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NOTES FROM DEANNA

Update – Six Months Postpartum

Baby’s Age

6 months old

6 months PostPartum Update - Fit To Be Pregnant

 

Picture

6 months PostPartum Update - Fit To Be Pregnant

1 month postpartum vs. 6 months postpartum

Notes From the Pediatrician

Austin is 18 lbs 13 oz (70th%), 26 inches long (25th %), and 18″ head circumference (98%). We had our first vaccination this round…just one now, one in a month, and the next at his 9 month visit. The shot itself wasn’t bad, I let him nurse during it and he just stopped and yelled at the nurse like, “HEY!” but happily went back to nursing. Then that night he became very fussy and would scream if I touched his leg 🙁 . But it was all ok by morning.

We discussed solid foods – he is currently eating veggies for lunch and the pediatrician suggested avocado for dinner. Since it is a fat and not just carbohydrates, like veggies, it should be more filling for him and help him to sleep longer at night.

I have not yet started making my own baby foods just yet but plan to soon.

As far as sleep, we had another rough couple of months. He got to a point that he was waking up every 45 minutes at night. I had to weigh my sanity against beginning to sleep train. I decided first to night-wean him, which actually only took one night of him crying in my arms for about 45 min, and was over. Then after a few weeks of me just getting him when he woke and putting him in bed with me, I started to just give him back his pacifier and put my hand on his back when he woke, which put him instantly back to sleep. Finally, this past week, I started putting him in his crib with his blanket and pacifier and just sitting with him at bedtime with my hand on his back until he goes to sleep (I was nursing him to sleep then transferring to crib before).  This week he has slept for 8-11 hours every night! And I’ve never had to make him cry it out, which was my goal to avoid all along. Such a relief, let’s hope it holds.

Food

The last two months I have really gotten used to my “flexitarian” lifestyle! I’m able to be vegan/plant-based for about 95% of the time. Once you figure out how to make substitutions you can easily modify almost any meal. I will just say that lentils are a LIFESAVER. Ditching the all-or-nothing mentality has really made this change a piece of (vegan) cake. I don’t have to worry about being a social outcast or making others go to great lengths to accomodate my dietary needs, and I can eat out at any restaurant. I could write a whole other post about this subject so I’ll just leave it at that (Unless anyone is interested in how I have managed, in which case I will be glad to write a post!)

Here are my typical meals: 

  • Breakfast – ezekiel english muffin + almond butter/raw honey, green smoothie with fruit/spinach/celery/flaxseed
  • Lunch – salad with a ton of greens (spinach, kale, baby greens), veggies, nuts and seeds, and legumes like chickpeas or lentils, with tahini based dressing.
  • Dinner – 2 ounces of lean meat, 1/4 cup legumes OR 1/2 cup legumes only, vegetables and fruit. Example: Lentil tacos (taco “meat” made with lentils and walnuts), avocado, sauteed summer vegetables like zucchini and squash, and watermelon. Whenever it’s easy to replace meat with legumes and avoid cheese/dairy, I sub for myself and my husband.
  • Afternoon Snack – oats, raw honey, and peanut butter, or mixed nuts and a piece of fruit
  • Pre-Bed snack – Apple and Peanut or Almond Butter

Supplements

Exercise

I am excited to report that I have totally upped my game over the past 2 months and have felt more and more like the old me! This, even after dropping most meat from my diet!

6 months PostPartum Update - Fit To Be Pregnant

A few weeks ago after some frustration at not making much progress, at my husband’s suggestion I decided to take a week to “de-load”. I hadn’t had a week off of exercise in 4 months, when it is really a good idea to periodize your workouts every 12 weeks or so. I spent the week still working out but with low reps and weight, or just doing yoga. I also took a break from my diet, staying clean and plant-based when possible but higher calorie.  The next week I started a new training program and have seen amazing gains in strength and endurance! I also saw my abs and quads for the first time since before pregnancy.

  • Monday – high intensity interval training, 30 min + 2 mile run
  • Tuesday – strength training yoga
  • Wednesday – 45 minute strength + cardio workout
  • Thu – rest day (in the future this will be a 4 mile run)
  • Friday – strength and cardio circuit training, 30 min
  • Saturday – run 5-6 miles
  • Sunday – rest

This is all a Nike Training Club program from their app. It’s nice to let someone else write my workouts for a bit as I tend to get into a rut.

In my last update I had expressed concerns about not recovering from my workouts, but as of right now I am feeling great. I think my body just needed to adjust to the new diet.

You can see my entire plan for postpartum diet and fitness here.

Thoughts

I am now, at 6 months post-partum, feeling like the old me. It is the first time in 4 pregnancies that I have felt this way so soon! Not only do I feel like the old me, but I am now where I pictured myself being at post-pregnancy. When I began this journey, my goal was to be back in shape within months of delivering. There have been many points along the way when I didn’t think that it would happen. While I’m not exactly where I was, I am very happy with how close I am and with all of my progress.

I recently read my old journal I kept during my youngest daughter’s infant months and was absolutely shocked at how sick she had been. By Austin’s age now of 6 months, she had already had the flu, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, and stomach bugs. By a year old we were having her kidneys checked because she was getting a mystery fever every month for no reason.

In six months, Austin has never been sick. Never. Not so much as the sniffles.

Genetics? Maybe, but I doubt it. He is still half me. I have to believe it’s our lifestlye. I don’t believe in regrets, but man, my life would have been so much easier and less stressful had I just known how to eat and feed my family back in those days.

Which just brings it all home for me – while it’s fun to see my abs and fit into my old clothes, this is just one tiny part of the journey. This whole thing is about living my best life, feeling my best, taking care of myself so I can get the most out of my days, and doing the same for my babies. It’s all about quality of life, feeling great, and yes, reaching goals too. 6 months PostPartum Update - Fit To Be Pregnant

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4 Month Post-Partum Update – Big Changes

Baby’s Age

4 months old (20 weeks as I write)

austin

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4 months postpartum Progress Update

One month vs. 4 months postpartum

Notes From the Pediatrician

Austin weighed in at 15 pounds 14 ounces (70th percentile), 25 1/2 ” (60th percentile) and was in the 99th percentile for head size 🙂 We delayed vaccinations for yet another 2 months so no shots til 6 months! This is a personal choice we made with our pediatrician, since he does not attend daycare he felt there was no rush.

