Pregnancy fitness: 3rd trimester cardio

Even though you probably felt a bit like superwomen in your second trimester, you now may find yourself waking up slightly tried and losing energy as the day goes on. I know I certainly did. You’re also find that moving around isn’t as easy as it was and everything takes that little bit longer. The reason for this is that you’re baby is probably around 14 inches now (in your seventh month) and weighing around two to four pounds. Your breasts will also be around two pounds heavier and your uterus will be putting pressure on all your internal organs, including your diaphragm and lungs, causing shortness of breath. My bump really popped out at this stage and I felt HUGE! Staying active is vital though. I really noticed the difference at pregnancy groups – some of my in-active friends had constant back pains, found it difficult to walk for too long and even sit of too long. I didn’t really have any of this – and I certainly put it down to staying active as much as possible! 

Things to remember
During your third trimester your mobility may be limited, thanks to your growing bump and possibly water retention, and there’s no doubt that you will fatigue more easily. With that in mind, you can still safely participate in a 30-minute workout at least four days a week in order to maintain a good base of fitness and mental sanity.

One thing I would highly recommend in your third trimester is regular swimming sessions. The hardest part is probably putting on your swimsuit – but once it’s on and you’re in the water, you’re forget that you’re pregnant as the water supports your joints, provides buoyancy to your bump and supports your bodyweight. It will also keep your core temperature cool as you exercise, and work your heart as well as your arm and leg muscles.

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What stroke?
While the front crawl is still fine in your third trimester, the breaststroke will probably be most comfortable because your tummy will hang below you and the arm and leg movements are great for strengthening your back, chest, hips and bottom. It’s great for helping pregnancy posture too (you may have noticed your shoulders rounding and you get a slight hunch in your upper back). Breaststroke will stretch your chest muscles out and strengthen and shorten the back muscles that tend to overstretch during pregnancy.

Just be careful that you don’t work your legs too aggressively. Relaxin, the hormone that is will be circulating the body and working on making your joints more flexible, especially the pelvis will now be at its peak in your body, meaning you don’t have to do a lot to overstretch and cause a strain or muscle tear. Forcefully kicking your legs can strain the hip joints and ligaments because the public bone will already be starting to separate in preparation for labor. You don’t want to force the situation, which will lead to lower back, pelvis and hip pain.

How to fuel your swim
Complex carbs like wholegrains, oats, fruits and vegetables are ideal for getting your energy levels stable before and after your swim. At this stage you’ll also want to be getting sufficient calcium from calcium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, almonds and sardines – yes these are all just as good as milk!

Your pregnant body will also be leaching calcium from your bones to support the growth of your baby, so make sure you’re getting around three servings of quality calcium foods every day. Also make sure you stay well hydrated. It’s easy to forget to drink when in the pool but you can still get dehydrated, which is dangerous for you and your baby and will only add to your fatigue. Always leave a bottle of cool water at the side of the pool that you can sip from regularly, and make sure you drink a small glass before and after your session too.

Don’t forget!
As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

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Pregnancy fitness: 2nd trimester cardio

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my third blog – ‘Cardio during your second trimester.’ I remember this was the trimester I really got my energy back and felt great. Yes I had days when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep so I did it. I did also find that on those tired days that some gentle exercise was great for my energy levels and pulling me out of my lull.

* As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries…*

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Now you’ve got your energy back, let’s get into the swing of some regular exercise. Here’s how to exercise safely between weeks 12 and 26 of your pregnancy.

Yay – you should start feeling better by the second trimester. Your body finally understands what it’s doing, and your hormones and energy levels have leveled out, making things feel that little bit easier.
If you didn’t get to the gym much in your first trimester, don’t panic, you should be proud of yourself for listening to your body and letting your body protect your precious baby. So now your interest in fitness – and other things has come back, lets pick up where you left off and take advantage of this new found energy!

Things to remember

When it comes to doing cardio in your second trimester, you still NEED to very much listen to your body and keep the intensity down. This is not the time to be increasing your fitness levels. Simply put, it’s the time to be maintaining them and keeping those feel good endorphins circulating the body.

