Longest post title ever?
But first, before we get there, three things I must tell you:
1. I ate fro yo yesterday. With some awesome ladies!
It was a blast to hang out with them–and chat them up about birth, pregnancy, and all that jazz, seeing as each of them already have a kid–with Ash just having had her lil’ boy 4 weeks ago!
2. I got my hair cut. (Finally).
3. My little nephew’s 2nd birthday is today. Happy Birthday to the cutest 2 year old ever!!
Modifications I Made While Teaching Fitness Classes During Pregnancy
I’ve gotten a bunch of emails, comments, tweets, and questions about this topic, so I decided to just bang it all out in one post. With the longest post title ever.
Also I figured I should prrrooobbbaably answer this question while I am still pregnant, no?
I’ll break the answers down by classes I teach. And by the way, this was MY experience during pregnancy and what I did. And what my doc advised me to do because he KNEW my fitness level (and I was already fit & teaching these classes BEFORE I got pregnant). So yah, you can use these ideas but remember we’re all VERY different, so check with your doc FIRST.
- At 14 weeks I dropped teaching 2 classes per day. My doc told me it’s best to only teach/work out 1 hour per day simply because it’s harder on the body and it’s hard to catch up caloric wise. I had been wanting to drop a class for awhile (I was often tired), so it was a great time to do it.
- At about 25 weeks, I started decreasing my weights on the barbell. I just go with how I feel each day-sometimes I lift more in squats one week and less the next, but in general, all of my weights for the squats, lunges, and back tracks now are lower than they were before pregnancy.
- In the past 2 weeks or so, as my bump as grown, the deadrows and upright rows are definitely different. As in, I shorten the range. Clean & press hasn’t been too difficult with the belly, but I’ve also lightened my weights on that just in case it gets to close to the bump for my comfort.
- I haven’t done any changes to any triceps or biceps tracks. My upper body isn’t growing a baby, yo! (Except it kinda thinks it is….hello extra chub on my arms.)
- Pushups are SO much harder with a belly. So I pretty much have been modifying on my knees for the most part since my belly grew (beginning around 27-ish weeks).
- I still lie on my bench while doing chest press or chest flys. My doc said there is no need to freak out about a few minutes on the back and because I’m using my extremities, it’s less likely to be troublesome (also, FYI-there is no study that shows actual reduced blood flow or issues to a baby because a mom laid on her back for a few minutes). However, whenever it gets uncomfortable, I was told to add risers to one side so I wasn’t flat on my back. My belly hasn’t gotten big enough for this to feel uncomfortable for me, so I’m still on my back for those few minutes. I still use the barbell for the chest press, but it is getting harder to sit up with it. Hah.
- With the core track in BP, I began to modify around 28 weeks or so, once the bump was getting bigger and got ‘in the way’ more. I still show the crunches & stuff, but I don’t really do them; I sit up and cue the class. I still do all the hovers & plank work-if a part of the track-though.
- I started teaching CXWORX before I got pregnant, and I really think it helped my core be pretty strong for this pregnancy. With that being said, my core work ability began to change for me as my belly grew.
- Starting around 27/28 weeks I stopped doing all the types of crunches & would just modify or sit up & cue.
- I still do all the moves, generally, in CXWORX, but my range for some of the moves-like knee drops, leg extensions, etc., has been greatly reduced. Especially in the past 5 weeks as my belly has really grown.
- Hovers & planks are actually great for pregnant ladies, so I definitely do all of those. I started dropping to my knees more often once the bump got bigger (it’s hard with all that extra weight, yo!)
- I have stopped doing full side hovers (with both feet on the ground); I modify the side hovers with 1 knee down, and began doing this around 33 weeks. It just started pulling a bit on my belly & didn’t feel awesome.
- I still do all the standing resistance work with the tubing-and have done so my entire pregnancy. My balance is definitely a bit iffy, so it’s hilarious to keep my balance while teaching as my bump got bigger, but the class understands. Overall though, I love those tracks because I can do most of the moves without any modifications.
- Any core work that is done on my belly I stopped doing around 27-ish weeks when my bump was an actual bump & it hurt to lie down.
- I didn’t really change anything in Zumba until the bump got bigger-around 28 or so weeks. With that being said though, I definitely had to catch my breath more often, stand in front of the fan a bit more, and chug more water starting around 16 or so weeks.
- Once the bump began really bumpin’, I reduced the jumping around quite a bit. So beginning around 28/29 weeks I was more conscious of doing fewer super fast dances & songs and/or intermixing them a bit more with slower songs.
- I get hot super duper fast, so I always have the fan pointed on me while teaching. This began around 20 weeks or so.
- As an instructor I can often ‘work’ the room, so I don’t have to do all the moves full out & can spend time in different areas of the room dancing with various groups of people in the class. It is a fun way to interact in Zumba, and I secretly can do less ‘big’ moves and thus reduce the expenditure of energy. I began doing this much, much more once the bump was bigger. Around 28 weeks or so.
- In general Zumba has gotten more uncomfortable as the bump has grown, but it’s still a lot of fun for me so I keep teaching it. Nothing really hurts per say, but by the end of the class I am definitely exhausted! I’ve mentioned this before, but with the way I teach Zumba (more high intense, upbeat, and fast-moving), there is no way I could teach more than 1 Zumba class per week.
- The Les Mills HIIT group training class (GRIT) is obviously crazy high intense. I was in the midst of teaching a session when I got pregnant. I taught another session a few weeks later (each session runs for 6 weeks). I stopped coaching GRIT around 19 weeks.
- Because the class is coached by a coach (moi), I can decide how hard I push myself, but must still maintain the aura of pushing the group to go harder, faster, stronger. With good cues & just a few reps for each move, I could coach just fine!
- Modifications did include not jumping as high on some of the plyo moves, running slower, and stopping to drink more water, etc. during some of the sets.
- Because my bump was nonexistent during the coaching of this class, my bump never warranted any modifications in the moves themselves (i.e. range of motion), but as for my comfort levels, and to make sure I wasn’t cutting off oxygen, I never pushed to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness.
Well, that is what I’ve done throughout the pregnancy as a fitness instructor!
I was grateful for teaching fitness classes while I was super sick at the beginning (and no one knew I was pregnant), because it made me get out of the house, hang out with fun people, and I felt so much better.
And I have to say, I think keeping up with fitness (even just a little bit) has been a really great asset to this pregnancy. It’s not always been super easy or all fun & games to have that responsibility on top of working full-time and growing a baby, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it!
Also, just as another reminder this is what I have done with guidance from my doctor, other very fit (previously pregnant) moms, and some research I found. It is by no means an answer to anyone’s fitness plan for their pregnancy, but it can be an idea of a guide if you were fit/working out before you were pregnant.
Also, my belly didn’t get bigger until late in the 2nd/early 3rd tri, so some of the modifications might need to be started earlier depending on the size of the bump and if it is creating too much pressure, pain, or discomfort. Pregnant ladies-please do NOT continue any exercise if there is pain! I followed that & stopped at any time I wasn’t feeling up to something.
I hope that helps–and answers your questions. Let me know if you have any more!
Well, I am off to work & then teaching BodyPUMP. I think we’re having a picnic after with some of Jared’s family–so that will be fun!
Have a GREAT day, my friends! <3
What workouts have YOU been enjoying lately??! What modifications have YOU heard about with fitness & pregnancy??! What modifications did YOU need to make or made in YOUR pregnancy??!