We discussed breastfeeding, sleeping, milestones, and what to expect in the next two months. Austin is rolling tummy to back and trying to go back to tummy, right on schedule. Breastfeeding like a champ still, every 3-4 hours during the day. The only issue is nighttime he sometimes still wakes up every two hours, and I came into the appointment extremely sleep-deprived and frustrated. The pediatrician said he is now capable of sleeping without waking up to eat for 6-12 hours. Co-sleeping was wonderful the first 4 months but now it seems to just be keeping us both awake, we have a queen-sized bed so I have to sleep with him in my arms and anytime I change positions he wakes up wanting to nurse himself back to sleep, which either results in him waking up completely angry or me having to nurse every 1-2 hours. The crib didn’t work for longer than 15 minutes of sleep, until one time I let him sleep on his tummy and he slept two entire hours. I know that doesn’t seem like much but he hasn’t slept longer than 30 minutes in anything but my arms since he was born. The pediatrician gave her blessing to tummy sleep since he is holding his head up well and rolling over, breastfed, and still in our room with us. I’ve never had a tummy sleeping infant – I was always too paranoid – but since turning him, he is finally sleeping in 6 hour blocks and sometimes, all night long for the first time, ever, and I’m getting quality sleep for the first time in 4 months as well.

Food

There was a big change in my eating habits between month 3 and month 4. I have been thinking of going vegetarian/vegan for a long time, and started to before I became pregnant but gave it up during the pregnancy. Recently I attended a meeting with a speaker who discussed eating meat, the harmful effects of the meat industry on our environment, but also the effects on our spirituality. During that same time-frame my husband was reading The End Of Dieting by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a book he found incredibly informative about eating a mostly-plant based diet and the impact of meat and animal products on our health. We both decided it was best to cut back on meat and animal products wherever we could. The last time I tried to go 100% vegan I ended up frustrated and giving up because I was cooking an entirely separate meal for my kids and husband. So for now I am eating plant-based meals for breakfast, lunch, and all dinners when I’m not cooking (choosing plant-based meals at restaurants) and then cooking my normal meals for us and the kids at dinner (3-4 times a week, subbing vegan when it’s easy). So far I feel really good! It’s impacted me positively in almost every way except fitness, which I am still trying to figure out (see below). Here are my typical meals:

  • Breakfast – ezekiel english muffin + almond butter/raw honey, green smoothie with fruit/spinach/celery/flaxseed (cut out eggs and cheese)
  • Lunch – salad with a ton of greens (spinach, kale, baby greens), veggies, nuts and seeds, and legumes like chickpeas with tahini based dressing.
  • Dinner – 2 ounces of lean meat (reduced by 1/2 of my norm), 1/2 cup legumes, vegetables and fruit. Example: stuffed sweet potatoes with shredded pasture-raised chicken, black beans, and wilted spinach, with a side of cucumber and watermelon. Whenever it’s easy to replace meat with legumes and avoid cheese/dairy, I sub for myself and my husband.
  • Afternoon Snack – oats, raw honey, and peanut butter, or mixed nuts and a piece of fruit
  • Pre-Bed snack – Apple and Peanut or Almond Butter
He loves to "help" me eat :)

He loves to “help” me eat 🙂

Supplements

Exercise

Exercise is my lifeline to sanity these days. I’m making some progress with muscle and strength growth, however it has been limited and I’m having some issues with recovery. My muscles have been overly-fatigued and I’m lacking some energy during workouts. I’m not sure if this is from my new mostly-plant diet (my protein intake did drop considerably, although calories stayed the same) or if it’s the lack of sleep.

  • Monday – circuit training 30-40 minutes
  • Tuesday – active rest – walk 2-3 miles
  • Wednesday – Interval Plyometrics and agility drills, total workout time 25-30 min
  • Thu – HIIT Interval running, see my workouts here
  • Friday – HIIT strength + cardio, total workout time 25-30 min
  • Saturday – active rest (walk)
  • Sunday – walk or Yoga Meltdown (Jillian Michaels)

You can see my entire plan for postpartum diet and fitness here.

Thoughts

Finally this month I am seeing some progress in post-partum fat loss. I saw a huge difference in my pictures, the scale and body-fat measurements are dropping (I’ve lost another 5 pounds and 1% bodyfat), more and more clothes are fitting. I am also slowly seeing my muscle tone return in my legs and arms. My core is still having trouble catching up to the rest of me but it housed a 9 1/2 pound baby so I forgive it 🙂

I don’t know if the sudden progress is because of the new eating habits or because all the hard work finally caught up, but I feel great other than trying to figure out how to make my new diet work with fitness training. I have no doubt I’ll figure it out with some trial and error.

Breastfeeding is still great, even with the change in diet I have not lost any milk that I can tell, in fact I was able to increase my supply by pumping twice a day. He is thriving too, not short on growth or chub that’s for sure 🙂

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Update – 3 Months Postpartum

Baby’s Age

3 months old (16 weeks as I write this)

austin

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1 month vs 3 months

1 month vs 3 months

My Recovery

My abdominal muscles are completely back together. Other than still suffering some weakness in my core and breastfeeding hormones, I’m back to normal. Still no signs of PPD (post-partum depression)

Notes From the Midwife

midwifeMy last checkup with the midwife was this month. It was bittersweet to know that I won’t be going back. After a super quick exam in which I was deemed perfectly healthy and recovered, we took Austin upstairs to the room and bed where he was born. I nursed him and then we took photos on the bed. I can’t believe it’s been 3 months since he was born right here at 4:30am.birthroom

Notes From the Pediatrician

No pediatric checkup til 4 months.

Food

At this point, I am roughly eating the bare minimum of the limit I set for myself, which is around 1800 average calories per day. I won’t go lower than this as long as I am nursing.

I experimented with a few weeks of “white knuckling” it to try and kickstart things, which included eliminating all starches (except sweet potatoes), all fruit, and all dairy. This is normally the diet I use a few weeks before a photoshoot, to get lean right before a beach trip, or before a special occasion. After 4 weeks of it, I had only lost water weight and only 1/2% of bodyfat, so I decided to stop and just eat. Here was my “White Knuckle” diet:

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, black beans, and spinach hash, salsa on top
  • Post-Workout – 2 ounces grilled chicken, 1/2 sweet potato, spinach, goat cheese
  • Lunch -4 ounces grilled chicken, red/green/yellow bell peppers, homemade guacamole in a lettuce wrap
  • Dinner – 4 ounces of lean meat, legumes, and vegetables. Example: grassfed lean beef tacos in a lettuce cup, with a side of pinto beans and roasted artichokes.
  • Pre-Bed snack – Steamed Edamame

And here is what I’m currently eating:

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, sweet potato, turkey chorizo, spinach, and onion hash
  • Post-Workout – green smoothie with spinach, frozen fruit, flaxseed, and almond butter
  • Lunch -turkey chili (lean turkey, tomatoes, green chiles, black beans, chicken broth, tomato paste, onion)
  • Dinner – Lean meat, green veggie and fruit
  • Pre-Bed snack – greek yogurt/peanut butter/1T dark chocolate chips/raw honey

Supplements

Exercise

I’m back up to a full schedule although I’ve modified a little from my original plan, Sundays just aren’t working out for me to get to the track.

