Until I had my daughter I had never been very interested in exercise. I ran occasionally, but never hugely enjoyed it (my super yummy mummy friend Julie always says she ‘only runs when chased’ which pretty much sums up my attitude to it too!). However, my post baby body was not great, and even after losing most of the weight, it still wasn’t where I wanted it to be.
So about 10 months ago I decided to join my local gym. Nothing too fancy, just a well equipped gym with a great crèche. This was around the time of Wills and Kate’s wedding, so I used to envisage Pippa’s bottom while I pounded away on the treadmill (that sounds weird….aspirational envisaging you understand!). I lost the last few pounds I was hoping for, but found that my tummy and arms were still ‘problem areas’, and the summer was approaching rapidly (i.e. bikini season). So, I decided to enlist the help of a personal trainer once a week to help to tone me up and make the gym a bit more fun (Pippa’s bottom got a bit boring after a few weeks!). And although I do not have a body resembling Cameron Diaz yet, I am certainly feeling healthier, more toned and I’m finding that weight, especially since becoming pregnant again, has stayed off. I have become a total gym convert, and honestly enjoy the gym. I have learnt how to exercise efficiently, and safely when pregnant, and am feeling the benefits this pregnancy in my energy levels.
I am not a stylish gym bunny, but do like Sweaty Betty for comfortable cropped trousers and long line tops. I have also invested in a really good pair of properly fitted running trainers, which help absorb impact when running, so save your joints (unfortunately they don’t make running easier, or faster just a bit more comfortable!).
I’ve picked up a few tips along the way, which I thought I’d share, but please, please don’t take these as anything other than my opinion, and I am no expert. Also, if you are pregnant, do seek advice before starting or continuing with an exercise regime. During these 9 months, your body produces lots of extra relaxin, which makes it much easier to injure yourself during exercise, so make sure you only partake in super safe activities!
Tip 1: Interval training is super effective at fat burning . By interval training I just mean, short bursts of intensive exercise, rather than one long jog. I have found that a 10 minute session of jogging up a steep hill as fast as I can, or rowing 1000m as fast as possible, is much better at shifting the weight than running for half an hour on the flat. And this sort of exercising is much more fun, as you mix it up and don’t get so bored.
Tip 2: When pregnant, unless you are a very keen runner, try to avoid running and other high impact exercises, and the Power Plate, as impact and intense shaking isn’t great for your pelvic floor (Tip 2b: never forget to do your pelvic floor exercises!)
Tip 3: Repetition is key. Doing 2 or 3 sets of a type of exercise gives better results, so maybe plank for 30 seconds, then do 12 crunches and repeat two or three times.
Tip 4: Drinks lots and lots of water, especially when pregnant. Kind of obvious, but some people just never drink at the gym, and wonder why they find it so tiring.
Tip 5: My favourite classes during pregnancy are pilates (help with core strength and tone), water aerobics (great for preventing injury) and very gentle weight training. I’m going to start yoga soon, and excited to try it out, as I struggle to touch my toes!