By Lisa RheaI had big plans to write a six-month postpartum follow-up blog. But as they say, the best laid plans… Time got away from me with the holidays, my husband came home from overseas, and before I knew it, I was reading two pink lines again. While the reality of having two little ones under two is a little overwhelming, we are ecstatic to be expecting another baby, and happy to have them close together in age. Thankfully, my fitness level had returned to its pre-pregnancy state prior to getting pregnant again.
My weight was close to the same as it was pre-baby, give or take a few pounds, I was just as strong, just as fast – if not faster – and my core and floor were strong with no abdominal separation.
Postpartum I actually hit personal records in both my squat and deadlift. At six-weeks pregnant with this baby, I ran a 10k at a comfortable 10-minute-mile pace, then completed a fitness test the next day – clocking a 7:20 mile, 49 strict push-ups, 58 sit-ups in 2 minutes and 2 dead-hang pull-ups.
All this is to say, I felt confident my body had recovered and I was ready to do this all over again.
A Trying First Trimester
So just when Corbin started sleeping great and I had weaned him, my newfound energy went right out the window again. Morning sickness – in the form of feeling hungover all day – hit and healthy eating went right out the window.Like many women during that time, it was all I could do to get any food down, and the idea of meat and vegetables was repulsive. Instead I lived on Honey Nut Cheerios, bagels, orange dreamsicle yogurt and chocolate. Did I beat myself up about not eating healthy? Nope. I knew it was temporary and when I started feeling better, I got back to eating healthy – with a few extra treats, that is. My workouts also suffered during my first trimester. My heart rate was through the roof, and I quickly found myself lacking the energy for the difficult workouts I was accustomed to. I had been training in a group setting, which I loved, but found myself pushing harder to keep up instead of listening to my body, so I switched to the YMCA and back to setting my own workouts.
During the first trimester, there aren’t a lot of physical limitations given the baby is so tiny, but fatigue is a huge factor. So I backed off, and was able to stay active without being too drained to chase my very active baby boy around. Somedays that meant just a walk in the park, other days I could bust out a decent leg workout.
Over the Hump, and on with the Bump
Now that I’m past the first trimester, I’m feeling like myself again. Well, myself with an ever-expanding midsection. And in kind, I’m back to training more regularly and eating better. My workouts are still not at my pre-pregnancy level, but they are challenging. My diet is far from perfect, but it’s healthy and balanced.This time around I’m much more confident and comfortable with not only my changing body, but also trusting my instincts when it comes to training and eating. Each woman and each pregnancy is different, and a desire to be healthy and fit must be met with self-compassion.
Now, more than ever, I realize pregnancy is not the time to be concerned pant sizes and personal pride, but it’s also no time to neglect exercise and nutrient intake. The benefits of exercise for your baby are so significant, it’s a shame many women are afraid to train. Yet, society still struggles to accept and encourage active pregnant women.
Most doctors will tell you that you can continue doing what you did pre-pregnancy in regards to exercise, which is true for the average person. But for someone who trains at a high level, this just isn’t the case. There is a need to make modifications and it can be stressful trying to navigate the waters. My first pregnancy I did a tremendous amount of research, outlined in Shake ‘n Bake: A Guide to Exercising During Pregnancy, which has helped paved the way for me this time around.
As I said, there’s no one way to approach pregnancy exercise and eating, but sometimes it helps to see what others are doing. I often post my workouts on my Instagram page, and here’s a glimpse at a current day of training and eating:
5 Minute Warm-up on Treadmill
Walking Overhead Lunges with Medicine Ball (15 each leg) x 3
Princess Lunges from Step superset with Lateral Leaps (10 each leg) x 3
Barbell Squat 10 x 4
Glute Abductor Machine 15 x 3
*Workout designed by my current training partner Cindy Rhea
1/2 cup oatmeal
3 eggs/1 yolk
1 slice cheese
1/2 cup ground turkey (cooked)
2 small red potatoes, mashed
1/4 cup cheddar
tomatoes, avocado, sour cream and salsa
2 mini candy bars
handful trail mix
grilled chicken thigh
small salad with ranch dressing
1 cup roasted sweet potato wedges
1 slice french bread
brownie and hot chocolate