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 ūüôā

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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Pregnancy Countdown – 34 days to go. The Low Down on Birthing Balls

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Ok so I’m now officially over 35 weeks pregnant – and coming up to being nine months pregnant – who would have thought time would fly so quickly?

This week is all over getting the most out of my birthing ball – something you may have heard a lot about in your NCT classes or from your midwife. I sit on it as much as I possibly can!

A birthing ball is essentially a gym ball/swiss ball. I find it comfortable to sit on especially if I am working or watching the TV in the evening – as its uncomfortable to sit of hard chairs at the moment and I find it effort having to get up from my low sofa.

It also
* helps me to keep my posture in the right position,
* will help my baby get in the right position for birth and
* helps me to build strength and flexibility in my spine and thigh muscles.

When you sit on the ball you’ll also find that the legs naturally drop to the sides, so therefore open in the pelvis to its widest diameter and adds optimal foetal positioning in preparation for labor.

You can take it to the hospital to help with labor too! My mid-wife defiantely advised me to take it as sitting on the ball encourages a natural swaying motion of the pelvis, which helps the baby descend into the birth canal.

I also like it because the sitting position assumed on the ball, is very similar to the squat – which opens the pelvis and helps the birthing process.
The ball also supports your entire weight making it easier to breath and take pressure of the back.

I will most ceratinly be taking mine with me! One piece of advise though – just make sure it fits in your car before you make the trip to the hospital – that could be pretty embarrassing! I know one lady who had to get a cab to the hospital but leave her ball by the side of the road because there wasn’t enough room for it!

Need a birthing ball? Here are my top three gym balls.

Physical Company – Physical Stability Ball
Pretty in pink – this ball is manufactured from flexton¬ģ, a burst resistant material that has undergone static compression testing.¬†‚Ä®¬£14.99;¬†www.physicalcompany.co.uk
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Reebok TWO TONE GYMBALL
‚Ä®The mid-wife won’t miss you in this! It’s suitable for¬†users between 170cm and 185cm (5‚Ä≤ 7‚Ä≥ ‚Äď 6‚Ä≤ 1‚Ä≥) in height and comes with a DVD for once the baby is born and you want to work on getting your pre-baby body back!¬†‚Ä®¬£29.99;¬†www.idealworld.tv

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Technogym Wellness Ball
O
k, not the cheapest option I know, BUT it¬†is made with special materials that favor perfect stability, traction and cushion during exercises. It also comes with its own bag, Pump and gauge for inflation, so if you can’t fit it in the car already inflated, you can do it at the hospital.¬†‚Ä®¬£109;¬†www.technogym.comScreen Shot 2013-12-09 at 13.24.26

Pregnancy countdown – 40 days to go and I’m loving my…

NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical.

I’m now 34 1/2 weeks pregnant and seem to have popped somewhat! My belly feels bloody huge and it makes me a little self-conscious in the gym. I know to shouldn’t be you do get some funny looks! Like ‘what are you doing here?”

This is where my little beauty, my¬†NordicTrack E11.6 elliptical comes in. I had it delivered last week and it’s in my cabin out in the back garden, which I have made into a gym. It’s really cool in there and perfect for days when me and bump just want to hide away yet still get some exercise in.

This morning I was on it for about 40 minutes and did a little routine, which looked like this.

I warmed up for 5 minutes, then did 4 minutes on level 3 going forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 4 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 3 minutes in level 5  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 3 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 2 minutes in level 7  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 2 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 1 minutes in level 9  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 1 minute interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
I then did 30 seconds in level 11  forwards. I then had a 30 second rest and repeated the 30 second interval but with my legs going backwards.
* 60 seconds rest
To finish off I just carried on at level 5 at one speed until I had completed my 40 minute stint.

To finish the session I did a 30 second plank with a knee dip (static holds tend to push my blood pressure up), then 30 seconds side plank with my arm going from my hip to over my head – again just to keep something moving so I wasn’t in a static position.
I did this three times through.

Although I do love the gym environment, I really enjoyed my session today and will defiantly be doing this once bubba is born and I’ve had my six-week check up. It’s going to be great to dive down into the gym when I can, knowing that she will be safely in the house with my husband whilst I work towards shifting some of my baby weight!

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33 Weeks Pregnant; My Third Trimester Pregnancy Essentials

Today marks the day that I’m 33 weeks and four days pregnant. Yes I feel HUGE, and yes I’m still working out. Granted there are days where I would rather say in bed (usually after a rubbish nights sleep with sore hips!) but nine days out of 10, I’m up, dressed and out the door by 8am for an hour’s workout.

My workouts have definitely relaxed a little. I’m mainly doing low impact cardio on the cross-trainer or bike and bodyweight exercises, after all with all the extra weight I’m carrying, I’m still placing a huge demand on my muscles so they’re ultimately getting stronger without the need for dumbbells.

