Thursday, 21 November 2013

Pregnancy Workout A - Weeks 12-15

Hey everyone,

Over the next several months, we will be posting workouts that are suitable to perform during pregnancy. Types of exercises that can be safely performed change throughout your pregnancy, and you must adapt to this.

Most women are able to continue the same types of exercises they were doing pre-pregnancy during the first trimester.  You do not want to start intensely exercising, however, if your body is not used to this.  In this case, I recommend starting out with low-impact and lower-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming.  You may need to modify your workout routine depending on how you are feeling.  Many women experience nausea and vomiting in the first trimester and are generally more fatigued than usual. If this is you, you might need to scale things back until you are feeling better.

The second trimester is typically when women start to feel less nauseated and fatigued and can potentially increase their exercise regime again.  It is important to still pay close attention to how you are feeling however, as you do not want to overdo it.  At about 12 weeks gestation, the uterus starts to grow out of the pelvis.  As the uterus grows, it can press on the blood vessels returning blood back to the heart when lying down, which can lead to a lightheaded or dizzy feeling or potentially restrict blood flow to the uterus. Most women can still safely do exercises lying on their backs until about 16 weeks.  However, everyone is different and you may need to stop sooner. Assess how you feel to determine if exercises lying down are tolerable during this time frame.

As discussed in previous posts, there are some contraindications to exercise during pregnancy.  You MUST check with your doctor prior to following any fitness regime to determine if exercise is safe for you.  Please also remember that there are limitations to providing exercise information online.  I can provide you with demonstrations of how to perform exercises, but executing the exercises in a safe manner is your responsibility. Any type of exercise has the risk of injury, so be careful when exercising and know your limitations.

Over the next 4 weeks, I will post a few different exercise routines that are suitable for weeks 12, up to week 16 of pregnancy.  Most exercises will be using your own bodyweight, or with kettlebells or a JungleGym suspension trainer.  Most exercises can be modified based on your available equipment and skill level.  

Weeks 12-16 - Pregnancy Workout A
This workout includes four exercises, performed in 2 supersets.  Complete 3 sets of exercises 1 and 2, followed by 3 sets of exercises 3 and 4.  Take breaks between sets as needed.

Superset A
  1. Bodyweight Pullups - can modify as needed with a spot or band-assisted
  2. JungleGym Pushups - can modify by performing against a wall, or regular pushups on the ground (you can perform the movement from your knees as an easier variation)
 Superset B
  1. Double kettlebell squats ( I am using 2x12 kg kettlebells) - can modify with lighter kettlebells or bodyweight-only
  2. Kettlebell swings (I am using a 24 kg kettlebell) - can modify with a lighter kettlebell   
Video Demonstration

Use modifications and rest periods as needed to customize the workout to your abilities.  Always make sure to listen to your body as to whether you should exercise that day, and how hard or long.

Stay tuned for more pregnancy workouts!

-Tannys & Alex

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Exercise during pregnancy to improve your baby's brain development

Hey everyone,

A recent article in The Globe and Mail caught my attention, as it discussed yet another benefit of exercise during pregnancy.  This article discusses an abstract presented at the Neuroscience 2013 conference in San Diego, California.  Researchers from University of Montreal examined exercise in pregnant women to assess its impact on newborn brain development.