This past week my daughter celebrated her first birthday. Everyone always told me it would “go by quickly,” and they were right. I remember the day I found out I was pregnant, our first doctor’s appointment, the first kick in my stomach and the day she was born like it was yesterday. Then I blinked and she was a year old.
My husband and I weren’t sure we wanted to have a child when we first got married. We loved to travel and the flexibility to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. As time went on and we celebrated our third wedding anniversary, we decided it was time to add a little person to our happy family of two. I have shared on social media many times how I was very nervous about what would happen to my body when I got pregnant. You can look at my Instagram page for lots of bump photos. I would look at other fit women who still looked super-fit post baby, and their journey gave me the inspiration to trust that I could be the same way.
I had a very active pregnancy. Before I got pregnant, I was in great shape. I taught 5 spin classes a week, including a double on Tuesdays, and I lifted weights 4 times a week. I also had a very easy pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, and I really did not get any more tired than usual, so I was able to keep up this rigorous schedule without many modifications. My heart rate was still very high when I taught class – but I was able to talk and teach. I reduced my weights when I was targeting very large muscle groups – during squats and lunges. Other than that, it was business as usual.
And the belly kept growing…
I described myself as a “laid back pregnant chick.” I did not go to extremes to avoid certain foods. I still had 1-2 cups of coffee a day, occasional sushi and red meat that was not well-done. I drank protein shakes and took my BCAAs along with my daily prenatal vitamins and fish oil. My diet was mostly whole foods, lots of vegetables, green juice, and plenty of homemade chocolate chip cookies. I ate healthy 80% of the time. In the end, I gained 35 pounds after 40 weeks, and I didn’t weigh myself at 41 weeks pregnant when I delivered exactly one week late.
My labor and delivery was again, easy. I was in labor for 8 hours and pushed for 30 minutes. Hello healthy 7 pound 14 ounce baby! My recovery, also easy. I was able to return to my workouts at 4-weeks postpartum.
I cannot say for sure that my health and my diet was to thank for my easy pregnancy, my easy delivery, my easy recovery or my easy BABY – a great sleeper to this day. But I can say one thing for sure – it didn’t hurt the cause.
After I delivered, I still had 12 pounds of baby weight to lose, and the journey to lose it was a struggle for me. Everyone told me it would “fall off” after I finished nursing at 12 weeks, but that was not my experience. Every pound was a struggle. A STRUGGLE. I hovered at 140 for a long time. I remember being very sad some days because I was still very uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like having to wear loose shirts. I remember crying on a date night with my husband because I felt so badly about my extra layers. He just looked at me and told me that it didn’t matter to him. But it mattered to me. So I got my ass in gear. I set some goals, and at 8-months postpartum, I got to 3 pounds below my pre pregnancy weight for a photoshoot I did for my lululemon athletica ambassador photos: 129 pounds. That lasted for about a day, then I returned to 132 quickly afterwards. Today I hover at 135 pounds, since I’ve made some muscle gains since then.
Now at one-year postpartum, I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life. I am stronger than I have ever been. I have ABS! I NEVER had a six-pack before I got pregnant, but the way that my body has reverted back has allowed me to achieve the six-pack look, which is super cool because I’ve always wanted one.
I never thought that I would be training for a bodybuilding competition at one-year postpartum. I never thought that I would care less about the scale than ever before, because the scale does not tell the whole story. Pictures tell a story. How your clothes fit tell a story. The number on the scale does not represent your fitness level. It is there as a gauge only.
And most important of all. I am grateful that I overcame a huge fear in my life, and I had a baby because the joy that I have experienced in the past 365 days, is greater than any that I have ever known. I mean, who wouldn’t smile when they looked at this face?
So I have said it before, and I will keep saying it. Do not let your fears hold you back from achieve anything your heart desires. Fear is a liar. Move past it. Crush it. Be grateful. I’m off to lift.
The hubs and I snuck away to Aruba for a decadent babymoon this March. We LOVE to travel, and because of his profession and his ability to rack up an obscene amount of Marriott and Southwest points, we are able to travel often without breaking the bank.
It was our first time in Aruba, and we stay at the Ritz Carlton, recently built and full of amazing amenities. Our vacations typically go like this:
Wake up at 7am, workout, breakfast, lay on a beach chair all day, fancy dinner, asleep by 9pm. We are early birds and typically hit the early bird specials for dinner. Essentially, we are the oldest thirty-somethings you’ve ever met.
This Rtiz included some great perks that we partook in daily including a great gym and complimentary stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking.
I decided to take one of my workouts outside.
Lunges, 3 sets of 20 lunges (each leg)
Planks, hold for one minute
High Knees, 30-45 seconds
Donkey Kicks, 3 sets of 25 kicks (each leg)
Before I got pregnant, I was nervous about what would happen to my body during and after pregnancy. You can call that vain, I call it vulnerable and honest. It helped me TREMENDOUSLY to see my close friends and people in the fitness industry show their bumps and show what was possible with proper diet and exercise during pregnancy.
I have had an easy pregnancy. I have not been sick at all or tired, so it has been easy for me to keep up my level of exercise which involves 60 minutes of cardio 6x a week + weight lifting 3x a week. I also count my macros (carbs, protein and fats) 80% of the week and leave 20% open for indulging, consuming between 2200-2600 calories each day.
My goal is to help others, like so many have helped me, get over any fears and insecurities about getting pregnant. Here goes!
I have been working hard in the gym to keep up with my weight training program to make sure I don’t lose too much muscle tone.
21 weeks pregnant, and here comes the bump! I really did not know what to expect with my weight gain during pregnancy, and I immediately gained some weight around my arms, butt and thighs. Before I got pregnant, Bod Pod gave me a body fat reading of 11%, so I was not surprised to add a little fat on. My body is getting ready for our baby girl! I try not to obsess over it, and overall I am happy with my progress so far.
