Maintaining your fitness during pregnancy can be a daunting task, especially when up against morning sickness, constant fatigue, and feeling like you are fighting an uphill battle with your growing baby bump! However, since I am planning an unmedicated vaginal delivery (fingers crossed!) I felt like I needed to be as physically prepared for the day as possible. Here are a few tools I’ve found helpful for staying strong during these last 34 weeks!
Now, before I go into my pregnancy routine, I want to give a disclaimer about my pre-pregnancy fitness. I was a collegiate volleyball player and although I no longer play at anywhere near that level, I have consistently gone to the gym anywhere from 2-4 times a week for the last few years. When I moved to Japan I didn’t have access to a gym, so I was using Kayla Itsines BBG Program and running frequently for about 6 months before getting pregnant. This is a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) program that I found really challenging, but had great results with! At that time I was working out about five times per week. Anyways, basically I was feeling like I was in pretty good shape when I got pregnant…but then something happened…
The First Trimester!
As with many people, my fitness routine quickly fell off once I started dealing with morning sickness and fatigue (you can read more about my first trimester experience here). I definitely did not have the energy to continue the HIIT workouts I was used to. However, I still wanted to do my best to maintain what I had worked so hard for. In the first trimester I switched to a new workout app, Nike+ Training Club. Some of my favorite aspects of this app are:
- There are a variety of workouts with different focuses and intensities, so you never get bored!
- Most of the workouts require little to no equipment and not much space. I recommend having at least a yoga mat though!
- The workouts are created and demonstrated by real trainers and athletes. You can see a video demonstration and also hear the trainer telling you how to accomplish the move.
- The app tracks which workouts you’ve completed and gives you recommendations based on that.
- You can choose between 15, 30, and 45 minute workouts.
- It’s free!
Here’s a quick rundown of how the app works:
Once you sign up and log in, the app will give you some workout recommendations depending on your fitness level. The app can also create a fitness plan for you! I haven’t tried it yet but it looks like it would be a great place to start.
You can also browse the workouts by focus (strength, endurance, or mobility) or by type.
Once you begin a workout, an instructor will demonstrate each move for you through video. The app also keeps track of the time for each move. Note: Some workouts are based on repetitions instead of time, but I personally prefer the time-based ones while pregnant in case I have to slow down and only do a few good reps instead of killing myself to finish the recommended amount!
Now to my pregnancy fitness routine…
First Trimester Weekly Fitness Goals:
- Do at least two Nike+ Training Club low/moderate intensity workouts
- Do one outdoor run
Some of my favorite first trimester Nike+ Training Club workouts were:
- Open Rotation – 15 mins (Low)
- Extend Your Range – 15 mins (Moderate)
- 360 Degrees Stronger – 30 mins (Moderate)
- Powered by Strength – 45 mins (High) I only had energy for this one day though!
- Wake up Warrior – 15 mins (Low)
- Ab and Butt 2.0 – 30 mins(Moderate)
In general, I just did whatever workout I felt like I could do on that particular day. Most days that meant no workout, but seeing an interesting workout on the app helped me stay motivated.
Second Trimester Weekly Fitness Goals:
- Do at least three Nike+ Training Club workouts
- Bike or walk as much as possible every day
During the second trimester, I pretty much stopped running because I honestly felt strange running outside with a baby bump! But, I tried to do more workouts to make up for that since I had more energy during this trimester.
Some of my favorite second trimester Nike+ Training Club workouts were:
- Opening Time – 15 mins (Low)
- Drill Essentials – 15 mins (Low)
- Cut to the Core – 30 mins (Moderate)
- 360 Degrees Stronger – 30 mins (Moderate)
- Equipment Essentials – 30 mins (Moderate)
- No Speed Limit – 30 mins (Moderate)
- Burn Through the Core – 45 mins (Moderate)
- Leaner Legs 2.0 – 15 mins (Moderate)
Note: I pretty much was able to do all the exercises in each workout, but if I ever felt uncomfortable, I would either do less repetitions or change the exercise to something I could do. This was particularly true with some of the ab exercises since I felt some were too straining for my growing belly.
Third Trimester Weekly Fitness Goals:
- Do three Nike+ Training Club workouts per week (one each of mobility, strength, and endurance)
- Attend a prenatal pilates class once per week
Now that I am in the third trimester, I still feel like I have a lot of energy. In fact, I am realizing my fitness goals keep increasing as time goes on! However, I wanted to be more specific with my workouts so I am making sure to do a mobility, strength, and endurance workout every week.
Some of my favorite third trimester workouts are:
- Body Flexor 2.0 – 30 mins (Moderate)
- Motion to Burn – 30 mins (Moderate)
- Floor to Core – 30 mins (Low)
I’ve never been much for workout classes, but in order to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles and increase my flexibility, I added a prenatal pilates class to my workout regime once a week. If you are in Tokyo, I highly recommend My Body My Pilates in Minami Azabu! I’ve seen a huge difference in my posture and flexibility since attending and I am hoping to continue throughout my third trimester and beyond. My Body My Pilates also offers a postnatal class I hope to take!