  • Monday – circuit training 30-40 minutes
  • Tuesday – active rest – walk 2-3 miles
  • Wednesday – Interval Plyometrics and agility drills, total workout time 25-30 min
  • Thu – HIIT Interval running, see my workouts here
  • Friday – HIIT strength + cardio, total workout time 25-30 min
  • Saturday – active rest (walk)
  • Sunday – walk or Yoga Meltdown (Jillian Michaels)

You can see my entire plan for postpartum diet and fitness here.

Thoughts

Things are going very well in the baby department. This is the happiest baby on earth, I’m not kidding. There are little to no episodes of crying for no reason, he only cries when he’s hungry and sometimes when he’s sleepy. Our only issue with him is that he won’t sleep alone very long, 30 minutes max. So nighttime he is still co-sleeping in my arms. I’m sleeping, but not deeply. He sleeps so well with us (only waking up onceor twice to eat) that we did begin trying to move him into the crib but he wakes up so often that we were back to not sleeping at all. He just doesn’t seem ready, so we will go with the flow until he is, all the while continuing to *try* the crib as often as possible so he gets used to it.

As far as my quest for getting back my body, I think I’m plateaued for now. While I did have a day of being upset about it, I quickly realized that this did me no good. So I’ve accepted it. I also decided since the fat wasn’t going anywhere that I should just give up the “white knuckle” diet and just eat healthy food (see above). My body is protecting my baby and I am so grateful for that (even though I’m like “hey, you don’t have to hold onto THAT much fat!” but it doesn’t seem to want to listen 😉 ) I do have at least ONE pair of jeans now that I can wear (although they are tight!). So I moved my focus away from my body and back to eating as many nutrients as I can fit in for me and baby. My goal is to load up on the veggies and protein, make sure to take my fish oil each day, and to enjoy my food.jeans

Exercise has its ups and downs. Some workouts I am totally humbled and can’t believe how far away I am from my previous abilities, and some days I feel like I’m finally making progress. No matter what, I get out there and do it every day. I thank my body for it’s sacrifices in bringing Austin into the world and work towards patience. Every fast run, every extra pushup, every little bit of progress is a victory that I can celebrate. And I also am trying to remind myself to enjoy the challenge, and that exercise is my playtime,  not a punishment or negative situation.

Stay healthy, enjoy my workouts, and trust my body is my current mantra.

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Interval Running for Maximum Postpartum Fat Loss

Interval Running Guide for Maximum Postpartum Fat Loss | Fit To Be PregnantInterval running is the workout I am using once a week to stoke the metabolic flame and get that extra fat from pregnancy moving. I do this workout in addition to 2-3 more HIIT style workouts per week. Read my entire fitness and diet plan for postpartum here.

Running in intervals is not only an excellent way to burn fat, but it builds both your endurance and speed. Following this style of training, I went from a 12 minute mile to an 8:45 min/mile, training only with intervals once per week, no other running.

There are a million ways to run in intervals, and you should experiment with different interval combinations as much as possible to keep your body guessing. The last thing you want is to let your body get “used” to what you are doing. You need a big oxygen deficit with each workout to keep your body burning calories for up to 72 hours after your run. The more of an oxygen deficit you can create, the more fat will be used as energy to replenish that deficit over the next few days. With steady cardio running, additional calories are only burned while you are running – stopping the minute you stop.

It’s a tough 20-30 minutes but it’s effective and efficient!

Tips:

  • If you are nursing, feed your baby right before you run. Wear a compression sports bra or two sports bras if you need to for extra support.
  • You can take baby along on the run with you in a jogging stroller, but make sure you are on a flat, wide surface and are tethered to the stroller and that baby has developed head control (around 6 months old).
  • When you are running the fast intervals, your goal should be to reach at least 90% of your maximum effort. Run as hard and as fast as you can, like someone is chasing you.

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Workout Type

HIIT intervals, creating an EPOC effect for massive calories burned in less time. You will be alternating intense bursts of running with walking or slow jogging. With these style workouts, there is no need to run for longer than 30 minutes.

Equipment Needed

Go to Workout -> One Offs -> Add New Workout. Here you will create any combination of intervals that you want. You can use fast, slow, jog, walk, the possibilities are endless.

IMG_5295I select “Repeat until I stop my activity” but you can set a time limit or a distance limit.

Exercises

The only exercise you’ll be performing is running. When you perform your “fast” intervals, make sure you are running full speed. If you do this correctly, you will be sore the next day not just in your legs, but your entire body, even your core. A full sprint requires every muscle in your body.

Workout Breakdown

Here are a few different interval running workouts you could try. Feel free to experiment with your own combinations!

I start with a 5 minute warm up – dynamic stretching (stretching while staying moving, unlike static stretches where you hold the stretch), progressing to some jumping jacks and high knees.

Workout 1-Beginner

This workout is what I’m doing now since I haven’t performed interval running in over a year.

  • 1:00 Walk
  • :30 Run
  • Repeat for 20-30 minutes

Once this becomes easy, decrease the amount of walk time and increase the run time until it is challenging again. Keep decreasing walk time and increasing run time until you can run hard for 1 minute and take 30 second walk breaks. From here, just change your walks to slow jogs and start all over (1:00 slow jog, :30 run)

Workout 2- Track

Go to the local track. Start with a slow jog around the track to warmup, then sprint the straight parts of the track, and walk the curves. Repeat this 5 or 6 times.

Workout 3-Split

  • 15:00 – slow and steady jog
  • 15:00 – pick up the pace and run fast (not a full sprint here, but as fast as you comfortably can without stopping)

Workout 4 – Hills or Stairs

This workout is my favorite! Find a local stadium that will allow you in to run, or find a park with a steep hill. After a warmup, run to the top of the hill or stairs as fast as you can, then turn around and walk back down. Repeat for 20-30 minutes. If you are lucky enough to have a park with dirt trails and hilly terrain, jog the flat parts and sprint up the hills.

Workout 5 – Total Burnout

This will zap your energy fast and is an advanced workout that’s tough but over fast!

  • :10 sprint
  • :10 walk
  • :10 sprint
  • :20 walk
  • :10 sprint
  • :30 walk
  • :10 sprint
  • :40 walk
  • :10 sprint
  • :50 walk

Once this gets easier, you can change the walking to a slow jog. Take a break, repeat if desired, but definitely not required!

End with a 10 minute stretching cool down. I like to stretch out my arms, then my hamstrings, my inner thighs, my quads, and then perform a few sun salutations. I also add in cat/cow to stretch out my back and hips, and end in child’s pose.

Try these out and let me know what you think!

