True Life: This is Post Partum

You’ve all seen it before: the celebrity who walks the red carpet 2 weeks after baby and looks perfect– glowing and radiant even. The fitness blogger who shows off her new-mommy 6-pack abs and asks “what’s your excuse?” making every other new mom out there feel less-than, at the very least.

But you know what? While those are real people, and yes, real results, they do not represent the norm. And they certainly don’t represent a standard of where you “should” be, 2, 4, or 6 weeks post partum.

I will tell you to start out that I had an unexpected c-section with Isabelle. Some things occurred to make this medically necessary for the safety of all involved. And while it broke my heart in the moment, I did what I had to do to bring this beautiful baby into the world. That being said, my journey is going to look a little different than another mama no matter what her birth story looked like. So on that note, this post is in no way a “what to expect” or a list of things you should feel after baby, because the truth is that we’re all going to experience this a little bit differently.

The goal today is just to give you a real life, un-glammed, imperfect glimpse into my story, with the hopes that it can help out other moms who are lost in a sea of “shoulds” and perfect post partum abs.

Showering is a luxury.

There are many days now where I have to strategically find time to shower quickly, and many days where I don’t even get to shower at all. Life just after baby is anything but glamorous, and you’d be surprised how much little time you actually have to get anything done. All newborns do is eat, sleep, and poop, right? So there’s plenty of time during the day to get lots of things done and even relax? Nope, not so much. All of those things happen with such frequency, never mind the new mom challenge of figuring breast feeding out, and you’ve got a literally 24/7 job on your hands. I firmly believe that’s the reason babies are so cute and smell so good– so we don’t mind the constant hard work! Case in point: it took me two weeks to write this very blog post. Time is not on my side these days.

Everything was swollen.

I don’t think I looked in a mirror for a full day after my surgery. But by the time I did, I was shocked by how swollen I still was. From my face down to my toes, not only did I still look pregnant, but I looked like I had been pumped full of fluid and air. Pants that were loose on me at 40 weeks pregnant were now tight, and you can imagine what a trip that is mentally when you’re kind of expecting to get your body back once the baby makes their exit. The swelling went down in about a week, but I’ll admit I was a little bit nervous that it might hang around forever (irrational sleep deprived thoughts).

The scale has dropped quickly, but things are a far cry from my “normal”.

I’m going to write a bigger post just on this topic, but here’s the overview: at two weeks post partum, I was already down to just 7 lb over my pre-baby weight. I’m not sure exactly where I am now since we don’t have a scale, but I’d say I’m somewhere in that 5-7 lb range. Yay, right? Well, not so fast. It’s actually a perfect example of how the scale doesn’t mean a whole lot, because my body is much different than those 7 lb will tell you.

Although I kept up a very active fitness routine while pregnant, lifting weights right up to the end, I still lost a significant amount of muscle mass over those 9 months. And add in recovery from surgery, and you’ve got full body atrophy at a maximum. Of course Isabelle is well worth it, but this body, although only 7 lb away from my before-baby body, is drastically different, and will take lots of hard work in the months to come.

Healing is frustrating.

Along that same train of thought, healing from a major surgery is not something I expected. After my remarkably easy pregnancy, I naively thought I would go into labor, waltz into the hospital, and pop out a baby a few hours later. Not so much. Complications led to surgery, and then all of a sudden there I was, recovering from a major surgery I never even bothered to read about ahead of time. Being told that I can’t work out for 6 weeks is tough, and feeling completely incapacitated was not part of my game plan. Lesson learned:when it comes to child birth, a birthing plan is ok, but be prepared for everything, and take nothing for granted.

That being said though, although Im not cleared to work out for a couple more weeks, that doesn’t mean I’ve been just laying around not moving at all. I have been doing everything I can safely do to keep my muscles engaged and functioning– daily walks and some glute and core rehab exercises. I will outline all of this in a later post, but suffice it to say that in all aspects of life, fitness is relative. I may not be anywhere near my fitness prime but I am doing everything possible to take care of myself and set myself up for future success.

No sleep is really, really hard.

