Fitness has always been a huge part of my life. In fact, many of you probably don’t know that I played 13 years of competitive soccer and probably have the most active parents of any of my friends. Being active has always had a big role in my life and being pregnant was not going to stop me from my usual fitness routines.
For the past three years, I have been an active SoulCycle rider. It’s not hard to see how much SoulCycle means to me since I literally talk about it ALL THE TIME. Before SoulCycle, I never participated in group exercise classes. For the first time, I felt like I belonged to a community of people that were not only as dedicated to sweating as much as I was, but were some of the best people I’ve met. Fast forward two years later, and I tried Barry’s Bootcamp for the first time. I fell in love immediately. I had always loved lifting weights and running so to combine SoulCycle and Barry’s into my weekly routine felt very natural and, dare I say, FUN! What I love most about SoulCycle and Barry’s is that the classes are always keeping you on your toes and you leave feeling like you can take on the world. It’s the absolute best.
My motto (before I got pregnant) was PUSH THROUGH. Feeling a bit under the weather? PUSH THROUGH YOUR WORKOUT. Tired from a super fun weekend? PUSH THROUGH AND GO TO YOUR WORKOUT. Have to wake up super early to get to your workout? PUSH THROUGH AND GO. Seriously, my motto was always to PUSH THROUGH and make it happen. Sure, there are days where I have to drag myself there but once I’m there, I know I’ll push myself hard. So, when I got pregnant, I kept going to my weekly SoulCycle and Barry’s classes. I was a little worried about pushing myself to my limits so I actually told many of my instructors at both places that I was pregnant so they could help me with modifications, especially during ab work. The advice I consistently received from the instructors was do not push yourself to a point where you are so out of breath that you can’t catch your breath. When you are pregnant, you have a tendency to lose your breath much more easily and it can be dangerous to push yourself to a point where you can’t breathe because it’s harder to catch your breath. This meant, take more breaks and set new and safer goals during my work outs. Both of these concepts do not come easily to me. If you have seen me in a workout, you know I am pushing myself to the limit every damn time. However, I didn’t want to endanger myself or Baby Beeb with my workouts so I made some adjustments.
During SoulCycle, I have found myself not “standing up” and running, especially toward the end because I felt very out of breath. Also, resistance also tends to make me feel more out of breath so I’ve been mindful of my resistance level as well. I also try to not do the side oblique twists as twisting has been on the “not recommended” list. I’ve had to FORCE myself to sit down a bit more than I like, but I can most likely get through 95% of a SoulCycle class without making any major modifications. I also used to work out at lunch with a couple of my teacher friends, so technically I was doing two workouts a day. However, I did stop doing the lunch time work outs for now so that I don’t go too crazy. Doing two strenuous workouts a day might be a bit much during pregnancy.
During Barry’s, I have also made a few modifications. When I first found out, I stopped sprinting at full speeds (I was sprinting at 10’s and 11’s before) and would walk at a steep incline during the sprints. Once I chatted with my doctor, she assured me that because I had been doing Barry’s before I got pregnant, I would be fine jogging and running so I started bringing those back and I feel great. I have been topping out at a running speed of 7.5 and I have been using that speed during sprints. For the most part, I stay around speeds of 5-6.5 during the jog times. For the most part, I feel like I can keep up with the rest of the class but instead of jogging to cool down, I have been recovering at a walking speed so that I can catch my breath before the next set. Other than that, I am mostly running/jogging with the rest of them! Also, I have been much more mindful of ab work. Like I mentioned before, no twisting and being more aware of any tightness or aches in my tummy during ab work (no bicycles, no jack knifes, etc.). Instead, I do weighted arm exercises while I wait for the next exercise to be announced. I have heard that jumping is not a good idea but I have done some jumping jacks and jump squats here and there. Moving forward and as my belly grows, I plan on doing more squats during those jumping moments because it’s more comfortable.
I want to preface this all by saying that I talked to my doctor quite a lot about this so I can do everything as safely as possible. Because I had lived quite an active lifestyle pre pregnancy, she was very comfortable telling me that these activities would still be okay for my body and for Baby Beeb. In fact, she told me that she was relieved that I had been committed to staying fit during my pregnancy because so many women just give up on any forms of exercise once they find out they’re pregnant, which is not the healthiest choice. Exercise and breaking a sweat is actually GOOD for you and the baby as it can even help your strength during delivery, which is awesome. Even going for walks in the evening can count! Just staying active is key. Also, my OBGYN said that in her experience, most women who do not stay as active as possible during their first and second trimester, don’t work out at all in the third trimester. She said, overall, if you stick with your pre pregnancy exercise routine, you will have a much smoother pregnancy all around. So far, she’s right! I have felt great the entire time. However, if you did not live an active lifestyle pre pregnancy, you should not think about starting up a brand new routine, like SoulCycle or Barry’s, because it can be too strenuous on you and your baby. Take it slow and steady and build to what you want to do over time!
I plan on staying active for my entire pregnancy and will most likely continue to make modifications as I get bigger. Some days are more comfortable than others and each class is different so I take things day by day. Please please PLEASE if you are pregnant, consult your doctor before you engage in any exercise during your pregnancy so that you can ensure your safety and the safety of your baby!