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A Postpartum Diet and Exercise Plan While Breastfeeding

A Postpartum Diet and Exercise Plan While Maintaining Your Milk SupplyI have had so many requests for my postpartum fitness and eating plan. The secret here is to find balance between fat loss and maintaining your milk supply. I’ve always had trouble losing fat while breastfeeding (read this if you do too!), and so the first thing I needed to do was to accept that this might be it for now – I won’t endanger the baby’s milk supply to fit into my old clothes, my priority is mine and baby’s health. Here is what I’m doing to slowly try to drop extra fat while staying healthy and keeping up my milk supply. Be sure and stick around to the end of the article for a bonus.

Nutrition and Diet

When I first left the birth center after giving birth I was so hungry I thought I’d eat my own arm before we made it home. The appetite has not let up since then and I decided to listen to my body and EAT! When breastfeeding, the average mom burns an additional 500 calories a day – that’s like a high intensity workout!

The first several weeks were all about establishing my milk supply, so I did not cut calories at all. When I was hungry, I ate. At about 5 weeks postpartum, I reached a plateau and decided to start adding up the calories to give myself a starting point.

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Calories, Macronutrients, and Nutrition

I don’t normally like calorie counting, in fact I hate it. However, I do recognize that calorie counting can be an extremely useful tool in special situations like this. I added up what I was currently eating, which was about 2400 calories per day.

Next, I checked my macronutrient intake using the app LoseIt (after simply logging what you eat, LoseIt adds the calories and breaks down the macronutrients for you).

  • The number one macro I am keeping an eye on is protein. Without adequate protein, my milk supply will suffer, my body will shed muscle, and I won’t feel my best. The absolute minimum protein intake I want each day is 80 grams, but I aim for 100+ grams, even more now that I’m strength training again.
  • Next, I made sure I’m getting enough healthy fat, about 30% of my total calorie intake.
  • And last, I filled in the remaining calories with healthy carbohydrates. This is a MUCH higher number than I am used to, but with the amount I am moving, not sleeping, and energy it takes to keep a high milk supply, healthy carbohydrates are a must!

As far as nutrients, 80-90% of my calories consist of lean protein (3-5 servings), fruits (2-3 servings), vegetables (at least 2 leafy greens per day and 4-5 servings total), a variety of healthy fats (2-3 servings), and whole grains (1-2 servings). The other 10-20% of my calories I save for “fun foods” – as long as they are whole foods free of preservatives, chemicals, trans fats, artificial sugars and sweeteners, food dyes, etc, I eat what I want. For example, homemade blueberry muffins, organic tater tots, Amy’s Pizza Roll Snacks, or dinner at a local restaurant (with a little research on ingredients first).

So here is what my typical day looked like at 2400 calories:

  • Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs with spinach and onions, 1 sprouted grain english muffin with a tablespoon of cream cheese and a little raw organic honey
  • Snack 1 – Larabar
  • Lunch – chicken breast, spinach, red peppers, cucumber slices, and homemade guacamole on 2 pieces of toasted sprouted grain bread, 2 clementines
  • Snack 2 – Smoothie with greek yogurt, spinach, 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, etc), and chia seeds
  • Dinner – Beef and Broccoli over cauliflower “rice”, fruit
  • Snack 3 – sliced banana, raw organic honey, greek yogurt, and walnuts mixed together
  • plus 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil daily

I eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day, so I know what my base calorie intake will be. Depending on the calories of my dinner, which varies each night, I may or may not have a few hundred calories left over that I will then fill with my fun foods. I plan this out at the beginning of the day using LoseIt, then decide what to add in, like tater tots with my lunch or even a couple of tablespoons of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in my greek yogurt snack.

Typically I hit a macronutrient ratio of 25% protein (about 130g), 45% carbohydrates, and 30% fat.

When I hit a plateau, I drop 50 calories per day, one week at a time. Yes, this is a much slower way than the typical recommendation of 500 calorie deficits, but with the milk supply at risk, it’s better to take it slow. This will also help your metabolism to adjust so that it’s not adapting to the lower calorie range.

Are you overwhelmed with your own postpartum plan? You don’t have to do this alone, I can help.

Measuring Body Composition

If you’re going to weigh yourself, do yourself a huge favor and take your body fat composition reading as well. This is especially true if you are strength training. I have been 135 pounds and a size 8, and I’ve also been 135 pounds and a size 2 – the first I was a much higher body fat, the second I was very lean with more muscle. Personally, if I’m not trying to reach a specific body fat % goal, I just go by how my clothes are fitting. You can pick up a pair of calipers to measure your body composition here, or have a personal trainer take the measurements for you. For me, I want to increase my muscle mass and decrease my body fat. More muscle means more strength, higher metabolism (muscle requires more calories for upkeep than fat), and a more athletic look.

Creating a Plan

If you have no idea where to start with your calories, first try our very helpful breastfeeding calorie calculator and subtract 15%. This is the average daily calories you want to consume. Give this number 2 weeks before you make any adjustments. Remember fat loss takes time and you have to be very patient if you want to do it right!

If calorie counting seems like a big pain, don’t do it! Just plan your meals out once and get a feeling for how many calories you’re eating, then just eat and don’t worry about it. As long as you’re dropping fat and keeping up your milk supply, don’t make a big hassle of it.

And finally, if the number this calculation puts out seems shockingly high (I have never been on a “diet” that involved me eating more than 2000 calories a day, so I was certainly shocked too!) don’t worry. If your weight starts creeping up, just lower the number a little. It won’t be anything you can’t undo quickly. Don’t underestimate the adaptability of your metabolism, and use it to yours and your baby’s advantage!

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Exercise

I began daily walks at 1 week postpartum. I started with just 20-30 minutes of walking and worked up to an hour (about 3 miles). I sustained only this level of activity until 5 weeks postpartum. Here is my exercise plan from here out to get me back to my intense workouts and athleticism:

  • Week 5 – add in 15 minutes of light circuit training (Monday), and a 12-15 minute HIIT workout (Friday)
  • Week 6 – increase circuit training to 30 minutes, add 1 more 12-15 minute HIIT workout (Wednesday)
  • Week 7 – add a 30 minute cardio routine in for Thursdays (jumprope, running, trail running, kickboxing)
  • Week 8 – add a track, stadium, or hill workout for Sundays (sprints, plyometrics, hill sprints, stadium runs)

This timetable gets me back to my pre-pregnancy routine by 2 months post-partum:

My focus is short, intense workouts because I have very limited time in between baby feedings and baby naps! I’ll also be continuing daily walks with the baby, probably more like 2 miles. It’s good for both of us to get out in the sun each day!

Note: if you are also choosing the intense, shorter workouts, make sure you’re feeding baby BEFORE your workout. A few small studies have found a buildup of lactic acid in breastmilk following high intensity (to the point of exhaustion) exercise, and also a small decrease in supply in the 90 minutes following the workout.

