Another weekend come and gone – isn’t it hard to believe it’s now September? I hope you guys had a good one – any fun things happening for Labor Day where you are today? I’m working – just a few clients – getting my own workout in, meeting a friend in the evening and if all goes well, hitting the hay early. 😉 Super exciting but just about perfect – I need to remember it’s good not to pack all your weekends with activity, and sometimes these hang around holidays are the best.
So – a new month, a new season (although the heat here makes me think summer is still sticking around for a while – wahoo!) and only 1 more full month until our babe makes his or her appearance! That’s pretty hard to believe. These past 8 or so months have gone by so quickly over all, with the first three moving slower and then things picking up the pace towards the second trimester and on! I’m grateful to have been feeling pretty great all throughout my pregnancy with my main side effects being that darn left leg that’s riddled with varicose veins that sometimes itch and get hot towards the end of the day. Only one instance of heart burn (on the river! probably ate lunch too fast and then started moving!), mostly great sleeps, and good energy overall. I’m starting to slow down at almost 34 weeks and am getting very sleepy very often, and the more I stand without moving around the more my back slowly begins to ache. I’m feeling the weight of my changing body of all of a sudden and the baby brain is real – I’m dropping EVERYthing ALL the time (this is so weird!) and am having trouble verbalizing just about anything cohesively. It’s kind of funny…but my poor clients! I’m starting to resort to the simple “point and nod” method of training, and it got me thinking about all the things I’ve learned continuing to work as a personal trainer while pregnant.
Lessons from a Pregnant Personal Trainer
(I remember this day when a videographer came to CityFit for some website content; I wondered whether people would see my “bump” or not – guess not! But certainly pregnant here!)
Movement helps! This has been true 99% of the time for me, just like my pre-pregnancy days. The days I add some type of movement in I always feel better, both mentally and physically.
My recommendation to anyone who is pregnant is to keep moving! Notice I didn’t say to start something new, but rather to keep up with your movement as much as possible. It’s encouraged everywhere and helps with sleep, digestion and your mental/emotional life, too! I’m so grateful that from the first trimester on, I’ve been able to keep workouts in AND outside the gym in my repertoire.
(Backcountry skiing at 10 weeks pregnant – somehow I felt incredible on this trip and was super thankful I could still get out and enjoy the mountains, movement and awesome friends!)
The value of patience. Being patient with yourself when you’re in a gym setting, both for your own workouts and as concerns working and training others, is so important. On the workout front, following a program I knew I could trust in terms of safe movements for pregnancy and mindset training has been awesome; I have peace of mind when I workout and I’ve learned to listen to my body even more! I stumbled upon BithFit via Instagram one day, purchased the program, and never looked back. I’ve been faithfully doing my 4 workouts a week and being diligent to keep my breath work central to my workouts after skipping it and rushing into the workout in the first week or two of the program. Why? Because once again, patience is key here.
(Practicing functional progression #2 in the warm up series… I’ve grown to value these slow, intentional movements – quite a change for what I’m used to or how I used to train, and it’s been awesome!)
I also have found it valuable to be patient with my body as I train my clients – sometimes I need to sit down, not worry if my energy is a bit less, and be content with less full days (my lesser summer hours have actually coordinated in a great way with being pregnant – naturally working less while getting more tired has helped me still feel “normal” without pushing or running at full capacity and crashing!). Patience – all of this will come back in due time!
Stress matters! We all know that ample amounts of stress don’t serve us well (while little bits are unavoidable, natural and can help prompt us to action!), and during pregnancy it’s no exception. Try to not to psyche yourself out with what *could* go wrong; entrusting this pregnancy to God’s hands has sure helped give me peace along the way, even during car accidents and moving and still working. Now you’re being stressed for two people, so continuing to find healthy ways to manage stress (which is always a challenge for my clients!) is important. I’ve found that my movement, as mentioned above, has helped, but so have light, easy walks and seeing my chiropractor regularly – all ways to be kind to your body and keep stress at bay! Keep that mindset work going by being mindful of your stress. 🙂
Let your ego go, yo. This has been important while teaching bootcamps or training clients; I have had to let go in terms of not demoing movements I could still functionally and physically do (like pull ups or push ups on the ground and certain ab exercises) because they were not the best choice for my body. For example, I quit doing pull ups at 24 weeks because I was seeing too much coning in my stomach and didn’t want to encourage diastases recti. Sure, you want to join your client doing pull ups and miss the ache of those high intensity workouts, but you’ve got to let it go. I got more low key with bootcamp as the days went on but watching my clients give their all still made me feel energized – even if I couldn’t be as hands-on as I like to be! And that is a-okay.
