Should you be doing that? Are you harming the baby? You should be taking it easy… are just a few things I’ve seen bounded around the internet when browsing my favourite fit mamma’s Instagram accounts.

It seems that exercising whilst pregnant is still a contentious topic, with many questioning whether or not it can have a negative effect on your body and that of your unborn baby. 

Now I must add a disclaimer to say I’m not an expert and the following is just my opinion. If you want to learn more around the subject then please undertake your own research and always consult your doctor before taking up a new exercise routine, especially whilst pregnant.

Personally, I am of the opinion that exercising whilst pregnant can be beneficial. Providing you are fit and well, and are already well versed in your chosen exercise or sport, I see no reason to stop training.

As you all know my exercise routine consists of a high volume of weight training supported with short circuits, mainly made up of kettle bell and bodyweight exercises, for quick cardio bursts.

Now I can’t speak for all types of training and sports, but after doing and learning more about my preferred training style over the last five years, there are several things that I have taken into consideration since becoming pregnant. If you’re pregnant, and want to continue to exercise throughout, then the following points may be things you want to consider too…

  1. Listen to your body – This has to be top of my list… if something doesn’t feel right, I simply stop and don’t do it. You know your body better than anyone else, so tune in and listen up.
  2. Make modifications – Certain exercises require modifying. For example, burpees are now performed to a box and chest exercises are done upright rather than lay on my back.
  3. Decrease weights – When it comes to compound lifts I try not to go any heavier than 50% of my pre-pregnancy weights. Most days this seems to work, however, sometimes I need to listen to my body, rather than my ego, and go even lower than that. So take it day by day.
  4. Don’t max out – If I need to use a weight belt, wraps or ask for a spot then I’m probably pushing myself too hard. There’ll be plenty of time to smash some PB’s after the baby is born.
  5. Focus on form – Rather than smashing out weights as hard and as fast as I can, I try to make sure that my form is correct and I’m feeling the movement in the right parts of my body. So set yourself up properly and take it slow.

To finish off this post I thought it would be nice to reach out to my fellow bloggers (some of which happen to be excellent Personal Trainers) to get their thoughts on the subject. Find out what they had to say below.

Blogger, PT and personal friend, Emma, from Weights and Wine says: “As a PT currently qualifying in my pre and post natal I’ve seen a lot of advice and guidance on training intuitively and listening to your body. I think that’s key in pregnancy. Adapting your workouts and being confident in knowing what your body can do.” 

Blogger and Mum, Mary, from A healthier Moo commented: “I discovered that there were quite a lot of people who were not so keen on me continuing to run during my pregnancy last year. Mainly those from older generations. I wrote a post called ’14 things you should know about running during pregnancy’ on my blog at the time.” Find out more here.

Blogger and PT, Vicki, from Vicki Mellard PT advised: “As a PT that is qualified in Pre and Post Natal I think it is really beneficial both for the mum and the baby for her to keep as fit and healthy as she can, and exercise plays a part in it. It all depends on the individual and I would always say seek advice but if someone has trained before pregnancy they can do so whilst pregnant it’s all about making modifications and listening to your body. I have come across ladies who are scared to train because they are unsure of what to do but with my guidance they are able to do so with no harm. So yes it is ok as long as all is ok with the pregnancy & the mother feels confident and safe to do so, ask for help if needed.”  

PT and blogger Elizaflynn.co.uk said: “I work specifically with pre and natal clients and I’ve found with pregnancies, everyone is different – from their attitude to what they’ve previously done, to how fit they are currently, to their expectations etc. I agree that it’s wise to listen to your body but I would also say that one thing people can under-estimate is how much they should be stretching. it’s so easy to ‘over-stretch’ when you’ve got loads of relaxin in your body and you often don’t realise it until after. Anything which puts pressure internally is a big no-no.”

Blogger Helen from HelsBels commented: “I don’t think that there should be anything controversial about it – it’s beneficial to keep fit and healthy, it’s simply about respecting your limits and being a bit more cautious.”

GP and blogger, Jess, from Twins in Trainers says: “I’m a GP and find there’s not that much useful information for patients on exercising in pregnancy – it also definitely seems to divide opinions!”

Discover her awesome blog post on exercising and running in pregnancy here.

In a recent blog post blogger and fellow Mum-to-be, Alana, advised: “Don’t worry if you feel unfit. There’s various things going on that mean your heart might race just walking up the stairs and even one press up could feel hard, and that’s ok. In my case this didn’t really come as a surprise given the dramatic change in my exercise routine. My advice would be to not be disheartened and just take your time during your workout.” 

Check out her post on exercising in the first trimester here.

Are you a Mum-to-be? If so, I’d love to hear how you’re finding working out whilst pregnant in the comments below 👇👇👇

 

If you’re new years resolution has been to get your butt down to the gym more, but, like me, you’re struggling to find the time. It could be that you’re not being as productive with your time in the gym as you could be.

Flash back to when I first started this blog four years ago and you would have found me down at the gym most mornings smashing out a leisurely workout; having a catch up with friends, hitting some of my weaknesses after my workout, and still finding time for brunch with my gym buddies. Not any more. 