Getting by on a few hours of sleep every once in a while is rough. Going an entire month with 2-3 hours of sleep per night (and sometimes less), is unthinkable. But here I am, in this club with all new parents, who find out that our bodies can adapt to some pretty crazy things in order to take care of these little bundles. Sleep deprivation is a form of serious torture,and here we are in the thick of it, day in and day out– and still expected to function like normal adults! So next time you see a friend with a new baby, and you jokingly ask about how much they’re sleeping, know that the truth is worse than you can imagine. And cut them some slack.

The emotional overload is something I never could have imagined.

Now, this might sound like I’m complaining, or that everything is all bad, but the truth is, there is nothing to compare to the amazing and gut wrenching amount of love that erupts from you when this baby comes into the world. There really are no words that can describe what it feels like to look at her, to smell her, to snuggle with this little tiny bundle of warmth. I stare at her endlessly, wanting to breathe her in, wanting to preserve this newborn stage forever. Sure, some things are really tough right now, but I know that this is such a fleeting time in our lives, one that seems stressful yet magical and wonderous all at once. The strength of emotions has been surprising to me, and as cliche as it sounds, you can never really imagine it until you’re going through it.

Along with all of that love and wonderment though, there have also been plenty of tears, and thats ok. After child birth, a woman is basically a raging inferno of hormones– hormones that cause emotional swings so strong its almost laughable. I’m not going to pretend I haven’t cried, haven’t already felt mom guilt, or haven’t doubted my ability to do this. But the truth is, that’s all a normal part of this process, one that I wish were talked about more openly. So cry it out, mamas, and find support where you need it. It truly takes a village!

After all this, the long and short of it is that the immediate weeks post partum are both wonderful and difficult, and everything in between. It’s the start of a new life, a new you, and probably one of the most amazing things that I’ll never truly be able to describe.

Other moms (and dads), what were your first few weeks like? What did you find most challenging in the early days of parenthood?

 

 

 

 

Announcement Time!

Well, you have probably guessed already due to my absolute silence around here but…

There is a new addition to the I Train Therefore I Eat family!

Isabelle Mae joined us on October 6 at 2:15 pm, checking in at a healthy 8 lb 12 oz!

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She had an eventful entrance into this world, which I won’t get into here, but we are all doing well and adjusting to being this new (and sleepless) family of 3. She’s a beautiful little girl who changed my entire world the instant I met her, and I’m overwhelmed with the amount of emotions that come with this new part of our life. She’s perfect in every way, even when she’s wearing her cranky pants, and I’m excited to see how things will continue to evolve, both in life and here on the blog!

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Things will probably be pretty slow around here for the next few weeks as I adjust to my new life as a mom, but I’m going to try to get back in the blogging groove soon, I promise! For now it’s all diapers, nursing, and finding a few minutes of sleep where I can get it in, but most importantly, baby snuggles.

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For now, here are a few pictures of life with Isabelle so far.

There have been lots of snuggles…

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daily walks…

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and let’s be real here– some tears along the way.

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Life will never be the same around here, but it’s a world of change we’re so excited for!

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Welcome, Miss Isabelle Mae!

Coming soon:  a real life look into my post partum experience, and all the ups and downs that have come with it.

My Workout Progression Through Pregnancy

As I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy, I’ve recently begun to be on the receiving end of a lot of questions and concerns about my health and the health of my baby.

It’s no secret that I’ve remained active throughout my pregnancy, and at nearly 38 weeks, I’m still going not so strong. Because of all of the questions though, I wanted to take a few minutes to address some of these concerns and paint a picture of what my workouts, and my exercise progression (or, more accurately, regression) has looked like for the past 37 weeks.

“Are you supposed to be doing that?”

This is a question I’ve received a lot, especially as I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy. I’ve also had it asked in a less tactful way, as in when my neighbor straight up asked “are you hurting your baby?” while I was in the middle of a back yard workout this summer.

Spoiler alert: No, those battle rope swings were not hurting Baby R.

Anyway, I think most people ask these types of things not out of malice, but out of concern. They’ve been told for most of their lives that pregnant women are not supposed to lift anything remotely heavy, are not supposed to exert themselves in any way, and are essentially supposed to lie in wait for their baby to be born for 9 months. I don’t get angry at people who ask me this question, but I do try to clarify the truth for them.

