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Exercising While Pregnant

I figured it was high time I did a blog post outlining the changes I've made in my fitness since becoming pregnant with our third child. I came into this pregnancy likely in the best shape I've been since becoming a mom (we won't talk about my real athlete days which are long, long gone). A nice balance of Pure Barre classes, Mecka's BodyLab and Bootcamp classes, and the extra work on our Peloton Tread had me in really great shape and feeling really great about my overall fitness.

Before I get into it, first and foremost, you should consult with your obstetrician before taking anything I'm about to say into consideration. I'm sharing my personal experience with this pregnancy as well as the last two and I have no REAL pregnancy training as it pertains to fitness outside of working directly with my clients to find modifications. So, please talk to your doctor! I get a lot of questions about this - "What should I be doing differently?" and as silly as it is, listening to your body is always my response. But let me dive a little deeper.

My first trimester, I was really lucky to only have exhaustion. I mean - knock on wood, I've never been a sick pregnant woman and I recognize how ridiculous that is! I'm so lucky to be able to keep moving - that said, I think that the more you move (just walk around the block!), the better you're ultimately going to feel. My exhaustion would hit in the afternoon, and I was essentially bound to the couch aside from days I was teaching my evening barre classes. Those were great because I was forced to move! I was able to continue going to BodyLab classes which is a pretty intense way to spend an hour of fitness. I definitely wasn't sprinting at my full capacity or completing the work on the floor at an aggressive level. Again, it came down to work: I love to take the classes I'm coaching later in the day, so for my mind, I was able to look at this like work. I knew if I had a grasp on the class I was coaching later, I'd be better for it. So, it was easy to get to BodyLab in the morning knowing that!

When COVID-19 first popped onto the scene and we were transitioning to staying home, my training needed to change, and I was entering my second trimester, starting to show. I was taking at least one or two barre classes a week virtually, trying to do at least one old BodyLab class a week, and otherwise have been training using the Peloton Tread (I enjoy the interval runs, fun runs, and bootcamps). Moving my body six days a week has genuinely kept me sane. That said, as I've gone on in my pregnancy, the things I've always had to look out for in prior pregnancies began creeping up. Round Ligament Pain being one of them, and I'm careful to cool it when I feel this - for me, I typically only feel this when I am running hard - if I cramp up at all, it's down to a walk. In ab work, I'm careful not to do the side-to-side movements you might see in a Russian Twist. I do have some Diastasis Recti from the last two pregnancies, and I'm trying not to make it worse this time around.

I wanted to write this because I've recently had a lot of people ask me what they should be doing. While again, you should talk with your doctor, my biggest thing is to continue doing what you're doing (assuming you're not doing anything dangerous!), until you feel like you can't or it is unsafe to do so. My thought process is, maybe next week I can't run anymore, so this week I'm going to run as much as body allows. Listening to your body is going to provide you with the tools to know when to tone it down, should you need to. There are days my brain wants to run five miles on the tread, my playlist is killer, I like my outfit, and I'm .78 miles in and my body says "no way," so, I walk. There's nothing wrong with walking on those days and listening to your body and learning what it is telling you is the only way you're going to feel great. My advice is to you is to keep moving. For your sanity, for your birth plan, and for your body! You're going to feel accomplished and great after you complete a workout regardless of whether or not you're pregnant, so continuing to move and keeping hydrated is paramount. In my prior two pregnancies, Pure Barre has been my saving grace. My deliveries have been (luckily!) easy, and generally speaking, I recover quickly - I owe it all to Pure Barre and staying active. You can really take it just about up until you're ready to give birth.

As it pertains to weight gain, this pregnancy, my weight gain has been more than in past pregnancies through this point - it drives me absolutely crazy when I see posts or first-time mothers saying they don't plan to gain a lot of weight - it really might be completely out of your control, does anyone say to themselves, "I'm prepared to fully let myself go! Bring it on!"? I don't know if it's because I'm about four years older or if it's because I'm eating a lot more, but generally speaking, I still feel really, really good, so I'm calling it a victory, a few pounds heavier, I know I am healthy.

I did receive a request for core exercises that are safe while pregnant and frankly, this is a tough place to answer! You're supposed to avoid anything that's going to give you the "coning" of the abs, which for me, happens pretty easily. I feel like this article does an incredible job of outlining what you should and should not do, the body parts and muscles at work, as well as make recommendations about what you can be doing. I should note, I've really been loving the stretching available on the Peloton. I've also been leading a Sunday Stretch at Pure Barre which has really helped - two times I've done the Sunday Stretch and PR'ed a run on Monday, it seems to make all of the pain less likely to hit, so I think stretching will be my best friend as we continue this pregnancy.

The other thing I wanted to touch on in this blog post is I recently scooped a new pair of running shoes I am LOVING, and I wanted to share them! I'm still loving the Nobull Knit Runners for all things bootcamp - if there's a CrossFit AND running element to your workout, these are a no-brainer, but for if you're just running, the Nike React Infinity Flyknits are awesome. The Flyknits are intended for running training - to reduce injury. I honestly got a targeted Nike ad for these and clicked through and it really made a lot of sense to me! For sizing, I am typically between a 7 & 7.5, for the NoBull Runners, I'm in a 7, for the Nike Flyknits, I ordered a 7.5 and am grateful for the extra space - I have a narrow foot and both of these are working wonderfully for me. If you choose to shop through the link above to the Flyknits, you'll save 15% off your first and second order with Carbon38 if you use code MOLLYKNO20. Take advantage - their clothing is awesome too, so many of the sets I love I've found on there! As it pertains to other things I'm wearing without venturing into maternity wear, look no further than the Lululemon Align Pants in the 25" length. I actually said out loud to Jeff, "If I buy anything other than these pants for the rest of the pregnancy I'm an idiot," so that's how I feel about these. They aren't too tight around the waistband, and in past pregnancies, I was able to continue wearing them after the fact - the waistband does not stretch out. I am typically a 4 in Lululemon and I size up to a 6 while pregnant, but it's not like I can't wear a 6 afterwards, if you're familiar with their sizing.

All in all, this is a lot of text about encouraging you to keep moving while pregnant, but to listen to your body. I hope I don't come off as a jerk, but I wanted something static to refer back to when someone asks! I'm always happy to talk about my experiences and what has worked for me, so feel free to DM me or email me, always! I hope this helps!

Molly Knorr
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