Exercise in the Last Month of Pregnancy

Many pregnant women come to my site searching for advice on exercise in the last month of pregnancy. I have written about my experience working out in my last month of pregnancy, however, I delivered Emma at exactly 37 weeks, so I did not truly go through what most pregnant women refer to as exercise in the last month of pregnancy.

So, to get a better idea of how to workout in the last few weeks of the third trimester, I met up with fellow personal trainer and 9 month pregnant fit mom, Erin Brooks. Erin is only a couple of weeks away from her due date, and she has maintained a fit pregnancy through the third trimester and plans to work on until D-day.

Here is a video clip of a few great weight training moves you can try — even in the last month of pregnancy!

The first squat and arm move will stimulate your butt, hamstrings, quads, and arm muscles. It can help prepare your for a strong labor and delivery. Be sure that your knees do not go in front of your toes on the squat, and continue breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Use 10 or 15 pound free weights.

For the ten to one’s, use 5 pound weights. 1. Bring your arms straight out from your side, parallel to the ground, then slowly down. 2. Bring your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground, then slowly down. 3. Raise your arms above your head touching the weights in the middle, then slowly down. Do one set of each variation 10 times. Continue additional sets with nine reps, then eight, etc., down to one.

Before I met up with Erin for the workout this weekend, she had already run 5 miles with a gym client of hers. Again — she is only 2 weeks away from her due date! Here is a quick circuit that she did while we were at her gym. Complete with pull-ups, medicine ball burpees, and medicine ball throws. And all this was in the last month of her pregnancy. If Erin can do this at 9 months pregnant, the rest of us certainly do not have any excuses!

Again, it is possible to maintain your pre-pregnancy level of fitness and an intense exercise program in the last month of pregnancy. Continuing a workout program will help with labor and delivery, and will significantly speed up your recovery time. I was walking my dog within 2 days of delivery, and back to running within 2 weeks. This is not the “norm”, but it is possible if you stay fit. Remember to consult with your physician before starting or maintaining an exercise program during pregnancy.

Backyard Boot Camp: Interval Training — Sprint Drills

It is important to add interval training to your workout routine. Adding these sprint drills will maximize your fat burning and boost your metabolism.

Set up 4 cones or markers in your backyard or a parking lot 10 yards apart. Sprint from cone 1 to cone 2. Side shuffle from cone 2 to cone 3, sprint from 3 to 4, and side shuffle from cone 4 back to 1. Repeat 5 times. After your 5th rep, jog in place for your rest for 1 minute. Do a second set of sprint drills. This time, backpedal instead of side shuffles. Repeat 5 times. After your 5th rep, jog in place for 1 minute of rest. Do a third set of sprint drills. Sprint from cone 1 to 2. Carioca (Grapevine) the diagonal from cone 2 to cone 4. Sprint from cone 4 to 3. Carioca (Grapevine) the diagonal from cone 3 back to 1. Repeat 5 times. Rest by jogging in place for 1 minute. Repeat this interval circuit 5 times for more fun. Best wishes!

Pin this Backyard Boot Camp to your Pinterest fitness board and do the interval training for fat burning and a metabolism boost!

Julie’s Journey to Health and Wellness

Read this powerful fit mom guest blog by Julie — military wife and mom to two gorgeous children.  Here is her story:

Julie — fit mom and military wife.

“I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:19 (MSG)Energy was something I always seemed to run short on, but now I can say I am abundantly filled!

My journey started about 5 months ago, the start of a very new season in my life. With a tearful goodbye, I instantly took on the role of being a single mom to my at the time 2.5 year old son and 6 month old daughter. This was the result of my husband deploying for the next six months, a common duty, and way of life for many military families. After having my daughter last summer, I found myself still holding onto 12 extra pounds, enjoying bad eating habits, and feeling very empty both spiritually and physically.

A few weeks before my husband left for his deployment, we enjoyed a night together as a family. It was on the car ride home that my husband expressed his desire for me to eat healthier and ultimately be more active physically as a family. During this discussion, I participated and listened to what he had to say. This was a first for me. There had been many talks like this in the past, which all ended empty, as I was not willing to change or listen. This night however, God got a hold of my heart, and with it He started to work. My heart was softened as I listened to my husband’s desire for me, there was more to it than just that, though I didn’t realize it until months later.

