My experience: exercise during pregnancy

My first Spartan Race since my pregnancy is coming closer. While this is exciting, it is also scary. I’m wondering how ready I am going to be in two months. At the moment I am five months postnatal, and although I kept pretty active (being a personal trainer and all) during my pregnancy, my fitness level is not where I thought it would be by now.

In my mind I would get my fitness level back right away. Pick up where I left my things and continue from there. It couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What exercise did I do during my pregnancy?

As a new mom and personal trainer, the moment I found out I was pregnant I started studying for Pre- and Postnatal Fitness certifications. I wanted to make sure I continued my exercise in a healthy way. And meanwhile help other moms or moms-to-be as well.

During my first trimester I was so tired, I pushed myself through the day and slept whenever possible. Luckily I did not have to throw up a lot, but I was nauseaus all the time! Furthermore, like a lot of others I guess, we decided to share the news only after the first trimester. Which meant that colleagues and clients had no idea (or at least that is what I thought…try to keep it hidden from clients who are nurses or doctors. I think someone even knew I was pregnant before I knew it myself!). Although I know it is good to keep moving, even for me it was pretty difficult to keep to any exercise during the first trimester.

Second trimester onwards I felt a bit better. My belly was not very visible as well, which meant I could still do a lot of exercises. I continued teaching high intensity and strength classes until 7 months pregnant. Furthermore I trained my clients until 1 week before delivery. Very well timed!

I changed my running for cycling or walking. I did miss my running, but I did not feel comfortable doing it during my pregnancy. Besides that I continued with some full body strength training. I went a bit down with the amount of weight to be on the safe side. Overall, I probably walked or cycled for three times a week. Then strength training two times. Sometimes more or less depending on how I felt.

Meanwhile during that same period I decided to make a sprint for a promotion before delivery and motherhood would be coming up. This meant longer and busier days, and in combination with sharing my energy with my growing baby, it was sometimes difficlt. But I made it!

Exercises I wish I had done more…

Prenatal yoga was definitely on my list. The reason for this was I thought it would be nice to be able to relax for a bit. Have some ‘me’ time, in a time where your belly is the main focus from everyone. Also I thought it would be nice to share some experiences with other mommies to be.

Unfortunately all the classes in my area were before office hours, lunch or after office hours, which is also the peak timing for my clients.

Instead I followed an antenatal parenting class at a hospital. One of the sessions was fitness during pregnancy. I noticed that the foundation of these exercises was new to a lot of moms. The exercises were good, but quite basic. In the end this gave me the idea to set up pre- and postnatal fitness classes. I am confident that maintaining a healthy and fit body during your pregnancy can be more interesting and fun!

Which exercise did I miss the most during pregnancy?

The first thing that pops to my mind is Spartan! For anyone not familiar with it, a short description would be: a running race with approximately 25 obstacles you have to overcome, such as climbing over walls, monkey bars, crawling under wire or carrying heave buckets. If you fail the obstacle you need to do 30 burpees, which is a full body exercise including squat and push up. Yes, people pay for this. I assure you it is fun.

For completing these Spartan races I focused on full body fitness. One of my main activities was going on trail runs with my husband. I guess I missed that the most.

The other thing I missed was going all out during high intensity interval trainings.

Flash forward to now…

My first Spartan race experience after pregnancy. Coming soon…

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