There is nothing more beautiful than creating a baby. Knowing that a little bean is growing inside of you can unleash feelings of love that you never felt before. But for a lot of moms it also can unleash concerns of guilt around their body as it changes.
This cannot be more true for myself.
As a fitness loving mama, I have always put my fitness and nutrition first. However with the rush of hormones and pregnancy induced exhaustion, making time to workout can sometimes be difficult.
I hear it all the time, that fitness comes to an instant halt as soon as those HCG levels rise! Exhaustion, swelling, no time, nausea, lack of motivation or even fear of hurting the baby can be the cause, and these can all come on with a force! To the point that some moms feel so overwhelmed and almost give up on their fitness routine while babe is in belly. This is not what we want to happen, so today I am going to share with you my ultimate Mommy ‘self love’ fitness tips to keep you active (which remember is important for both mom and babe) during your pregnancy!
- Love yourself
When you workout with LOVE you remove the focus from intense training to taking care of your body and your baby through fitness. Working out helps your blood to keep moving, helps keep your weight gain under control, releases good endorphins into your body and can be a great way to wake up in the morning!
Think about doing things that you WANT to do during pregnancy (it may not be a crazy intense cross fit workout with an instructor yelling at you). You could try Yoga (stay away from HOT yoga during pregnancy), swimming, playing at the park with your kids, going for a long walk and listening to a Pod Cast or even just a simple workout from a fitness APP on your iPhone.
Whatever you chose, put in your mind and heart that this activity is a form of love for you and babe.
- Be kind- you are growing a baby!
You may not be able to do 20 pushups or pull ups, you should not be sprinting up hills, and some times just the act of climbing stairs will get you out of breath. I have been there! I attempted to walk my normal 20 flights of stairs before a morning workout and I was gassed at the 2nd flight. It not that I was out of shape, rather that the blood flow in my body, while pregnant is much different, making some activities more difficult to keep up with. I had to be kind to myself during workouts, instead of talking negatively to myself. Do not question why you cannot keep up to your normal standards, rather be excited that you got active that day!
- Choose active recovery workouts:
I listed a few of these options in point one. What you want to think about here is doing things that are active (ie. not sitting on the couch) but are not strenuous to your changing body. I like to have one or two scheduled workouts a week (with weights or even just body weight) and then one or two active recovery workouts (think walks, yoga, playing with the kiddies).
- Try something new:
When I am pregnant I cannot do my normal HIIT cardio and heavy power lifting workouts. This is the time that I choose more gentle workouts that I usually do not have time to fit into my schedule when I am not pregnant. This is when I do flow yoga, ballet barre classes, pilates and swimming. These are not normally what I would use as workouts, but again right now the focus is not about making gains in my workout, rather enjoying my workouts and keeping them interesting so that I keep up the routine!
- KISS (keep it short and simple):
Workouts do NOT have to be 1 hour, they do not even have to be 45 minutes. 20 minutes a day is awesome for any mama-to-be! Again your mindset has to change here from challenging yourself through your workouts to loving yourself. If you already worked out 1+ hours at a time, and are still comfortable doing it, by all means keep it up! However if you are struggling to even get out of bed (especially with the lack of caffeine these days) then chop your workouts down to 20-30 minutes. If you are doing a 20 minute workouts, you can do a toned down version of Tabata. Which is doing an exercise for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. Choose 6 or 8 exercises and do each one for the 20 seconds on 10 seconds off circuit until you hit about 20 minutes. You can take a 1 minute break every 4 minutes for recovery. Click here (http://naturallyfitmom.com/pregnancy-tabata-workout/) for some sample Tabata workouts for moms!
- Nutrition matters most:
Those cravings can also lead us astray from our normal health diet habits.
As a Holistic Nutritionist, when I work with my own clients, I ask them to remain focused on healthy eating however to allow themselves ‘guilt free’ treats if the craving arises.
The best tip for controlling a craving is to:
- Drink a full glass of water before you indulge
- Make sure you have had the appropriate meal before your treat (ie. if its lunch time don’t eat the chocolate bar until you have had a your healthy lunch
- Set our a portion for the treat (ie. one scoop of ice cream) or go purchase your treat. You are less likely to indulge if you have bags of chips sitting around at home. Instead choose to go to the store and purchase a snack size bag.
- Your growing a baby – you don’t need to eat for two
Recently there has been a few changes in regards to nutrition and weight gain. This is not to make you think more about your weight, however the new recommendations actually say in the first three months (1st trimester) other than adding the right pre-natal vitamins and folic acid, you should make little changes to your normal diet (unless of course you were hanging out in the drive throughs at lunch time, then you might want to clean up your diet so the baby and you get lots of healthy nutritious meals during the pregnancy). In the second trimester you can add in 300 calories (think 1 apple with 1 TB of peanut butter or a slice of toast with half an avocado on it). The third trimester is about 500 calories (think apple with 2 TB of peanut butter and 8oz of fortified orange juice or 2 slices of toast with 1 whole avocado and a sprinkle of hemp seeds).
So your eating habits should not change to you chowing down as if you are eating for TWO people. Obviously sneaking in some treats (maybe an afternoon juice with a slice of banana bread is just fine as well. But to help you not gain to much weight during your pregnancy sticking to these guidelines will help!
In fitness and health
Melissa Shadd C.H.H.N
Melissa Shadd is a certified holistic nutritionist, mother of 2 with one on the way! She is also a co-host and producer on the Canadian parenting TV show Vanessa + Melissa. You can follower he daily across social media with her mama-partner-in-crime Vanessa at: