Posted in MAMA

An Active Pregnancy

Before I got pregnant – or when I very first got pregnant – I was beyond naive. I signed up for a 10K and 1-miler on the same weekend (instead of the Honolulu Marathon, of course) and assumed I’d slowly and happily jog through them with my barely-present bump and continue staying consistently, highly active through the whole 9 months.

By the time this weekend rolled around, I had been vomiting and barely eating for weeks. I was so nauseous in the first trimester I had trouble sleeping at night, didn’t want to socialize, and found most foods aside from bananas and crackers to be inedible. I still technically ‘completed’ these ill-fated digital races, but I half-jogged the one mile and walked the entire 10K. I also threw up several times during the 10K, and only continued because that was typical of any day at that time.

Now that I’m in my second trimester and counting down the days until the third, things have changed. I have a nice round belly that makes it tough to tie my shoes, but said belly is no longer growing and expanding like it was before. I can finally eat tomatoes again, have more energy, and can get through the day pretty normally with an afternoon nap. I can also walk/jog now that my new balance is under control, too.

Here’s a few things that have been incredibly helpful in staying active during my pregnancy.

Let It Go

This is the most important lesson of all. Whatever you thought pregnancy would be like, forget about it. You’re on your own unique journey and your body will be crystal clear on what it can and cannot tolerate. Sure, I’ve watched YouTube videos of women running half marathons or doing deadlifts or whatever else pregnant, but that’s their abilities and experience – not mine. I was an extremely active person before baby, and was almost completely sidelined by the first trimester alone. If that’s what’s right for me and my baby, I’m happy to stay on the bench as long as I need to.

Gym/Lifting Weights

The gym has been my go-to most days. I did some quick research to find safe exercises and even some that help build muscles for labor. My basic routine is a lighter/modified leg day with biceps & triceps and cool-down cardio.

At Home/Park/Wherever Workout

My husband is fairly active, and I’m usually playing soccer or skating right alongside him. Now that those things have been deemed off-limits, I started lugging my yoga mat, kettlebell and dumbbells with him to the park. This can also easily be done at home, at a kid’s soccer practice, or wherever.

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga is, according to my doctor, one of the best exercises for moms-to-be. It helps stretch out tight hips and uncramp crampy legs, bring some peace and stillness, and help with nausea and balance. Here’s one of my favorite youtube videos with minimal equipment I can do right at home.

Walking/Hiking

Running has been out of the picture for most of my pregnancy. At first, I was sick and dizzy, and then became wobbly and off-balance and plain old tired. Walking has been my best friend. I walk all the time, from taking my dog around the neighborhood to going to the track to taking a (literal) hike. Walking is low impact, keeps the heart pumping, and is gentle enough that I can do it on my worst days – and on those days, it actually makes me feel a lot better.

Important – I’m Not a Doctor

Just a quick note – I am not a doctor, and am sharing what’s worked specifically for me during my pregnancy. I ask my doc all kinds of crazy questions, and those include checking that everything listed above isn’t only safe for pregnancy in general, but for me and my pregnancy, specifically. Be sure to do the same with yours!

Posted in Lifting, Running

Motivation Monday: Morning Workouts

102fb94c2c5a3b64fca5deffeeb37f5d

To the a.m. exercisers, the sunrise yoga peeps, and the early birds – you all know the struggle. The real challenge of clocking in a morning workout isn’t setting alarms or going to sleep  super early. The struggle is in dragging ourselves out of our warm, cozy beds.

I mean, who wants to get out of bed and go run? Or go to the gym? Or drive off into the darkness at 5 a.m. for that early hot yoga class?

One of those crazies is me. I’ve fallen in love with a.m. workouts so much that it feels weird not to burn some calories first thing in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person, so getting in this routine was tough. I (and most who’ve known me for a few years) are pretty shocked that I can get myself to the gym without biting anyone’s head off.

8636a244a11f4f79eae4e05057d182c8

Benefits

While different schedules work for different people, I love my  a.m. workouts because of their plentiful benefits. According to numerous studies, I’m not alone; morning exercisers reportedly are more consistent, get better sleep, make healthier choices post-sweat sesh,  and stay more focused, energized, and productive throughout the day.

Sweating in the a.m. ensures my workout gets DONE, since it’s the first thing I tackle that day. There’s no time for excuses, tiredness or talking myself out of stopping by the gym.

Working out in the morning also puts a cocky little pep in my step. I stroll into work refreshed, energized, and proud that I logged an hour at the gym or a five mile run before my day even started. I feel happy, healthy, and in control of my health.

It’s also easier to make healthier choices and avoid the daily slew of office temptations when I’ve already put in some sweat & hard work. Instead of knocking back donuts and coffee just because they’re there, I find myself rationally deciding if the extra sugar & calories are worth it. Most of the time, they’re not; instead of depriving myself, I’m making a choice based on what I actually want.

bf43432e9165b2c9465f79e91fff66e5Make it Easy-Peasy

Here’s a few tips from a former non-morning person on how to make rolling out of bed easier.

1. Pack EVERYTHING up the night before.

It’s so much easier to get out of bed when all you have to do is grab your stuff and go. Lay out your workout clothes, pack your gym bag, prep your lunch for the next day – the more prepared you are, the more likely you are to stick with it.

2. Get enough sleep.

It seems simple enough, but it’s easy to get distracted by binge-watching American Horror Story the night before and not getting enough shut-eye. Naturally, snagging more sleep makes snoozing past your alarm a lot less tempting.

3. Have a solid plan

Lastly, know exactly what you’ll be doing – what muscle group you’re working out, how many miles you’re biking/running, etc. so you can properly budget time for showering & getting to work.