Top tips for training while pregnant

As a Journalist, I get to talk to some really interesting experts so I had to share these pregnancy  tips for training while pregnant from Hugh Hanley, National Personal Training Manager at Virgin Active. 
I’ve been a member of Virgin Active for over 10 years now, I love their Bromley gym, which is literally minutes from my house. I got so much support when working out there whilst pregnant. The personal trainers were always encouraging and telling me I looked fab, even though I felt like a whale.
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I can’t stress how glad I am that I stayed active throughout my whole pregnancy, and would definately do it again if I ever had another child. It made more energetic, happier and often put a stop to my morning sickness. It stopped me piling on unnecessary weight too! 

Here are some top tips from Hugh, which should help you to exercise safely when you’re expecting….

·         Drink plenty of fluids, before, during and after any exercise, and avoid overheating. Be sure to always warm-up and cool down

·         Wear loose fitting clothing, and comfortable non slip supportive shoes.

·         Keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute

·         Past the first trimester, avoid exercising flat on your back – the weight of your uterus reduces the blood and oxygen flow to your baby.

·         During aerobic exercise, you will find that you have less oxygen available, so lower the intensity of your normal routine.

·         Your metabolism speeds up during pregnancy, so remember to eat a well-balanced diet.

·         Your body produces a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy. This hormone softens joints and ligaments to make the birth process easier, so be careful not to overextend joints that may result in injury

·         Do pelvic floor exercises every day and you’ll help keep your back and spine strong, flatten your tummy post birth, and alleviate the problems with bladder and bowel control that are common after childbirth. 

“Lastly make sure you listen to your body and if at any time during exercise you feel extremely fatigued, faint, dizzy, lightheaded or clammy, stop exercising and cool down,” says Hugh.
“The key tip here is that you need to listen to your body and based on what your body’s telling you, figure out a level of activity that works for you.”

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Time to Wean…Sweet Potato day

My baby turned 6 months today. I still can’t believe how much joy she brings into our lives. She’s great fun, even on those teething days!

Up until now I’ve exclusively breast fed her so weaning feels a bit alien to me. I was very overwhelmed by it all, but actually they say ‘food before one is fun’, so I’ve relaxed a little and am just going to experiment with her and give her the purest foods I can. ‘Healthy Mummy, Healthy Baby’ and all that!
So today I started my little munchkin off with some sweet potato, which is full of vitamin A, C and potassium.
She wasn’t impressed to start with but I’m definitely going to keep trying and stick to that particular food for three to your days so her taste buds can adapt.

To make it I boiled a sweet potato with a sprinkle of cinnamon then blended with some breast milk to make it extra creamy…20140725-203830-74310605.jpg

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As it’s six months since I had her I thought it would be rude not to post a progress photo. I’m getting regular workouts in these days, even if it means waking up a little early or having her in the gym with me. It’s definitely all about consistency so if you aren’t seeing results as quick as you would like then don’t give up. It will come! As always give me a shout if you have any questions….

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KX Pregnancy Programme

You’ve probably heard me talk about Gideon & KX Life a few times now. KX is the most amazing gym in Chelsea with great staff, a great atmosphere – and a great spa!
Gideon, my PT there has always been on hand to give me top-notch advice, whether it’s about pregnancy, working out post-baby and even the best formula to try when bottle feeding Lacie. He’s a walking health & fitness manual and someone I’ve trusted with my training pre and post baby.
As soon as I had Lacie and got the go ahead from the doctors to exercise again, I saw Gids straight away and have been seeing him on a monthly basis ever since. He’s given me a fantastic workout plan to follow three to four times a week, and although it’s nothing like what I was doing pre-pregnancy (we’re working up to that!) I love doing it every week and can really notice the difference with my posture, muscle-tone and weak areas like my glutes and shoulders. He’s one of the only trainers that truly listens to me and truly knows my body and A-type personality – and knows how to keep me occupied training wise. I certainly don’t want to overdo things again and get stuck in the ‘Over-Training, Let’s Abuse My Body Rut’!
Since training with Gids throughout my entire pregnancy, KX have launched a Pregnancy Support Programme, which not only looks after your nutrition and training but also physiotherapy and osteopathy; things tend to move a lot in during pregnancy due to a surge of relaxin and the extra weight your body has to handle.

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The programme took over a year to get together, as, as usual they wanted to collaborate with the best experts in the industry and provide the best information and service possible. Not only are they working with nutritionist and author of ‘The Health Delusion: How to Achieve Exceptional Health in the 21st Century,’ Glen Matten but, also Simon Rice and Boniface Verney-Carron, who can provide private spa-based physical therapy sessions.

