Staying Fit While Pregnant: Advice From A Fitness InstructorOctober 11, 2018 [Sarina Jain]
Staying Fit While Pregnant: Advice From A Fitness Instructor
There are so many opinions out there on what to do and not to do during pregnancy. As a pregnant fitness instructor, I get a lot of “looks” and questions like “should you be doing that?”
Sometimes people consider pregnancy as a disease and are afraid to move at all. In reality, taking action steps to stay fit throughout your pregnancy has many benefits for both you and the baby. It can ease any discomfort or pain you may experience, give you more energy and prepare you for a successful delivery.
From one pregnant woman to another, here are a few important tips to keep in mind. Please note that I am not a doctor. It’s recommended to always check with your OB/GYN before starting or continuing any program or making adjustments to your diet.
Maintain A Well Balanced Diet
As a vegetarian, I had to take extra precautions when it came to my diet, especially since I was eating for two. Making sure there was enough fresh produce and high-protein food in my daily diet were crucial. This was especially important after teaching multiple aerobics and Masala Bhangra classes every week!
Personally, I supplemented my existing diet with a cup of dal (an Indian staple made from legumes, lentils, peas, and beans), poured over basmati rice with ghee, moong beans, and chickpeas. I also drank protein shakes with peanut butter, dates, milk, 1 banana and vegan protein powder most mornings. And had 7 almonds every morning as a healthy snack.
It is easy to fall into cravings and use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever you want. But you can absolutely control your cravings with a little preparation.
When I lacked the “right” foods, it left me feeling nauseous. So stocking my pantry with healthier alternatives helped me stay on track.
TRY: Stock your pantry with healthier alternatives such as dates rolled in coconut and nuts (my faves!) instead of the regular chips and junk food. Also be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks as much as possible! Eating nuts like almonds and walnuts are also good for the baby's brain and body.
Exercise! Move Your Body!
As a fitness instructor who is currently pregnant with my second child (due any day now!), I can tell you firsthand that exercising during pregnancy is safe and can improve your health big time.
With that said, it’s important to exercise in moderation! This is not the time to “go hard” or hire a personal trainer. Remember to pace yourself and don’t overstretch. You’re carrying an extra 10-40 pounds that you don’t normally carry, so don’t do any strenuous workouts that could have a negative impact on your baby. In particular, avoid heavy weight training if it is not comfortable, over-exerting yourself during yoga, any exercises that involve lying on your back after the first trimester, and any ab strengthening workouts. Lifting weights is important but just make sure you are able to balance yourself and lift with no problems. The minute you feel uncomfortable, either go to a lighter weight or stop.
Try to start an exercise program if you are able to; this will ease you into the basics of working out, and you can slowly build on an existing routine. Take it slow, but make sure your workouts are consistent.
TRY: Lifting light weights, taking a brisk walk, swimming (or even wading in the pool), signing up for a prenatal yoga class or dance class. Check to see if there’s a Masala Bhangra near you!
Listen To Your Body
Physical exercise is so important. But it’s just as important to take care of yourself mentally. Listen to your body because you know it best. If something doesn’t feel right, consult your physician. If you’re feeling tired, rest!
Every pregnancy is different. During my first pregnancy, I noticed how easily I became overwhelmed with work and the stress of everyday life. I had a million thoughts and emotions traveling through me and the only thing that helped was setting aside 15-20 minutes a day to meditate. This really helped me channel positive energy into my life and adjust my focus.
As an expecting mom, you need your rest. You also deserve to be pampered. Treat yourself to your own spa day once in a while. Prop your feet up (or soak them in warm water with Epsom salt), read some trashy magazines, and watch a movie.
TRY: Mediation is a great way to help you clear your mind and focus on your breath. If you’re not used to meditation, try guided meditations. There are plenty of meditations on online and you can download apps such as Headspace and Calm to get started.
Congrats on your new addition to your family and I hope these personal tips have given you some insight. Take care of you and your baby. Whenever you have an opportunity to do so, prop your feet up and rest!
Keep moving, drinks LOTS of water for two, and be kind to yourself. You’re growing a whole person inside of you!
How do you take care of yourself during pregnancy? Tell us in the comments.