Keeping Up Your Fitness Routine Through Pregnancy

By Jen Bauman, Elite Sports Club-Brookfield Group Exercise Director, ACE-certified Personal Trainer, Prenatal/Postpartum Exercise Certification

You have all heard of those women who talk about how they absolutely LOVED being pregnant. Well I have to say, I am one of them. I felt great throughout my entire nine months. I truly believe that the reason I felt so good, was that I kept up with my regular workouts. Now before I go any further, one thing I will say is that you must check with your doctor to make sure working out is okay for you as an individual. Every body and every pregnancy is different.

One of the first things I noticed was the fatigue. My heart rate was higher and it took much more out of me to perform my pre-pregnancy routine. I continued with my normal workouts but realized that I would have to slow down a bit to allow my body to take in enough oxygen for both the baby and myself. I also added a small snack before my workouts. I loved my banana, yogurt, and granola parfait that I’d whip up about 30 minutes before exercise. (As a general rule, 300 additional calories are needed per day during pregnancy.) Other than having to modify my intensity, I initially was able to continue with my cardio and strength workouts as I had pre-pregnancy.

pregnant woman on treadmillAs my pregnancy progressed, however, I did make several adjustments to my workouts. For cardio, I taught regular kickboxing and step classes, both of which I was able to continue. Nonetheless, my movements overall became smaller. Joints become more flexible during pregnancy so it is important to be aware of the range of motion you are taking your body through. I do remember around 8 ½ months feeling really light-headed after one of my step classes. This was my body telling me to stop what I was doing–always listen to what your body is telling you. From that point on, I replaced my step workouts with a walk on the treadmill.

Pregnant woman exercising with kettlebellFor my strength training workouts, it was really just a matter of adjusting my weights. As my belly got bigger, my weights got smaller. I continued to work all areas of the body, concentrating on my back to keep my posture strong. Standing for a prolonged period of time is not recommended, so I used a stability ball to sit on and perform rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, and overhead triceps extensions. If I was standing, I would make sure to maintain a wide stance, with my toes turned out. This provided a good base for stability. I also avoided lying flat on my back because it can decrease blood flow to the uterus. One option I used was lying on an exercise step with two risers on one end to provide an incline that was comfortable.

I have heard many women say they avoided working their abs entirely during pregnancy. I believe this is one of the most important areas to concentrate on. You can’t exactly perform bicycles until you’re exhausted, but you can work your core in other ways. I often used the stability ball to do slow, small crunches or did planks on my knees. Just this little isometric contraction is a great way to keep your abs tight and strong. However, avoid excessive oblique work, it can cause strain on the lower back.

These are just some of the concepts that helped me during my pregnancy. I can’t say that it helped me through the horrible, painful back labor I had, but I absolutely believe it helped keep my weight gain under control. It also allowed me a quicker return to my normal routine after giving birth. I plan on doing it all again with the next one!

Do you need help determining which exercises you should do while pregnant? Our certified personal trainers can help you set up a personalized plan! When you are in a group exercise class, you can also ask the instructor to for modifications.

What were your (or your significant others’) favorite ways to exercise while pregnant? Did you find that you had to temporarily give up certain workouts? Tell us in the comments!

Your Weight Loss Journey: How to Make a Change

By Rita Larsen, Elite Dietian & Nutrition Counselor

There are “Stages of Change” that each person must go through in order to actually do anything new. The Academy of Nutrition has the following listing of processes for every person’s development towards change in behavior:

  • Pre-contemplation: Stage before any thought is given to modify any behaviors.
  • Contemplation: Subject is aware they have a change they would like to make, but have not made the commitment.
  • Preparation: Decision-making has arrived; and the person will take action within about 30 days. They are already making small behavioral changes.
  • Action: Subjects make notable overt efforts to change; and have targeted behavior they want to be different.
  • Maintenance: Persons stabilize behavioral changes to avoid relapse.

All in all, everyone must go through these steps in order to arrive at a good outcome.

One other excellent source of input on this matter of change is the work at the University of Pennsylvania Foundation for Positive Psychology. Dr. Martin Seligman, is a world renowned expert on the “positive approach” and its necessity in the change process. The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program has been used by the military, workforce development, and many other social institutions that benefited greatly by the use of this process.

So, with that said, I challenge you to approach everything as though it is a new and wonderful day of experience.

  • Go to the gym with renewed energy and excitement.
  • Plan to meet friends at the gym and use teamwork to obtain a positive outcome for all.
  • Each day eat the best nutritious foods that you can find. Learn that perhaps a full feeling at all times throughout the day is not needed, and that waiting for the next meal is a positive experience.
  • Make the scale your friend and, for sure, your scorecard to success!

