temporary shift and that once baby has arrived you will soon be able to get back into it.
If you are a fit expectant mum then you know your body better than anyone yet I feel it important to be aware of why changes do need to be made as well as learn what might not be the best for you right now. I was actively training in the gym lifting (lighter) weights through all three trimesters and towards the end of my pregnancy focused more on swimming and stretching as that is what felt right for me. There was no way I was going to be jumping around, spinning or running as not only was I knackered and felt like a beached whale but I also knew that I had to focus on correct alignment of my pelvis to reduce pelvic floor stress, the hormones in my body were creating increased instability of my joints, my huge bump was affecting my centre of gravity and proprioception and did I mention I was tired!
When you are growing a small human your body is working hard enough without adding to it the demands of intense physical exercise. Your body is gradually changing shape and some areas will naturally stretch and become tight so any activity you do should complement this rather than hinder as this could lead to discomfort in the long run.
Of course I am not suggesting stopping what you love to do and as I mentioned I think being active is essential for a healthy pregnancy, I simply ask that you honour your body and cherish the time with bump and allow yourself to let go of any negative thoughts that you must still do what you used to. The most important focus during the 9 months of pregnancy is you and bump, the fitness goals can wait for now.