Training while pregnant (and after)

We've been fortunate to have many of our clients share their pregnancy news with us, and then ask us to continue training them through their pregnancy, and then they often came back after a sleep-less period to come train with us to help get their pre-pregnancy body back.

How do we train pregnant clients? The short answer is that it's conceptually not that different from training clients who aren't pregnant. There actually aren't many exercises that are bad for you when you're pregnant. In the past there was some concern about exercises that have you lying on your back when you're pregnant, but since most exercises that have you on your back only last a minute or two, it's not considered an issue. Exercising in extreme heat is not ideal during pregnancy, but the level of heat required for that to be a problem is not something you'd ever encounter in a regular gym. Some suggest that crunches aren't great during pregnancy, but we don't use them anyhow. Other than that, I am not aware of any exercises that are "bad" for women who are pregnant.

The main difference is that as the baby gets bigger, some exercises are not going to feel great, at which point we will replace them with exercises that do feel great. As a person gets closer to their delivery date, the body does start to release a hormone called relaxin that increases flexibility. When this happens, some people start to find that some of the single leg exercises stop feeling great because the ligaments around the pelvis loosen, so we adjust or replace them. Lastly, during the first and third trimester, there tend to be some days when energy levels are lower, in which case we tend to adjust by having you take more rest between exercises, or if you're not feeling it, cutting the workout short.

We tend to shift the focus a bit during pregnancy, moving the goal from getting stronger and more fit, to maintaining strength and fitness as much as possible. Lastly, we also try to include some exercises that still make you feel like a badass because we know that there's a lot of stuff you can't do any more. I love bench press for pregnant clients for this reason. It's completely safe (we always give you a spotter) and is still doable when someone is very far along in their pregnancy. Although we'll often provide risers for under the feet to reduce the arch in your back.

If you're interested, Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James Clapp is a great read. I love it because it goes over the research as it pertains to exercise and pregnancy.

If you're pregnant and want to stay as strong as you can during your pregnancy, email us or call us at 613-809-8873 and let's chat.


Training post-pregnancy

How we approach your training post-pregnancy will partly depend on your delivery, on whether you have a diastasis, and on how fit you were during your pregnancy. We'll meet with you before training to get a sense of this, and if you have a diastasis and are seeing a physical therapist or other health care practitioner for this, we will happily correspond with them as their input is invaluable to guide your training.

As with training during pregnancy, there aren't really any exercises that are fundamentally bad post-pregnancy; it's a matter of finding what is most appropriate for you. We do recognize that, early on at least, your ligaments may still be looser than normal, and your core has been through a lot, which will impact what is appropriate for you. We also recognize that there will be days when you're really tired and just showing up for the workout is an accomplishment. We'll help you sort out what the best workout is on those days.

If you recently had a baby and are looking to get back to where you were before you were pregnant, email us or call us at 613-809-8873 and let's meet.