These days I’m lucky if I can spare a few evenings a week to head down to the gym, but that doesn’t have to be a negative. As long as you’re getting then most out of your time at the gym, you could smash an awesome workout out in as little as 45minutes.

So what are my tips for a successful workout?

Have a plan

When I head to the gym without a plan in place I know my workout is going to suffer. I pontificate over what I want to do, end up googling ‘fun’ exercises and workouts on the gym floor, and generally wasting time. 

Instead, if I spend some time prior to my workout to write down a structured plan I know exactly what I’m going to do when I set foot in the gym. From my goals for that session, exercises, reps, sets, and even rest periods. So set aside some time at the beginning of the week to plan for the week ahead, or before you leave for the gym, and I assure you your workout will be efficient.

Have a B plan

‘The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.’

The gym can get extremely busy, especially at this time of year, so it’s no use going in with a single plan – we all know a free squat rack is as rare as hens teeth! Waiting on machines can cause your heart rate to fall and your motivation to drop, so always have a few alternative exercises written down that you know you can sub in if needed.

Make it social 

Heading to the gym with a friend might not necessarily make your workout quicker (hello catch up) but if you’re as competitive as I am, it can encourage you to push that little bit harder.

Plus, if you take it in turns to plan alternate sessions it could help to relieve some of the pressure. So if one of you has some killer cardio moves and the other is a monster in the weights department  – make sure you play to those strengths.

Wear comfortable clothes

As a blogger I’m lucky enough to, sometimes, receive some fabulous workout gear in the post. However, there have been occasions when, not to sound ungrateful, I’ve been sent some not so great pieces to trial. From putting these items through their paces I’ve come to learn that wearing the wrong clothes in the gym can cause your workouts to suffer.

Too see through and you’ll be self conscious, too low and you’ll spend precious time mid workout pulling at your cleavage; too high and you’ll spend even more time tugging at your waistline.

So treat yourself to some good quality activewear – and it doesn’t have to be expensive, even Primark and H&M have some great pieces which won’t break the bank.  

Focus on you 

Hands up who’s guilty of spending far too much time in the gym looking at what everyone else is going rather than focusing on themselves? I know I am. 

I’ve spent way too much time in the gym looking around at what everyone else is doing or to check if anyone else is looking. Firstly, it’s a sure fire way to get injured (especially when you’re distracted by the cute shirtless guy in the corner). Secondly, the grunter doing curls is spending far too much time looking at himself (or even herself) in the mirror to be watching what you’re doing. And, most importantly, it can stop you from becoming the best athlete you can be. 

So stick your earphones in, set your weights up and focus on your reps, your breathing, and your body!

Finish her off

You don’t have to spend hours on the rower to get some good cardio in at the end of your workout. 

If you enjoy steady state cardio (aka LISS), or it’s a part of your goals – then go for it. But if you’re after an efficient, hardworking finish to your workout I’d recommend a 10-15 minute circuit mixing bodyweight and weighted exercises. So why not put together a circuit of kettle-bell swings, sandbag cleans, shoulder presses and prowler pushes – I guarantee you’ll sweat more, push harder, and have way more fun.

How do you get the most out of your workout?

 
A couple of months ago I went to support my friend Greg in his first full Ironman competition and I was completely blown away. The sheer guts and dedication it takes to endure such a challenge is outstanding. Watching him was so inspirational and I was instantly motivated – which was great timing as my own fitness journey had been somewhat stagnant lately.
 
I instantly wanted to interview Greg to find out more about his journey & training and was pleasantly surprised to find out he had even completed this challenge whilst reducing his meat intake – a big thumbs up from me!!
 
So make yourself a cup of tea, get comfy and discover what goes in to becoming an Ironman below…

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For the past few years Crossfit has been a big part of my life and I’ve loved (nearly) every second of it. I loved pushing my body out of it’s comfort zone; making some great friends, challenging myself at competition level and building some much deserved muscle.

When I started Crossfit I was already in love with fitness but craved something more exciting than squats, deadlifts and bench. I was ready to push my body to the extremes and learn some badass new skills like the amazing Crossfit women I’d been obsessing over in recent months. I was also in a different space to where I am now: I lived in the city centre, had less responsibility at work (and home) and was simply of a younger, dare I say it more selfish, mind-frame.

Lately I’ve been questioning whether Crossfit is for me anymore. Do I love it as much as I used to and will I miss it if I turn my back on the community?

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Sunrise

T-shirt by Runa X LDN

If you’re anything like me then getting out of bed in the morning is a workout in itself. 

First there’s the mental battle – ‘I’m tired’, ‘just 5 more mins’ ‘I’ll just go to the gym after work instead’. Then comes the physical battle when you’re body feels weak, heavy and uncooperative.

More often than not you’ll end up sleeping in, telling yourself you will go to the gym after work, only to find that by the end of the day you’ve talked yourself out of the hard-core evening workout you were adamant you’d commit to this morning. 

So how do you motivate yourself to get out of bed? Read on to find out.

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