27 Weeks and Feeling It!

Hi guys, so I’ve reached a ripe old 27 weeks so trimester three is starting in just a few days. Whilst getting the nursery ship-shape, I’ve also been really cutting back the intensity of my workouts but still making sure that I keep healthy and happy!

By now, the tiredness tends to kick in for most and even the most active of us (myself included) need to factor rest into our schedules! So I’ve taken up swimming more than the usual cardio machines as it is a fantastic way to keep working the heart and lungs whilst taking the pressure off of the legs and hips. Throughout pregnancy your centre of gravity changes and as your weight becomes more centred, your legs get tired and achy. Unfortunately for many women, varicose veins is something that plights you during pregnancy. It is unsightly and painful but it is important to strike the right balance between keeping active and resting the legs. Neither in extremes help, both in moderation do!

So, what exercise am I doing now? Well I’m still mixing up cardio and resistance. But I’ve lightened my weights and am using a max of 3 kilos. I’m no longer raising my arms above my head to ensure that my heart rate doesn’t go too high or that I become light-headed or dizzy. I’m taking regular breaks and drinking lots of fluids and I’ve stopped running.

Instead, I’m walking uphill at a steady but comfortable pace that increases my breathing rate but does not prevent me from having a comfortable conversation! I’m still using the cross-trainer but I’m not staying on it for more than 15 minutes. I’m using the stationery recumbent (that is the more horizontal version) bike. I’m limiting my cardio to 40 minutes at the very very most but generally more like 30 minutes with breaks when necessary. I’m staying very well hydrated and making sure that I keep drinking after the end of my workout too.

I’m still keeping lunges and squats as paramount parts of my workout and I’m making sure that I work my back with bent over rows and seated row in the weights area. Women are prone to lordosis (curvature of the spine) during pregnancy as a result of the baby bump and keeping your back strong helps to avoid this becoming a problem.

Although I do feel more tired than usual I know that by keeping active I am actually reducing the amount of tiredness that I feel and I’m keeping my heart, lungs and muscles strong as I prepare for d day!

Keep up the good work guys!

By abbiholland

Working Out…I Can Do It!

Here is my first workout session that I recommend. I’m in Trimester 2 and I’m still comfortably doing it three times per week!

Always make sure that you warm up.

Cardio-Running:

I’ve never been a true distance runner, I’m more of an interval sort of runner so I never intended to cover long distance with my growing bump but for those of you that are regular distance runners, it is safe to keep up your routine but you’ll need to slow it down a little as you’ll find that your heart rate increases far more quickly than it did previously so you’ll get more out of breath and tire more quickly so you’ll need to adapt what you are doing to work with that.

One thing I have started to do more of is alternate between jogging and walking uphill. The added incline is fantastic bum and thigh toner and it really does get your heart rate up. Aim to get the incline up to around 5% initially at a speed that just challenges you to maintain a fast walk. So a good cardio programme would be:

1 min jog

2 minutes uphill walk

You could repeat this as many times as possible for 15-20 minutes

Cardio-Cross trainer:

 The great thing about the cross trainer is that it is really low impact so as you get bigger you won’t feel like you are thumping down instead, you can continue to glide gracefully! I recommend that you start with just a continuous level for 15-20 mins in order to get used to the movement. Some people find it kind of weird but once you get the hang of it, it’s a great little calorie burner!

Resistance:

 15-20 squats x 3 sets– make sure your feet are hip width apart, your shoulders are back, your chest is up and sit back as if you were sitting on a chair putting the focus of weight into your heels. Then used your thighs and your bum to lift you back up. If these are too easy you can add a weighted bar to your shoulders or hold dumb bells but remember, you have 3 sets to get through!

10-15 lunges on each leg x 2-3 sets–  make sure that both knees are at a 90 degree ankle, you do not want to come forward on that front knee, you want to drop down. Again, add weights if you want to

10-15 biceps curls x 2-3 sets– use 2-4 kgs or up to 6 if you are a regular weight trainer

10-15 shoulder raises x 2-3 sets– this is a challenging exercise so take the weight right down!

10-15 Abdominal hollowing x 3 sets– in all fours position, alternate between controlled tucking in of the tummy and rounding of the shoulders followed by raising back up and reaching your chin to the skin and dipping your back right back down.

