Catalyst 4 Fitness

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Exercise and Pregnancy – Courtney C

One of many examples that exercise and pregnancy can be congruent.

Tell us about yourself. I’m 32, have been married for 3 years, and my husband Matt and I are expecting our first baby later this year. I’ve always struggled with my weight but have made a good effort since college to be active. Usually this involved things like walking, light weight work, and the elliptical. Last year I decided to try Boot Camp, and I’ve noticed a huge difference in both my endurance level and my strength. I haven’t lost a bunch of weight, but have toned up a bit and, overall, just feel more fit. It’s enough for people to notice, which is always nice! Now I’m upset if I miss a class and, when I travel for work, try to incorporate some Boot Camp exercises while away.

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What exercise routine are you currently following? How long have you been doing this? I have been attending Boot Camp two nights a week for almost a year. I also take Metabolic Explosion Training class with Sharon on Saturday mornings. I’ve been doing this regularly for a couple of months, and from time to time before then when there were open classes. Outside of these things, I use the elliptical at home and sprinkle in some boot camp exercises. This time of year is also nice for walking and hiking with our dogs, usually at Withrow Nature Preserve or the Nature Center.

You are pregnant right now. Is this your first? When are you due? This is our first baby, and we are super excited. We’re due mid-November, right in time for the holidays!

Why are you continuing to exercise? I want to try and maintain the fitness level that I’ve built up across the past year. From research and talking with friends, I’ve learned that pregnancy can be easier and more comfortable when you stay active, so I’d like to continue with Boot Camp as long as I can. At 17 weeks along, I’ve gained only a couple of pounds, and I’m sure that is due to continuing my exercise regimen (though I realize that number will be going up, and soon!). I also think it will be easier to bounce back post-pregnancy if I keep it up.

Have you noticed any differences in your exercise since you learned you were pregnant? If so, describe them. I haven’t noticed much of a difference yet, but expect to as the baby grows. The exercises with which I struggle are the same ones that have always been tough for me. I think the increasing temperature outside has affected me more than my pregnancy! On Saturday mornings, though, I do make sure to eat something before my 8:30 MET – I learned early on that this was key to not feeling nauseous by the end! That means getting up even earlier on weigh-in days, but it’s worth it.

What are your goals? Specifically, during my pregnancy, I’m aiming to gain no more than 18 pounds. A funny number, but this is within the recommended range for my size and, as long as I am able to maintain the same, or a similar, level of exercise throughout and eat relatively well, it should be doable. I also want to continue building strength in my arms and back, as I know that will be helpful when I start toting around our baby. Growing strong enough to do “real” push ups consistently will help with that. And the bear push ups are helping with that goal!

On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being easy and 10 being hard, how hard has this been for you? Well, pre-pregnancy, I’d say that number has lowered significantly from the time I first started! It was really hard at the beginning. But now, pregnant and all, I’d honestly say a 2 or 3. This doesn’t mean that I find the exercises themselves easy or that I’m stellar at all – because I’m absolutely not. But, I truly want to take Boot Camp as long as possible and have a fit and (hopefully) comfortable pregnancy. And, I want to continue increasing my level of fitness afterwards. That motivation makes it so much easier.

What advice do you have for other women who are pregnant or who are considering starting a family? If you want to stay fit and proceed with your regular exercise routine – do it! I’ve had a great pregnancy so far, and know that this has helped. I’ve had a lot of people act surprised that I’m still going to Boot Camp and MET while carrying a baby, but even more people have been impressed and supportive (which feels good!). Ask your doctor if you have any concerns, and be specific about your activities. It made me more comfortable to get my doctor’s buy-in. Asking questions and getting their advice also helps me to respond when people say things like “you shouldn’t do any exercises on your back – it’s bad for the baby”. So many of those comments are misunderstood or blown out of proportion. In general, my doctors say I can proceed with my normal routine – you just need to pay attention to your body and know when to slow down/back off/take it easy when needed. And so far, so good!

Any other comments you’d like to share. Just one other thing – my husband recently started taking Boot Camp as well. It’s been fun and encouraging to do this side-by-side, and I think it will continue to motivate me as my pregnancy proceeds and my belly gets bigger. It’s nice for him to see what I can handle, too!

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