Pre & Post Natal Exercise: Bumps & Burpees
I realise that I have done very few blog posts on my pregnancy and the aftermath. I want to keep SLSstyle as far away from being a mom-blog as possible but it’s difficult to neglect part of my pregnancy that has stuck with me. I’ve worked out for years, often alone in the gym doing hours of cross-trainer, a handful of situps and a few dozen arm exercises using the lightest weights that I could find. During the build up to my wedding I began weight training and noticed my body changing almost instantly.
After having an incredibly lazy first trimester where I began an exclusive relationship with New York Bagel Co I decided that it was time to start exercising again and eating right (you most certainly do not eat for two). My first port of call was Charlie Launder who heads Bumps & Burpees at Lomax on Fulham Road (I also trained weekly with the amazing Katelyn Faison in London and Sloane Claytor in Santa Barbara – more on these badass babes to come).
(Two weeks before my daughter was born, in Roberto Cavalli, naturally).
The remainder of my pregnancy was incredible, minimal weight gain, my body snapped back into shape, I think I became stronger than I’ve ever been and I learnt how amazing the female body is and what’s it’s capable of. Not exercising and pushing your body during pregnancy is a total myth. My friend and wonderful trainer in California, Sloane Claytor was doing double digit pull ups a few days before she had her baby.
I caught up with Charlie recently and really picked her brain:
What are the biggest myths about exercising whilst pregnant?
There are so many, but generally there are so many women that think they can’t do much during pregnancy and in terms of fitness they must take a back seat and rest lots. There are very few women who are told this and those are for medical reasons but the majority of us are totally ok and in fact exercising can do a lot to help you in your pregnancy.
Another myth or worry we have to tackle is that you can lift anything while you’re pregnant. Yes it is not advisable to try and lift something beyond your capabilities but using weight in your workouts is not going to harm you or the baby. In fact, it will actually help to build up your strength to make your pregnancy a more comfortable one.
How important is it to exercise during pregnancy?
Very! As your bump grows, your centre of balance will change and so keeping fit and strong will help you keep good posture and minimise any unwanted aches and pains that come later on into the pregnancy. Your ligaments are all softer during pregnancy due to the release of a hormone called relaxin so your joints are less stable and can cause considerable problems if your muscles are not able to help support them.
From an aesthetic point of view, continuing to exercise throughout your pregnancy will keep weight gain to a healthy amount and also set you up really well for getting back to your pre pregnancy weight afterwards.
How does your exercise routine change during pregnancy?
The charges are progressive and if you are exercising all the way through, you won’t notice a drastic difference. The growing bump is an easy way of knowing when to adapt certain exercises because it simply gets in the way (for example a wider stance is often necessary to make room for the bump!).
There are exercises that should be avoided as you progress through your pregnancy such as crunches, planks and full press ups due to the excessive intra abdominal pressure that comes with them. This internal pressure can serve to further separate your abdominals which is not helpful when coming back to exercise post pregnancy.
Is it possible to get stronger and get in a great workout during pregnancy?
I absolutely love showing clients how much they can still do whilst they’re pregnant. Yes, you can absolutely get a good workout in while you’re pregnant. You have to listen to your body and what used to be easy for you may soon become a good workout, so be patient with yourself.
Getting stronger is a funny one, because while you may feel like you’re not progressing, you are having to carry around an increasingly heavy bump everyday so your body is having to adapt to this and you automatically build strength as you go.
Always choose weights that are safe for you to lift and increase them steadily so to avoid any injuries. When you find what feels comfortable for you then there should be no problem at all.
What if you’ve never exercised before?
If you have never exercised before, always seek the help and advice of a qualified professional who can show you what you can and can’t do in terms of exercise and have the correct form. Don’t be afraid to exercise while you are pregnant. Just listen to your body and don’t jump off in the deep end. Start slowly and go from there. Once you find the thing you love, there will be no stopping you!
Do you discuss nutrition with your clients?
Yes! Bumps & Burpees has a team of nutritionists who can sit down with our clients and carefully analyse their diet and lifestyle to come up with a plan that will help them stay as healthy as possible, both pre and post pregnancy. It is very important to address the diet as well as fitness as there are so many things your baby needs while in the bump and while breastfeeding that it can be overwhelming for a new mum.
How has Bumps & Burpees developed over the years?
Bumps & Burpees has grown massively over the last few years. Starting with just two trainers to an expanding team of trainers, nutritionists, pilates instructors, physios, masseuses, all there to make sure each client gets the care that they need. We are sponsored by the fantastic Baby Bjorn and Igloo Kids who help us care for the babies once they come into the gym with their mums. It’s these partnerships which help make a successful business.
What does the future of Bumps & Burpees look like?
The future of Bumps & Burpees is very bright. We are still continuing to grow every day with new clients coming to us all the time and a few exciting projects in the pipelines which we will be excited to share with you in the near future!
When are you no longer postpartum training?
Everyone is so different, so it’s hard to say. Once your abdominals have healed up and you have got back to your pre pregnancy strength and able to complete exercises without needing postnatal adaptions. For some this takes six months, some a year, there is no saying.
(Two weeks postpartum)
How can you best prepare for a pregnancy in terms of fitness?
As with everything pregnancy related, everyone is unique so there is no knowing how you will be during pregnancy but what you can do is set yourself up in the best possible way. Being physically fit and strong is hugely important to hold off aches and pains, but also getting into fitness is a great way of releasing any stress which can also be harmful during pregnancy.
Now is not the time to strive for crazy goals like becoming a rock climbing champion or lifting your heaviest deadlift ever, but it’s time to take care of your body. Eat well, stay fit, strong and be ready for the rollercoaster nine months that are about to come your way.
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