Family: how workouts have changed in the first trimester


How workouts changed in the first trimester

Still in the swing of things over here. <3

I’ve been so thankful to be able to continue with my workouts so far, especially since teaching is one of my jobs, and exercise is a huge sanity-saver for me. I always feel more calm, centered, and energized on the days that I move my body! 

During the first trimester, the major things I had to deal with were nausea -I just felt like I was on the verge of getting sick pretty much all day, unless I was eating a snack- and fatigue. The good news is that teaching a class, or getting in a workout, distracted me from how I was feeling. It made me feel so good to move, and I often felt much better after class.

My primary care doc and my midwives both told me what I was told last time: stick with what you’ve been doing as long as it feels good. This is a great rule of thumb. Heart rate monitors and “prenatal classes” can be a guideline, but if it doesn’t feel right, skip it and find something that does feel good! Sometimes you may need extra rest or extra off days -you’re growing a human for goodness sake- so be sure to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Do no harm, and show yourself some extra love and TLC.

Things I noticed:

Even though some parts of this pregnancy are similar to the last, some aspects have been very different. For example, when I was pregnant with Liv, HIIT and running didn’t feel right. I just knew that they weren’t good choices for me, so I stuck with strength training, spinning, dance cardio, yoga here and there, and lots of walking. Barre wasn’t a huge part of my life yet, and I’m happy that I’ve found this workout love. I think barre is an excellent workout for the duration of pregnancy (pending that you don’t have any special considerations or limitations).

While my belly is definitely growing, it still feels like it stays in place as I move around. As baby continues to grow, I will definitely be getting another support belt to help keep things in place. (This is the one I used last pregnancy and was especially awesome for Zumba.)

What feels good:

-Walking. I’m back into occasional reading on the treadmill, and love taking the pups for little walks around the neighborhood.

-Orangetheory! I’m so happy that this still feels GOOD. While I’m in Orangetheory, I feel so energized, and strangely *light* while I’m running (otherwise, I feel a heaviness about me, that I know is only going to progress from here haha). It feels good to lift weights, squat jump, TRX, and do most of the things we’ve been doing in classes with minimal modifications for now. I’m making a thorough Orangetheory modification list that I will add to over the course of the pregnancy so I can share it with ya!

Orange iversary

This is counterintuitive, but yoga doesn’t feel as great as it usually does. It doesn’t feel *bad* or wrong (thank goodness because I’m shoulders-deep in yoga teacher training), but I feel stiff and heavy during my practice. Some parts still feel wonderful, but other asanas have created opportunities for me to explore my practice in a new way. Arm balances feel fine, but forward fold feels like death. <— Filed under things I don’t understand. 

Arm balance

 -Zumba! Zumba is one of those things that I’m pretty sure will always feel good. 😉 I’m just taking it easy on the merengue twists, but other than that, it’s business as usual.

Before teaching zumba

(I’ve had that shirt since I started teaching Zumba, maybe 6 years ago? Every time I wear it, I think I should probably get rid of it, but at this point, it’s practically a mascot.)

-BODYPUMP. I’m still teaching my bi-weekly BODYPUMP classes, and while I’ve gone down in weights for a couple of tracks (squats and biceps), I’ve been able to keep up with it. BODYPUMP has an awesome brochure with pregnancy modifications here!

-Barre. As I mentioned before, I think this is an awesome pregnancy workout, as it’s low impact and doesn’t spend a huge portion of time jumping around or in a supine position (on your back). I have modified some crunching motions and ab work, but other than that, I’m hoping I’ll be able to stick with it all the way through.


-Crunches. I have not been doing many, if any, crunching type movements. They don’t feel right, and to be real, we’re working on the reverse six-pack over here. 😉 I’m still working on keeping my core strong, which is important for posture, balance, protecting the back, and to help me push during labor (!), but am sticking with exercises like planks, plank walk-outs, deadlifts, knee to elbows, and spinal balances.

Something to keep in mind: avoid overtraining your obliques if you’re pregnant. When you’re making room for baby, the abdominal muscles separate, which is called diastasis recti. After birth, if the muscles have difficulties returning back to center, this condition can be prolonged and can give your stomach a bloated appearance. From what I’ve heard, is very uncomfortable, and can also lead to low back pain since there is less support from the core to protect your back. If you overtrain your obliques, you can pull your abdominals apart even farther, which could potentially worsen this condition. There are exercises you can do to encourage the abs back to together if the condition is prolonged after birth, but in the meantime, I’m trying to be conservative and strategic about how I train my core.

What are the types of workouts that make you feel good, and the ones you’re kind of meh about?

Fellow mamas and preg friends: what modifications did you make during your pregnancy?

Hope you all have a lovely afternoon <3



Blast from the past: how workouts changed during my first trimester last pregnancy

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  1. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on April 20, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I think intuition when it comes to your body are so important. If it feels “off” in any way find another choice. There’s so much out there. Running in high temperatures never really feels right to me so that’s one I usually don’t do. Glad to hear your workous are going strong!

  2. Morgan on April 20, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    you said you have been concentrating on heart rate, what do you keep it at? Or max out at? You look gorgeous and can’t wait to read all your helpful pregnancy related posts.