So what type of exercises does Gideon have me doing?
A Turkish Get Up is the move that starts my programme off. This helps switch on my nervous system, switch on every single muscle in my body and helps me warm up and ease myself into my session. I’ve gone from using a 8kg Kettlebell to a 12kg and we’ve since progressed it so I do an internal and external rotation and a press in each position. It’s so challenging and I really have to connect my body to my brain during every position but I love it and once I’ve done this move a few times, I feel soooo ready to start my session!

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I’m also doing side lunges with a gliding disc to work my entire lower body, including those pesky inner thighs, back pulls with a resistance band to help pull my shoulders back (I feel so hunched over since having Lacie), lunges with a Kettlebell press for shoulder stability and a toned bottom and thighs side planks, one-legged Kettlebell deadlifts and renegade rows. Each session takes about 45 minutes, which is perfect for squeezing in the morning before Lacie wakes me up and generally keeps me busy for the rest of the day!

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I would urge anyone in the Chelsea area (or beyond) to contact KX if they are pregnant and scared to train or really want to be well looked after. Not only will you be trained in a fantastic environment but you can also indulge in the spa afterwards and have anything from a pregnancy massage to a Hydra facial. Their changing rooms are awesome too….there’s big fluffy white towels, dressing gowns, hair brushes, toothbrushes, candles and gorgeous toiletries. It makes going to the gym a real pleasure even if I do miss my little cherub….

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Hooray for Fisher Price

The best thing about having a gym at home is that I don’t have to leave Lacie to workout, and the worst thing about having a gym at home is that Lacie sometimes has to come in with me – which I can imagine can get pretty boring for her. This is why I love Fisher-Price and their huge range of toys for babies (and toddlers – and children of lots of ages for that matter!. They have definitely helped keep her entertained whilst I finish my workout.

And Stretch….

Look Mummy I’m stretching too!

The American company, which was founded in 1930 has sooooooo many cool products on their website (they have created approximately 5,000 different toys), that I can guarantee I will be a customer for a very long time, especially after Lacie fell in love with the ever so colourful Newborn-to-Toddler Portable Rocker – just one of the fabulous products she has in her playroom.

The rocker, which has two overhead toys to encourage interactive play keeps her really entertained as she loves grabbing the lion and shaking it until it rattles. She also loves looking behind her and trying to grab the colourful animals printed on the material – I haven’t got the heart to tell her that she will never be able to grab and pull these 🙂 It”s all good learning though!
She also like sleeping in it, so as she gets tired I take the toys off, pop on the calming vibrations and recline the chair by folding the feet in, which makes the chair rock and soothes her into a comfortable deep sleep. This then allows me to finish my workout or eat my breakfast – my workouts obviously make her really tired….it’s a hard life!

The chair is designed for newborns to toddlers up to 18 kg, so I’ll defiantly be keeping hold of this for a while, as it has so many functions and it also folds away easily so I can store it when she not using it. I especially love the bright colours and the fact that it changes from a rocker to stationary seat with fold-out kickstand. Babies need so many toys,so the fact that Lacie can eat, sleep and play in this, saves us some space. I not sure my husband will ever get over the fact that he has another female in the house creating clutter. I have a feeling it’s only going to get worse!!

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Fisher Price Rainforest Infant to Toddler Rocker; £69.99

Time to Wean

Just as I get my head around breast feeding, sleeping patterns and general routine, motherhood has thrown another curveball at me – weaning.
As Lacie reaches five months I know that it won’t be long until she’s on solids so I’ve been doing my research and of course looking at products that I’m going to need for her.
Asides from books, different colour vegetables and a highchair (I will get into that later), I found some cool little cups, bowls and spoons that I had to share with you. Who would of thought spoon shopping could be so exciting?!

I can’t tell you how excited I waste come across the Baby Ducks Sippy Cup on Borngifted.co.uk. Not only does it look like a mini Starbucks cup but its also BPA free and will be perfect for Lacie to drink her water from. She will fit in nicely with those regular ‘Mummy and Baby’ coffee mornings!

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 15.39.16Baby Ducks Sippy Cup, £6.99; Borngifted.co.uk

This plate is also super cool. Also known as Ms Food Face, the plate can make meal times great fun, especially if your little one is fussy! The Plate features a face in which you can decorate with food, for example why not give Ms Food Face some broccoli style earrings or an asparagus fringe? Let your child use their imagination and experiment with colourful fruit and veg to make their plate more exciting? I’ll definitely be using this when Lacie is a bit older – although I’m going to try my best to make sure she’e not a fussy eater like I was when I was little!