I’ve also had to cut out things like lunges and one legged exercises as my pelvis was getting sore, and I was worried I’d get¬†Pubis Dysfunction or¬†Pelvic¬†Girdle¬†Pain, which is pain in the front or the back of the pelvis, buttocks, groin and/or radiating into the thighs, and caused by the extra pressure on the pelvis, due to additional weight of growing baby and of course the dramatic changes in posture. I can still do lots of squats though so I’m ok with that ūüôā

Now with all these workouts, there are a few fitness essentials that I just COULDN’T live with out at the moment, so here they are. I hope they help you too!

Mama Mio’s 9¬†Month Stretch Kit by Tracy Anderson‚Ä®
Now I’m not usually a fan of Tracy BUT she has had two children and looks fantastic. There aren’t many fitness experts that have documented their pregnancy for others to see and follow, so for that reason I actually like this DVD – she’s obviously been there and done it. There is a DVD and workout for each Trimester plus the¬†Boob Tube ‚Ä®Bust firming cream and¬†Tummy Rub Butter ‚Ä®are two of my fav products! The bust firming cream made such a difference in a matter of days – they definitely felt¬†smoother and firmer! A great package to see you through your pregnancy.
£102.50; http://www.mamamio.com/uk/the-9-month-stretch-kit.html

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REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer
As my body is changing by the day, there are days where I’ve just felt far too body conscious to go to the gym and wanted to hide away (I know!)‚Ä®Although I usually love the gym environment, my¬†REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer has come to the rescue for those days where I’ve just wanted to stay at home but still work up a sweat. It has¬†32 levels of electronic resistance, which means you can modify the intensity of your workout to suit your needs, plus their are¬†12 pre-set programmes, a distance and heart rate monitor.
I know this is an expensive piece of kit but there was a method to my madness. I thought it would be ideal for when the baby is here and for when I am able to exercise again after my 6-week checkup. When she is sleeping, then I have no excuse not to get a mini workout in. I can jump on it without leaving the house plus pop the TV on whilst doing it and catch up with Sky+ to distract me.
£599; REEBOK ZR10 Cross Trainer

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Shock Absorber Sports Bra
Need I say more? Your breast shape changes dramatically when pregnancy so it’s vital you support them to avoid back pain and sagging! What’s more, recent research from Shock Absorber has found that over a third of exercisers (35%) are still not wearing a sports bra despite two thirds (65%) admitting they frequently experience breast bounce when exercising. Pregnant or not. if you are exercising then you should be wearing a sports bra!
£31; shockabsorber.co.uk

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FittaMamma High Support Top
I
t’s tempting to live in black when you’re pregnant which is why I love my Hot Pink FittaMamma high support sports top.¬†
It boosts an unique back panel spreads the weight of your baby onto your back and shoulders (like a quality sports bra!) whilst strong elastane content hugs your bump to help you feel lighter and more comfortable. It also has a built in sports bra and a firm waistband that feels super-secure around your hips. When I wear mine, I feel well and truly held in!
£49.99; www.fittamamma.com

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Three ways to stay stretch mark free during pregnancy

Research suggests that stretch marks, those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear mainly around the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy have a lot to do with genetics: If your mother or sister got stretch marks during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them, too. Other studies show that younger moms, particularly teens, are more prone to getting stretch marks.

The key to keeping them at bay is to make sure you don’t pile on the weight too quickly. The recommended amount of weight during pregnancy in most cases, is 25 to 35 pounds. Gaining it slowly may help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, as will drinking lots of water, which helps keep your skin cells plump and supple.

Foods rich in Vitamin E (seeds and spinach), zinc (beef and lamb) and silica (celery), will also help to form collagen, while Vitamin C (oranges, peppers) in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, while helping it to form collagen.

There are also lots of fantastic creams on the market that are designed to be used day and night to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and help build tensile strength.

Here are three of my favourite that I have used everyday of my pregnancy. At 34 weeks, I can safely say that I‚Äôve not got an inkling of a stretch mark ‚Äď I must be doing something right…

1) Zita West Beautiful Belly Balm
This restorative moisturiser from fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West contains all natural plant extracts, designed to help keep the skin of your stomach in good condition throughout pregnancy.
It‚Äôs really rich, smells gorgeous ‚Äď and is not greasy making it perfect to put on in the morning before you get dressed.
£18.95; www.zitawest.com

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 2) Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter
This is great for all over protection from stretch marks as a little goes a long way. It’s made with super-elasticising Omega 3, 6 and 9’s oils to help build your skin’s strength and has a rehydrating shea butter base, making it super thick, and really smooth to apply.
£23; www.mamamio.com

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3) Fushi Really Good Stretch Mark oil
Rubbing anything unnatural on my tummy is a no-no for me, which is why I love this stretch mark oil. It contains Holy Basil, known for its superb skin healing powers and renowned benefits for stretch marks, African Baobab oil, which holds the properties of omega 3, vitamin E and D, and is ideal for scars, blemishes and stretch marks. The oil is a little greasy but keeps my  skin hydrated for hours, which is why I like to put it on last thing at night.
£14.45; www.fushi.co.uk 

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32 weeks pregnant and counting…

I thought I would give you a quick update as to how I’m feeling.