    • Fitnessista on April 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      thank you so much!
      i haven’t been concentrating on heart rate, unless i’m in orangetheory (we wear heart rate straps). i meant that this can be a helpful guideline, but it doesn’t tell the whole picture. perceived exertion during pregnancy is more important than heart rate, especially since heart rate is affected and can be skewed while pregnant

  3. Christie@ Lovely Lemon on April 20, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    This is such a great post!! I can’t wait to use these tips when I’m expecting. I would love to stay active and fit during my pregnancy and get nervous about not being able to. You’re an inspiration!

  4. Cindy on April 20, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I love the barre workouts you’ve posted in the past. Do you think you’ll make a prenatal one sometime? I’m due the week before you, so I’m excited to follow along with what you’re doing. Thanks!! 🙂

  5. Betsy on April 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I had no idea you shouldn’t train your obliques during pregnancy, thank you for sharing!

  6. Dale on April 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    I just decided to call it quits on both Bodypump and Bodyflow last week, at 31 weeks pregnant with my 3rd. I didn’t do anything like this during my first two pregnancies (just prenatal yoga and walking) so I was proud that I made it so far. Both felt GREAT until my SI joint pain kicked in (I get it every pregnancy, apparently!) Once that arrived, I couldn’t make it through either class without pain. So I’m sticking to prenatal yoga from here on out. And now that I’ve mentioned it, do you know of any good stretches/exercises to help with that?

    I’m enjoying following your journey with this pregnancy and hope it continues to go well for you!!

  7. Britt@MyOwnBalance on April 20, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I did prenatal barre up until the week before I gave birth and I loved it. I think it is one of the best exercises for preggo ladies. I also did a lot of Zumba. At the end when I was huge I probably looked ridiculous but I didn’t care. I think that my son will forever have an affinity for latin music.

  8. Holly @ Broccoli Trees on April 20, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I quit running around 20 weeks because it just felt strange. I switched to walking and YouTube workouts instead. I’m 4 weeks postpartum and I can’t wait to get back to regular exercise.

  9. Ashley on April 20, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I would love if you could do some
    Workout ideas with TRX. Give some insight into using them. They are primarily for training at my gym but available for use and I know all of 2 exercises with them.

  10. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on April 20, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    You’re so active! I’m very inspired for when I’m pregnant someday!

  11. Erika on April 20, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Thanks so much for this post! Orange Theory and barre are my 2 primary forms of exercise. I’ll be 22 weeks in a couple of days, and I’ve been able to keep up with both with only few modifications. Running still feels good (usually!), but when I go forward on the rower, I feel a little uncomfortable down below so I’ve had to modify my form a bit in that regard. Hoping to continue with Orange Theory for as long as I can. Looking forward to seeing your OTF modification list!

  12. Julia @ Lord Still Loves Me on April 20, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    That’s great that you are keeping up with your fitness during pregnancy! I have never been around anyone who was pregnant for a long amount of time, so I always enjoy following along when bloggers document their pregnancy!

    While I cannot relate to the exercising making pregnancy nausea feel better, I know that when it is my time of the month, exercise always helps me! Good to know it might apply for this phase as well.

  13. Maria on April 20, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Incredible yoga pose there mama! I did barre up until the day I gave birth. At the time I was pregnant with the first one, we didn’t have a studio nearby so I used The Bar Method Prenatal bar DVD. It’s really great. I’d like to get back to OTF, so maybe I’ll try that one. I had to stop running when I entered my second trimester. Baby girl was down so low I felt like I was going to pee myself every time I ran. Super uncomfortable.

  14. Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy on April 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I’m 22 weeks pregnant, and walking is what makes me feel best right now! I’m also trying to do strength training twice a week, as well as barre. I’m loving Suzanne Bowen’s prenatal barre workouts!

  15. Cheri @ Overactive Blogger on April 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I love these progress reports! This is so interesting!

  16. Heather @ Life In Leggings on April 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Ha, I was just going to say I think that Zumba top is adorable. Love the mascot analogy! Also, love reading these posts. I find them super interesting and helpful for when the time comes for me to modify my own exercise routine! <3

  17. Nancy on April 21, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I am 14 weeks pregnant and have been continuing with pure barre and long walks. I have lost ALL desire for any HIIT or spin which makes me sad but my heart just isn’t in it. I feel like I am just moving through the motions with no desire or real meaning so I stopped. I think the hardest part for me with pregnancy is the weight gain. I lost 20 lbs in the past 4 years and have been so proud of my accomplishments. For the first tri I also was nauseas unless I was eating –which consisted on pizza, soft pretzels, bagels, toast, and crackers!! Seeing my body healthy food choices go out the window made me feel so lost but I could not swallow a vegetable for the life of me. Now I am starting to feel better and am incorporating smoothies and veggies with hummus back in and seem to be fine with them. But the amount of fat your body holds onto is crazy! I don’t have a bump at all but just feel soft all over and am definitely larger–jeans are my nemesis right now. Hoping once my bump finally shows I will feel more pregnant than just large 🙂 I’ve read all of your old posts on your first pregnancy, but any advice for some snacks or a healthy mindset with the weight gain?

