Staying Active Throughout Your Pregnancy

Let me start this off by saying, fitness is my job. My husband and I run our own CrossFit gym, and I coach several classes each week. I talk to people about fitness multiple times per day, and was working on my own fitness 4-5 times per week before getting pregnant. That being said, it may be easier for me to take the perspective I have when it comes to staying active during your pregnancy, and if you haven’t worked out regularly before it may seem insane. But just hear me out.

What I think is most important while you are pregnant is to listen to your body. That may mean going on short walks every day or it may mean scaling down CrossFit workouts. Just as long as you pay attention to how you are feeling while moving around, and don’t let your ego get in the way. Here are some of the ways I’ve been able to stay active while listening to what is going on with my changing body.

  • CrossFit – I’m still doing CrossFit style workouts about 3 times per week, sometimes it’s 4, sometimes it’s 1-2 depending on how I feel. There are many movements in CrossFit that I am not doing right now because of how my body has changed, and because I want to prevent any unnecessary stress or even injury from occurring. I do believe that CrossFit is for anyone and everyone, and that you can start doing it while you are pregnant even if you haven’t done it before – as long as you find a coach who can help you modify workouts according to your needs!
    • A quick guide on scaling:
      • Burpees – look up kickbacks. It’s basically a no-push up burpee. I did these until last week when they no longer felt good. Now I will sub burpees for elevated push-ups using a box.
      • Pull-ups – banded or jumping. No kipping.
      • Handstand Push-ups – Seated DB Press. I’m only going upside down to do my daily forward leaning inversions these days. For regular push-ups I use a box to do elevated.
      • Olympic lifting – Currently, I’m not doing cleans or snatches with a barbell. I mostly don’t want to learn a bad movement habit by going around my belly! I’ve done lifts with dumbbells or have just skipped workouts that included those lifts.
      • Sit-ups/planks/toes to bar – I don’t do any of these. I want to minimize the risk of diastasis recti so I mostly substitute KB swings for these.
      • Box jumps – Box Step Ups
      • Back/Front/Overhead Squats – I am still squatting, keeping good form in mind, and only using about 80% of my pre-pregnancy 1 RM for any percentage work. I may need to squat the baby out so I want to make sure my squat stays strong!
      • Press/Push Press/Push Jerk/Thruster – I’m still doing all of these movements, from the rack, and stopped split jerking when I felt my balance was a little off.
      • Deadlifts – These are still good, I typically scale the weight as needed.
      • Double Unders – I’m still doing these! Yes they make me feel like I have to pee, but what doesn’t these days.
      • Running – I usually row or Air Dyne.
    • Again, these are just my preferences up to this point (33 weeks). I’m open to the possibility that these may change in the coming weeks and I plan to trust myself and if something feels weird, I won’t do it anymore!
  • Yoga – I’ve never been an overly flexible person. I have tried to incorporate yoga into my routine as much as possible in the last few years. I’ve taken yoga classes and done yoga on my own with ROMWOD. Since getting pregnant, I have done flow-style classes that are offered at our gym, as well as ROMWOD on my own 3-4 days per week, and also added in prenatal yoga. I love the gentleness of the prenatal yoga and the positions that carry over into optimal fetal positioning. The classes I’ve taken have involved a lot of props and movements that accommodate a growing belly. I also have enjoyed the feeling of relaxation that the teachers instill, and at the same time some of the ways the poses challenge me now. I can recommend Rachel from Yoga Loft and Lisa from Bella Prana in Tampa, and would encourage anyone to find a class, even if you have never done yoga before.
  • Walking – One of my resolutions this year has been to get outside for at least 30 minutes every day. This usually involves going for a walk. I can walk to the gym from my house and therefore try to do so at least once per day, usually in the morning before teaching the 9:30am class. I also walk to the library nearby when I’m getting or returning a book. I take my dog with me on walks and if nothing else tell myself I need to walk to give her some exercise. I will even sometimes going outside and just pick up litter in my neighborhood because it gives me a reason to be outside when I would rather slack. If you don’t do any other exercise while pregnant, you should certainly get some walking in. Put on some music or a podcast and get outside for 20-30 minutes each day. I believe we feel worse when we are sedentary and getting some movement in can help with any discomfort pregnancy has brought on.

So there you go. This is what I’ve been able to do since getting pregnant for those who may need some encouragement to get up and get moving. Again, only do what you are comfortable with both mentally and physically and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. We are all on our own journeys and there is no one right answer for everyone.

I’m open to questions and comments of all kinds so please reach out to me! You can find me on Facebook at Primal Empowerment Health & Wellness and Instagram at PrimalEmpowermentHealth. Email me at info@primalempowerment.com.

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