A year ago I decided I needed to make a change in my life. The stress of owning my own business had created a few areas in my life I needed to work on, which included weight, fitness and overall health. I was motivated to join a local gym HIIT Fitness after seeing the amazing results a friend had posted on Instagram! Thank you Saskia! Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a life change for me! I lost weight, body fat, gained muscle and most importantly got fit. The biggest change of all was my commitment to my workouts. In the past I barely would keep to my other gym contracts and excuses were a dime a dozen. This time around, I work out 5 times a week and have barely missed a day in over a year.
The difference… The trainers who treat you like family, the members who make coming to your regular class so much more fun as they become your friends, the workouts which are intense but at 30 minutes completely do-able, and the variety of training offered which makes each training day exciting. I literally can go on and on as this one change has impacted in every aspect of my life. I honestly cannot promote JP Steyl and his team any more than I do! They are transformational health fitness coaches!
So it only made complete sense when I approached JP to write this blog, when one of my clients (Nicole) who attends HIIT Fitness fell pregnant. Thank you Nicole and Coach Clayton for being our blog models!
Can I exercise when I am Pregnant?
In my 10 years’ experience as a Trainer and Coach, I have seen the fit get fitter, the desk-bound everyday-mom become the new hot version of herself and lives changing for the better! I am a fat loss and fitness expert with the majority of my clientele being female. As such, I’ve learned that the number one thing that can throw a spanner in your workout routine when you are in the prime of your fitness journey (yip you guessed it) is getting pregnant!
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So, the first question I get from my clients, when they find out that they are pregnant, is “Can I still exercise?” OR “Will you be able to help me not pick up weight this time around?”. My go-to response is that you can still train for a certain amount of time under favorable conditions (and doctor’s clearance) but gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable. We should just make sure that you are not gaining fat weight and you should be able to shed most of it after giving birth.
If you have been physically active before falling pregnant you should be able to continue your routine in moderation but not at the same intensity. So many changes happen in a woman’s body during pregnancy and weight management shouldn’t be of importance. With regular exercise during your pregnancy, you will be able to maintain your weight and continue to reap the benefits of exercise.
Below are my top 5 reasons to do moderate exercise during pregnancy with doctor’s clearance.
1. To prevent backache and fatigue
During pregnancy, it is common for some women to experience pain and discomfort in the lower back. Back ache is caused by various factors but mostly due to a woman’s posture changing during pregnancy. Carrying extra weight puts pressure on the joints and pelvis. The best way to reduce back pain is by strengthening the abdominal and back muscles (core); which will in turn lead to better sleep and fight fatigue. Should you wish to relieve backache through the means of supplementation, I recommend Collagen as it promotes joint health by helping to repair joint matrix degeneration and improve long-term joint comfort and mobility. Apart from that, collagen plays a key role in keeping your skin strong and elastic (great for pregnancy stretch marks too!). Beauty Gen Blueberry Beauty Greens is a lovely 5-in-1 collagen which not only includes Peptan Collagen, but also Probiotics, Omega-3, Vitamin C and 50 Organic Superfoods making it a great all rounder addition to your daily supplements.
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2. Exercise may prevent gestational diabetes
It has been shown that 5-7% of pregnant women develop gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes in which the body does not produce an adequate amount of insulin to regulate sugar during the pregnancy. Exercise has a good effect on your insulin levels- especially high intensity interval training (HIIT). By continuously training at a moderate intensity through your pregnancy you are able to prevent gestational diabetes.
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3. Relieve stress
Exercise causes our bodies to release hormones called endorphins and serotonin. These are commonly known as ‘the feel good’ hormones. Exercise helps to alleviate the mother’s stress levels which can be dangerous for the baby.
4. Build Stamina for labor and delivery
Natural birth is one of the most exhausting processes for a woman since it’s quite demanding on the body. A woman who is fit and was conditioned prior to her pregnancy has more stamina and energy. Therefore, exercising during pregnancy is great way to condition women for the delivery of their baby.
