What’s the intensity of exercise while pregnant?
The intensity of exercise should be at a level that is moderate to somewhat hard during pregnancy. The most accurate and safest way to gauge exercise intensity is to use the Borg rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Pregnant women should exercise at level that feel moderate to somewhat hard (12 to 14 on the 20-point scale or 3 to 4 on the 10-point scale). Pregnant women should avoid exercising to the point where they are unable to carry on a conversation (the “talk test”). If you are out of breath and cannot talk, it is a sign that you are working past the advised Bord rating range for pregnancy.
Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?
If you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity. Physical activity does not increase your risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, or early delivery. However, it is important to discuss exercise with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team during your early prenatal visits. If your health care professional gives you the OK to exercise, you can discuss what activities you can do safely.
What are the benefits of exercise during pregnancy?
Regular exercise during pregnancy benefits you and your fetus in these key ways:
• Reduces back pain
• Eases constipation
• May decrease your risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and cesarean delivery
• Promotes healthy weight gain during pregnancy
• Improves your overall general fitness and strengthens your heart and blood vessels
• Helps you to lose the baby weight after your baby is born
How much should I exercise during pregnancy?
Ideally, pregnant women should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. An aerobic activity is one in which you move large muscles of the body (like those in the legs and arms) in a rhythmic way. Moderate intensity means you are moving enough to raise your heart rate and start sweating. You still can talk normally, but you cannot sing.
Examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity include brisk walking and general gardening (raking, weeding, or digging). You can divide the 150 minutes into 30-minute workouts on 5 days of the week or into smaller 10-minute workouts throughout each day.
If you are new to exercise, start out slowly and gradually increase your activity. Begin with as little as 5 minutes a day. Add 5 minutes each week until you can stay active for 30 minutes a day. If you were very active before pregnancy, you can keep doing the same workouts with your obstetrician’s approval. However, if you start to lose weight, you may need to increase the number of calories that you eat.
What changes occur in the body during pregnancy that can affect my exercise routine?
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account:
• Joints—The hormones made during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and at risk of injury. Avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase your risk of being hurt.
• Balance—The extra weight in the front of your body shifts your center of gravity. This places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and lower back. Because you are less stable and more likely to lose your balance, you are at greater risk of falling.
• Breathing—When you exercise, oxygen and blood flow are directed to your muscles and away from other areas of your body. While you are pregnant, your need for oxygen increases. This may affect your ability to do strenuous exercise, especially if you are overweight or obese.
What precautions should I take when exercising during pregnancy?
There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:
• Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and urinating only small amounts or having urine that is dark yellow.
• Wear a sports bra that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts. Later in pregnancy, a belly support belt may reduce discomfort while walking or running.
• Avoid becoming overheated, especially in the first trimester. Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothing, and exercise in a temperature-controlled room. Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid.
• Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. These positions may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time.
What are some safe exercises I can do during pregnancy?
Experts agree these exercises are safest for pregnant women:
• Walking—Brisk walking gives a total body workout and is easy on the joints and muscles.
• Swimming and water workouts—Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight, so you avoid injury and muscle strain.
• Stationary bicycling—Because your growing belly can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls, riding a standard bicycle during pregnancy can be risky. Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice.
• Modified yoga and modified Pilates—Yoga reduces stress, improves flexibility, and encourages stretching and focused breathing. There are prenatal yoga and Pilates classes designed for pregnant women. These classes often teach modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance. You also should avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods.
If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. Discuss these activities with your obstetrician or other member of your health care team.
What exercises should I avoid during pregnancy?
While pregnant, avoid activities that put you at increased risk of injury, such as the following:
• Contact sports and sports that put you at risk of getting hit in the abdomen, including ice hockey, boxing, soccer, and basketball
• Activities that may result in a fall, such as downhill snow skiing, water skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, and horseback riding
• "Hot yoga” or “hot Pilates,” which may cause you to become overheated
• Scuba diving
• Activities performed above 6,000 feet (if you do not already live at a high altitude)
What are warning signs that I should stop exercising?
Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a beginner, watch for the following warning signs when you exercise. If you have any of them, stop and call your obstetrician:
• Bleeding from the vagina
• Feeling dizzy or faint
• Shortness of breath before starting exercise
• Chest pain
• Muscle weakness
• Calf pain or swelling
• Regular, painful contractions of the uterus
• Fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina
How many extra calories should I eat?
During the first trimester with one fetus, usually no extra calories are needed. In the second trimester, you will need an extra 300 calories per day, and in the third trimester, about 300 extra calories a day. To get the extra calories during the day, have healthy snacks on hand, such as nuts, yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Supersets are one exercise immediately followed by another exercise with no rest in between. When you start doing these you will find them a little difficult, but before long you will learn to love them.
How can I know how much to lift (weights)?
I recommend using a weight that challenges your body but also let you keep good form to perform the exercise. For lower body exercises you can choose heavier weights and for upper body it can be lighter weights. It will also depend on your strength level and that varies individually.
How long should I rest between sets?
For the exercises you can rest between 0-90 seconds and for the second phase you can rest between 0-60 seconds. Recovery time depends on the individual. Some people need more time than others. Listen to your body and if you feel recovered, you can start the next set.
Should I follow the workout program as it has been written?
Yes. The program should be followed exactly how is written. To get the most from the workout program, I’ll recommend you to increase the amount of weight that you lift or increase the reps as you progress. I want you to focus more on the mind-muscle connection and focus on quality over quantity.
What is Mind-Muscle connection?
It is a signal sent by the brain to your muscles telling them to contract. By improving your Mind-Muscle Connection you are actually increasing the number of muscle fibers being recruited when you perform a lift. This will help you get better results on your glutes.
Should I exercise the same muscle group consecutives days?
This workout program includes three legs and glutes days and two days dedicated to upper body and abdominal muscles. Make sure you are not training leg and glutes on consecutive days. I’ll recommend leaving a day in between so you have time to recover.
What happens if I miss a workout or I’m not able to workout for a week for any reason (sick, school, work)?
No worries. Life happens. If you miss a workout or a week of training, I’ll recommend you continue the program where you left it.
What can I do on resting days to feel productive?
I’ll recommend you do foam rolling. It will help you to get blood flow through out your body, better movement and increase range of motion. Foam roll sore areas or large muscle groups applying pressure to the muscle just 30 seconds. You can also go for a walk, jog, swim, yoga, stretch, etc. You can do a 10-15 minutes bodyweight and glute band workout. Do things that you enjoy.
What can I do if I feel pain while performing an exercise?
If you feel pain or feel that something is not right while performing an exercise, you should stop the exercise and replace it. Never perform an exercise if you feel pain.
Which equipment do I need to follow this workout program?
You’ll need dumbbells or kettlebells, glute bands or just your own bodyweight. You can also be creative and use items you have available at home. Use chairs, coffee tables, sofa, walls, stairs.
Can stress and sleep deprivation delay or affect my progress?
Yes! If you are not getting good results in your training it can be you are stressed and not sleeping enough. Also make sure that you take deep breaths throughout the day to help you focus, relax and control your body and mind. Be sure to sleep between seven to nine hours per night.
What can I do if one side of my glutes (or any other muscle) is weaker than the other side?
Most people have a stronger and weaker side of the body. I suggest that when you perform a single-arm or single-leg exercise, always begin with the weaker limb first and do the same repetitions with the stronger limb.
What results can you expect from this workout guide?
You will have all the tools to get the body that you want, but you need to put in work if you want to see results. Yes, you will see some progress in the following 8 weeks, but if you keep being consistent and see fitness as your daily routine you will succeed. After completing the 8 weeks, I would love that this becomes a lifestyle for yourself. You can experiment and create your own program.