Sara Haley is one of our favorite pre- and postnatal exercise specialists. This mom of three has written lots of awesome posts for us (check out this one and this one) — and we simply loved having her on our podcast here. We are thrilled that she’s back again today — this time with tips on how to really enjoy your pregnancy workouts.
Sara recently released her Pregnancy Workout Essentials Collection, which we can say from first-hand experience is AWESOME. Now let’s get to those tips! (And, as always, talk to your doctor about what’s right for you and listen to your body.)
How to Enjoy Your Pregnancy Workouts by Sara Haley
Staying motivated to exercise during pregnancy can be a struggle. There are days where you can barely get out of bed, let alone do a workout. Then on the days where you are up for it, there are so many other factors — feeling like you are doing the same thing over and over, not knowing if what you’re doing is safe for baby, and feeling like you’re the only pregnant woman at the gym. Can you relate?
Guess what? I’m a pre- and postnatal exercise specialist and mom of three — I know all the right things to do and still sometimes felt this way during my pregnancies. Which is exactly why I created the Pregnancy Workout Essentials Collection, an all-inclusive program to give you what you need to make exercising during pregnancy a success. Whether you do my program or someone else’s, below are five solutions I recommend you try to help get you out of your pregnancy exercise rut and on your way to feeling motivated, happy, and energized.
1. Do a variety of workouts. Perhaps the biggest complaint I hear about working out during pregnancy is that it “gets so boring.” Adding variety to your workout routine will help keep your mind and body from getting bored, so get creative! Or, if you aren’t sure what to do, that’s where finding a pregnancy-specific program is really helpful.
My program, for example, has 12 different workouts split up into multiple blocks of exercises so you can mix and match the blocks to ultimately create 40 different workouts. The workouts include everything from boxing to barre work, strength training to Pilates mat work, cardio intervals to cardio dance, and of course core-specific training for pregnancy.
2. Modify accordingly. Understanding the appropriate modifications that should be taken during pregnancy is essential. With social media now giving everyone a chance to be an expert, it can be really confusing as to what exercises are truly appropriate and safe for pregnancy.
I strive to share exercises in my Pregnancy Workout Essentials program that are going to keep your risk of diastasis recti and organ prolapse at minimum, and instead give you exercises that are going to keep your pregnant body comfortable, strong, and energized. If you’re using a different program, make sure the instructor is certified and knowledgeable in pre- and post-natal fitness.
3. Buddy up. It is comforting to have the support of a friend who is also pregnant, especially while working out. One thing I instinctively knew (even before I was pregnant) from training my really honest pregnant and postpartum clients was that the most frustrating thing for them was training with ME — their fit trainer who had never experienced for herself what it was like to exercise in an ever-changing pregnant body. I knew that when I created pregnancy workouts that I wanted to be pregnant — like, REALLY PREGNANT.
Thus, with both of my pregnancy programs I’m between 32-34 weeks pregnant. And sure, in my first program Expecting MORE, I knew what it was like to workout in a pregnant body — but not like now. Three babies later I know what it is really like to have to go through postpartum recovery, to have my pelvic floor feel like it has gone through hell and back, to rehab my abs, but most of all, to experience the ridiculously amazing outcome of having a baby.
4. Have healthy meals and snacks. I’ll be really honest — I never really understood pregnancy cravings until I got pregnant with my third, my daughter. When my first trimester suddenly had me craving pasta and french fries (because I literally couldn’t stomach anything else), I knew something had to change. Try to eat healthy when you can — and sneak in fruits and veggies as much as you can into those cravings by being creative. That way you have more energy for growing that baby and moving.
5. Use inspiring mantras. Repeating inspirational mantras throughout your pregnancy can help to increase motivation and positivity. The power of positive thinking and intention is everything — especially when getting through those final moments of a workout or labor.
I hope at least one of these will inspire you to get your body moving as often as it will allow. Again, always talk to your doctor and listen to your body! Every pregnancy is different.
Best of luck with the rest of your pregnancy! I’m here if and when you need me. –Sara Haley