And the truth is, pregnant women are more than capable of physical activity, as long as it’s something that they were engaged in prior to becoming pregnant, and as long as they have gotten the OK from their doctor. Now, I’m not a marathon runner, so I wouldn’t have dreamed of trying to train for a marathon while pregnant. Likewise, I’m not a CrossFitter, so I wouldn’t join a new box and try to compete in the Crossfit games while pregnant. But weight lifting, casual running, spinning, and other types of fitness are normal parts of my life. Since becoming pregnant, I have continued with these types of activities, just modifying them as needed as things progress. Because I’ve had a low risk pregnancy, all of this is encouraged by my doctor, and by current research in the field.

Have I maxed out my deadlift or squat for the past 9 months? Not even close. But I have kept myself under and barbell and have tried to maintain as much strength as possible while still being safe for myself and for baby.

Have I set any new running PRs? Oh, hell no. But I did continue running at a slower, more comfortable pace, up until I was about 6-7 months pregnant. Maintaining strength and physical activity is great for a pregnant woman’s body during labor and delivery, and also helps her to recover after the trauma that is child birth. As long as you’re not over exerting (and remember, this is different relative to all of our various pre-pregnancy lifestyles) physical activity is a benefit in most pregnancies, not a hinderance. Of course, there are certain medical conditions and circumstances which prevent this, but the overwhelming rule us that it is more than healthy to continue physical activity into the duration of your pregnancy, as long as you are mindful and smart about it.

So how has my progression looked? And keep in mind — this is just me, for this one pregnancy. My next pregnancy will likely look and feel much different, just as each pregnancy will for every other woman out there who experiences this. What I do should shed no light on what others “should” be able to do, and it certainly is not a rule book to guide anyone through their own pregnancy. I am just an example, a unique experience, and information here should be taken as such.

First Trimester: Weeks 5-13

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I start at week 5 because that is when the test turned from one line to two!

During my first trimester, I was extremely lucky to not be plagued by horrible morning sickness. I did have nausea, but it generally came on in the evenings, which worked out well for my morning workouts. My energy was certainly not up to my normal standards, but I did find that keeping a consistent workout schedule helped to keep my energy as high as possible during that time. As I got to the end of the first trimester, I did realize that back to back workout days really took a toll on me, so I made sure to generally schedule things with at least one rest day in between tougher workouts.

During these weeks, I was still weight lifting, spinning, and running, and would base the intensity on how I felt on any given day. I did take the weights down on my weight lifting days, sticking to about 60% of my previous weight levels on the big compound lifts (deadlift, squat, bench).

One thing I realized as well, however, was that my upper body could train a lot harder than my lower body. I made a conscious decision to continue with push ups, pull ups, and heavy weight training for my upper body, as long as these things did not overly strain my core too much.

And the result? Although my workouts were overall less than before, my upper body strength actually went up in several lifts, including the overhead press. I’d call that a win!

Second Trimester: Weeks 14-27

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During these weeks, I felt excellent overall. It was the amazing second trimester energy burst that many women describe, and boy did I notice it! My nausea all but disappeared, and my appetite went back to normal. During this time, however, I did have to be extra careful about taking rest days in between workout days, in order to avoid lower abdominal pain. I learned to recognize the discomfort of over exertion pretty quickly, and listened to my body intently when it needed 2,3, or even 4 days in between workouts.

Lifting continued, albeit with even more decreases in the big lifts. I took my squat and deadlift down to about 50% of my pre-pregnancy weights, using this time to just keep my muscles engaged. This was not about building (or even really maintaining) strength, just maintaining proper movement patterns and engaging my muscles just enough to continue feeling good physically and mentally.

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Running ended between 6 and 7 months, once I realized that it had become too painful. Around this time, I did want to keep up some good cardio conditioning within my own limits, so I took to the hills by my house and would walk hill repeats for 30-40 minutes at a time. This wasn’t too strenuous, and didn’t give me the pelvic pain of running, so it was the best thing for me then, and continues to be my cardio of choice at this point as well.

