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Two Amazing Pregnancies – Two Fast and Healthy Births – My Training Program

5 Jan

After experiencing two optimally healthy pregnancies and one fast and one lightening fast birth, I am convinced that sticking to a paleo/primal diet and daily intense exercise are the key to a successful pregnancy training program.

I approached my pregnancies as if the 40 weeks of gestation were training time for a big event. Many people say labor and delivery is like a marathon. I say a marathon is a piece of cake. Heck, you can walk if you need to, you’re occasionally served water along the way and you are in control of your physical experience.

To me childbirth is an event that would start with a nice light jog that transitions into a little hill work, then bodyweight tabata intervals, next comes full body weighted compound exercises with no rest between reps or sets and finally, now that you are nice and exhausted, is the final Olympic power lifting to full muscle failure.

And, basically that’s how I trained throughout my pregnancies. Here’s the plan I stuck through thick or thin (keep in mind that I moved my family 1500 miles, lived in a hotel for two months bought a new house and renovated it all between August and when I gave birth on December 30 – no excuses).

  1. Eat according to a paleo/primal diet. I found that a high fat low carb diet kept my blood sugar so stable that I had no cravings whatsoever.
  2. Keep steady cardio light, but do lots of it. Take walks, play with kids, just don’t sit around all day. I used to be a cardio queen, but no more. Excessive cardio can be exhausting and lead to injuries. What you really need for game day is the ability to do very intense intervals and muscle strength – too much steady cardio saps these abilities.
  3. Do intense intervals. As your pregnancy progresses, intensity is going to change. Obviously you will not be jumping or performing at your non pregnant ability. Gauge intensity for yourself and repeat. I fell in love with Tabata intervals.
  4. Perform full body weight routines with moderate weigh at least three days a week.
  5. Do heavy weights one day a week.

I realize that every baby, every pregnancy and every woman is different. But, this regimen worked for me twice. What were the results?

My glucose tolerance test was a 70 and 72 both times. I gained 15 pounds my first pregnancy and 17 this time. I had optimally healthy babies with ideal weights for their gestational age (I gave birth at 38 weeks both times). My first labor went pretty fast. I felt great until active labor. Active labor lasted two hours and I pushed for 15 minutes. The second time around I was walking around at 6 cm dilated, so when I started labor at 5pm, active labor started at 6:15 or so and my second son was born a half hour later.

Also, I believe that my training helped prep me to give birth naturally with no pain meds or IV fluids. Finally, my breast milk is abundant. My husband jokes that I can go into business selling the stuff.

If you are pregnant or planning to be. Get in the best shape of your life before conceiving and adopt a primal diet right away. Keep training in the above mentioned way and do it every day if you can.


Thinking About My Journey Back

23 Dec

As I near 38 weeks of pregnancy I can’t help thinking about life after pregnancy. I delivered my first son at 38 weeks and plan to do the same this time. (Come on body! Cooperate now!). So I may be only days or hours away from birthing this little boy.

This pregnancy was harder than my first. I never had back pain or soreness the first time. But this time I could barely walk for almost a month. Now that the baby has dropped, thankfully my pain is gone!

Anyway, I wanted to record a photo of me post workout at the end of my pregnancy. I really hate pics of myself, but it’s more to keep me on track than anything else. I’m at a weird angle so you can’t really see the bigness of my belly, but it got pretty big!

I plan to belly wrap this time to see if that helps close the diastasis faster. Also I think it will give me more back support as I gain core strength again.

Hopefully the next post will be about my easy and wonderful birth of baby Henry!

36 Weeks Pregnant Tabata Workout

15 Dec
I may not be able to do intervals on the treadmill. Heck, I can’t really walk very well at all. But, I can still squat and do everything with my upper body. So, here’s a Tabata workout that I came up with this morning.

In a nutshell, Tabata is an interval based program. It includes 20 secs of work, 10 secs of rest for eight total rounds. I chose to do five different exercises of these eight rounds for a total of 20 minutes.

Here goes:

Squat with overhead press — 10 lb dumbells

Squat with hammer curls — 10 lb dumbells

Sumo Squat with triceps overhead extension – one 10 lb dumbell

Prisoner squats – bodyweight

Pelvic tilts

Here’s a great timer you can run from You Tube to keep you on track.

Be Aware of Exercise Induced Injuries During Pregnancy

1 Dec

My SI joint is in a twist! Oh my lower back, tailbone, left hip are screaming in pain! I chalk this up to excessive fast uphill walking.

These kinds of injuries and aches aren’t uncommon in pregnancy – even for those of us who attempt to be hardcore from conception to pushing. My first pregnancy allowed me to workout just about daily. However I was doing primarily cardio with some weights. Since then I’ve refocused my workouts emphasizing intensity with weights and cardio intervals.

Right now I am just so sore! Have I hurt myself? Am I just really, really pregnant? What is going on in my body that is making me more prone to injury? 

