It's the dilemma for pregnant female athletes: how do you continue your workout routine, or can you continue your workout routine? A couple of months into the pregnancy and you quickly learn you just can't exercise at the level you did before the happy news.
There are no ifs ands or buts about it, your body changes will slow you down. From the fatigue, to the nausea to the growing bump that gets in the way and throws your balance off, you slowly have to ease off the rigorous exercise and scale back the heavy duty endurance cardio. It's such a wonderful time in a woman's life, but there can be so many compromises to your daily routines, no matter what the activities are. (Ah well, the payoff will be worth every newly mapped out stretch mark, leg dimple, and saggy, puffy body part. We can work on that later, right. Ugh!)
Nearly 22 weeks ago, I found out I was expecting and felt all the joys and concerns women do when you start to think about how your life will change. At the time I had been working through some minor injuries, and building my conditioning to handle a full Ironman triathlon race. I had even secured a slot in the inaugural Woodlands Texas Ironman in May, but my doctor told me early on to forget about that for now, so I did, albeit a little reluctantly.
So, the next question for me and other women in similar shoes, 'How can I maintain the conditioning I worked so hard to build?' There are several schools of thought on this, and I've heard opinions from the most conservative to more open-minded. My conservative doctors wanted me to "take it easy, and enjoy the pregnancy." They said, "light swimming" was okay. I take it that didn't mean a swimming mile with sprint intervals.
I took it easy at first, and stuck to swimming and easier cycling. Then I just decided to listen to my body just as I did for my first two pregnancies. As I've grown bigger, I have made adjustments for my body changes. I'm not getting out on the road bike for now, but I am spinning, running easy, swimming, and doing weights or yoga.
They are all activities I did before the pregnancies. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the American College of Sports Medicine agree, after consulting with your doctor, moderate exercise for 30 minutes or more on most, if not all, days, is the general guideline for training during pregnancy. They advise listening to your body which, even in the most elite athletes, is the number one rule by which to abide. These guidelines are also supported by the USA Triathlon organization. You can check out an interesting article on "Athletics throughout pregnancy" at http://www.usatriathlon.org/resources/multisport-zone/multisport-lab/competition-in-pregnancy
I recently did a pregnancy fitness photoshoot with San Antonio photographer, Yvonne Robles. She captured some great images during some of my workouts and I wanted to share them with you. Check them out and check out Yvonne's website (www.yvonnerobles.com) or Facebook page when you get a chance. She loves to shoot sports photography and babies, too.
I am a true believer in keeping your body strong means keeping it young. I promise you there are many days, when I would rather just sleep in longer than head out for a run, but after I get out, and get finished with my workout I feel a hundred times better, healthier and stronger. In closing, I hope you are having a great summer! Remember, work out early in the morning, or when it starts to cool off in the evening, stay hydrated and hope to see you on a running route soon! (I'll be the slow one.)