Third Trimester: Weeks 28-40

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And here we are in the 3rd trimester! Lifting is still part of my routine, but it’s only about once per week now, or twice if I’m feeling good. I was still in the weight room for most of the third trimester, but as I’m nearing full term, I have been sticking mostly with dumbells and cables in the gym, and kettlebells/resistance bands at home. Workouts are short with plenty of rest, and I listen carefully to my body to make sure I’m not overdoing it. Some days I feel great and can get an hour of light work in, and some days it’s just 15 minutes! The key for me in these later weeks has been to take it one day at a time, and to remember to not compare myself from one day to the next. This little baby takes priority, and while I want to maintain as much strength as I can to keep myself healthy through labor and delivery, I also want to make sure that she’s given the best environment in there to grow and develop.

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A little tired gym selfie! 

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At this point, at just under 38 weeks, I am proud to say that I am still as active as I can be. I may move a little slower and less gracefully, but with an uncomplicated pregnancy so far, I’m doing what I believe to be the best thing for both myself and for my baby girl.

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Readers: Do you have any questions? Have any of you maintained an active lifestyle during pregnancy, and what was your experience like? Did you receive any negative backlash for doing so? 

 

Monday Musings 7.11.16

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so how about some randomness on this Monday morning?

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Sorry Not Sorry –  First things first, a bit of an apology and an explanation on why I haven’t been around lately! Remember a while ago when I told you all that I had begun studying for my Health Coach certification? Well, I didn’t actually get studying too much at that time. First one thing came up, then another, and then before I knew it it was June and I had hardly done anything related to the certification. Well, I’ve hunkered down since then and am hoping to take my exam next Friday, which is why in the past week or so I’ve been pretty quiet here!

Even though I’m not working, I’ve been spending what is the equivalent of a full time job studying, running bootcamp, and program writing for some new distance clients. The blog is important but it’s had to take a bit of a back seat for a little while! I do hope to get up at least one or two new posts over the next couple of weeks, but just know that the reason I’m not here regularly is a good one. Oh, also, I’m growing a baby. That makes my next point valid…

Pregnancy Brain is definitely a thing. Yes, I know scientists debate about whether or not pregnancy brain is actually something that happens, but I’m here to tell you with 100% certainty that it is real! For those of you that don’t know, pregnancy brain is something that happens to expecting women where inexplicably, growing this little bean inside of you causes about 25% (give or take) of your brain to spontaneously go missing. You may forget words, you may just forget things in general, you may forget certain articles of clothing when you leave the house, and you may just forget how to be a fully functioning human being. It’s real, it happens, and it’s an epidemic. Next time you see a pregnant lady who’s fishing for her purse for her definitely forgotten keys, or spinning around in circles mumbling about the sun glasses that are most certainly already on her head, just smile and move on. She’s ok, she’s just missing her brain, that’s all.

2 Years and counting! Will and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary on Tuesday. My how time flies! We went out for an amazing 5 course dinner at Bondir in Cambridge on Sunday night to celebrate, so Tuesday will be spent with dinner at home, some sort of amazing dessert that I’ll try to coordinate to the flavors of our wedding cake, and reading the “anniversary notes” from a few of our wedding guests. At our wedding, we had the guests at each table write us a little note and put it in an envelope with their table number on it, for us to read on each corresponding anniversary. So this year, we’re reading the notes from the guests at Table 2, and no, we really have not peeked at any of them ahead of time! It’s one of my favorite things that we did, and it’s so fun to go back and read what people wrote at the time. I can’t imagine how amazing it’ll be in years 10, 11 and 12 when the wedding will seem like a lifetime ago!

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[Photo Credit: Rachel Darley]

Let Go and Move On: Speaking of that photo above, Will and I are in the process of going through all of our stuff and purging to make room for baby and just to declutter in general. It’s a tough process but a necessary one, and luckily we just got rid of a lot of stuff last summer when we moved. One piece that’s really holding me up is my wedding dress. My goal is to donate it, because I know that there are a lot of women who can’t afford to buy their own, but dang that thing is ridiculously hard to part with. Part of me says “it’s just an article of clothing, I have all of my pictures of it, why do I need to keep it?” and then the irrational side of me says that it’s part of me and part of us and I can’t ever let it go. I think the rational side will win, but it’s taken 2 years to do so and it’s not getting any easier. I think I just need to rip the proverbial band aide off and be done with it. I love you, beautiful dress!!  Everything else in here? Let it go. Baby is coming, and we need lots of room for activities!

