Guest post by Sia Cooper, Diary of a Fit Mommy
Hi there! My name is Sia Cooper and I am the owner of Diary of a Fit Mommy; a blog dedicated to prenatal & postnatal diet & fitness. I am currently 3 weeks postpartum and would like to share my workout routine with you.
Fitness has been the number one aspect of my pregnancy that has kept me sane and feeling my best! I could not have imagined going through my pregnancy without some type of workout plan. I experienced round ligament pains heading into my second trimester and upon entering the third, it was all lower back and sciatic pain from there on. There were times when I had little to no energy left, but I pushed through, set the alarm, put on my workout clothes, and headed to the gym anyway. Was it worth it? Most definitely!
For the most part, my cardio & strength workout routines have not changed very much throughout all 3 of my trimesters. There have only been minor tweaks such as lowering my weights or avoiding certain exercises on my back. No matter what, I always begin with cardio to get me started and warmed up. I will typically do 30 minutes at a time on the Elliptical machine, the Stair Climber, or the Treadmill when in the gym. Sometimes, this tends to get a little boring! If this is the case, I will change things up and complete run sprinting/jogging intervals at my local track to get some fresh air. I use an iPhone app called MapMyRun to help keep track of how far I run and how long it takes for me to complete every mile! Before pregnancy, I favored CrossFit style exercises; therefore, my cardio consisted of mountain climbers, jumping jacks, plyometric box jumps, and burpees – something that I cannot do at 8 months pregnant so I will likely return to these forms of cardio when building my postpartum fitness plan. For now, the other forms of cardio have been extremely helpful in keeping the weight gain slow & steady and have taken my joint pains away. My biggest tip for cardio is to listen to your body and to start off slowly. My doctor has personally given me the green light to allow my heart rate to go a little above 140bpm safely. Also, stay hydrated!
After completing 30 minutes of cardio, I head straight to the weight room! My favorite routine for weights consists of a total body workout lasting 45 minutes. I love squatting whether it’s with the free weights or using a Kettlebell because it has helped keep my backside perky and strong during pregnancy. Squats are also key to an easier labor and delivery because it helps strengthen the muscles that assist with pushing. To start off, I will do a simple 3 sets of 10 reps for squatting with free weights at 65lbs. If I am using a Kettlebell to squat, I will use a 25lb bell and do 3 sets of 12 reps. I make sure to rest between 30-45 seconds before completing each set. My lower body (buttocks, hips, thighs) is where I tend to gain most of my weight; therefore, lower body exercises are what I usually tend to focus more on. If you are not a fan of using weights, wall or air squats work just fine! After squats, I will complete my lower body routine with basic lunges and side lunges using the 25lb. Kettlebell with 3 sets of 12 reps.
For my upper body routine, I absolutely love doing tricep dips because they are easy to do and you can do them anywhere. At the gym, I use a weight bench or a plyometric box and at home I will use a sturdy chair as my prop. I will complete 3 sets of 12 reps of this exercise. Also for arms, I will do front lateral raises using a 10lb dumbbell in each hand. For this specific exercise, I only do 3 sets of 10 reps. As for my last arm circuit, I will sit do simple dumbbell curls with the same 10lb dumbbells in each hand. I will do 3 sets of 10 reps for this exercise as well, resting for 30-45 seconds in between each set.
To cool down, I always stretch and do a few yoga poses. My favorites are the cat pose, the child pose, and the downward dog pose. This helps keep my muscles from getting sore and also keeps me flexible. Yoga has treated me very well during pregnancy by easing my lower back and hip pain.
My biggest tips for exercise during pregnancy is to take it slow, drink plenty of water, and listen to your body. Your body will let you know what it can and cannot do. If you exercise throughout your pregnancy, you will not only sleep better, but feel better as well. You will bounce back faster to your pre-pregnancy weight and have a faster recovery from your labor and delivery. Good luck to you all!
Links to Sia’s social media accounts: