staying fit while pregnant.

by Janetha on September 5, 2012

in guest posts

don’t let the title fool you. i am not with child. no way, no how.. and not any time soon (if ever.) BUT, i follow becky’s blog, and she is pregnant! she has been staying fit throughout her pregnancy and i was inspired by this. i thought you’d like to read her story, so she is sharing it with you all today. enjoy!

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Hi readers! This is my first time doing a guest post, so please bear with me, especially if I start to ramble. Janetha was so generous to ask me to chat to you about working out during pregnancy and I feel very honored to do so.

I guess I should start by introducing myself. My name is Becky (or Bex) and I blog over at The Bex Factor about my two big passions in life, fitness and music. In February this year I had quite the shock when I found out I was pregnant. My boyfriend and I are expecting a little baby boy at the end of September.

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Finding out I was pregnant was a huge surprise, definitely unplanned. It wasn’t anything I saw for myself right now as I had been very dedicated to my workouts and eating clean. I wasn’t ready to give up the life I had made for myself to grow a baby yet. But sometimes life has other plans for you and I was determined not to let pregnancy stop me from staying focused and reaching my goals. I didn’t want to turn lazy and lose my fitness routine. My doctor assured me that it was fine to continue doing what I do as long as I was comfortable and not causing myself any pain so that’s what I planned to do.

I fought through my first trimester fatigue to make it to my regular Crossfit classes twice a week and get out for runs every other day. It wasn’t easy when I would nap on my lunch break, come home from work and nap again, go to Crossfit and come home and go to bed, but I made it happen somehow.

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Once people noticed I was pregnant they started treating me like I was sick and that I should basically sit on my couch doing nothing so as to not put myself and my growing baby in danger. I think this way of thinking is ridiculous. Pregnancy is not a condition or an illness and I do not believe that you should stop doing what you’re doing. My belief is that if you’ve always been active and if your doctor hasn’t advised you otherwise, continue your usual fitness routine throughout pregnancy. This is the route I took.

In July I ran the Mud Hero, a 6km race with 16 obstacles. I was 7 months pregnant. People thought I was nuts for doing it, but I wasn’t going in blind. I ran an obstacle race last year and knew what to expect out of it. Leading up to the race I heard a lot of people doubt my ability to do it, that I would be too uncomfortable. Or they would express their concern of me injuring myself or the peanut. Well, I hadn’t been too uncomfortable with my workouts so far, so I didn’t see this as being any different. I knew I wouldn’t push myself to get a good time or complete every obstacle if I was unable. All I wanted to do was cross the finish line to show people that it was possible. The more people told me I couldn’t do it, the more motivated I was to show them they were wrong.

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The race ended up going really well and I had a lot of fun. I alternated jogging and walking, and definitely skipped some of the obstacles that dealt with height and balance so I wasn’t in danger of falling. But I still climbed over hay bales and steep hills, crawled under barbed wire, ran through tires like a champ and got nice and muddy.

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Crossing the finish line was emotional. I was all smiles but fighting back tears at the same time. To most, this race would be a walk in a park, but to me it meant a lot more than the medal around my neck. It meant I had proven the naysayers wrong, that fitness is still ok while you’re pregnant, that no one should have an excuse to give up their fitness routine (unless the doctor advises otherwise.) I was proud of myself for achieving my goal.

For weeks after, all I heard was how amazing I was, how I’ve inspired people and how people hope they can be like me when they get pregnant. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to hear these things. Of course people still told me I was crazy, but I took it as a compliment, it’s a good kind of crazy.

Everyone had expected me to slow down after the Mud Hero. What they didn’t know was that I was still registered for the Spartan Sprint, a similar obstacle race, in August. That put me at 8 months pregnant. As race day approached I was getting nervous about how well I would be able to do this one. My running had come to an end as my legs just couldn’t handle it. I was still attending Crossfit twice a week but the workouts were hit or miss. A lot of the movements suddenly became super awkward or nearly impossible. I still kept at it, scaling what I had to so I could finish the workouts. I was showing up and putting in an effort, which is more than those people sitting at home on the couch are doing.

When Spartan Race day came I wasn’t out to prove anything like I was with the Mud Hero. I was just there to have fun and hopefully cross the finish line. As this is a tougher race than the Mud Hero, I knew I would most likely end up walking most of the race and doing a lot of burpees in place of the obstacles I couldn’t do (25 burpees for each failed or unattempted obstacle).

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As I suspected, the race was tough. This was the race I had run last year and it was more of a challenge. The terrain was rough, there were tons of deep mud pits and the obstacles were tougher. I did end up walking the majority of the course just because I was afraid of falling or twisting an ankle. I did what obstacles I could do but ended up having to complete about 125 burpees for skipped obstacles. I still managed to get a half decent time somehow and impressed a lot of people.

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People’s reactions when they saw me on course were pretty funny. All of the obstacle attendees were just in awe when they saw me waddle walk up. I heard some even used me as motivation for people in the heats following, saying “a pregnant girl just did this, so you can too!” When I reached the finish line I was awarded two medals, one for me and one for baby. And boy, was I happy to have reached the end!

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I still got a lot of praise for completing something most people would never attempt under normal circumstances, but I did it while being 8 months pregnant. I still heard that I was an inspiration and that people really admire me for being so fit and active through out my pregnancy. I am still proud that I completed the Spartan Race, no matter how tough it was, or how much of a wuss I felt for not being able to give it my all.

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I’m now four weeks from my due date and still rocking Crossfit as much as I can. I have my good days and bad days but I continue to go and do the best I can. I will continue to go until my doctor advises me not to, or until I go into labor. I haven’t had an excuse to quit yet, so why quit now? I hope my experiences will show others that pregnancy is a life giving experience and not some medical condition that requires women to be treated (or treat themselves) as delicate little wallflowers that can’t do anything. Certainly there are complications which can confine a woman to complete rest to protect the pregnancy, but for the majority of us, it’s life as usual unless we’re told otherwise. I also hope I’ve showed people that they can achieve their goals if they set their minds to them, pregnant or not, and no matter how many people try to say they can’t.

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Thanks for reading!

Q~

What are your thoughts on fitness and pregnancy?

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Denise September 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Great job, my daughter did crossfit up to the week before she delivered. Makes for a happy healthy momma.

Josie September 5, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Good for you! So many people use pregnancy as an excuse to eat badly and not exercise, both of which are really bad for baby. It’s refreshing to see this post! :o)

Maren September 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

YAY! Someday when I have children, I hope to be as fit as you are! You are such an inspiration!!

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Thank you :-)

Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction September 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm

Wow this is amazing, totally inspiring! I hope to one day (a very long time from now) be able to stay active while pregnant. As long as your doctor says that it is fine, and you were previously active I don’t see it being a huge issue. I imagine every movement must be much harder due to extra weight and extra tiredness. I bet your baby is going to be some sort of famous athlete! I mean look at his mama! :)

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Haha, thank you! I dunno if he will be a famous athlete, but hopefully I can instill some healthy habits in him. I never really was athletic or active growing up so I hope my child will be.

elise September 5, 2012 at 8:55 pm

WHAT A FREAKIN TEASE!!! janetha, that was some sneaky business.

great post.
im about to sign up for a zombie run mud race thing in a month so i hope the zombies take it easy on me since ill prob have a bump by then :)

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm

FUN! I really want to do a zombie run but there isn’t one up here in Canada yet :( Have fun and rock that bump!

Corrie Anne September 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm

AWESOME!! I love it!! I love reading about other peoples’ fit pregnancies. Makes me feel better about having a child someday. Staying active while pregnant is so good the baby!!

Erin September 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Bravo, Becky! I’ve heard various fitness experts and Doctors say that you just shouldn’t start a NEW fitness routine when you’re pregnant (like, 2nd trimester would not be an optimal time to take up Crossfit), but to keep doing what you were doing before the pregnancy is fine. But man, you really rocked it :) Thanks for showing that pregnancy is not a handicap!

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List September 6, 2012 at 4:45 am

i loved working out through both of my pregnancies (and plan to do so in any future ones!). In a situation where you lose all control of your body, it’s nice to have exercise as the one that thing you CAN control.
(you rock for having raced – i wouldn’t have had the courage!)

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Honestly I didn’t think I had the courage to do the Spartan. I was SO nervous, but I am too stubborn to back out of something I’ve committed to!

Michelle @ Eat Move Balance September 6, 2012 at 5:52 am

Rock on!!! You are amazing! :)

Kaitlyn September 6, 2012 at 6:38 am

Awesome!!! Its almost deja vu, i have a very similar story, I’m running a 10K in October and i will almost be 7 months pregnant and people think i’m crazy…i will definitely be sharing your story. Good luck with the little one.

Katy Widrick September 6, 2012 at 7:06 am

Thank you for this!

I’ve really been struggling with my pregnant fitness because I had TERRIBLE sickness in the first tri, but fought through. No energy in the second tri, but fought through. Feel great now that I’m in my third tri (36 weeks on Saturday!) but just can’t stick with the same workouts that I’ve always loved. I finally had to stop taking my beloved dance classes, I can’t run at *all* and I’m just generally wiped out by the time I get to the gym.

Even so, I’m glad I stayed as active as I did until about 34 weeks, and now I’m just embracing yoga, walking and knowing that I’ll be back in the game soon :)

Colleen September 6, 2012 at 8:23 am

Congrats! I just had my first baby 4 months ago, and I worked out all through my pregnancy. I just had learn to honor my body’s new “edge” and really tune in to signals about how much was too much. I had to stop running about 4 months in due to hip pain, and it was really humbling to have to modify my yoga practice, but it was actually really good for me. Before, I would push myself even if I was tired, and I would religiously follow my workout schedule no matter what. Being pregnant forced me listen to my body, and it made my workouts and nutrition more balanced (if I ate clean, I didn’t feel like I needed hour-long intense sweat sessions every day.) I had always challenged myself physically, but as my pregnancy progressed and I had to keep toning my workouts down, I really got to appreciate just how amazing it was that I was growing another human being. No medal, PR, or race teeshirt could ever compare to my beautiful little boy!

Megan @ Fiterature September 6, 2012 at 9:54 am

LOVE your last sentence.

Justine Hansford September 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

I LOVED reading this. I am glad the negative comments did not stop you from living you’re healthy lifestyle, instead you used them to fuel your fitness fire! You’re awesome in my book!

Shaunna@mamas13minutemile September 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

Great post! Wish I would have read this BEFORE I got preggo with Baby Belle :)!

Megan @ Fiterature September 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

I want to be you when I grow up. Great read – thanks!

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Haha thank you!

Destini September 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

WOW I loved loved loved this! When I read the part about two medals, I won’t lie, I had tears in my eyes.

Good for you!!!!! Such a inspiration.

Forwarding this too all my preggo friends(which is a lot)

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Aw, no tears!! But thank you!! <3

cassy September 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

awesome post! such an inspiration!!

Katheryn September 6, 2012 at 10:58 am

Pregnancy is definitely not a handicap. I exercised throughout all three of my pregnancies. I’m a runner and was able to train and run a half marathon while pregnant all three times. Exercising helps me stay sane and makes me feel great – two things that are a necessity when pregnant.

Annette@FitnessPerks September 6, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Great read! And nice job on the races!

I agree–pregnancy is not an excuse to just be lazy or let yourself go. ANd it drives me crazy when people think this! (Of course if bedrest is needed, that is doc’s orders, but otherwise, keep at it). I do know that it’s not best to start a new exercise program or regimen when pregnant, but it’s totally bogus to think you can’t exercise when pregnant. When I have kiddos, I will be that lady who teaches fitness classes up until she delivers ;)

Amy September 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

You did that on purpose mrs! Hehe aww!

