I have always been active. As a kid and teenager I played sports, was involved with horses, loved hiking and climbing trees, and just about anything that kept my body busy. Over the last ten years, I have dedicated my life to being healthy and active, and at the age of 20, I decided to make my love for fitness official when I went to school for personal training.
That was almost 9 years ago now, and as the time goes by I continue to adapt, adjust, and advocate my passion.
I’ve done one-on-one training, group bootcamp classes, trained and coached myself for a bikini competition, coached youth sports, and have learned to keep my body healthy as I go from a long-distance runner to a strong mama who isn’t afraid to lift more than her kids.
Long story short, fitness is a part of who I am. Fitness is a part of my past, as it is a huge part of the future I plan for myself and my children.
During the last five of those 10 years, I have been pregnant three times. Currently, I am 21+ weeks pregnant with my third, and have continued to not only maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, but that has kept me very consistent with my composition and athletic abilities between each pregnancy.
(When I say “athletic abilities” I also mean I am able to move my body as it’s MADE to be moved. Nothing heroic or olympian by any means.)
When I got pregnant with my first, I was mostly still a runner, but did plenty of light weight and body weight exercises to maintain balance. I was right around 110 pounds, and 14% body fat. I continued to walk/jog and do lighter workouts throughout the pregnancy. Parker was born 10 weeks early, and no one knows why to this day.
With my second pregnancy, I was actually pregnant while on stage at a bikini competition where I was 111 pounds, and 11% body fat. Obviously my body was nourished as it should be, or I wouldn’t have gotten pregnant. I lifted heavy throughout this whole pregnancy as well as walked and hiked. I was the strongest and leanest I’ve ever been when I got pregnant with my second. I stopped lifting heavy (and continued to lift lighter weights) ONLY about a month before our daughter was born. She was 38+ weeks and a healthy baby. Labor was quick and as perfect as it gets.
I began this pregnancy at 111 pounds, and 13% body fat. This pregnancy has been the hardest on me physically, as I have had a million more stresses, adjustments in our personal lives, and with having the two kiddos at home full time…one in which I am home-schooling. My body aches more, and it begs me for more frequent workouts or at least more activity. Not only is my body feeling the changes, but my stress levels could use the workouts as well. I also know, if I were to get in even small, less intense workouts, I would have more energy to chase after my two kiddos, the two goats, the two dogs, and make sure the chicks, chickens and bunny all get the attention they deserve as well. Energy is very much needed.
Regardless, I have still been able to get in 1, maybe 2 workouts a week, as well as a walk or so. With the weather changing, and me being the constantly cold woman I am, our Bob isn’t getting in as many outings as we would all like. Though I am very blessed and thankful for the ability to be even as active as I am now, there are days I have a hard time with either feeling like I need more so I don’t lash out and allow stress to win, or there are people who make it worse by telling me to “don’t over-do it”, “lifting weights isn’t safe during pregnancy” or “go eat a pizza, you are pregnant” and it makes me crazy.
The reality is, my body is used to exercise, and God made our bodies (yes…even as women) with the ability to move and be fit. And most importantly, I know my body.
Here’s the thing: Who wouldn’t want to reap the benefits of exercise during pregnancy anyways?!
- Squats help prevent back and pelvic pain, as well as increase and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
- Walking, swimming, and/or light impact activities help keep yours and baby’s weight in check, while also helping to prevent gestational diabetes, regulating blood pressure, and kicking stress to the curb. Walking for me also helps loosen up any aches and discomforts pregnancy might be creating.
- According to Ina May Gaskins, you should squat 300 times a day for a quicker birth.
- More energy!
- Upper body weight/strength training helps improve posture that may be thrown off because of your already changing body and baby belly.
- And, once baby is born, you bounce back and heal so much faster! And then, the greatest benefit of all is allowing your littles to witness their mama in action living a fit lifestyle so that they too grow a passion for the same.
For me personally, I will always recommend an active lifestyle. Even during pregnancy. Obviously each woman and each pregnancy is different, so finding ways to adjust to fit your needs is important. Because of my background, I am confident that I can use my body appropriately and safely while exercising. Having good form, knowledge of lifts, and knowing my body’s limits is all crucial…but not something I worry about. No, it’s not a fad, or an attempt for attention. It’s a lifestyle, one that began ten years ago, and only continues to adapt, adjust and one I’ll continue to advocate.