  1. Hormones – As if anyone needs to be told that hormones are crazy during pregnancy. Well, here’s yet another hormone to add to the list – Relaxin. This hormone does what it sounds like. It relaxes joints so that the baby can pass through the pelvis. Relaxed joints do not make for very stable joints. That’s why I stopped any plyometrics or jumping stuff. But, it looks like my relaxed pelvis also doesn’t like the hard uphill walks.
  2. Off Center of Gravity – When I don’t pay attention to my posture, my body seems to want to lean back to counter balance the belly. When I am not mindful, I tend to sway my back which can’t be helping the pain.
  3. Bye Bye Core Strength – It’s simply crazy what happens to your core muscles as your pregnant belly expands. Without a strong core, it can be difficult to properly brace your body for good posture and power moves. That’s why I don’t attempt any super heavy lifts, especially overhead.

Although there are some real alterations to be made to your exercise routine during pregnancy, there is no reason not to continue working out if you are healthy. In the past the medical establishment heavily cautioned women from any kind of exercise. However, recent studies show that in most cases, exercise in pregnancy is extremely beneficial for mom and baby.

I’m going to keep on going to the end – even if that means I am doing some kind of wheelchair workout. This is what I keep reminding myself: Move swiftly and often. Breathe deeply. Lift weights. Stretch carefully. Listen to your body.

34 Weeks Pregnant – Recent Workout

30 Nov

Lately I’ve been slowing down a bit, but I’ve not stopped working out. It keeps me sane, but boy am I sore.

I’ve been trying to focus more on weight routines and less on the treadmill. I think I’m hooked on getting my heart rate up aerobically.

Today this is what I did:

Treadmill 6% grade for 30 minutes
3 Circuits with Increasing Weight
Circuit #1
Pull overs
50 Bodyweight Squats
1 minute treadmill at 10% grade

Circuit #2
Push ups
Pull ups
50 Bodyweight Squats
1 minute treadmill at 10% grade

Circuit #3
50 Bodyweight Squats
1 minute treadmill at 10% grade

I am having some severe SI joint pain, despite all this working out. I am trying to replace the treadmill with something else that will elevate my heart rate sufficiently and is more in keeping with the “Primal” way of exercising. Anyone have any suggestions?

P.S. I cannot jump and really must workout inside so I can monitor my three year old.

31 Weeks Pregnant – Sample Workout

8 Nov

Okay, I am definitely feeling very pregnant. I am up around 14 pounds and am slowing down for sure. But, I’m still doing my morning circuit routines.

Today I gave something new a shot. I’ve been catching up on Jimmy Moore’s Living La Vida Low Carb podcasts and came across information about something he called “Super Slow” weight training. The “Super Slow” concept reared its head again in the Eades’ book “The 6-Week Cure to the Middle-Aged Middle,” which I checked out from the library a few days ago.

I couldn’t find details about exactly how to perform this technique for free, so I approximated my own “Super Slow” lifts. I was prepped to dislike this workout. I know that many people who I respect don’t think this is an advantageous way to work muscles. But, I have to say, it kicked my butt.

Here what I did:

30 minutes on treadmill to get blood and heart pumping (walk at 7% grade)
1 minute 10% at 5mph
Super Slow Squat (10 secs up 10 down)
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Bridges
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Push Ups
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Rows
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Curls
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Overhead Triceps Press
1 minute treadmill
Super Slow Lateral Shoulder Raise

The thing that I wasn’t expecting about lifting slowly was that my heart rate really stayed elevated. Also, I kept my weight heavy (for me) so the burn started at around rep #3.

I’ve read that explosive lifting recruits more muscle fibers than slow lifting. But, I know for me, explosive lifting involves a lot of momentum and I just don’t get that same burn I got with slow lifting. I think I’ll still do both, though.

Circuit Training – 28 Weeks Pregnant

20 Oct

Here’s a sample of one of the four different circuit routines I do each week. I change the routines every week. I focus on certain body parts within each circuit. For example, chest and back Monday, legs Wednesday, biceps, triceps and shoulders on Friday and total body on Saturday.

Despite being in my third trimester, I feel strong and fit. I’ve gained a perfect amount of weight (whatever that means) according to my doctor. Although I get the occasional normal aches and pains of pregnancy, I still feel like me.

Here’s the routine:

Warm up 5 minutes
All out treadmill 2 minutes
Push Ups
Modified Pull Ups
Weighted Bridges

All out treadmill 2 minutes
Bench Press
Pull Overs
Skull Crusher

All out treadmill 2 minutes
Chest Flye
Back Flye
Military Press

All out Treadmill 2 minutes
Alternate Arm Bench
Single Arm Rows

I do this three times as fast as my pregnant body will let me. Also, I’ve changed up the way I do my reps. For each set I perform 8 slow reps, 8 fast reps and 8 pulses.

My disclaimer is that I am not an expert. Listen to your body. If any professional of just plan personally knowledgeable fitness buff out there have any suggestions, I’d love to read them!