Being a single mom is not an easy job.  It is a lot of hard work.  There is also a lot of joy in it!  My kids have always been pretty good sleepers which usually allow for most of our mornings to start no earlier than 8am.  After my husband left, I decided to start getting up around 7 a.m. to work out in our very small apartment living room before the kids woke up.  I started this routine in February, and have been doing it ever since.  I started small.  A neighbor let me borrow the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD so I took it, and worked out using the beginner modifications, five pound weights, and worked my way up.  After a month of working out 5 days a week, I could tell I was on my way to gaining strength and melting some of the fat off my body.  I decided to keep a record of my transformation by taking monthly pictures to see my progress.  This was a great motivator for me!  I became a member of calorie counter (it’s free) to help log my food, and stay within the right amount of calories each day to achieve my goal of losing 12 pounds (which would put me back to my pre-pregnancy weight).  I did this faithfully for 4 months, and kept challenging myself by finding and utilizing harder workout videos (many of which I found on youtube) as I got stronger.

During these months of working out, I also cleaned up my diet, my kids diets, and started feeling better.  I found I was not just taking care of my body, but my heart as well.  I started taking out the trash in my life, and giving my heart to God.  He was still doing a work in me, and I realized that I was worshiping God through my exercise and eating.  Once I learned this connection, everything changed.  Yes, exercising made me feel better, changed my body appearance, and even helped improve my mood each day.  However, I can not do anything without the power of God in my life.  It all came together for me.  Through loving God, exercising, and eating healthy, it all became a package deal.  Now, I can truly say I have endless energy and boundless strength!

Five months later, I can almost start the countdown for my husband’s return home.  This will be a very joyous reunion!  But what I can say now, is that I have successfully reached all of my goals in just five months.  By God’s grace, I was able to be a single mom to my kids, workout every morning, and eat healthy!  Today, I am not 12 pounds lighter but 24 pounds lighter.  I have more definition in my arms, abs, and legs than before having kids, I eat healthy, and feel great!  The best part was, I didn’t ever go to the gym.  I worked and continue to work hard every morning with a pair of weights, a mat, and at home in a very small space.   I am maintaining this new lifestyle, as I eagerly wait to show it all off to my husband and enjoy the benefits together as a family.

To God be the glory great things He has done!

6 Pack Abs After Pregnancy

Is it possible to get 6 pack abs after pregnancy? Absolutely yes! But, as with anything else, it will take hard work and commitment. The good news is, you already have 6 pack abs after pregnancy. The bad news is, they are covered in fat. 6 pack abs are something that all women want, but few achieve. and unfortunately, you cannot get a 6 pack by doing millions of crunches alone. But here are some steps that will help you toward nice abs after pregnancy.

  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by burning mid-section fat.  Add strength and resistance training to your daily post-pregnancy workout routine. If you need to lose a few more pounds of “baby weight,” I would recommend that you do 60 to 90 minutes of cardio 5 times per week and at least 2 days of strength training. Unfortunately, it is not possible to “spot train”, but if you want a 6 pack, you will need to be around 15% BMI anyway, so get to burning those fat calories! You will burn 50 calories while stationary per day for every pound of lean muscle that you have. If you typically only do running for your cardio, add some resistance training on the elliptical or stepper. Be sure to keep your abs nice and tight the entire time you are on the machine.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by adding interval training into your daily post pregnancy workout. Adding plyometrics and/or sprint drills to your daily workout routine will effectively burn fat calories! I typically do sprint drills at least 2 times per week (short and long sprint with back pedals and shuffles). I also do plyos almost every time I workout for at least 5 minutes. Visit my exercise video page if you need some ideas on good plyo circuits.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by doing pilates and other ab exercises. It is important to keep your belly button in toward your spine when you are performing ab exercises after pregnancy. Do not push your abs/stomach out when you are doing the movement. Work on all areas of your abs — including your transverse obliques. It is also important to strengthen your lower back and hamstrings to stay balanced.
  • Get 6 pack abs after pregnancy by eating clean. Nice abs are made in the gym and in the kitchen! You can workout all day, but if you are not eating the right foods, you are working out to achieve a 6 pack in vain. Log your food on caloriecount.com to see if you are getting the right amount of nutrients. Stay away from white carbs and empty calories. Instead, eat whole grains, fruits, veggies, lean protein, and good fats. If it comes from the ground or has a mother — it’s fair game.
  • Try this post pregnancy ab circuit.

Before I got pregnant with Emma, I did not have a 6 pack. There were times that I had good definition in my abs, but I usually ruined it with eating too much ice cream. 🙂 However, I was satisfied with how my abs looked. After I delivered, my stomach still looked pretty flabby for the first week. 10 days after I delivered, my abs looked fine under clothes, but it took me a couple months to get my abs to a place that I felt comfortable with in a bikini. A couple months can seem like a long time if you are used to having a 6 pack. But if you are in that spot right now, don’t quit! Commit to eating well and doing the right kind of workouts, and be patient! In honestly, even now, I do not have a “6 pack” (can’t stay away from that ice cream — I need closure to my day :), but I am happy with how I look, and my core feels very strong. I hope you find the same satisfaction! But remember to keep things in perspective. Best wishes!