Tag Archives: prenatal exercise

Diastasis Recti

I just was informed at my last doc appointment that I have diastasis recti (abs are tearing down the middle due to the pressure of growing uterus) ūüė¶ It is not that bad yet, so that’s good. ¬†I was suuuuuper bummed because I still have 3 more months to go and it will probably get worse. ¬†HOWEVER, I am happy that LOTS of research has been done on what exercises I can do WHILE pregnant AND I am so thankful for the many fit mamas who have paved the way for me. ¬†One in particular who I recently received great pointers and encouragement from is IFPA Pro Melissa Cunningham (check out her blog at: melissacunninghamifpapro.blogspot.com). I had originally contacted her for my friend who had diastasis recti with her 2nd pregnancy, so I had all this info, youtube links and tips already at my fingertips! Special thank you to you, Melissa, for your time and compassion for reaching out to someone you don’t even know!

Thankfully, running is still totally ok. I was bummed when the Physician’s Assistant told me no lifting or exercising, BUT …I am going to wait and talk to my doc (who was out of office that day) who’s husband was a bodybuilder and knows my backgroud, so she is very familiar with workouts. I am hoping she will be able to shed more light on what REALLY is ok or not ok. ¬†Like pull ups with my transverse abs activated- are those ok? I’m thinking yes. ¬†But push ups…maybe not since gravity is putting pressure on the weak connective tissue.

Informative online resources:

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LiveFit @home – Phase 2: Day 40 Shoulders/Cardio

Woot! Lovin’ this! I’m feeling stronger for sure and I can see the difference in my body. ¬†The key, I know, was the diet. Once I re-balanced my diet change started showing up fast. Diet is 80% of your results, people! Diet true and all that hard work you’re doing will get show cased!

Day 40 tips of the day and workout.

Variations:

Smith Machine Military Press: This is hard to get the full benefit of the military press, but if you have a barbell you can come close. If you do not have a barbell, then use dumbbells. They key is to keep your grips stationary and controlled so that they are not pulling in or out as you perform the rep.

Incline Bench Front Dumbbell Delt Raises: This time I sat in the middle of the seat of my kitchen chair and leaned back till my back was against the back board (putting me in a slight incline position). (Click here to see what I did last time)

Rear Delt Cable Flyes: This time I did these as dumbbell reverse flys, but last time I did these as follows:  Seated, I put my feet on the center of my cable and executed these. I did not get enough resistance so ended up shortening the band and doing single-arm flyes. On the last set I did these standing, bent over cable flyes and liked that a bit better.


Working Out When Nauseous. Go or No?

IMG: Faith Keith - Pregnant, riding bikeIf nausea has you down in your first trimester (and beyond) the first thing to try is a brisk walk outdoors. ¬†Speed is something you can control and chances are the fresh air will make you feel better. ¬†After about 15 minutes your nausea will probably subside. ¬†Here is some science behind that (as confirmed by a doctor as well): Nausea, as you know is hormones and a lot of other things (the smell of unwanted food, etc), but did you know that it intensifies when you are¬†immobile? ¬†When everything in your body is still and stomach fluids and bile is just settled it causes nausea in most women. ¬†The term “Morning Sickness” actually came about because women usually experienced it in the morning after laying down all night. ¬†That being said, usually taking it easy and propping your feet up is the worst thing you could do for nausea. Surprised? I was! ¬†No wonder, when I would break from my computer to do some pop squats and lunges my nausea would subside after 10-15 minutes.

To combat my nausea I take to the bike, elliptical, outdoor trail or my home gym equipment for a lifting session. ¬†During the work day I will periodically stop and do lunges or just walk to get some tea or to a co-worker’s office to keep myself moving. ¬†Working out while nauseous seems MISERABLE at first and the will power it takes to get your walking shoes on I KNOW is just practically non-existent, but you will be glad you did.

Just remember to stay well hydrated and have a healthy snack in your belly before (and possibly again after) your little exercise.  Apples are my g0-to pre-workout food if I am in between meals but need some energy.


LiveFit @home – Phase 2: Day 39 Arms/Abs/Cardio

Day 39 rolled around and I am getting more and more frustrated about working out at home! Ha! I guess I just miss the gym so much and am too used to the luxury of having all my equipment. HOWEVER, this will spur me on to get more creative.  I have been trying to do things with just basic home equipment to avoid excluding people who cannot just turn a room of their house into a mini gym.  I may purchase a Power Tower and a bench, since working out at a gym just does not work for my schedule at all, BUT I will still continue writing variations for those who do not have these tools.