Personally, it hasn’t been too hard to let my ego go in the gym, I think because I’m just so, so grateful to be having this baby that we didn’t think we could have or were “supposed to have” that it’s been easy to watch my body change and grow softer and rounder and tire out as I trade in heavy weights for more naps.
It’s been fascinating to watch this transformation and I’ve enjoyed the process more or less, but it’s been harder for me to let my ego go outdoors! I’ve slept great while tenting solo, hiked up Yamnuska by myself (and felt awesome doing it!) and gone on a three day kayaking trip with Mikey and friends, at which point my fatigue started to get worse. I remember kayaking and closing my eyes behind my sunglasses on the river, at the back of the pack, thinking I could literally fall asleep that moment while moving.
During later hikes I would slip and feel my ligaments under my belly tense and tighten – I had to be more sure-footed and slow down while moving. I breathed heavier and heavier and hikes like my jaunt up Lady MacDonald with Rach was super challenging!
I knew I would slow down at some point, and I need to constantly remind myself that it takes effort to grow a baby and that requires so much strength and energy – no wonder hiking has become hard! And that’s more than okay, but remembering to leave my ego at the door (or at the trailhead) is a very valuable lesson for me.
Keep food and small snacks on hand, hydrate well. This is a practical one, but I learned the hard way that I need to keep eating small meals often. I’d feel a tinge of heartburn start if I hadn’t had food for a while and once got a migraine because I couldn’t choke water down (in the first trimester) and just didn’t make myself drink any – big mistake (and my first ever migraine – yikes!). I’ll feel my blood sugar crash if I haven’t had anything in a while even though I don’t feel hungry – and often feel full in terms of my stomach and hunger cues! It’s weird to get used to…But then when I do eat, I instantly feel better and also more hungry, so small meals is the way to go.
(Protein powder has been great to have on hand when I don’t feel like cooking/couldn’t get much meat down, and I love BiPro protein as a healthy and clean option!)
Ice cream out with friends on a warm summer night – this happened 3 times in one week and I didn’t mind it one bit! 😉
The truth is, you don’t need to “eat for two!” You only really need, by the last trimester, about 300 extra calories a day – breast feeding requires more! But donut bites shared with friends in between the salads and vegetables make life sweeter. 😉
Keep living – pregnancy is not a disease. Whether this relates to your work environment, your movement, or your focus and perspective, there is still so much you can DO while you’re pregnant! I know this depends in large part on how you’re feeling, and I will always advocate listening to your body above all else – you know it the best! – and I will certainly acknowledge that mine has (gratefully!) been a pretty smooth pregnancy. If you have nausea or are throwing up of course life is going to have to change. But don’t be afraid to keep living – babies are pretty resilient and you can do a whole lot with them growing and thriving inside of you!
(Tubing while pregnant? Felt safe to me! I was about 10 weeks or so here and led a group of young adult cancer survivors and supporters on a fun day at the ski and tube hill! Still so much you can do when you’re pregnant!)
(paddleboarding in Houston with friends!)
Handstands with mom during her visit!
And there you have it – kicking off August with some insights into my life as a trainer for my clients and also as an active participant in my pregnancy journey. Hope it was insightful or at least interesting for some of you and serves as a good reminder for me should God ever grace our lives again with another baby! For now, focusing on this little one is sure an incredible gift and we can’t wait to meet whomever is doing flips inside my belly!
Have a great start to your week, friends. Live well & be well, pregnant or not!