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Prenatal and Postnatal Fitness

 

Prenatal Postnatal Fitness

 

By: Julia Nowak – TEAM RAGE Contributing Author (and my wife!) 

One question I get a lot from women who either know me or have seen photos of me before and after my pregnancies is “what did you do to get back in shape?” Or, mostly from pregnant or soon-to-be-pregnant women, “what did you do to stay in shape while you were pregnant?” So I thought I’d share some details of how I stayed fit while pregnant and what I did to get back in shape after our babies were born.

First, the facts: I’ve had two singleton pregnancies, which were spaced two years apart. Exactly. Same due date twice. I was 30 when our son was born and 32 when our daughter was born. Also, despite my small stature (I’m 5’1” and weighed 108 lbs pre-pregnancy) I had gestational diabetes both times. Aside from the diabetes, I had fairly standard pregnancies—nothing high-risk, and no complications. I gained 20-25 lbs with each pregnancy, gave birth vaginally (sorry, folks! C-section mamas always want to know though!) to two healthy babies, and breastfed each one for a year after birth.

So…what did I do to stay in shape?

Before During After Pregnancy

Before – During – After Baby #1 !

Exercise:

I decided to do my best to get in shape before getting pregnant. I had been a casual runner in college and graduate school, but before getting pregnant with baby#1 I did a round of P90X. Then…while I was pregnant I exercised 5 days per week, with modifications as my pregnancy progressed. I typically ran/jogged twice, did yoga or pilates once, and did light resistance workouts twice each week. In my third trimester I started to modify my workouts to avoid a lot of jumping and/or any “on-the-back” ab moves. My favorite modifier workouts were Yoga Booty Ballet: Baby on the Way, and the Shakeology: “The 50”, which is not a prenatal workout but was particularly easy to modify. In my first pregnancy the only day I didn’t work out because I didn’t feel up to it, it was the day I ended up going into labor!

Diet:

I typically ate three small meals each day and several snacks. This was particularly true when I was diabetic. I had to monitor my blood sugar and also make sure I was eating a diet consistent with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. This meant eating 6 times per day, with 30g of carbs during meals and 15g with snacks. I usually chose a high-protein breakfast such as Kashi cereal with cottage cheese, or eggs with toast—these were easier on my stomach. Snacks included trail mix, cheese with crackers, fruit, granola bars, yogurt, etc. Lunch and dinner were typical meals, with an eye on how many carbs I was consuming.

And what about after the babies were born? I took 12 weeks off each time. No workouts, no careful attention to diet, just figuring out life with a new baby. After that, I started to exercise again, starting with TurboFire. Mike watched the bab(y/ies) while I worked out. At-home workout programs let me get a workout in without leaving the house for an extended period (I had new-mom anxiety about that at first), and without feeling like extra eyes were on my less-than-firm postnatal body. I had to up my calorie intake to compensate for what I burned both exercising and breastfeeding, but my body slowly started to firm up and get back to something I recognized! I settled into an 1800 calorie diet with workouts 5 days per week.

After Baby #2 !

After Baby #2 !

Now, of course, every pregnancy is different…from your starting point before getting pregnant, to your level of morning sickness, to any complications that might occur. This worked for me, kept me and my babies healthy, and helped me get back into shape after the babies were born. Physical shape aside, it helped me feel a little more in control of my own body. Exercising also helped give me a mental break that I was otherwise unable to give myself. I’m a worrier (hmm..an understatement, Mike?) and this aspect of taking care of myself was just as important as getting back into physical shape.

If you or your partner is pregnant, or hoping to be, I hope the story of my experience is helpful. Best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy!

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Premiere 5 Star Diamond Independent Beachbody Coach, CEO and Founder of TEAM RAGE, Mike Nowak Fitness, HowDoIGetRipped.com and How Do I Get Ripped, LLC. You are about to learn how I went from out-of-shape busy dad with significant travel, 2 kids and a wife to losing 20 pounds, 16% body fat and 7" off my waist while getting paid more income from home than my Ph.D. in Science & Engineering. Retired my Ph.D. career to focus on FAMILY & FITNESS!

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