Day 39

Variations:

Barbell Curl: If you don’t have a barbell, use dumbbells. The key, however, is to keep your grips stationary so that they do not pull inward or outward motion during the entire execution.

Overhead Cable Curl:¬†I am short so this worked perfectly for me ‚Äď I hooked one end of my resistance band to the stationary grip of my elliptical machine. Then I stood far enough back to get good resistance and performed single-arm overhead curls.

Cable Hammer Curls:¬†Since the LiveFit Trainer uses the rope attachment, this variation worked excellently ‚Äď I stood, with one foot, on the center of my resistance band, then with grips in hammer position, I performed the curls. Flawless!

Triceps Pushdown ‚Äď Rope Attachment:¬†I hooked my resistance band around the top of my elliptical machine. Kneeling down gave me enough resistance to perform this exercise.

Hanging Leg Raise (or roman chair): I sat at the edge of my firm leather coffee table. Starting with my heels touching the ground, my legs straight. Not bending my legs, I raised my legs till my feet were at least shoulder height. ADDED COMMENT: I am planning to get a Power Tower so I can do these and pull ups and dips.   


LiveFit @home – Phase 2: Day 38 Legs

I love plie squats! So excited to get these today.  So excited, in fact, that I am contemplating repeating Phase 3.  For the sake of continuity I will continue with the LiveFit schedule until completion, then perhaps go back to phase 3 for more building.  The leg days have become my main energy-focus.  I go through phases Рa phase where I devote tons of attention to my shoulders, or a phase where I devote my attention to my back, etc.  I work everything as evenly as possible, but when your energy and mind is on a particular body part it makes a difference. Right now, I am going through a leg phase. (Probably because I know it is my weakest area ESPECIALLY during pregnancy because it uses the most energy)

Day 38

Variations:

Leg Extensions: Shoulder-width stance, body weight squats or jump squats for the warm up. Use dumbbells for next set of squats.

Leg Press (shoulder width stance): Shoulder width dumbbell squats OR lay on your back, loop a very taut high resistance resistant band over your feet, gripping well in both hands on either side of your waist, press.

Standing Calf Raises: Dumbbell calf raises

Donkey Calf Raises (Leg Press Calf Raise): Dumbbell calf raises OR lay on your back, loop a very taut high resistance resistant band over the balls of your shoes, gripping well in both hands on either side of your waist, calf press.


LiveFit @home – Phase 2: Day 37 Chest/Abs/Cardio

I have come to REALLY enjoy chest day! Shoulders and back have always been my favs and Leg days I dreaded (and therefore I push harder and do twice as often), but chest day I seemed to¬†sub-conscientiously¬†down play. No more, peeps!! Pushups, pushups, yeah, yeah, yeah!! ūüėõ

Day 37

Variations:

These variations are just like day 30.  I did not get more creative, but I did feel more fluid in these exercises now that I was accustomed to the make-shift variations.  For pushups I did 3 sets of 15 reps for Close Hand position and then another 3 sets of 15 reps for Wide Hand position. Boom baby!

Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press: If you do not have a barbell. Hold dumbbells so that your grips are wide and be sure that, as you come up, you do not close the grip and bring your hands together. Keep your hands apart as you lower and then maintain the width as you press. This way you get close to the benefit of the barbell (dumbbells really give you something different, so we have to try to replicate by watching our form closely)

Cable Crossover: This was fun. I simply hooked my resistant band to the stationary handle of my elliptical machine and did cross over one arm at a time. To keep up the intensity I did not rest during this exercise, I merely went back and forth between the 2 arms.

Smith Machine Incline Bench Press: I used my ironing board this time. Leaned it against my couch. This actually worked pretty well because it was narrow enough for me to get a full range of motion with my arms. If you do this on the floor or your coffee table, the flat surface stops your elbows so you kind of get a rest (which is not good).

Knee/Hip Raise On Parallel Bars: I sat at the edge of my firm leather coffee table. Starting with my heels touching the ground, my legs in a slightly bent position. Not bending my legs any further, I raised my knees till my feet were nearly shoulder height.

Cable Crunch: I hooked my resistance band around the top of my elliptical to perform this exercise. It was so high that I got a really good resistance from it!


First Trimester: Meal Plan & Workouts [Round 2]

With baby#2 things have been a lot different. Everyone tells me that every pregnancy is different. ¬†I am a lot more sick (like super sick) this time around, but the cool thing is that 1) I know that’s a good sign that my body is producing great levels of hormones and 2) I know my pregnant-body better this time (ie I know my limits).

