If there is anything I learned from my first pregnancy, it’s that pregnancy is unpredictable. Nothing about your non-pregnant state can give you clues on how your pregnancy will go. Will you be nauseous? What aches and pains will you experience? What about energy – will you be tired all the time? What will your birth and recovery be like?
Every pregnant and postpartum body is so different, not only from other pregnant/postpartum bodies, but from itself as it changes week by week. I’m sharing my own fitness experience before, during, and post pregnancy here as the story of what worked for me this time around. Listen to what works for you!
Prior to getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to focus on two things: (1) Enjoying the freedom of moving and challenging my body and (2) Strengthening my core and working on full body mobility, especially my hips. I also had a personal goal to beat my high school cross country 5k PR before I got pregnant.
In pursuit of these goals, I ran 3 days a week, and I did the Sustainable Strength program 2-3 days a week. Getting stronger definitely helped me run a PR and to not get injured during training. But the greatest benefit pre-pregnancy was definitely the mobility-focused workouts – they are a great combination of strength and active stretching that felt so good on my hips, hamstrings, neck and shoulders. If you’re a runner, you know that stretching seems to always get skipped – these mobility workouts made active stretching an intentional part of my routine.
During pregnancy, I wanted to focus on: (1) Mental health – being active daily for that endorphin boost I love and (2) Core, lower body, and pelvic floor strength to ease postpartum recovery.
Towards the end of my first trimester, I went for a run and felt a sharp pain in my groin. It felt like I’d pulled a muscle, but it came and went, only hurting when I was running or jumping. It turned out that the baby was putting pressure on my pelvic floor, triggering groin pain. Luckily, I could walk and hike without pain, but if I wanted to get a sweaty workout in, running or jumping around in a circuit training workout was out.
Luckily, I could turn back to Sustainable Strength. The Premium version of the course comes with a create-your-own program template so you can customize your workout plan after you’ve completed the course. I turned to the template to create a pregnancy-friendly program – using lighter weights, fewer reps, and leaving out exercises that put too much pressure on my abdominals. (Note: For Cohort 3, launching this month, we’ve flagged in the template all the exercises that are pregnancy and postpartum friendly if you’d like to do this too!)
I was happy to be active during my pregnancy, but I also got so tired by the end of the day. I appreciated how time-efficient Sustainable Strength was – I could get my endorphin boost in without draining my limited energy in the process. Plus, it felt pretty empowering to confidently move weights around with a pregnant belly.
Remember what I said about birth being unpredictable? It’s so hard to know how you’ll feel after giving birth, but it’s good to plan on feeling pretty physically exhausted and mentally overwhelmed.
After Wren’s birth, I was physically exhausted from a long labor, and I experienced second degree tearing, so I had quite a few stitches. I was told to only go on short, easy walks until 6 weeks postpartum, which was fine with me – between physical healing and sleep deprivation, I didn’t feel like doing much else anyways.
At around 8 weeks, I was craving a bit more movement besides walks, but I didn’t want to do any jumping (no burpees, thank you) So, once again, I turned to Sustainable Strength! The movements in the program are all designed to be intentional and slow, but they still get my heart rate up for that endorphin boost I’m looking for.
I also appreciate doing a program that feels effective in only a couple workouts a week. I can usually fit a workout in every couple days when Peter is playing with Wren or a nap.
I’m one of the co-creators of Sustainable Strength – of course I like the program. But I was happy to confirm how flexible, efficient, and supportive the course was during the biggest physical transitions of my life so far.
Cohort 3 of Sustainable Strength is open until Saturday, January 1st. Reply to this email if you have questions about whether the course is adaptable to your needs – I hope to see you in the course!