Energy and persistence conquer all things. -Benjamin Franklin

For more detailed information on the topics discussed above and how they can help you, let us know more about your goals and what you would like to change.

Where are you in the stages of change? Do you use positive emotions & psychology to get through your change process?

Are you Staying Properly Hydrated During Exercise?

Many exercisers know that they should stay hydrated when exercising, but three questions often asked are how much, when, and what? This article is meant to inform the reader of the current recommendations that address these very questions. In answer to the first two questions, here are some general guidelines to follow about fluid replacement from The American College of Sports Medicine and other such societies:

Before Exercise:

  • Consume about 15-20 fl. oz. of water, 2 to 3 hours before exercise (to allow for absorption)
  • Drink 8-10 fl. oz. of water 10-15 minutes before exercise (to ensure that you begin exercise in fluid balance)

During Exercise:

  • Consume between 8 and 10 fl. oz. every 10 to 15 minutes during exercise
  • If exercising longer than 60 minutes, drink 8-10 fl. oz. of a sports drink (with 6-8% carbohydrate) every 15 – 30 minutes.

After Exercise:

  • Weigh yourself before and after exercise.
  • For every 1lb lost, replace with 20-24 fl. oz. of water.

Water and Sports Drinks Photo

In answer to the third question, it can be both a sports drink and water. And this, of course, depends on the situation. If you are an athlete or individual who works out intensely for 60 minutes or more, then a sports drink with at least 6-8% carbohydrate, like Gatorade, can be beneficial to replenish lost fluid, electrolytes, and carbohydrates. It also can help improve performance during these longer bouts of intense exercise. For the average population however, a sports drink is not necessary because the stores of fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates in one’s body are usually not completely spent during a standard workout. Therefore, consuming water before, during, and after exercise is all the average person needs to keep their body hydrated. For the athlete or avid exerciser, a sports drink to stay hydrated would be beneficial for intense exercise events lasting longer than an hour, as stated previously, but up to that point is not really necessary.

If you’d like more advice on exercise hydration and nutrition, let us know! We’re here to help!

What are your favorite ways to stay hydrated? Do you have a preferred sports drink or do you just stick with water?

There is Not Only One Way to Approach Eating, Diet & Nutrition-Finding the Program That Works for You!

Here's what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these is 500cal!
Here’s what 500 calories of food looks like! Each of these are 500 calories that you could easily eliminate!

By Rita Larsen, R.D., Professional Dietary Counseling, Elite Sports Clubs

Many people will be confused in the thought that there is only one way to approach a new eating plan. If they do not follow it, they are sure to be a failure. Truthfully, diet and related eating plans will work in your favor almost every time as long as you have created enough change. This change will come through a number of situations, such as exercise, a new eating plan, or an alteration in the eating schedule. Let’s examine this idea a little further.

Experts suggest that any time there is a desire to change the quantity or quality of the foods we are eating for the ultimate “body transformation” it is possible to do with minimal changes to your current program. For example:

Weight loss occurs with the reduction of 500 calories at the most for a day. It does not need to be any more than that. If this is true, find the food in the least important spot; as a snack in the afternoon of a bag of chips or a candy, and eliminate it. It could be all that you need to do!

Next, plan to regroup the foods that you are eating into a new “schedule”. Eating earlier in the day works the best! If you cannot do this, then divide the foods evenly throughout the day so that it will make sense for your schedule. Never too much at any one time is a good guide!

Finally, plan to put a little more exercise in the works! Another 60 minutes per week will help your program a great deal. Most of the time, people have a harder time taking time for exercise than any concern with the exercise. Allow yourself the chance to do something new for you!

Ideas: Plan the food in a way that works for you!

  • Cut one food item out that doesn’t even mean anything!
  • Add just a little more exercise a week!

WHATEVER PLAN YOU COME UP WITH SHOULD BE THE ONE THAT WORKS ONLY FOR YOU!

Rita is available for one-on-one consultations and also offers group programs to help you reach your weight loss goals, starting with an easy approach to eating as mentioned above! Get started today by letting us know a little more about you and your goals!

This Week is National Women’s Health Week!

National Women’s Health Week, which runs May 12th -18th, is a campaign by the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to raise awareness about women’s health issues. NWHW promotes 5 steps for women to improve their physical and mental health, including preventive health screening, healthy eating, sleep and stress management, and regular exercise. The health club is a safe, social, and supportive environment providing numerous resources to help women get active and adopt healthier habits.