For my first pregancy’s first trimester¬†I ate healthy and I listened to my body¬†to tell me when I could workout or not or how hard to push myself. ¬†If I felt too tired or too fatigued then I would rest. ¬†This time around I understand my body a little better. I know that I can push a little further than I originally thought and that I will be tired and still sick regardless of whether I workout or not. ¬†NOW…IMPORTANT… these things may be obvious, but I want to make sure this is clear…you need to know the following things:

  • If you are pregnant, you should listen to your body. ¬†I share what I have learned about my body, but you know YOUR body better than anyone, so trust it.
  • When I say “push myself” I really know my limits. “Push” could mean “finish my reps” or “push” may mean a bit extra weight, but “push” NEVER means pushing yourself so far that you are dizzy, lightheaded or vomiting. ¬†(Which is totally different than when I’m not pregnant because I welcome all those things ūüôā haha)
  • If you feel like you are about to black out, STOP. ¬†I have reached that point a few times and so I will back off and rest then get back to it, but if the black out feeling comes again I quit that day’s workout. You’re done. Overheating is bad for baby. Recognize the early signs.

Meal Plan?

If you are like me, there is no way that I could have a “Plan” because I had so many food aversions that would come and go. I was feeling sick A LOT.

To combat this, here is what I did:

  1. If something sounded good I would drop everything to fix it and eat it as fast as possible regardless of whether I was hungry, because by the time I might be hungry I might not be able to choke anything down.
  2. I ended up eating small meals every 2 hours (just like preg#1)
  3. I made a giant list of well-balanced meals so that when hunger hit, I had a menagerie of things to choose from rather than running to the carbs

Meal & Snack Ideas

  • Two egg-white, 1 yolk omelet with broccoli, salsa and sprinkle of cheese
  • Two egg-white, 1 yolk scramble or over-easy with slice of toast
  • 2 boiled egg whites and 1 yolk
  • Chocolate protein shake in water
  • Vanilla protein shake in sugar free coconut milk
  • 3-4 slices low-sodium turkey with 15 grapes
  • Handful of mixed nuts
  • Salmon burger patty chopped up over spinach salad with Ginger Sesame apple cider dressing (Bragg’s)
  • 2 slices turkey bacon and 1/2 English Muffin with sugar free blackberry jam
  • 4 oz flank steak with steamed carrots
  • Protein shake – I love Beverly International Cookies & Creme ¬†OR SRX Zero Graham Cracker
  • Pumpkin cheesecake protein: ¬†1 Scoop vanilla protein, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 pkg sugar free cheesecake pudding mix (I added SF coconut milk to the mixture till the consistency was right. It was about 1/2 the amount of milk mentioned on the pudding mix instructions)
  • Greek yogurt with fresh berries on top and 1 piece of 80% cacao chocolate bar
  • Flavored greek yogurt cup and a handful of almonds (about 12)
  • Applesauce with cinnamon pouch (50 calories) and 1/2 turkey sandwhich on sugar-free whole wheat
  • Hummus and veggies (my latest favs are celery, carrots or broccoli)
  • 1/2 English muffin with all natural nut butter
  • Small apple and 1 tuna packet
  • 1/2 C cottage cheese with slice strawberries on top
  • Turkey/Chicken Waldorf Salad¬†wrapped in lettuce leaves, or with 1 serving of wheat crackers, or as an open face (1 slice) whole wheat sandwich
  • Homemade high-fiber bean dip¬†with veggie sticks
  • Romaine salad with 2 artichoke hearts, 4 olives, shredded peppered turkey or chicken – drizzle with apple cider vinegar and olive oil and cracked pepper
  • Italian Turkey Mozzarella Melt: 1 slice whole wheat bread. Spritz one side of the bread with spray butter and toast in a skillet on medium heat. While it is toasting: Splash balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the bread, lay turkey meat, a slice of tomato,¬†a sprinkle of skim mozzarella cheese,¬†and a dash of Italian seasoning (I like to add extra basil). Do not turn. Lift the corners to check the toast. Remove when it is the perfect golden brown that you like. It tastes rich and gourmet like a cheat, but still keeps it lean and clean. ¬†I eat this with a fork because the bread is very moist. ¬†If you like yours more crunchy, mix the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and italian seasoning to form a pesto and spread it on the turkey (rather than the bread).

My guilty pleasures and current cravings:

  • Sour Mango, Philippine import – sprinkled with salt¬†
  • Sushi
  • Lean Cuisine

Workouts

I am using Bodybuilding.com’s LiveFit Trainer by Jamie Eason. ¬†It is a very popular and successful program that takes you through 3 phases: Conditioning, Muscle sculpting, Leaning. ¬†I am blogging about variations I use since I am both working out at home and pregnant.

Click here to get started: LiveFit Trainer Day 1


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