Katrina, the super Mom behind Every Superwoman blog shares her pregnancy fitness journey.
When I think back to those early weeks of pregnancy, I can't help but laugh at my foolish self. Over the past two years, fitness became an integral part of my life. I was weight training 4-5x a week and running 10-15 miles a week training for a half marathon. When I found out I was pregnant, I set out a plan and it was simple; I'd work out my entire pregnancy, eat healthy, heal up for 5 weeks postpartum and run my first half marathon by 4 months postpartum. Yes, I was the poster child for "ignorance is bliss."
Despite being severely disillusioned, my main priority was the well being of my baby. I did not want to do anything to endanger the life of the precious little being that I was so inexplicably in love with already. So I did my research, talked to veteran moms and consulted with my doctor about continuing exercise during pregnancy. I learned that, given you've already been active prior to getting pregnant and are overall healthy, there are so many benefits to committing to a fit pregnancy. This includes reducing the risk of pregnancy complications like gestational diabetes, boosting mood and energy levels, prevents excess weight gain, helps recovery and so much more. Why wouldn't I want to continue with my fitness routine?
The first eight weeks of the first trimester was a breeze. Aside from the difficulty in containing my excitement and wanting to tell everyone the news, I had virtually no symptoms. I continued weight training, albeit with modified intensity. I no longer pushed myself to exhaustion and focused instead on mind-muscle connection. I felt fantastic. Then one day, fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. I woke up tired. Napped. Woke up even more tired. Ate and went back to sleep. This cycle perpetuated for the next five weeks. I could barely get up from the couch nevermind make it to the gym. I was exhausted. Not even 1/4 of the way through the pregnancy and already I abandoned my workouts. So much for my "plan."
Then, at around 13-14 weeks pregnant, fatigue was no longer an issue and I felt like I had all the energy in the world. After over a month hiatus, I made my way back to the gym. I remember feeling slightly uncomfortable because I was at that awkward phase where I didn't look quite pregnant but clearly put on some weight. My sports bra's were getting a little too snug and all of a sudden I was muffin toppin'. Even though weight gain and body changes are a given during pregnancy, my expanding waist line was a little difficult to accept. But with the encouragement from my husband, I kept going to the gym. My strength had significantly reduced but the endorphins post workout made it all worth it. I was no longer able to squat 100 plus pounds but I did the best I could. Plus my appetite had increased exponentially so I felt that resuming workouts semi-balanced my increased food intake.
At six months pregnant, my husband and I packed up a moving truck and moved 2000 miles across the country in pursuit of a new opportunity. After settling into our new townhome, we hopped around from gym to gym trying them out. By this point, it was obvious that I was pregnant and got a few weird stares from people who didn't think I belonged there. I didn't let this bother me because I knew I that keeping active and healthy was the best thing for my little boy. The key was listening to my body. I kept up with my workouts until I no longer felt comfortable. At about 35 weeks, my bladder was out of control and fatigue came back full force. Aside from evening walks, I made the decision to no longer resume workouts. That's what felt right to me and I have no regrets. I spent the next five weeks nesting and spending as much time as I could with my husband before life as we knew it changed. My total pregnancy weight gain was 19 lbs and my baby boy was born at 7 lbs. My recovery was textbook and I felt "back to myself" again almost immediately. However, I was consumed with all things newborn so I didn't start working out again until 12 weeks postpartum. By then, I had already lost the pregnancy weight just from nursing and proper diet alone. Over the next few months, I started weight training with my husband again and gradually built up my strength and endurance. At nine months postpartum, I still have ways to go for my own personal goals but I am happy with my progress so far.
If there is one advice that I can give to aspiring #fitmoms out there, it's that there is no "one road" to a fit pregnancy. Everybody is unique so don't get caught up comparing yourself to other women. Fit pregnancies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes so you do what feels best for you and your little one.
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