Join in: When was the last time you did a “purge” of your belongings and what was the most difficult thing to get rid of? Who else has had a much busier summer than they anticipated? Any funny pregnancy brain stories out there? 

Bumpdate: 24 Weeks

A few days ago, on Friday I hit 24 weeks, which seems really crazy to me! Time is flying, and I know that September is going to be here before we know it. With everything creeping up on us, I like to take some time every now and then to reflect on everything so that it doesn’t fly by too fast!

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Here I am! Looking a little tired, but feeling pretty good. Baby has moved up finally so she’s not sitting quite so low.

Baby is a… Girl! In case you missed it. 🙂

Baby is the size of… an ear of corn or a cantaloupe depending on which app I look at. Seems vastly different to me, but the point is, she’s getting pretty darn big in there!

How am I feeling overall? Still feeling pretty great at this point. I’ve definitely noticed some changes in my low back/pelvis that have made me slow down a little bit, but other than that my energy is great and I’m still sleeping well. No major aches or pains to report, although on our recent trip to the West Coast I finally saw the dreaded foot swelling that so many pregnant ladies complain about. After our return flight direct from LAX to Boston, I had swollen feet and ankles for 2 days! Luckily they’ve gone back to normal, but I’m sure my days of permanently swollen feet due to the summer heat and water retention are coming before I know it.

Cravings? Nothing out of this world to report here. I’ve still been loving fruit, but that’s also because there is so much yummy fruit in season at the farmer’s market right now. I’m starting to think these crazy pregnant cravings are a myth, but who knows what’s yet to come…

Aversions? None. In fact, I find my appetite to still be quite normal. I always hear about women who become ravenous during pregnancy, but I haven’t experienced that yet. I know, I know, I still have lots of time and lots of baby growth to get through!

Progress on the nursery? Nope. Nada. None. Does that make me a bad mom? The crib is here, it’s just not set up. As for anything else…well..we’ll get there, I promise. 🙂

Workouts? And here is where things have finally started to change big time. I’ve finally slowed down at this point in terms of cardio and higher intensity training. My pelvis is starting to really feel the effects of a human body growing inside me, and let me know quite loudly during a run a few days ago! It was the first run that has been very uncomfortable, with lots of pelvic pain during and after. I’m not sure if that’s my new norm or just a bad day, so I’ll probably give another easy paced run a whirl and see how it goes. That being said, I’m sure my running days are severely limited at this point, at least extended running. Hill intervals still seem to feel pretty good, so maybe I’ll have to stick with those for now.

As far as weight training goes, this is where my focus has been lately. In contrast to higher intensity cardio, I can still push myself a little bit with weight training and feel like I’m making progress. I’m only lifting a fraction of the weight I was before pregnancy (in lower body lifts; upper body have continued to progress), but I’m feeling strong and very good when going through full body lift days. These have been my favorite training days by far, and don’t seem to take quite as much out of me as a cardio session will. Good thing that strength training will be, I think, one of the most important things that will help me through labor, delivery, and recovery, so I’m feeling pretty good on that front!

Worries? Fears? Concerns? Other than the fact that I have NO IDEA WHAT IM DOING, I have not a worry in the world! 🙂

Anything else new? Baby kicks have become an all day occurrence, which is truly amazing. I love being able to feel her moving around in there, and she’s started to have some movements so big that they can be felt on the outside, so Will can feel them too!

I think that’s it for now. Baby girl is growing and healthy, and that’s all I can ask for at this time. One thing I feel like I need to get my hands on are some good books to read about the first year with a new baby. I’ve heard a lot about The Happiest Baby On The Block, so I’ll probably order that soon. Does anyone else have any good recommendations of must reads that really helped them out with their first? Thanks in advance for any recs! Anything else you want to know? Ask away! 🙂

 

 

 

20 Week Update: Halfway There

So here I am at 20 weeks! My, these past few months have flown by and it seems so hard to believe that I’m halfway to having this little one in my arms.

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Here I am at 14 weeks (left) and 20 weeks (right). Things sure are changing quickly, but I’m still feeling pretty great! 

First things first, for those who don’t follow me on Instagram, we found out a couple of weeks ago that we’re having a little girl!! It’s funny because I was 100% convinced we were having a boy (for no reason at all, just a gut feeling), but I couldn’t be more excited to bring a strong little lady into this world. Let’s not talk about the fact that my mothers intuition is already way off — hopefully that gets a little better as time goes on.

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At this time, baby is the size of a banana. That seems so big to me! She’s in the super fast growth phase now, so things will be changing rapidly from here on in.

How am I feeling?

Overall, I’ve been feeling great for the last few weeks — I’m still pretty tired overall, and forget about me being a functioning human if I don’t get at least 8-9 hours of sleep, but no real symptoms besides that. I’m just kind of cruising along at this point, fascinated by my growing belly and in awe of the fact that this baby will be here in just a few short months!

Cravings?

As far as cravings go, I haven’t really had any super strong cravings that I can think of. I’m still loving fruit, and tomatoes have really been on my mind lately as well, but there hasn’t really been anything that I just have to have. I must say, I’m kind of waiting for some weird cravings to hit, because right now my eating habits are just about identical to my non-pregnant eating habits. And that’s quite boring, huh?

Workouts?

My workouts have continued to be pretty normal in terms of frequency/duration, although the intensity has taken a hit. I am still running about once per week, spinning once or twice per week as well. I also have been walking a ton, and frequently head out to walk some of the super steep hills by my house. Since I’m not lifting quite as much as I would like, I’ve got to keep these glutes in shape some how, and hills do a pretty good job of that!

As for workout intensity, knowing when to rest is key. There are some days when I know I can’t push through, and there are some days when I feel totally “normal” in terms of energy. For instance, the hill I run near my house is very steep and pretty long. Pre-pregnancy, I used to run all the way up and down without resting, for anywhere from 6-12 reps. Now, I run about 2/3 of the way up, walk the rest of the way up, and lightly jog down. I do this for only about 6 reps now before my body says “ok, that’s enough!”.

It’s all about paying close attention to the cues I get from my body on a daily basis.

And while we should all always “listen”, this is more important than ever before since now I’m caring for a little one inside of me, and not just myself! There have been a few times when I’ve done too much, and I’ve paid for it in the form of being completely lethargic and feeling horrible for the rest of the day. Trust me, I’ve learned not to hit that point again.

As far as the weight room goes, I have been lifting 2-3 days per week, usually full body lifts. If I’m feeling particularly lethargic one day, I’ll skip lower body stuff and focus on my upper body as I feel that stresses my body less overall. I’ve learned to really listen to my body well, and it’s gotten very good at telling me when I’ve pushed a bit too hard or worked out too many days in a row. I’ve come to really appreciate off days, and always feel 100% again after taking a day to totally rest.

Since I can only do so much to control what my body is going to do from the chest down during this pregnancy, I figure the one thing I have a decent amount of control over is my upper body (arms/shoulders). One main goal that I have for myself is to continue doing unassisted chin ups for as long as I can…and I can still do a couple! I also do a few sets of band assisted chin ups/pull ups just about every day to maintain my strength in this area. And surprisingly enough, my strength has actually gone up in some of my main upper body lifts, which I’m pretty happy with. I figure the longer I can keep doing unassisted chin ups, the easier they’ll be after baby when the weight starts to come off.

Aches/Pains/Problems?

No consistent pain yet, although my SI joints do like to scream at me every now and then. I’ve found if I’m really diligent with foam rolling and also lacrosse ball rolling along my sacrum, I can keep it under control pretty well at this point. Other than that, my body seems to be responding pretty well thus far, and nothing has become too angry with me. I do get some pains every now and then if I don’t drink enough water or if I do a little bit too much, but I recognize those quickly and rest up when I need to.

Sleep?

Luckily I’m still sleeping well at this point! I haven’t invested in a pregnancy pillow yet, although I’ve had many people tell me that they’re totally worth the money. I’ve always been a side sleeper though, so I guess my body is used to sleeping in this position. I suppose as I get a little bit bigger a supportive pillow will probably be necessary, but I’ve been putting that off for as long as I can.

I think that’s about it right? Is there anything else to include in one of these updates? Anyway, happy Monday everyone, I hope you all have a great week!