One thing to remember whether you are opting to swim, power walk, use the cross trainer or the exercise bike is that you’ll sweat more easily during this trimester. This is down to an increase in weight and also because your core temperature would have risen about one-degree. This increase in sweat is a way of cooling you off and of course keeping your bubba in the safe zone. Your main mission here is to make sure you stay well hydrated, you’ll be surprised at how much fluid you lose through sweat and you need to keep your body hydrated to avoid dizziness, mental fog, headaches, muscle cramping and nausea.
So what can you do that’s safe?

Walking
Walking is still a great form of exercise during this trimester. It poses very few risks and will keep the heart rate nice and steady. As before make sure you are wearing a good sports bra to cater for your growing chest and get properly fitted shoes that provide good support. It’s also worth remembering that your center of gravity and gait will change very quickly, so stick a flat terrain with little obstacles – you don’t want to trip over. You’ll be surprised at how clumsy you can get.
I love wearing a pedometer or Garmin when walking. It monitors the time on your feet and the distance covered – those miles soon add up!

Swimming
If you like swimming, you should be able to continue swimming well into your second trimester without any difficulty. The cool-water will feel really nice as your body temperature increases, plus the water supports your joints, especially as relaxin, the hormone that released to loosen your hip joints and prepare you for labor starts to surge.
Just be careful not to jerk your legs, when doing breaststroke as this will put pressure on your hips and pelvis. You should also avoid backstroke to improve fetal positioning.
Three swims per week of 20-40 minutes is enough for you to reap the aerobic benefits of swimming with no adverse effects on your body or baby, but remember that if you begin to get short of breath during swims, slow down your pace and stay near the edge or shallow end of the pool until you feel that you’ve recovered.

Stationary cycling
Your balance and center of gravity will still be out, so I would ditch the outdoor bike and stick to stationary cycling now until the baby is born. It’s not worth the risk, especially since your pelvis is no longer protecting your uterus.
When sitting on the stationary bike, make sure you are sitting nice and upright, which will make it easier to breathe, and move the seat to a comfortable position (usually hip height) to stop your knees from opening too far. Make sure you keep an eye on your temperature too and don’t work out so hard that you feel exhausted and light headed. This totally defeats the purpose of a fit and healthy pregnancy!

Anything else?
As always listen to your body throughout your whole session and beyond and of you experience any of the following STOP and seek medical advice.
Pain in the back or pelvis
Exhaustion (much worse than fatigue)
Dizziness
Chest pain
Hyperventilation
Severe headache
Heart palpitations
Contractions that persist long after exercise
Calf swelling
Irregular heart beat.

And don’t forget to make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop.

My 6:30am Post-baby Workout

Last night I got seven hours sleep. Yay! It felt amazing!

I’ve tried a new bed time routine, which means I split feed Lacie at 6:30pm so she’s happy to be bathed, and then watch us have dinner, then I take her upstairs around 8ish, we draw the curtains, put her in her sleeping bag and then I do another short feed, where she usually falls fast asleep. We’ve been doing this little routine for a week now and she sleeps upstairs on her own until 10:30, then I wake her for a feed and we both go to bed. It seems to working really well. There’s been a few seven hour nights! It makes such a difference.
So after such a ‘long’ sleep, I got up at 6:30 and got a workout done. I had a good hour until she woke so I crammed in all I could whilst she slept.

I warmed up with 60 seconds of;
Glute bridges
Prisioner squats
Resistance band back pulls
Then
Disco lunges.

I repeated this circuit three times.

I then did 2 minutes of step ups on my powerbag  to get my heart rate up followed by 60 seconds of
Light kettlebell swings
Followed by
Tricep dips.
Again I repeated this three times, followed by another burst of step ups on my powerbag.

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I finished with
* Tabata goblet squats with my powerbag
* a 30 second plank with my knees on the floor
* Tabata Powerbag thrusters
And lastly
* 60 seconds of tube walking with my feet internally rotated.
Phew!

