Exercise regimes have changed in recent times since one half of Kings and Greens is currently pregnant, so I thought it was time to talk about how to adapt routines in the hope some of you can give me some tips as I am still pretty clueless myself.
I found out I was pregnant at the end of March, a week after running a 31-mile ultra so while I technically completed that while with child anything since has been a challenge of a different kind. For me, it’s been a real struggle to find out what works for me so I’m sure this must be the case for other people.
At this point I must say if you’re not pregnant or remotely interested in pregnancy please feel free to click away now and this is definitely not going to become a Mum-centric blog. This happened a few years ago when one of my then-favourite bloggers got married then pregnant and everything became about those things rather than the outfits I’d tuned in for in the first place; I am well aware pregnancy and babies are pretty boring to a lot of people out there (me included until a few months ago). Equally, I know plenty of people who are struggling or struggled to get pregnant so the last thing they want to read is some idiot waffling on about how hard it is to be in such a fortunate position. So, rest assured normal service will be the order of the day in general with the occasional pregnancy-related post (simply because I am struggling to think of much else to write about at the minute).
I found out I was pregnant at around the 5/6 week mark in the throes of our post-Canalathon wind-down. I always assumed I would carry on running if I ever got pregnant but for the first month I gave up completely because I was so terrified of falling over (which happens to me A LOT whether alcohol is involved or not) so just took longer walks with the dog instead.
After piling on the pounds from relaxing my diet slightly and coping with annoying food aversions (up until the 12/13 week mark I couldn’t face anything healthy and basically lived off cheese sandwiches and jacket potatoes with beans and more cheese) I felt crap and just not like myself, so at around 10 weeks I started running again.
But I was in for a bit of a shock to the system. I only set out to do a modest two miles but every step was tough, I was totally out of breath (as I now was just walking up the stairs), felt sluggish and heavy and I never reached that point where you accept your fate and settle into the run rather than cursing every second. I thought maybe that was because the distance was too short to get into the swing of things so I tried a four and it was double the misery. Not to mention the fact my running vests were all suddenly too tight for my giant boobs so I felt like an elephant waddling along the road in one of Jak’s large race t-shirts (just to prove to all the people driving past thinking “that chubby girl is brave attempting her first ever run” that I once actually ran ultras).
Since then I have kept up the odd run, a couple a week between two and four miles and I can’t say they’ve got much easier. So while refusing to admit defeat completely I have dipped my toe into other kinds of exercise to make sure I don’t balloon (oh and for all those other reasons like it’s great for the baby blah blah blah).
Speaking to newish mums, it seems to be a case of keeping up what you know in a gentler form and diversifying where necessary. Our fitness freak friend Kirsty found her local gym in Darwen did a special class for expectant mums so she added that to her routine while easing up slightly on her normally tough regime – she said the class was a bit too easy for her but helpful all the same and great for meeting people in the same boat. Darwenites are lucky, I can’t find anything like this at my local sports centre and the aqua natal class is stupidly on a Wednesday morning so out of bounds for anyone with an office job.
Super fit Steff worked out five days a week (she’s a machine) and switched the treadmill for the cross trainer when she got bigger and struggled with the impact of the extra weight on her slim frame.
For me, swimming has been a lifesaver, I’ve stocked up on (huge) cozzies and signed up at Hyndburn Sports Centre to clock up as many laps as I can whenever I get the time whilst reliving traumatic childhood memories of school swimming lessons and the horrendous hike back up Dill Hall Lane afterwards (it’s not even that bad – how unfit was I at 14) . It’s much easier than running at the minute and because my running has changed so much I feel like swimming is actually achieving more in terms of fitness. I’ve thrown some light gym workouts in there too for cycling and cross training; the guy who did my induction tailored it for a preggo which was useful in terms of finding out what I can/can’t/should/shouldn’t do.
One of the first things I did when I found out I was pregnant (I *think* I did this after I informed Jak of the news but can’t be totally sure) was order the Tracy Anderson Method – Pregnancy Project because I’m a big fan of the hollow dream that I will one day resemble Gwyneth Paltrow. Her Tracy Anderson Method DVD helped me tone up last summer so I suspected she may be the woman for this heftiest of jobs. It’s expensive (about £33) because there’s a workout for each month of your pregnancy and so far I’ve tried three of them. She really works the areas she can (don’t expect to be able to lift your green tea as far as your mouth the next day) while keeping it gentle and chilled which is just the ticket when you’re feeling knackered but still want to do something.
I’ve borrowed a couple of other DVDs from my friend Jo so I’ll update on these when I’ve tried them for anyone interested.
The hardest thing for me has been not to be too hard on myself when it comes to exercising – it’s odd to shift from training for an ultra marathon to taking it verrrry easy just a week later for the foreseeable. I know women are generally told to stick to whatever they did pre-pregnancy and I applaud all those girls who run marathons or lift mega weights all the way through but for me it’s a much gentler regime than I have ever been used to so I am trying to feel OK about this (while avoiding my reflection in the gym mirror as I thunder towards the pool in my tent of a cossie).
Anyone who is or has been pregnant PLEASE share your experiences and any advice you might have for people like me… I’m sure I can’t be the only one tackling this.