5. Alleviate many of the common problems during pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy improves circulation and prevent ailments such as constipation, swelling, hemorrhoids, as well as, varicose veins and leg cramps. One of the biggest benefits of exercising during your pregnancy is the fact that you are able to sleep better; which most expectant moms struggle with.
While exercise has many benefits to the female body during pregnancy, it is nutrition and supplementation that is crucial for a safe, healthy and happy pregnancy. It is always advisable to ensure that you are supplementing correctly throughout your pregnancy to boost your immune system and manage all your day to day ailments. Please go and have a read through Lucy’s article Back to Basics – Fertility, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding for great recommendations and advice for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy.
I like to refer clients to Lucy of VitaSoul as she believes that optimal health stems from what you consume and how your body is nourished from the inside out. They offer vegan friendly, clean supplements that enhance the benefits of exercise on the body. For the purpose of the article, I’ll look at specific products pertaining to exercise and recovery.
Nowadays, it is not unsual to consume pre- and post-workout supplements for optimal athletic performance. On average, pre-workout supplements are taken half an hour prior to exercise to boost awareness in the body. Naturally Nourished Pre-Workout Energy is 100% plant-based. The primary ingredients in this palatable plant-based fuel is rhodiola, matcha, maca, prebiotics, baobab and beetroot. This all-natural product, rich in magnesium and iron, is designed to ensure an increase in performance by elevating one’s endurance and energy levels. Naturally Nourished Pre-Workout Energy‘s high fibre content is what makes this supplement ideal! The combination of rhodiola, matcha, maca and beetroot helps to prolong endurance and boost energy and performance. For the average Joe, this is what you are looking for! I always advise consulting a healthcare provider in pregnancy before starting with any product or supplement like this, that is specifically used for fitness training.
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Good Health Iron Chews ticks all the boxes for a daily Iron Supplement. Iron is known for its role in the production of energy and the formulation in red blood cells. The function of iron is to ensure that one’s muscles work properly. Apart from that, iron plays a critical role in converting carbohydrates into energy. These tablets can be taken on a daily basis and are ideal for pregnant women. By consuming Iron, they can reduce the risk of becoming fatigued and anemic during pregnancy. When taken with Magnesium, Iron will provide optimal muscle function and energy in the body.
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Good Health Magnesium Powder is an oxide-free supplement that supports the function and recovery of muscles. This product has similar muscle function properties and energy benefits as the Good Health Iron Chews. Magnesium is known for its regulating properties. It helps to regulate body temperature, protein synthesis and the disposal of lactate; which builds up in the muscles and may cause discomfort. For expectant moms, the consumption of magnesium can help prevent premature labor and fetal growth restriction. The only difference is, unlike Iron, Magnesium aids in relaxation and recovery of muscles as well. Muscle recovery is crucial for performance, strength and mobility.
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Naturally Nourished Post-workout Recovery comes in a vegan and a grass-fed version. It is packed with essential superfoods to ensure premium muscle recovery after vigorous exercise. Ingredients include protein, rhodiola, prebiotics and mesquite. The latter gives the product a natural sweet taste and is rich in protein, magnesium and iron. The product’s high protein content guarantees the repair and rebuild of muscle. Protein’s purposes lies in its ability to aid in muscle growth and recovery. As with Naturally Nourished Pre-Workout Energy. Again as with the Naturally Nourished Pre-Workout Energy, I always advise consulting a healthcare provider in pregnancy before starting with any product or supplement like this, that is specifically used for fitness training.
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It is crucial to consult with your doctor about exercise during your entire pregnancy. Do not start exercising until your doctor gives you permission after your first prenatal appointment. If you’ve had a previous miscarriage or are at risk for a complicated pregnancy, your doctor may advise against exercise or the exercises you can perform may be limited. If you experience abdominal pain, back pain, vaginal bleeding or leaking fluids, stop exercising and consult with your doctor.
Dedicated to your transformation,
JP Steyl (Founder & Trainer HIIT Fitness)
Disclaimer: Each person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual condition is unique. The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your doctor for matters pertaining to your specific health and diet. The author of this article is not held responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use or misuse of any information, suggestions or procedures described herein. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.