Ladies, if you’re looking for some tips to keeping yourself toned while pregnant Founder of TIFFXO, Tiffiny Hall has all the tips for you.
Since Ed and I found out we were expecting our own little Ninja, I’ve had to modify my workouts from high intensity sessions to gentle low-impact exercise – especially as I’m now in my third trimester! (I can’t believe how quickly time is going!)
Carrying a child is already a workout, so I’m only exercising every second day to give my body plenty of time to recover – but it’s so important we continue to move. Regular and gentle exercise is packed with benefits, both physical and mental including increased energy, weight control and healthier self-image, stress relief and improved mood, improved sleep, easing of pregnancy symptoms (e.g. constipation and bloating), plus health benefits for bubs.
I couldn’t imagine my life without Taekwondo, but a Dollyo Chagi (roundhouse kick) isn’t exactly pregnant friendly – nor easy. Instead, I’m enjoying Poomsae (a form of Taekwondo Tai-chi) and regular meditation to keep the calming chemicals in my body to protect against cortisol. Last thing I want is my baby floating around in a bath of stress hormones!
If you’re pregnant, have a quick chat with your doc to get the okay before you start a fitness regime – they may also have some great recommendations for you, too. I’d suggest about 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity. Moderate means you should be able to talk without feeling short of breath during your workout.
Filming my TIFFXO workouts has allowed me to maintain my strength and tone, but I’m choosing the low impact modifications. Walking and swimming is also in my weekly mix.
Shift your focus
Ladies, I can’t emphasis enough that your exercise focus shouldn’t be about weight loss – it’s about being healthy and looking after your wellbeing. Focus on the quality of your training and moving that beautiful bod around. Also, ensure you’re always hydrated. Even if you’re not training it’s important you keep your fluids up. And don’t forget to look after the girls! You’ll want a comfortable sports bra to support those ever-growing breasts (I’d suggest getting fitted professionally).
Our bodies are doing something amazing, especially our tummies. So, it’s important to avoid placing any excess stress on your abdominal muscles. Always remember to roll over onto one side and raise yourself up by your arms when getting up from a lying position. It’s also recommended you avoid exercising lying on your back from about 16 weeks.
To maintain core strength, fitball exercises are great. Or try raising one arm and the opposite leg when on all fours and holding for three to five breaths.
Exercise by trimester
During your first trimester you may be suffering from nausea and exhaustion; be kind to yourself and don’t push it too hard. Try and stay active every second day by walking if the gym seems a little scary.
The second trimester should bring you a little bit more energy to exercise. Take advantage of the extra stamina, but don’t go overboard. Let’s chant together, “I will listen to my body, I will listen to my body!”
By the third trimester it will be harder to move (as well as see your feet!) so don’t try anything vigorous more than three times a week. Just move a little every day, even if it’s a walk to the supermarket.
Don’t forget about your pelvic floor
I’m sure you’ve heard other mums talk about it, but it really is important you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – they go under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth. You can do your pelvic floor exercises at almost any time, anywhere – I do mine whenever I’m in the car. They say looking after your pelvic floor is an investment in your future.
To identify your pelvic floor muscles, contract the muscles that stop your flow of urine midstream (but don’t do them while urinating – this could weaken your muscles over time). Contract the muscles and hold for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions a day. Gradually work up to contracting for 10 seconds and relaxing for 10 seconds. Make sure you only contract your pelvic floor muscles and not those in your stomach, thighs or bum, and be sure to breathe naturally.
I’ve learnt so much about my body since falling pregnant. And it’s been amazing watching my bump grow. Exercise has helped me stay strong and calm, and I hope it can do the same for you.