Phew, the hard work is over, you now need to head onto the bike or another low impact machine to get your heart rate steadily down. Then you can find a quiet place and stretch out those hard-working muscles!

I hope that you enjoy the workout as much as I do and I’ll keep posting new updates!!

By abbiholland

A Pregnant Personal Trainer’s Guide to Staying Fit and Keeping Healthy During Those Challenging 40 weeks

I don’t know about you but I spent many years thinking that I’d let pregnancy become an opportunity to gorge myself on treats and put my feet up as much as possible and then I became pregnant and the reality hit me that whatever junk I was putting into my body was actually going straight to my little person growing inside and all of those rather nasty ingredients in those VERY tasty treats could actually be doing the baby harm. In recent years gestational diabetes has become more and more commonplace and that is not a condition that you want to be faced with when you are already dealing with a surge in hormones, a growing baby inside, nausea, tiredness, swollen limbs….all the things they don’t tell you at school!!!!

So, I have taken the very sensible decision to be a healthy and active expectant mother. For the sake of mine and my baby’s health, I am going to catalogue my activity chart and the healthy eating choices that I have made in order to help other mum’s out that want to stay on the path to fitness despite their growing bump.

Exercise is actively encouraged during pregnancy and with some very simple modifications, you can keep up your regular routine or even start to exercise throughout your pregnancy. There are a number of very important guidelines that you need to follow but most importantly, you need to listen to your body. If it is saying “this doesn’t feel right” then you must stop and take it easy. Pregnancy is not the time to start training for optimum times in a marathon, it is the time to maintain good cardiovascular and muscular fitness and endurance ready for that big day when you and your small person get to meet! Regular exercise has been proven to aid in reducing labour times and generally prepare the muscles and the lungs for a very gruelling experience.

 

About me:

I’m Abbi. I am a REPS Level 3 Personal Trainer with a specialism in ante and post natal fitness (how handy!) and most importantly I am currently 22 weeks pregnant with my first baby….a boy due in December. Exercise is a huge part of my life and I’m very happy to be able to share with you my hints and tips on how to keep in good fitness and keep a good healthy shape whilst you are pregnant.

My first trimester was a bit horrid as the nausea really knocked me for six and the only thing that helped me was gentle exercise. I took to walking a lot as I couldn’t face the tube or bus for fear of any “accidents” but in fact, walking offered me a great chance to keep fit and generally get to see new parts of London! For those of you that don’t consider walking exercise, you are very wrong! I can safely say that the uneven surfaces and the regular motion of purposeful strides create a great workout and you’d be surprised to hear that you can burn some serious calories if you get a pace on!

 

Important Exercise Guidelines:

1–    Get clearance from your Doctor that you are OK to exercise

2–    During the first trimester in particular (but this is relevant to all three trimesters), ensure that your body temperature does not get too elevated. Wear layers so that you can strip off as you get too warm

3–    Stay hydrated: keep a bottle of water with you to sip regularly and make sure you drink water before and after working out

4–    You should be able to speak throughout your workout. If you are breathless to the point that you cannot speak then you are working too hard, so STOP!

5–    If you are new to exercise, always speak to a professional first to get some a detailed workout plan that is safe for you to do in your pregnant state

6–    If you were exercising regularly before getting pregnant then carry on with your routine but reduce the intensity and if you were using heavy weights, reduce the weight but increase the reps if you feel you need a challenge

7–    Do not let your heart rate get too high. If you feel dizzy or sick, this is your body telling you to STOP!

8–    Enjoy your workout! This is your time to feel good and do something for yourself!

9–    The warm up and cool down are both very important so make sure that you warm up slowly for at least 5 mins and same goes for the cool down again for 5 mins

10– Do not lie on your back to exercise after 13 weeks

11– Relaxin is a hormone present throughout pregnancy and beyond, it affects your muscle elasticity and makes them more malleable which means that you can be more prone to injury so don’t go over-stretching!!!

 

Terminology

1 rep max = this is the absolute heaviest weight a healthy person can lift in one repetition

MHR = Maximum Heart Rate

Interval training: increasing and then decreasing the intensity of exercises and then repeating this for a set duration

By abbiholland