Troubleshooting

Here’s a checklist for any plateaus or problems that may come up for balancing fat loss and breastfeeding:

If milk supply begins to diminish and/or you’re losing fat too quickly (more than 1 lb per week after initial post-pregnancy weight loss):

  • increase daily calorie intake by 50-100 calories with protein and/or fat, or add in 1-2 higher calorie days per week
  • decrease intensity of workouts and focus on longer, less intense exercise
  • make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and add an extra glass before, during, and after workouts

If fat loss plateaus:

  • decrease daily calorie intake by 50-100 calories with carbohydrates (start with starches like whole grain breads, or remove a few “fun foods”)
  • increase intensity of workouts, make sure you are adequately strength training
  • add in a form of low-level activity, like walking, to increase activity level

It’s possible that your body may not want to drop fat while you are breastfeeding, no matter what you do. We all have different hormonal profiles. My body likes to store fat in my legs and rear when I’m breastfeeding (and pregnant), no matter what I’m eating or how much I’m exercising. It’s such a short and important time for my baby in the grand scheme of things, so I have to tell myself that some things will just have to wait. The number one priority for baby and for me is good health and feeling well.

If you need help figuring out your own postpartum plan, visit my coaching page here.

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UPDATE – I am now 7 months postpartum and back to my pre-pregnancy size for the most part (update and picture here). I ended up with a daily average of about 1900-2000 calories a day after a slow decrease over several weeks. My milk supply never has suffered and I feel better than ever. The fat loss really revved up around the 4 month mark, when prolactin levels dropped, and I saw the biggest difference between the 5th and 6th month.

Bonus

I’ve put together 4 of my favorite interval training workouts for you, all of which can be done in your living room with minimal equipment. Click here to download.

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Update – One Month Post-partum

Baby’s Age

1 month old!

Picture

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be PregnantPostpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

My Recovery

At exactly one month from the birth, I can honestly say that this has by far been the easiest recovery of my four kids. I feel like myself now, but even in the earliest days postpartum, I felt SO great! Even with the difficult birth, I did not tear or have any real trauma and was using the bathroom on my own as soon as I got home, hours after birth. There was no need for any sort of sitz baths or Dermaplast spray or anything. I took Ibuprofen for the after-pains but only three times. I was running errands after just a few days and going on daily 2-3 mile walks after 1 week.

I lost about 20 pounds of the 30 I gained right away. As of today, I am still up about 5 or 6 pounds from my starting weight (at least I think so, I wasn’t weighing myself at all when I first got pregnant so I’m going by my weight at my first checkup). My abdomen is still a bit stretched out from my norm but I seriously can’t believe how quickly it disappeared considering how big I got in the end. And that has also been the biggest difference in recovery from this pregnancy and my other three, which, considering that this is my fourth child, is a true testament to the power of clean eating and exercise. I would compare photos of myself from past pregnancies, but I don’t have any because I felt so frumpy after those babies that I wouldn’t let anyone photograph me 🙂 But I do remember being in maternity clothes for quite some time, where this time I was out of them by 2 weeks (although I still can only fit into stretchy jeans and pants, my shirts all fit fine). I’m not on any mission to “get my body back” or diet myself back down to a lean body or anything right now. My priority is mine and baby’s health and well-being. I will write an entire article soon on the mentality of post-partum weight loss soon because I feel like I’m doing it right this time and feel mentally the best I ever have.

Speaking of which, this is also my first pregnancy ever to not experience any post-partum depression (knock on wood)! I have of course been more tearful, to about the same degree that I was during pregnancy, but not depressed. Actually, I’m the happiest I have ever been in my entire life and able to fully enjoy my baby, the new relationship I have with my husband, and watching my kids fall in love with their brother. I would love to say this is because of the fish oil and the nutrition and healthy lifestyle, but I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that I have a very different life situation this time around too. My husband is so supportive, we are more in love than ever and finding new ways to partner together, and because of him I’m getting plenty of sleep as well (which I would also love to write about!).

Notes From the Midwife

The 3 week checkup was last week. She was very pleased with my recovery, baby’s health, and nursing. Mostly we re-lived the birth and she told me a little bit more about what happened at the end with his shoulder being stuck and the cord being wrapped around his neck. She advised me to just continue with daily walking and to skip high intensity exercise/strength training until around six weeks or whenever I stopped bleeding, at which point I could begin my program again sloooowly.

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Reunited with my amazing midwife

Notes From the Pediatrician

Baby boy is super healthy, in the 80th percentile for height and weight (11 pounds 14 ounces as of 1 month checkup), and nursing like a champ since day 1. We were referred to a brand new pediatrician by our midwife, a holistic practice where they do not prescribe unnecessary medication, let you vaccinate on your own comfort level and pace, and prescribe nutrition and essential oils rather than over-the-counter-medications. We are so pleased with this new practice as they fall completely in line with our current lifestyle and holistic beliefs!

Food

I cannot even tell you how HUNGRY I have been since the day I gave birth. I left the birth center ravenous and tore into two Luna bars the midwife had given me on the drive home. My appetite has only lessened slightly since then.

At first I was just eating whenever I was hungry then I sat down and planned out my calorie intake strategically so that I’m able to shed the extra fat I put on during pregnancy slowly, without lowering my milk supply. I’m currently eating an average of 2400 calories per day and dropping weight at an average of 1 pound per week. Once I start working out again I will probably have to increase the calories again. For the most part, I’m eating just like I did when I was pregnant:

  • Breakfast – usually 2 eggs and an Ezekiel sprouted grain english muffin with cream cheese
  • Lunch – chicken breast, homemade guacamole, spinach, and red bell peppers on toasted ezekiel bread, with 2 clementines
  • Dinner – lean meat, a starchy carb, and vegetables, at least one of which is leafy green. Example meal from this week: baked whole wheat penne and grass-fed lean meatballs, roasted broccoli, and a side of fruit.
  • Snacks – one Larabar or Uberbar, a greek yogurt smoothie with spinach, fruit, and flaxseed, and at nighttime greek yogurt with warm bananas, raw honey, and walnuts. If I have leftover calories, which some days I do, I have another piece of fruit and some peanut butter or one of the kids’ whole wheat blueberry muffins I make them for breakfast.

I’m working on an upcoming article about my post-partum nutrition/calorie/exercise plan (however, just this update has already taken me three days of stopping/starting to care for the baby!)

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Supplements

Exercise

Right now, I’m going on daily walks, usually 2.5-3miles, with my husband and the baby. Sometimes for a little extra I put the baby in a wrap and carry him on my chest. I’m working now on my fitness plan for after 6 weeks: my goal this spring is to get back to being an athlete, so my exercise and diet will hopefully support those goals (just hoping I can get away from Austin long enough to train!)

The daily walks are not only for the activity but a dose of Vitamin D every day for both of us.