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It felt good to get my workout done then run upstairs pop my head over her crib and get the biggest morning smile in the world! I love it when she wakes up so happy, it makes my day!

sleeping

 

How to get a flat tummy after giving birth

The fifty dollar question after being pregnant for nine months is ‘Will I ever have a flat stomach again?’
I questioned it more then once, especially in the later states of my pregnancy, it just felt so out of reach. But by the way, it’s not!

Just 12 weeks after giving birth to my beautiful baby girl, I’m back to flat and although I don’t have a raging six pack (not that I want one), I can see some muscle tone shining through. I’m happy with that, as it still looks feminine but also looks like you work out and look after yourself too.

postbaby 1 week – one week after birth

 post baby – 11 weeks later.

So how did I achieve this? Well for one I certainly haven’t been in the gym for hours on end. In fact I’ve been to the gym once since Lacie. I’ve been doing home workouts and lots of walking instead. This means I don’t have to leave Lacie and we still spend quality time together.

I’ve also be wearing a corset and compression gear a few hours a day to help my tummy muscles knit back together and help gently push my uterus back in. I started with the Gowri wrap, which I wore just a few days after the birth, then tightened as my stomach shrunk and I also wore MACOM, compression gear that is designed to provide the comfort and support needed to restore the abdomen’s natural shape. Basically by compressing the stomach, your muscles will  join together more easily, allowing for your natural shape to be regained at much faster than without it.

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I think breast feeding also helps a great deal when it comes to losing your mummy tummy. In the early days I could feel my uterus contracting as I fed Lacie. It was a really weird sensation and according to experts breast feeding can burns anything from 200 to 500 additional calories a day. Last year, an epidemiological study of 36,000 Danish women also found that the more a mother breast-feeds, the less weight she retains six months after birth.

There’s a few key exercises I’ve been doing too.

The first one is the cat/cow, which releases back tension, whilst helping to suck the abs back in.

And the other is superman, which gently works your core and helps restore your balance and help work your abs again but very gently.

As I’ve got stronger, I’ve also started doing the plank but on an incline or on knees to stop putting so much pressure on my abs. When doing a plank I’m really conscious of really pulling my belly Button up towards my spine as I do it, which helps activate your TVA and core whilst sucking all the muscles up rather than letting them all hang down.

If you need a hand with your Mummy Tummy, please don’t hesitate to get in contact. I have a list of goods that can help flatten your tum, whilst making you feel good and I can design personal workout programmes that you can fit in around the baby and do in your living room. My email address is miller82uk@yahoo.co.uk.

http://www.macom-medical.com/post-natal/post-natal

 

Burn fat and lose your mummy tummy in your living room

Just last week, I posted a cool workout that I’ve been doing at home around Lacie’s sleeps.

I always thought it would be tough working out with a baby, but it’s actually not too bad. You just have to be über flexible with your time and fit them when baby is sleeping. Some days I won’t get a chance to do my circuit but I don’t stress too much, baby comes first and there’s always tomorrow. If I haven’t had a chance then there’s going to be a genuine reason. I don’t like not sticking to my plans!

When planning my workouts I’ve found these top tips from Chrissi Delapperal, Virgin Active Personal Training Manager and Mum of One very useful. It certainly helps me to fit exercise in when I can around Lacie.

1. Treat your house as your multi-level gym, and combine everyday tasks with a workout. For example, when you’re vacuum cleaning you could lunge instead of walk, and when wiping coving you could incorporate squats

2. Be imaginative and turn your favourite TV program into a workout. For example, every time a favourite character appears or a certain word is said, challenge yourself to do ten tricep dips on the sofa

3. Train your core muscles by balancing on one foot, or on a swiss ball, whilst teeth brushing, ironing, cooking or on the phone

I’ve also found that walking with a baby carrier is a great workout. Lacie loves being this close to me and carrying all her weight really gets your heart rate up, and I also have to really use my core muscles to help with my balance and posture. The only thing is, that having all that weight at the front of your body can make you feel like you are leaning forwards, so make sure you suck your belly button in as you walk and stand up straight like you have a piece of string attached to the top of your head and someone is pulling you up.