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Ms Food Face, £11.99; Borngifted.co.uk

I can imagine that weaning can be particularly messy. I’ve also noticed that when I give Lacie water from her sippy cup, she likes to spit it back out again. That’s fine as it’s clear – but what happens when she decides to spit out some bright orange sweet potato on to her pretty clothes? Say hello to the Close Parent Coverable bib. It’s long sleeved and will cover your baby from their neck to their knees, making it perfect for catching any stray food. It comes in sizes 6-18 months and comes in loads of funky colours, making meal times more fun and definitely less stressful. No one wants to be changing outfits at every meal time…

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Close Coverable Bib, £7.99; www.closeparent.com

When exploring the Close website, I also came across this waterproof, wipe clean and stain resistant play mat, which is designed to go on the floor at meal times and catch straying food. What I love is that it’s machine washable, with a waterproof and stain resistant side that will be perfect for nappy off time (my husband is a bit over-protective of our cream carpets!) and meal times! It’s foldable too and also has a soft fleecy side too, so after dinner, you can simply flip it over and enjoy some playtime before bed. I’ve noticed that baby stuff takes up a lot of room, so having something that does two jobs and also folds up is just perfect! It’s nice and pink too!

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Playmat, £32.99; closeparent.com

Last but not least, these Heat Sensitive bowls are genius! They feature special heat sensitive material, which indicates when the food is too hot and gradually changes colour as your baby’s food reaches an appropriate temperature. It also has easy grip rubber handles, that make the bowls easy to hold and move around safely!
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Heat Sensitive Bowls, £9.99; Fisher-price.com

My day……..

I haven’t given you an insight into my day for a while now so thought I would share my day today. It’s been a fun one, full of smiles, training, good food and of course quality time with my little angel!

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To start my day off I had scrambled eggs with broccoli and a sprinkle of goats cheese.
I’ve really taken charge of my eating lately as I’ll be weaning Lacie in a few weeks time and won’t have the whole breast feeding excuse to eat what I like anymore. I thought if I rein it in now then it won’t be so much of a shock to the system. I don’t like change…and I’ll be honest the whole weaning process is scaring me slightly!

I then ventured to my local Virgin Active – my second home!
Today I played around with this interesting looking ball – also known as a Weightedi Ball, a functional piece of kit that’s a but like a medicine ball but squishy! You can kneel on it to do core moves like bird dogs or put your feet on it and use as a platform for things like glute bridges and lunges. I used it for a which warm up to help me engage my core and switch on my glutes and  away I went.

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I love my local Virgin Active – I only go once a week (twice as I take Lacie swimming on Tuesdays) as all the other times I use the great outdoors and my home gym in my garden whilst Lacie is sleeping or in the pram,  so when I do go, I really go to town. After my warm up I did a metabolic circuit compromising of a push exercise, followed by a pull exercise, a lower body exercise, plyometric jumping move and then finished off with a isometric exercise to really burn my muscles out. I repeated this circuit three times and Jeez I’m aching already! Yay! Feel the burn! They have a great selection of kit in the gym, so I found myself a spot and kitted myself out with a barbell, plyometric platform and a TRX. The hour flew by!

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When I go home, I fed Lacie and then made myself a chicken salad followed by some sparkling water with lemon, which helps to take the edge of my after meal cravings..

In the afternoon as Lacie cat napped I then caught up on a few emails and features before taking her to a school that I teach gymnastics at to meet all the children. Needless to say, they loved her and she enjoyed the attention. I then came home and had a few of my favourite RawLicious Raw Artisian Bread Crackers spread with Organic Butter to take the edge of my hunger whilst Lacie played in her favourite Fisher Price Sit Me Up Floor Seat and attempted to eat a carrot. I’m trying to give her things to experiment with at the moment so when it comes to weaning putting food in her mouth isn’t totally alien. She definitely seemed to like it!
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For dinner I had a salmon fillet (lots of good fats!) with broccoli, carrots, sweetcorn and green beans. I love filling up on vegetables at dinner time. I then had a few RawLicious Date & Cashew Snackaroons, which by the way are sooooooo delicious and free from wheat, gluten, sugar, refined salt or anything artificial. You must give them a try they are made from coconuts, dates, nuts, raisins, ginger and vanilla powder. No nasties in sight!

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