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Thoughts

Whew! What a whirlwind 4 weeks it has been. On one hand my life has changed drastically – I absolutely laugh at myself now for quipping to those who asked how I’d handle having 4 kids “Oh, the older three are totally self-sufficient, no biggie!” What a joke! The baby requires my attention the majority of the day, I live my life in 2 hour intervals between his feedings – he seems to be as ravenous as his mother. But we’re all figuring it out. The big kids have been SO helpful, my youngest daughter (7) actually fights me to change his poopie diapers! My 15 year old son carries him around the house and will sit and hold him as long as he’s calm. But they do all need to be driven places and help with homework and hairstyles and need attention from us both.

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Big sis keeps Austin happy

On the other hand I cannot imagine life without this baby. I am so unabashedly in love with him. Life, even though it’s somewhat crazy, is ridiculously wonderful and happy.

Sleep was an issue until my husband and I figured out a schedule that worked for us both. We alternate nights so that I’m “on call” all night and he sleeps a full 6-7 hours in another room, and then the next night it’s my turn to sleep and my husband is with the baby. Honestly I’ve got it much easier than Tony; I can actually sleep on my nights with him, he sleeps like a rock as long as he is curled up next to me, and I don’t have to leave the bed to nurse. Tony has to get up and heat up bottles and has more difficulty actually sleeping with the baby nearby. In the first few days, we tried everything to get baby to sleep. He just wasn’t happy unless he was in our arms to sleep, day or night. My instincts were telling me that he was having trouble adjusting to being out of the womb, because the body heat and closeness seemed to comfort him, and honestly it comforted me too. So co-sleeping is our answer for now, along with baby-wearing during the daytime. 9 months was a long time for us to be one person, and we both need to adjust to the separation in our own time. I’m trying to train him to sleep in the bassinet a little bit at a time, during daytime naps, but it’s not a big issue.

Postpartum Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

For those who are wondering, this website will continue on. I’ll keep updating on myself, writing about pregnancy, and I’ll also be adding a post-partum section and start writing about things like breastfeeding and post-partum exercise. Because my new schedule is so hectic my posts may come a little less frequently for awhile but they’re still coming! Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep in touch with me and what’s going on in my day-to-day.

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39 Week Update – Over It

PSST-I’m now on Instagram updating with pics of my healthy meals, workouts, and other pregnancy stuff 🙂 Find me here, or username FitToBePregnant

Week: 39 weeks, 4 days

Days to Go: 3 Days to go

Picture:

39 Week Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Trying to smile 🙂

Symptoms: Just heavy baby running out of room, pressing his head on everything. Lots of pressure down low in my pelvis. Otherwise, I feel really good. First pregnancy I’ve ever made it to my due date and still had my wedding rings on (comfortably, they can slide off).

Signs of Labor: Still a little nauseous, braxton hicks every 8-10 minutes since Sunday afternoon, so intense that we were convinced it was time at one point.

Midwife Appointment Notes: no midwife appointment this week until Friday.

Food: still a light appetite, so most of the time:

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, 1/2 sprouted grain english muffin + smoothie w/ spinach, greek yogurt, frozen blueberries or strawberries, mango & cherries, and flaxseed
  • Lunch – chicken, guacamole, red/orange bell peppers wrapped in collard green leaf
  • Snacks – banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, apple and greek yogurt/almond butter “dip” before bed
  • Dinner – Lean meat, 1 green veggie and 1 other veggie. Example meal from this week: Apple Cider roasted chicken, butternut squash, broccoli

Supplements:

Exercise: The goal is a daily 2-3 mile walk with 3 days of strength training per week, to keep from losing strength and muscle mass before the birth. This week we had an ice storm so I missed a lot of walking.

  • Thursday – 2.76 mile walk
  • Friday – no workout
  • Saturday – no workout, cleaned the house to stay active
  • Sunday – no workout
  • Monday – 50 pushups, 100 air squats
  • Tuesday – 2.64 mile walk
  • Wednesday –

Thoughts and Feelings:

While I was prepared to be patient to meet my baby, I am not doing very well with this whole constantly thinking I’m in labor thing. Sunday afternoon I started having pressure waves that just never let up, no matter what I did. They were getting stronger and stronger, then more regular. We were totally convinced “this was it”. We packed our bags up, made plans for the kids, and even sat down and did a Hypnobabies track together. I was sure that it was just a matter of time. We decided to try to sleep as long as I still felt I could. I laid down and put more Hypnobabies tracks on in my headphones, and he laid down next to me. After my first track, I realized that the pressure waves were slowing down and losing intensity. I wanted to cry when I rolled over to tell him.

The pressure waves have. not. stopped. since then. They are every 8-10 minutes, non stop, all day, all night. Some are more intense than others, waking me up in the middle of the night or causing me to stop in my tracks. But I’ve just had to continue life as much as I could. An ice storm this weekend and being home-bound made it hard to distract myself from the constant labor but once it started melting, I was able to get out and get some things done, like getting my haircut, to get my mind off of things.

So it’s not that I am not anxious to meet my little guy, I am, but I could mentally deal with waiting a little longer. I understand these are my last nights to sleep soundly, to not be breastfeeding, to be able to do so many things independently. But physically I’m exhausted from the constant pressure waves. I’m also mentally exhausted from wondering “is this it?” And by “it”, I mean one of the most physically demanding challenges of my life – unmedicated childbirth. That will mess with your head!

Anyways, I’m a little grumpy and a little anti-social and just trying not to think too much. This can’t go on forever!

Saturday is the due date. My one child that was not induced was born 2 days after his due date, after a 24 hour labor…so I don’t think it will be much longer. Even still, I’m mentally preparing to go through this until Christmas 🙂

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38 Week Update – Things Are Happening, Or Not

PSST-I’m now on Instagram updating with pics of my healthy meals, workouts, and other pregnancy stuff 🙂 Find me here, or username FitToBePregnant

Week: 38 weeks, 4 days

Days to Go: 11 Days to go

Picture: 38 Week Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Symptoms: Just slow to move and get around. Sleeping is great, joints feel good, baby is low so I can breathe. One night of heartburn after eating too much on Thanksgiving 🙂 Oh and I’ve also been very clumsy and forgetful – have dropped several dishes and broken them, and left my car key in my car while at the mall, didn’t find it for hours.

Signs of Labor: Baby is so low now that I feel he is going to fall out. Constant Braxton-Hicks that are getting more crampy, have been a little nauseous with them too – feels like PMS. Pressure waves wake me up in the nighttime the past few nights but they never get closer together.

Midwife Appointment Notes: gained 2 lbs, blood pressure 104/68, fundal height 40cm. Effaced to 60% (cervix “nice and soft” she said), 1-2cm dialated. Estimated baby to be about 8 pounds right now (PHEW). He’s still head down, low, and in good position for birth.

Food: I’ve lost my appetite recently, so this is what I’m trying to eat but don’t always get it all in.

