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Second Trimester Exercise Experiences

Posted Jan 01 2010 11:00am 1 Comment

The third trimester is here! And, boy, my second trimester was a great one! Yep, I'm now at 28 weeks and a few days and am definitely looking pregnant (instead of just chubby...haha). However, for the most part, I wouldn't even know I was pregnant except for when I look in the mirror - I feel great!

My second trimester was just awesome. I taught boot camps 8 times a week (three on Tuesdays and Thursdays, one on Friday and one on Saturday) and for the most part, actually physically did teach them and had no issues what-so-ever! My classes consisted of everything from high intensity Tabata training, to battle ropes and prowler pushes (as seen in the you tube video above), to weight lifting circuits and kettlebell intervals. So, pretty serious and nothing pink and fluffy.

The second trimester started in the month of October (I became pregnant pretty much exactly on July 1st). By this time all my nausea had left and my energy came back. My strength was also very similar to pre-pregnancy except for a few things, which I'll outline below.

In summary, here's how my second trimester was in terms of exercise and training:

1) Energy
As I said, my energy came back at about the 10 to 12 week mark and I took that as a sign to start kicking up the intensity. Which I did. My first few days of teaching Tabata classes were a bit rough, but once my endurance improved in a few weeks, I was doing better than some of my class participants.

2) Strength
I'm amazed at how strong I've stayed, other than for many body weight exercises. Because of my increasing body weight (I've gained about 14 lbs to date), exercises such as pull-ups, inverted rows, and now, even pushups, are a lot more difficult. I definitely am unable to do an pure unassisted pull-up, and lately, my pushups have been lame. However, my lower body and back strength in lifts like the deadlift and squat are pretty awesome. Even my bench press still rocks at a max of 135 lbs (yes, I'm still doing supine work because it doesn't bother me at all - my OBGYN even approves).

3) Endurance
I will have to say that my endurance now is better than it was pre-pregnancy. But, that wasn't hard to improve: prior to becoming pregnant I was both finishing my PhD dissertation and RD internship, so rarely had time to workout hard at all. Now, with all my HIIT training in my classes, my endurance is excellent.

4) Body Heat Regulation
Thankfully I'm progressing through my pregnancy in the winter, so keeping my body temp in a safe range while exercising is not an issue. When it's been hot outside or when I have too many layers on, I do definitely feel uncomfortable.

5) Recovery
My recovery still leaves a bit to be desired. Whenever I lift heavy, I pay for it for a few days. I've tried a few different nutritional tactics to try and improve this, but I'm pretty sure it's just the fact that I'm growing another human that my recovery isn't so great. But, I still push myself hard and just make sure to take more time to relax after.

6) Body Composition
Interestingly, my belly is definitely growing, but I haven't gained a pound in the last 4 weeks (during my 6th month I've stayed at 150lbs). My husband has told me that he noticed that my body is looking leaner, especially in my butt and thighs. He said it's because I'm finally eating better - in my first four months, I was craving sugar and food like I'd just come back from a hard outdoor excursion. Now, my cravings and appetite are so much more manageable. This combined with my exercise routine probably is leading to some fat loss (yes, fat loss during pregnancy is possible!).
One of my girlfriends who just had her baby this past February 2009 told me that she didn't gain anything in the last 3 months and her arms, thighs and butt shrank. Her baby was born at a healthy 8lbs and had no issues at all. So, I'm hoping I'll have something similar happen because I did pile some fat on my legs in the first trimester from my outta control sugar binges.

7) Aches and Pains
With my back issues (spondylolithesis), I thought I was going to be in much more pain by this point in my pregnancy. But, with all the core strengthening work I do and the absence of exercises that hurt my back (like back squats and ultra-heavy deadlifts), I've been pretty much pain-free. There were a few weeks where I had sciatica pain, but I think that was due to the baby, because it just magically disappeared one day. Now, I'm experiencing rib pain from my expanding rib cage, but, unfortunately, there's not much I can do about it. I just try to ignore it and working out actually helps me forget about it.

8) Goals for the next three months:
Well, given that I feel great and have almost no issues doing what I'm doing now, I'll continue to train hard for as long as my body will let me. A lot of people ask if I'm going to lighten up, but I've told them that I'll only do that if I have to (i.e., I hurt, I'm feeling sick, etc). Other than that, why do I have to reduce my intensity if everything is progressing in a healthy direction? My baby and belly are growing at the proper rate, my health is great (yes, I am fighting off a slight cold right now, but it is the winter and I was bound to get a bit sick at some point), and my energy is wonderful. What else could I ask for?

Now, just keep in mind: every woman is different, and every woman has to listen to her own body and make the best decisions for her and her baby. Just because I'm staying really active doesn't mean every woman has that luxury. Be smart, listen if your body says stop and ensure you fuel it with the best foods possible.
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Amazing Article - THANK YOU!!!
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