I’m now 32 weeks and yes still working out five to six days a week but starting to wake up more tired and also feel the effects of working out with a little person inside of me. It’s not a case of sitting down on the mat for tricep dips and then just getting back up again. Everything is taking that little bit longer. I feel like a granny ūüôā

Saying that – my energy during the day is still good and I’m setting my alarm on my phone to remind me to eat every three hours. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a slap up meal every time my alarm sounds but I will head to the kitchen and have a big glass of water and a healthy snack like some avocado on rye bread or hummus or veggie sticks.

Sleep – it’s ok. I have one of these amazing pregnancy pillows from Mothercare – which I recommend to EVERYONE! (I even got my husband one because it kept stealing mine!) Sleep is so important for recovery an growth and there is tons of research out there also that says it can help stablise your blood sugar levels and stop you reaching for sugary snacks. There is alot to be said for 8 hours a night – if you can get it!

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My pregnancy pillow from Mothercare is definitely my new best friend! http://www.mothercare.com

My First Trimester Workout

Although, I’m in my second trimester now, I’m aware that I never shared my workout with you during my first Trimester.

Now, this was a strange time for me because some days I woke up incredibly tired and sick that I had to say in bed, and other days I just thought, do you know what the gym will probably make me feel better. Mostly it did, but there was times when I caught myself running to the toilets mid-workout, esecaily if my blood sugar levels got too low. The trick was to eat before my morning workouts – which I have never done in my life, but this definately helped the sickness.

Warm up
I always warmed up with;

Glute bridges with knee squeeze to engage my glutes, inner thighs and core.
x 15 reps
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Bird dogs to engage my core and back.
x 20
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Potty Squats to work my thighs, glutes, hamstrings, core and upper back
x 20 reps
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I then moved on to my main workout which consisted of an upper body and lower body circuit.

Lower body (I love working my lower body) was; 
Resistance band Tube Walking
X 60 seconds (10 to the right, then switch to the left)
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Exercise Ball Squats with inner thigh squeeze
x 60 seconds
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Walking Lunges
x 60 seconds
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I did this lower body circuit three times before moving onto my upper body circuit.

Box Press Ups
x 15 reps
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Single Arm Rows
x 15 each arm
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Lateral Raises
x 15
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Again I did this circuit three times before doing 20 minutes of uphill walking or cardio on the bike or cross trainer.

To finish my workout I did Side planks x 30 seconds on each side with a leg raise. 
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Before embarking on any fitness plan during pregnancy PLEASE, PLEASE don’t forget to get the all clear from your doctor and midwife, drink enough water, make sure you don’t over-heat and don’t let your heart rate go too high. You should be able to hold a conversation comfortably!

Using my qualifications, I can also help devise a workout to meet your goals. These moves suit my body and I have been woking out for years, and years. What ever you do, listen to your body and don’t do anything that feels uncomfortable!

 

Sleek Technique – The perfect workout in the comfort of your own home

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 13.00.32There was only so long before I found myself at another ballet-inspired class that have become the talking point for so many fitness aficionados. I’ve done them all – BarreTONED, X-tend Barre and BarreCore. but the good thing about this class was that it was all online, and meant I could workout with instructor Flik Swan¬†and three other class participants in the comfort of my own living room!

I bumped into Flik and Vicky of Sleek Technique last week at a press launch and straight away was blown away with their figures and vibrant energy. As ex-professional ballet dancers, their long and sleek figures stood out from the crowd and I couldn’t wait to wait to try one of their classes.

With my laptop set up in my living room, and Flik giving me advice at where to position it so she could see me and I could hear her clearly throughout the class, we plied and pulsed until my legs burnt, and stretched and lengthened until my ex-gymnast flexibility came back to me Р all -while protecting my little baby bump of course!

Flik was great. It felt no different to being in a class studio as she encouraged us and perfected our movements throughout the 30-minute session. She modified my movements to accommodate the baby but still pushed us to work hard and get the most out of the class.

I loved that the class pushed me to within an inch of quitting (especially the plies), then allowed recovery through expert stretching techniques; giving our quivering muscles a rest.

After the class my entire body felt worked, but this is not to say I was in pain Р I was just very aware that I had had a good workout. My legs and arms felt tired but at the same time I felt limber and fully aware of my posture.

I love the concept of this class. It’s great for all levels – including during pregnancy and there are lots of classes to choose from depending what level you are.

I’ll be leaving the Classical Cardio and the full Ballet Bootcamp classes until after my bubba is born – but believe me I will be taking advantage of the classes whilst he or she is born. As it sleeps, there’s no doubt I’ll be getting my workout in without having to leave the house and pay for creches and the like. A very cool concept – that I will definitely be sharing with my Mummy friends.

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http://www.sleektechnique.com