 

 

 

(Tiny) Bumpdate: Training and Changes in the First Trimester

Now that I’m 15 weeks (with a tiny bump that looks more like I ate one too many burritos), I’m officially a wee bit into my second trimester. They say that between 13-14 weeks is when you officially hit the second tri, which differs from the 12 weeks that many people think of being 3 months.

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Taken last weekend… the bump has definitely grown since then! 

Anyway, the first trimester is full of many different emotions, symptoms, feelings, and experiences — none of which I was really prepared for as this is my first pregnancy. Sure, I’ve heard about morning sickness and first trimester exhaustion, but it’s difficult to really imagine these things until you’ve been through them!

Today I want to talk a little bit about how I felt overall throughout my first tri, how my training was affected, how my nutrition changed, etc. Enjoy!

Symptoms

I want to start off by saying that I feel very lucky with the relatively mild symptoms that I had during the first tri. I know for many women, this is a time of severe nausea, vomiting, food aversions, etc. but for me it was just kind of uncomfortable for the most part. I did have nausea, but it mostly came in waves and usually in the evening, which meant that I could get through my workday pretty easily most days. There were certainly some days that were much worse than others, but I think I got off pretty easy on this front compared to some.

What did hit me hard was (and still is) the exhaustion/fatigue. It has certainly gotten better over the past week or so, but for a while there I was hardly able to keep my eyes open past 8 pm most nights — which can be an issue when I regularly work until 8 or 9! Thankfully this has eased up a little bit, and as long as I’m careful to get enough sleep I’m feeling pretty good with a decent amount of energy.

Cravings

I haven’t had any crazy cravings or food aversions yet, which probably goes along with the relatively mild nausea. I have constantly been wanting oranges and green grapes, but other than that my food tastes have stayed pretty much the same so far! Here’s hoping I don’t start craving crazy things like pickles dipped in ice cream, but I guess you never know. For now I’ll appreciate my healthy fruit cravings and hope for the best moving forward.

Training

Training has probably been the biggest (and most frustrating) change for me. I’m someone who is used to training hard 4-5 days per week, sometimes 6. I’m used to pushing my limits, not letting up, and really working to make myself better, but that has all taken a back seat since becoming pregnant. My cardiovascular capacity is way down, which means that frequent breaks are needed while running. That, combined with the fact that I’m supposed to keep myself at a “conversational” level while working out means that I really have to pay attention to my body and give myself plenty of recovery intervals when necessary.

This became extremely apparent while I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago. I got up early almost every day to run, but even in those early morning hours the humidity was more than I’m used to. I had to take a short break about every 1/2 mile during my 3 mile runs, which is both humbling and frustrating to someone who hasn’t had to take breaks like that before.

As far as lifting goes, I am still lifting heavy weights, just not quite as heavy as before. I think of myself right now as lifting to maintain strength rather than to build it, which means I haven’t even come close to maxing out during the past few months. I have continued with my big lifts, including dead lifting, just at a lower intensity than before.

For instance, instead of training at around 190-205 lb for a normal DL day, I’ll now lift around 155 lb for a few more reps. I’m maintaining strength (although probably losing a little bit), but also maintaining a base of movement patterns and for my muscles without pushing too hard. If you go online you’ll find some old fashioned advice that women shouldn’t lift more than 30 pounds when pregnant, but I personally think that’s bull shit. Especially when you consider that many pregnant women have toddlers running around who weigh more than that and they need to be picked up regularly!

I’m of the strong belief (and so is my doctor) that you can safely continue doing whatever physical activity you were doing before pregnancy, whether it be running, weight training, cycling etc. Avoiding contact sports and avoiding pushing your body too hard are musts, but other than that I’m not the fragile flower that some people seem to think I am!

My main goals right now are to maintain a strength base to keep my body nice and strong when it comes to delivery time. I listen to my body and take rest breaks/rest days when I need them, and make sure to stay hydrated as well. For the past few weeks, a typical training week has looked something like the following:

Monday – Spin workout + KB swings and core work

Tuesday – Full body lift (heavier)

Wednesday – Off/rest

Thursday – Spin workout or run + core work

Friday – Full Body Lift (lighter)

Saturday/Sunday – Off and/or active rest such as long walks, hill walks, or yoga.

 

Does anyone have any questions for me? Any details about training changes that you would like to know? 

Have a great weekend everyone!