I think its great when ladies exercise during pregnancy and don’t use it as an excuse to ‘eat for two’ and do nothing. Great post and well done on your achievements and best of luck with the birth :)

max September 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

I was pretty fit before I got pregnant with twins 4 months ago. And even though my doctor advised me not to stop working out, morning sickness and fatigue got the best of me in the first trimester and I stopped working out altogether. Now I’m in my second trimester and feeling much better, but I’m so bored with most of the pregnancy workouts I’ve seen.

I like to lift weights and circuit train and push myself beyond my campabilities. “Go heavy or go home!” was my motto. But all the advice I read seems to amount to “take it easy, don’t use weights, don’t push too hard.” I don’t like working out like that, so I just skip it altogether most days.

But Ms Bex has shown me that you don’t have to turn into a lightweight just because you’re pregnant. I’m inspired now to return to my pre-pregnancy bad ass ways. Thanks ladies!

Becky @ TheBexFactor.com September 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Rock on girl! It’s totally fine to lift weights if that’s what you’re used to, just listen to your body and if it feels too heavy, scale it back. It sucks not being able to lift as heavy as you’re used to, but it’s still better than doing nothing!

Congrats on your twins by the way!!

Stephanie @ Wellness Reclamation September 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Finding time to stay fit is tough. I imagine that finding time to stay fit while pregnant is even more tough. Hopefully Becky’s fit pregnancy will help her recover faster and hopefully she can share her love for fitness with her baby and raise a healthy child.

Calee September 6, 2012 at 1:49 pm

um. is it bad that I read the title of this in reader and almost skipped it, until I saw who wrote it and was like, HOLYSHITSHEBETTERNOTBE.

*whew*

And I’m filing this post away for later when I inevitably get knocked up by the wonder-bred italian boy.

Leigh September 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Great post Bex! I think it’s awesome that you’ve kept up your workouts through your pregnancy. So many women use being pregnant as an excuse when it’s not. Just think about how much it will help you bounce back after the baby too!

Kim @ Redefining Kim September 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

My husband loves to tell the story of how he found me running on treadmill at 5 a.m. – just a few hours before I was to be induced. I ran, taught aerobics, and lifted weights throughout my pregnancy and credit it with my quick recovery from a C-section. My doctor said my recovery was the fastest she had ever seen. I firmly believe in being active during pregnancy as long as it poses no risk to Mama or baby!

meg September 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Good for you! What a bummer that so many people being so negative! How lame. I really think that every woman is different and they just need to listen to their bodies. I have heard time and again that exercise does help relieve morning sickness though. You should be proud of yourself!!

Lindsey September 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm

I have told you this before but you are a inspiration to me! I only hope that when I am pregnant I can stay as active as you and in as good as shape. It will make your labour and getting back in shape so much easier too.

Neil September 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

That medal on your belly is FRICKIN awesome! Great post.

Neil September 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Oh, and Janetha – FUHREEEKED OUT when I saw that sonogram. You got me, man!

Janelle October 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Thanks for your story. Ive been searching for other exercising pregnant women out there to find out if im doing the right thing. I do have a question though… Did you monitor your heart rate and if you did, what bpm did you stay under? Ive been doing p90x and running and now that im pregnant I have modified my workouts quite a bit. My heart rate just gets so high, so fast now its crazy! I dont want to get fat, I want to gain healthy baby weight and keep my fitness level…if its possible. Thank you for sharing your story.

Steph June 11, 2014 at 7:23 am

So this blog was exactly what I was looking for. I signed up for a Dirty Dash (not as intense as a Spartan or any of those) that is a 3.1-5 mile obstacle course, I signed up for it as early as I could. This is my first one and I really don’t want to miss out of it but I just found out I’m prego (not planned one bit) and will be about 20 weeks along. I have been running for a few months and before that was doing cross-fit. I loved reading your article I might not be as awesome shape as you were but it gives me hope and determination to keep preparing for it.

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