This photo was taken in Aruba on our babymoon. It was so nice to visit somewhere warm and enjoy some alone time with my hubby! We don’t plan on slowing down our travel (or our alone time) once our baby girl arrives! We already have our post-baby trip planned for next Spring. I am still feeling great and was able to do a lot of swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, and body weight exercises on our trip!
There is NO DENYING this bump now! Off to spin class! I am still teaching intense spin classes 5 times a week (including doubles on Tuesdays) and lifting heavy weights 3-4 times a week.
Hello 25 weeks! Off to the gym for leg day!
Hello baby girl! I am not sure how much bigger my stomach can possibly get. It is definitely getting harder to do the little things like lacing up my sneakers. My exercise routine has not really changed. I just taught 2 spin classes at 50 minutes each. A Saturday double! I have found that my heart rate rises faster than usual, so I always keep an eye on it when I teach, and I use the “talk test” to make sure I am not overdoing it. I have gained about 20-22 pounds so far.
I get a lot of questions about supplements from clients and friends, so I wanted to share with you the supplements that I have taken personally during my pregnancy. Let me remind you that my degree from James Madison University is in Hospitality and Tourism Management NOT in Medicine, so please consult with your physician on any supplements that you plan to take during, pre or post pregnancy.
Kind Organics Prenatal Multi
I follow a mostly organic diet based on whole foods, so I wanted my prenatal vitamin to mirror that trend. The supplements are made from real whole food like organic fruits, veggies and herbs such as lemons, ginger, peppermint, annatto, amla berry, and provide what you need in a natural form. It has all of the essentials that you and your growing baby need, from iron, B vitamins and folate along with the added bonuses of ginger and peppermint which are supposed to help aid nausea. I was not nauseous once during my pregnancy, and while I don’t think it had anything to do with these vitamins, you never know!
Dosage: 3 capsules daily with food
365 Brand Fish Oil (180mg EPA; 120mg DHA) 1000mg
Omega-3s have been found to be essential for both neurological and early visual development of the baby. Pregnant women typically become depleted in omega-3s, when the fetus uses omega-3s for its nervous system development. Omega-3s are also used after birth to make breast milk. With each subsequent pregnancy, mothers are further depleted. Research has confirmed that adding EPA and DHA to the diet of pregnant women has a positive effect on visual and cognitive development of the baby. Studies have also shown that higher consumption of omega-3s may reduce the risk of allergies in infants. Omega-3 fatty acids also have positive effects on the pregnancy itself. Increased intake of EPA and DHA has been shown to prevent pre-term labor and delivery, lower the risk of pre-eclampsia and may increase birth weight. Omega-3 deficiency also increases the mother’s risk for postpartum depression
Dosage: 6 capsules daily (2 in morning/afternoon/evening)
365 Brand Probiotic Complex
I always take a daily probiotic, but it is especially important during pregnancy. It’s one of those little secrets no one talks about until you’re actually pregnant – the system gets a little off track when you start growing a little human inside of you. Whether it’s heartburn, constipation, or cramping pregnancy causes hosts of digestive ailments. Some also believe that exposing the fetus to probiotic bacteria helps to stimulate the growth of the immune systems and potentially prevents allergies.
Dosage: 1 capsule daily
Zinc Lozenges with Vitamin C
I have to admit, I have been nervous about getting stretch marks during pregnancy. I know that much cannot be done to avoid them and that it’s primarily based on genetics, but I’m going to try! I have read that Zinc is one of the few remedies that have actually been proven to prevent the development of stretch marks. Zinc creams can be topically applied and there are also several zinc dietary supplements that are highly effective. Adults should not ingest more than 50 mg of zinc per day.
Dosage: 1-2 capsules daily (they taste great)
Mama Mio The Tummy Rub Oil
While we are on the topic of stretch marks, this is the product that I have been using since 12 weeks post shower and before bed. It really helps as the skin stretches to moisturize it with essential oils and amazing organic ingredients all proven to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks. Here are just some of the ingredients:
- Organic Sacha Inchi Seed Oil From the Amazon, packed with Omega 3, antioxidants and amino acids.
- Organic Argan Kernel Oil nourishes, moisturises and improves elasticity. High in Omega 9 (Oleic Acid) and 6 (Linoleic Acid).
- Organic Coconut Oil Soothing and healing, mega-rich with Lauric Acid, powerful Omega that helps skin’s natural immune system.
- Organic Avocado Oil Omega and Folic Acid rich, hydrates, helps circulation, increases collagen production, ensuring skin stretches safely.
- Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Protects against stretch marks, speeds up cell renewal to help keep skin strong.
Vega Sport Chocolate Protein Powder
I love Vega products! They are full of complete plant-based protein and are organic and non-GMO certified. Usually I have a chocolate shake post workout blended with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and ice. It’s refreshing and is packed with 25g of protein to refuel muscles after a long workout. Vega Sport also has 5,000mg of BCAAs and 5,000mg of glutamine per serving.
NLA for Her – Her Aminos
I am still lifting heavy weights regularly during my pregnancy and hope to maintain as much muscle mass as possible so I can bounce back quickly post baby. BCAAs help to increase endurance, build lean muscle and aid in post workout recovery. This brand also tastes great. It does have an artificial sweetener in it which I did not know about until I tried it – it tastes like Crystal Light Pink Lemonade when mixed with water – but this is the only artificial sweeter in my diet, so I am okay with it in moderation.
Dosage: During Pregnancy 1 scoop mixed with water
Once again, please consult your doctor to make sure that the supplements that you choose to take are safe based upon your heath and medical history. Here’s wishing you a healthy and safe pregnancy!