"By adding a future triathlon that you can be 'training' for during your pregnancy you will not only keep your body healthy, but you will also keep your mind happy."
Being pregnant is awesome! Okay…maybe not always that awesome. Sometimes it can just be plain old miserable. But, I know a way that can make the whole “I am going to explode if I get any bigger” feeling, feel…just a little more manageable. Train for a triathlon! Seriously! You can swim throughout your entire pregnancy, bike (on a stationary bike), and when running becomes too challenging (and it will for most of us by our 2nd to 3rd trimester) you can always simulate running by either running in a pool or even utilizing an elliptical machine.
Set a goal race for AFTER your pregnancy and then keep that in front of you to keep you motivated to “train” for the event while you are pregnant. This does not have to be an intense training period! Obviously, you are already in an amazing and exciting time as you prepare to bring a new life into the world. That is the priority! But, when you find you just don’t “feel” like doing something active (barring any medical issues or doctor imposed safeguards), you can use the motivation of a goal like doing a triathlon as a good way to get out and keep moving even when you feel like a beached whale!
When I was pregnant with each of my four kids, I got BIG! I exercised through each one of the pregnancies and was really quite healthy and happy…but, it was still tough losing the comfort of being in my own body and growing not only a big belly, but also watching my thighs, hips, back, neck, arms and even ankles decide to join in on the expansion and make a whole new “me”! Not a lot we can do about that part of pregnancy. But, I’ll tell you what you can do to maintain a healthier you throughout the pregnancy and enjoy a lot faster recovery after the pregnancy: Exercise!
Here are the facts about pregnancy and exercise:
- If you have already been active and exercising before you became pregnant, you should be good to keep exercising. But, be sure you get your doctor’s OK to continue your exercise, just to be on the safe side.
- Your body undergoes several physiological changes during pregnancy that you will want to keep in mind. The American College of Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that pregnant women should avoid getting their core temp too high because the fetus does not have the ability to cool itself. Also, be sure to drink even MORE water than you would normally to ensure both you and your unborn child stay hydrated.
- You also need to be aware of your exertion levels and DO NOT train to fatigue. I know…that can be very challenging for those of you that are competitive. Not only do you hate to back off, but you love the thrill of knowing you are giving it your all. But, for this very short period of your life…just enjoy the movement and keep the intensity lower. Focus on form and technique on the swim and bike and keep the heart rate and effort lower on the run. Don’t worry about ‘losing fitness’, your body will come out of this time even stronger and more fit than ever (but, not the week after giving birth….you gotta give it time!)
- You will also experience changes as your body releases a hormone to allow your ligaments and joints to loosen up and allow the expansion and changes in your body to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare for childbirth. That would be one of the reasons our hips seem to expand without our permission and we can’t do a darn thing about it! So…don’t worry…just keep moving and enjoying the journey!
- Don’t give up on strength training during this time! It is important that you keep your muscles (especially your core musculature) strong and ready to not only play a huge part in the birth of your child…but, it will also pay off big time AFTER the baby is born to help with recovery and enjoy a quicker return to pre-pregnancy fitness! Just be careful to avoid any core work done on your back during the last few months of your pregnancy (it puts too much pressure on the fetus when you do that!)
- Finally, keep your nutrition as clean and as high quality as possible during this time! Not only do you need the nutrients, but so does your baby! If you are eating poorly, the minimal nutrients that are going into your body will go to your unborn baby first, and then to you. So, be sure to take good care of yourself and eat the highest quality food and eat enough of it to keep you and your unborn baby healthy and happy!
Enjoy this exciting and very short (yes…in retrospect it will be very short) time in your life! By adding a future triathlon that you can be “training” for during your pregnancy you will not only keep your body healthy, but you will also keep your mind happy. And that will make this an even more amazing and wonderful experience!
USA Triathlon Certified Coach
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
BS Recreation Mgmt/Health: B.Y.U.