One of my favourite carriers so far is the Baby Bjorn One. I can use it for Lacie as a newborn (at least 3.5kg and 53cm) and until she is approximately 3 years old (max. 15kg or 100cm). When she is older I can carry her on my back too, which is perfect for weekend walks with my husband, one of our favourite past-times.

This is me on Mother’s Day, we walked for around two hours and Lacie slept the whole way. She really does love being in the fresh air. She definitely takes after me!

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http://www.babybjorn.co.uk/products/baby-carriers/one/baby-carrier-one/; RRP: £119.99

 

Finding My Feet

Now Lacie is five weeks old I’m definitely starting to think about my post-pregnancy shape up plan and actioning it.

It’s hard coming from such a hectic, active life to being very busy with almost not a lot.
Yes I have a perfect new born baby girl but who would of thought all my time would be taken up with her. I’m not working, I’m not exercising, not doing the housework but still the days seem to fly by. It’s crazy! Breast feeding and changing nappies takes up a lot of my day and I feel ready to start adding in some me time – although it makes me feel incredibly guilty that I’m thinking if leaving her for an hour here and there to get to the gym.

To ease myself in I’m going to start with power-walking every morning with the pram. Just 40 minutes a day will be enough to start with and help wake up my muscles and cardiovascular system again. I’ll also be with Lacie throughout the entire walk so I guess I have no reason to be guilty.

Depending on how I feel, I may even find myself a good hill and power up it as fast as I safely can, then stroll back down. Have you ever tried walking up a hill with a pram? It’s hard work!

I’ll also take my Gym Boss and perhaps set it so I do one minute powerwalk, one minute recovery with a slow walk. I’ll see how I get on. I get bored very easily!

I obviously have to be very careful to start with. If my bleeding increases then I’ll know I’m doing too much and take a few rest days. I also need to be careful not to do to much so it affects my breast milk, so I’ll make sure I have a good breakfast before I head outside of a smoothie or some eggs. Water is important too, so I’ll pop my water bottle in the basket underneath the pram to keep me hydrated.

As for diet, I need to work that out. As I said I am breast feeding so I need to keep my nutrients and calories high for my little one, so when I have some time this week I’ll sit down and write a plan that allowed me to feel good and shed some baby weight without compromising my milk supply.

I’m also going to look into what supplements I need to support my activity and my milk.

So that’s one positive step taken. A daily morning walk before anything can get in my way. We’ll get up and head out straight after feeding so then we have the rest of the day to do whatever it is we get up to.

me & mum

39 Weeks Pregnant – Tracy Anderson Workout

Since hitting 39 weeks pregnant I’ve been a bit reluctant to go to the gym. Not only do I feel a bit self-conscious (lots of people like to comment on how big you look) but its starting to feel like hard work. My bump probably weighs a good stone (maybe more) and the shape of it just makes things more difficult. That’s not to say I’m sitting around with my feet up. No way. I’m working out at home instead in my own space, in my own time with my phone on hand. Come on baby 🙂

My usual gym routine has now been swapped for a daily hours walk – which is about 3-4 miles and Tracy Anderson‘s workout DVD called The Pregnancy Project.

The Pregnancy Project contains nine discs, one for each month of pregnancy. Tracy, personal trainer to Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez focuses upon strength and flexibility especially in the arms, back, legs, and backside.

This is the first month I have used her DVD, so I’ve really enjoyed it so far – although I think doing it for the whole nine months would get pretty repetitive, despite the multiple discs. Tracy is also pregnant in this series, too, which means she’s on the same wavelength as you and not her usual toned and tiny self.

I really enjoy the arm series which gives you a serious arm burn without getting the heart rate too high and the legs and bottom exercises on your hands and knees feel really nice on your lower back – being in this position takes any pressure off the back and lets your uterus just hang.

I must admit its a far cry from my usual gym routine – even when I have been pregnant and taking it ‘easier’ so I found myself missing out some of the moves that didn’t feel good on my body and did squats or tube walking instead. I really appreciated the softer side of the workout though – it’s good that I’m listening to my body yet still keeping active.

Just a few days now hopefully. I am missing the gym, yes. BUT I feel it’s time to start taking it easier and conserve my energy for will probably be the biggest challenge of my life.

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