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, 1/2 sprouted grain english muffin + smoothie w/ spinach, greek yogurt, frozen blueberries or strawberries, mango & cherries, and flaxseed
  • Lunch – chicken, guacamole, red/orange bell peppers wrapped in collard green leaf + 2 mandarin oranges
  • Snacks – banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, apple and greek yogurt/almond butter “dip” before bed
  • Dinner – Lean meat, 1 green veggie and 1 other veggie. Example meal from this week: Grilled chicken tenders, mashed cauliflower, and baby bok choy

This week I cooked and froze/will cook and freeze:

  • lasagna (veggie for us)
  • whole wheat penne chicken alfredo (made with greek yogurt), to take to birthing center and eat after labor
  • I made 6 – 20 oz bottles of electrolyte drinks to sip during labor
Homemade Electrolyte Drinks for Labor | Fit To Be Pregnant

Strawberry, Lemon-Lime, and Orange Electrolyte Drinks – made with fresh squeezed fruit, coconut water, raw honey and sea salt

I think I finally feel ready meal-wise!

Supplements:

Exercise: The goal is a daily 2-3 mile walk with 3 days of strength training per week, to keep from losing strength and muscle mass before the birth.

  • Thursday – thanksgiving, no workout
  • Friday – upper body strength training – incline bench press, dumbbell flyes, barbell row, good mornings, front raises, upright rows, hammer curls, cross body hammer curls, incline pushups, and dumbbell presses
  • Saturday – 2 mile walk
  • Sunday – 2.75 mile walk
  • Monday – strength training, lower body – step-ups with knee-up, squats, ball leg curls, and lunges + 2.4 mile walk
  • Tuesday – 2.31 mile walk
  • Wednesday – strength training, upper body + 2.62 mile walk

Thoughts and Feelings:

Well, as we thought, we both got our hopes up last week when our midwife said we wouldn’t make it to our next appointment, yet here we are. I have always had an instinct about December 5th, which is Thursday, and there are definitely things happening to my body that make me think I’m approaching early labor very soon. I don’t ever have a break from regular Braxton Hicks contractions, they go all day and all night. Some are more intense than others. Other things are happening that are gross and I will not point out here :). But after seeing the midwife today I’m convinced I’ll make it to my due date or within a few days of it.

I’m feeling so good now that I’ve been having the regular chiropractic appointments and also stopped trying to jump in my workouts that I’m sleeping really well and feeling pretty awesome all day. I even walked around the mall for a few hours and got some Christmas shopping finished. Seriously my only complaint is the Braxton-Hicks. I never would dream I would say that at almost 9 months along. This entire pregnancy has really been such a testament to a healthy lifestyle.

We had a “practice run” before our appointment today. We set a timer to go off every 5 minutes to simulate pressure waves and stopped and practiced for each one. Then as I got ready, Tony put all the bags in the car, checked the list for anything we missed, even practice-called his mom to tell her to get the kids from school and meet us at the birthing center 🙂 We got in the car and I put on my headphones and used my Hypnobabies tracks to go into hypnosis in the car, my first time trying it. It worked great and I even got to practice with a few real braxton-hicks pressure waves.

So ready to kiss my little baby, to experience the birth with my husband, and start this next phase of life. But I’m taking every last minute to try and relax, get some things done that will have to wait once the baby is here. Being a veteran mom I do understand just how much my life is about to change.

The meals are made, Hypnobabies is second nature, the gas tank is staying filled, the bags are packed, work is being finished up. We are literally READY and WAITING.

38 Week Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Me and Mini-Me

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37 Week Update – Any Day?

PSST-I’m now on Instagram updating with pics of my healthy meals, workouts, and other pregnancy stuff 🙂 Find me here, or username FitToBePregnant

Week: 37 weeks, 4 days

Days to Go: 18 Days to go

Picture:

37 Week Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

See how much he’s dropped?

35 Week Update | Fit To Be Pregnant

Here’ s 2 weeks ago, same shirt…

Symptoms: Swelling went away almost completely, no idea why! Regular, intense Braxton Hicks, some wake me up with their intensity and take my breath away. Baby dropped again, so low and there’s pressure in my pelvis now. Sleeping better, feeling much better overall.

Signs of Labor: Constant, regular Braxton-Hicks, baby is REALLY low. Nesting like crazy-obsessively making freezer meals.

Midwife Appointment Notes: Baby has dropped again, he was so low she had to move his head off of my pubic bone to measure me. He’s also turned perfectly for birth. I gained 1/2 pound, measured 38cm, blood pressure 110/70. Midwife says she’ll be surprised if we make it to our appointment next week considering how low the baby is.

Food: Still cooking and freezing like crazy. At this point it has turned into an obsession :/ My regular meals haven’t changed much, I’ve got a good system down.

  • Breakfast – 2 eggs, 1/2 sprouted grain english muffin + smoothie w/ spinach, greek yogurt, frozen blueberries or strawberries, mango & cherries, and flaxseed
  • Lunch – chicken, guacamole, red/orange bell peppers wrapped in collard green leaf + 2 mandarin oranges
  • Snacks – banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter, apple and greek yogurt/almond butter “dip” before bed
  • Dinner – Lean meat, 1 green veggie and 1 other veggie. Example meal from this week: Chicken Roll-Ups in organic corn tortillas with butternut squash puree, cheese, shredded chicken, with a side of roasted brussels sprouts and onion.

This week I cooked and froze/will cook and freeze:

  • Chicken Roll-Ups
  • Burger Patties
  • 2 giant batches of black bean chili
  • roasted sweet potatoes
  • veggies ready to roast (butternut squash, brussels sprouts, red onion)
  • Shredded chicken

And I will save any thanksgiving leftovers in the freezer too 🙂

Still need to make some homemade electrolyte waters that I will drink during labor.

Supplements:

Exercise: Feeling so much better after taking a few days off of exercise and switching to traditional strength training.

  • Thursday – 2 mile walk
  • Friday – yoga/stretching
  • Saturday – no workout
  • Sunday – no workout
  • Monday – strength training, upper body
  • Tuesday – 2 mile walk
  • Wednesday – strength training, lower body

Thoughts and Feelings:

This is all happening so much faster than I imagined! My chiropractor has been so great and my visits have not only caused the baby to drop way down low but I feel SO MUCH BETTER and am sleeping again! When I mentioned to her that I had still been jumping in my workouts (after reading an intuitive comment on last week’s update saying it might be causing my achiness at night, thank you!!!) she looked somewhat horrified and said I should cut it out 🙂 So I took a few days off to recover, started again on Monday with traditional strength training, and have felt 100% better. I’m nowhere near as sore and achy and can sleep almost all night now. I still have numbness in my legs but nothing like before. It felt so good to jump and move during the workout, and increased my circulation, that I wasn’t putting two and two together. I find traditional strength training boring and prefer HIIT and Plyometrics, but it will just have to wait.

