Before the baby:
Most importantly, check in with your doctor. Everyone's pregnancy is the different, so it's important to follow your doc's advice and listen to your body. During the first trimester, it's generally ok to continue to do what you've regularly done prior to the pregnancy. Regular exercise is really important and good for you, so try to keep a routine that works for you and your body.
Don't let your heart rate get too high. Ask your doctor to help you determine your own max heart rate for each trimester. The old rules limited every woman's heart rate to 140 BPM, but some doctors feel that the cardiovascular fitness level of each woman pre-pregnancy determines her max heart rate guidelines after she becomes pregnant
Some women find that as their pregnancy progresses, they're able to maintain cardiovascular fitness by using a stationary or spin bike, which can be more comfortable than other cardio equipment.
Be mindful of the fact that your balance might be a bit compromised as you grow, which is completely normal! Try basic balancing exercises by standing on one leg and holding your position for 30 seconds, switch legs, and repeat. In addition, lots of women continue to work with weights throughout pregnancy, although they may modify with lighter weights and higher reps.
The general rule of core workouts is that women in the first trimester of a "healthy" pregnancy can do most of the exercises she did before pregnant (within reason, of course). My personal advice is to stop crunches and twists and find ways to work your abs isometrically. Plank and modified plank position are generally comfortable in the first few months. Protect and strengthen your abs and lower back throughout the workout by gently drawing the abs in during weight and spring work. Keeping your midsection engaged is a great way to maintain core strength without crunching and twisting, which generally aren't advised as you start to grow.
You can modify squats by placing a ball behind your back against the wall and squatting; this will ensure proper form and will help protect the lower back.
After the baby:
Make sure to check with your doctor to get clearance before you start back on an exercise program. Remember to ease back into your program gradually, but keep it consistent. The more consistent the workouts, the faster you'll build endurance and strength.
A great way to maximize calorie burn and minimize boredom is to do 10 minute circuits that include cardio, squats, lunges, abs, and weights for the upper body. Work every muscle group with lots of ab work and 2-3 minute cardio bursts in between sets.
Remember that it takes time to lose the baby weight, and try to be patient with yourself as you adjust to the demands of motherhood.
Focus on short-term goals rather than the sometimes overwhelming goal of trying to be exactly where and how you were before you got pregnant.
Taking the baby for walks counts as exercise, and adding 10-15 minutes to your daily route will add up.
If you don't have time for a full workout, try to squeeze in little bits of exercise when you can at home. Crunches, leg raises, squats, lunges and push-ups are great exercises you can do anywhere!
About Lisa Corsello
Lisa is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, nutrition consultant and group fitness instructor who works with clients to create customized, goal-oriented exercise and nutrition plans. Using her extensive training and fitness background, Lisa has developed a popular new fitness technique called Burn. The 55-minute workout brings the benefits of dynamic individualized workouts to groups using a method that draws upon the best of Pilates, strength and core training for optimal results. Her programs emphasize constant movement using circuits to challenge and improve endurance, agility, balance and strength, with appropriate focus on stressing proper form and method. Each workout incorporates dynamic strength and cardiovascular training with active recovery techniques targeting all major muscle groups. Sessions are intended to be learning experiences that constantly evolve, keeping each one challenging and fresh. In addition to classes, Burn offers individual nutrition counseling and body composition assessment.
She has successfully adapted and applied her methods to clients with a wide range of abilities and capabilities; absolute beginners needing basic knowledge, enthusiasts who want to increase lean body mass and reduce body fat, people recovering from sports injuries or serious illness, and professional athletes in training. Lisa, a Lululemon Athletica Ambassador, has been a featured fitness expert on WebMDas well as inMy Family Doctor Magazine, LowCarb Magazine, Current Health Magazine, and Cornell University's Food & Fitness Advisor newsletter. In fact, Lisa is a regularly featured fitness expert on the KPIX Weekend Morning Show. Lisa is currently a contributing fitness expert on SingleMindedWomen.com.
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