Pregnancy Workout: Treadmill Intervals

I've been trying to stay as active as I can throughout my pregnancy.  Of course I'm exceptionally respectful of my body these days, but I tend to feel a lot better mentally and physically when I'm consistently working out.  With the exception of some setbacks, my body seems to handle exercising most days of the week.  I've had some inquiries into my specific pregnancy workouts, so I'll share my typical weekly routine with you here.  Keep in mind, this changes slightly from week to week based on how I'm feeling.  I definitely listen to my body and scale back when I'm feeling exhausted.  

It's important to also note the following:

These workouts have been approved by my doctors based on my current level of fitness.

I have not started anything new during pregnancy - these are all workouts I did pre-pregnancy.  I HAVE slowed things down considerably.

I'm NOT exercising to lose weight, but to maintain health and fitness and keep energy up during pregnancy.

 

My Weekly Pregnancy Workout (Week 24)

 

Vinyasa yoga (studio classes, online classes + home practice) : 45-90 minutes, 4x week

 

Since I teach vinyasa yoga, I'm glad I've been able to keep up the practice.  I just recently had to start modifying some poses (like belly-down backbends and twists), but for the most part it has been an accessible form of exercise.  A doula told me at the start of my pregnancy that yogis have a leg up on labor (no pun intended??) because if you can breathe through a long hold in a difficult yoga posture, then you can breathe through a contraction.  This is my first pregnancy, so please allow for naiveté; I'm choosing to believe this to be true.  I've focused on longer holds and steady breath in conjunction with my normal quick-paced flow.

 

 

Weight lifting  - abs, arms + legs (I love the workouts from this site) : 25-45 minutes, 3x week

 

During my first trimester, I had some pretty bad nausea (read more about that here and here), which made my normal yoga practice pretty difficult - the up and down motion triggered queasiness.  Fortunately, I was able to sub in squats, curls and dips in lieu of Warriors and Chaturangas.  Planks, forearm planks and side planks have all been super accessible (although sometimes set off acid reflux).  I was only away from yoga for a few weeks, but I kept up with the weights beyond my first trimester.  It's been the perfect form of exercise on my low-energy days.  It's something I can do right in my home (in my PJs if I want to!), and I can stop when I want.  On the days I feel really exhausted, I might only do one set of exercises.  If I've got more gusto, then I do more.  I've always loved to lift, and during a period of time where my body is getting noticeably softer, this form of exercise makes me feel less soft.

 

 

Treadmill workouts : 40-60 minutes, 2-3x week

 

I choose treadmill over outdoor most days because a) it's freezing and icy here and b) as soon as I start moving, I have to pee so I need to be close to a bathroom!  Sometimes I just walk, but more often than not I crave a good sweat, so I mix in some hill and jogging intervals.  I have a nagging low back injury that I have to very mindful of, especially when it comes to running (and especially with extra weight in the front!), so I have found intervals the best way to stay injury-free.  I also keep the running slow, so I can focus on posture and alignment as I move.  A great tip from a trainer I got years back is to do ab exercises BEFORE you run, concentrating on the transverse abs - the postural muscles deep in the abdomen.  This way you fatigue the muscles, and then are aware of them (and engage them!) throughout your run.  I find it's super important for the health of my low back to engage my transverse abs while walking and running.

 

Treadmill Interval Workout

These are the treadmill inclines and speeds that work best for me - this specific workout is designed so my heart rate doesn't get too high.  Feel free to play around and adjust for your own needs.  To get more bang for your buck, you can increase the speed during the jog and make it more of a run, and even skip the recovery walk altogether.

 

Warm up: Walk with small incline (2.0) at easy pace (3.5 - 3.8) for half mile.

 

Hills: 10.0 incline at 4.0 pace for 2 minutes *try not to hold onto treadmill, instead pump arms to propel you

Easy Jog: 0.0 incline at comfortable jog (6.0 - 6.5) for 3 minutes

Recovery Walk: 0.0 incline at easy pace (3.5 - 3.8) for 1 minute

Repeat 5-8 times.

 

Cool down: Repeat warm up.

 

This is where I'm at during month 6 of pregnancy.  I'll keep you posted as to where the next few months take me!

Enjoy the ride!