I’ve been nesting as you can see above, but in the form of cooking food. To the point that I can’t sleep at night laying awake thinking about what else we will need. Like I won’t be able to go to the store or something when the baby is born 🙂

My husband is adorable, processing the arrival of his first baby. He washed the baby’s laundry the other night and kept saying “This is so weird. I’m having a baby. There’s going to be a baby.” I have loved watching it all sink in for him 🙂

We also packed the baby’s diaper bag and his items for his birth. We are packing ours tonight, especially after the midwife shocked us today saying she thought he would be here any day. I made it to 40 weeks with 2 babies (the third was induced at 38 so I don’t know what would have happened) so I was (and still am, somewhat) expecting to go that long, but who knows? He is VERY low and there is so much pressure on my cervix now that I feel like he’s falling out. And I’ve felt all along that he would be a little early, just instinctual and also because my cycles were so much shorter than they were with my other three.

Either way I’m ok. I’m ready to meet my baby. But I’ll take the extra 2.5 weeks to prepare too. Tony and I have been practicing enough that I feel we’re prepared with Hypnobabies. We’re ready!!!

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Circuit Training for Pregnancy – My Lovely Baby Bump Workout

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be PregnantThis was my workout for today, 33 weeks pregnant.

Exercise is becoming more and more challenging and I’m finding that circuit training is going to be the best way to maintain my fitness through the end of my pregnancy. Using slower, more controlled movements with intervals of jump rope, which is still fairly easy, I can keep my muscle mass and also not lose any endurance. Hopefully this will keep my body in shape enough to not undo all the hard work preparing for the marathon of labor and childbirth up until now!

Disclaimer: these pics are terrible. I know. I am just getting so darn lazy and haven’t felt like putting an effort in. I apologize.

To read more about having a fit pregnancy, be sure to pick up a copy of my ebook – Fit To Be Pregnant: 12 Steps to the Healthy, Comfortable, and Fit Pregnancy of Your Dreams.

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Workout Type

Circuit Training – moving quickly between supersets with no rest until 3 large muscle groups have been exercised, with 2 minutes of cardio in between each group. Each muscle group is pushed to failure through two strength training exercises, which are performed at 12 reps each back to back followed by 2 minutes of cardio. There is a 2 minute rest after all three muscle groups have been worked, and then the whole thing is repeated 1-2 more times. Choose weights that are challenging for you. Can be done at home or at the gym. Here is a more detailed explanation of circuit training.

Equipment Needed

Exercises

Tricep Press – Standing with feet shoulder width apart, arms up with elbows bent at ears, holding sandbag or dumbbell behind head. Lift the sandbag or dumbbell straight up, using triceps.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

Diamond Pushups – Do a pushup but with your hands together, making the shape of a diamond. This will isolate your triceps.

Sumo Squats – With toes pointed to the corners of the room, legs spread just past shoulder width apart, hold weights in front of you (around your belly :) ) and squat straight down, weight in heels, legs parallel to the floor, knees in alignment with toes. Think of your tailbone going straight up and down like an elevator, keep your back straight, chest out. Use weight that is heavy enough to get your heartrate up.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

One Leg Deadlifts -Holding dumbbells, balance on one leg with knee slightly bent. Bend forward, leaning forward and lifting the rear leg so it’s parallel to the floor. Return to starting position without touching rear leg to the floor, staying balanced. Repeat on other side. You will feel this in your glutes.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

Front Shoulder Raises – Hold dumbbells (that are heavy enough to challenge your muscles and get your heartrate up) down at your thighs, arms extended, palms in. Lift one dumbbell straight up, elbow slightly bent, until arm is parallel to the floor, then back down, alternating arms in one fluid motion. Keep the movement controlled, don’t swing or move your hips.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

Clean and Press – Detailed explanation and video here. You can use a barbell or sandbag.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

Jump Rope – You can do any cardio movement if jump rope isn’t comfortable. High knees, jumping jacks, step ups, quick feet, run on a treadmill, etc.

My Lovely Baby Bump Workout - Weekly Workout for Pregnancy | Fit to Be Pregnant

For a short video of my weekly workouts, make sure to follow me on Instagram!

Workout Breakdown

Start with a 5 minute warm up. I do dynamic stretching (stretching while staying moving, unlike static stretches where you hold the stretch), progressing to some jumping jacks and high knees.

*Note-For a true circuit training workout, try not to take a break until you have completed all 3 sets — go straight from exercise to exercise. Of course, you’re pregnant, so if your body says take a break, take one!

Set 1

  • Tricep Press – 12 reps
  • Diamond Pushups– 12 reps
  • 2 min jump rope

Set 2

  • Sumo Squats with weight – 12 reps
  • One-Leg Deadlifts – 12 reps each leg
  • 2 min jump rope

Set 3

  • Front Shoulder Raises – 12 reps each arm
  • Clean and Press – 12 reps
  • 2 min jump rope
  • 2 minute rest
  • This is one round. Repeat entire routine a total of 2-3x.

Each Round (3 sets) took me about 15 minutes. I did 2 rounds for a total of 30 minutes.

End with a 10 minute stretching cool down. I like to stretch out my arms, then my hamstrings, my inner thighs, my quads, and then perform a few sun salutations. I also add in cat/cow to stretch out my back and hips, and end in child’s pose.

Modifications

For beginners or later in pregnancy:

Reps/Rounds – perform 8 or 10 reps instead of 12, or do 1 or 2 rounds instead of 3

Tricep Press, Shoulder Raises, Clean and Press – use less weight

Sumo Squats, Deadlifts – use body-weight only, use a chair for balance

Diamond Pushups – Perform from knees

Benefits For Pregnancy

Anaerobic Strength/Circuit Training – Provides you and your baby with additional oxygen over the next 24-48 hours, builds and strengthens muscles and joints that can become weak and cause aches and pain. Regular intense exercise helps baby become accustomed to stress, which will help him tremendously during labor and delivery.

Tricep Press, Shoulder Raises, Clean and Press, Diamond Pushups – strengthens back muscles, upper body, and core for better posture and reduction of back pain

Sumo Squats – Squats are essential in preparing your body for childbirth by strengthening and stretching your child-birthing muscles, and also build core strength for supporting your growing uterus and stretching hip joints. Squatting also helps to prepare your perineum for stretching during the pushing phase of labor. help with balance as our body’s center of gravity changes.

Deadlifts – help with balance as our body’s center of gravity changes, builds glutes and core muscles to help with birthing, support of the uterus, and to relieve lower back pain.

Jump Rope or other cardio – carries oxygen to the baby and the body, improves circulation, reduces swelling, and increases endurance.

*The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as and should not be relied upon as medical advice. The information may not apply to you and before you use any of the information provided in the site, you should contact a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional. If you utilize any information provided in this site, you do so at your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make any claim against Fit To Be Pregnant, its employees or representatives, as the result of the use of such information.*

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