    • Fitnessista on April 21, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      it’s hard, especially if you’ve had a weight loss journey in the past. i found that with my first pregnancy it wasn’t so bad -i was just really, really excited to finally be pregnant!- and while i’m obviously just as excited about this pregnancy, to see the weight creep back on has been different because i’ve already gained a lot! i think it’s important to wear things that make you feel good -i tried to sausage myself into a dress this weekend that wasn’t happening so i went with a maxi instead- and think about all of the awesome things about pregnancy. i also remind myself that it goes by SO quickly, and before you know it, you have a beautiful baby. it’s all worth it. <3 congratulations to you!!

  18. Emily on April 21, 2015 at 7:44 am

    I’m loving these pregnancy-related posts!!! I am 16 weeks pregnant, so I’m right along with ya over here in “working on my reverse 6-pack.” This is my third baby, and I’m also a personal trainer. I’ve found that so far, I haven’t had to make too many modifications. The main thing I watch out for while pregnant is really paying attention to my energy level and being honest with myself if I need to cut back on reps or skip a workout all together. When I overdo it, I tend to crash hard, and that never bodes well. I am also being extra careful to fuel my body (and little one) appropriately before and after a workout, and to drink extra water. Pretty sure you mentioned those ones. As the pregnancy progresses, there will definitely be more modifications i will need to make. Listening to my body along the way is what I’m trying to do!!

    Keep up these fun posts!!! So fun:)

  19. Whitney on April 21, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I know that the heart rate guidelines are not always accurate, but the main limitation I have always heard for exercise during pregnancy is to avoid body-jarring activities such as jumping. You mentioned that you are still doing squat jumps–is there any “jumping” activities that you worry about doing?

    • Fitnessista on April 21, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      the main limitations for pregnancy are that you don’t want to do anything that could potentially cause blunt force to the belly (boxing, etc), extreme changes in air pressure (scuba diving), or anything where you have the risk of falling on a hard surface (snowboarding, skiing, extreme balance work, etc). you can definitely still jump as long as it feels good. i wouldn’t do box jumps or anything like that (risk of falling), but regular squat jumps as long as they feel good are ok.

  20. Heather on April 21, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I’m 28 weeks tomorrow and still taking barre classes. I just stopped teaching last week because I couldn’t demo any of the ab moves but otherwise I could’ve totally kept going! I love it! 🙂

  21. Yaara Leve on April 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Girl! Are you even preggo? You barely have a belly! Seriously!! You are still so lean. I remember when you carried Liv–you were still teeny–but now since then–it seems like you’ve sculpted a lot more lean muscle mass–so you still look really toned and your belly barely shows! Just shows what strength training can do I guess! I love your updates! And you are totally rocking that arm balance! That’s one of my fave transitions into chaturanga!

  22. Cassie Vaughn on April 22, 2015 at 9:42 am

    I’m walking instead of jogging. And I just do stretching, gentle yoga instead of hour long, sweat session yoga.

  23. Emily R on April 22, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Great post! I have been following your blog for over 4 years now and love reading about your pregnancy journeys. I was blessed to have a great pregnancy and much like your current pregnancy was able to stick to my daily workout routine with modifications. I loved doing Physique 57 while pregnant and their online Pre-Natal Workout is AMAZING!
    Congratulations and Thanks Again for another great post =0)

    • Fitnessista on April 22, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      thank you so much for reading for so long <3 i'm so excited to check out the prenatal workout! i love all of their other online ones (chad is my favorite)

  24. Katha on April 22, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Thank you for all the pregnancy-related fitness posts! I’m currently 12weeks pregnant and always looking for ideas how to combine pregnancy and be still ambitious about their fitness. Especially the tips about the modification of the exercises and the belly belt are helpful, so thanks again! Do you have some suggestions for back exercises without weights, as I normally do my back exercises lying on my stomach and it starts to become uncomfortable?

    My gynaecologist originally told me I can do sports unless I get sore muscels which is difficult to detect while you’re working out… So I called a sports institute’s hotline about working out&competing and pregnancy and the main points they told me were: 1) no training where you could get hit in the stomach (obviously), 2) keep your core temperature at a normal level (as mentioned above, no running in the sweltering heat 😉 and 3) no training pieces where you build up a lot of lactate in your blood system. So I focus on aerobic exercises (running, rowing as long as I can fit my belly between my core and my legs, and cycling) and strength training with weights as local sore muscles should not be bad when the lactate level in your whole system is still ok. It helps that I know from a previous fitness test at which heart rate my aerobic-anaerobic threshold (4mmol) is approximately located (~170-175 bpm, it depends on your predisposition and fitness level, so it’s highly individual), so I sometimes use a heart rate monitor to stay below it when I do more intense training (maybe I’m a bit affected by sport history here). Real competition is out of the question however, as I normally get into an anaerobic state at least at the end, but I plan to do some corporate runs just for fun. If anybody has more insights than me, please share, I have by no means a diploma in sports science or medicine!

    Cheers, Katha

    PS: And it is the same for me, when I work out I feel the best and no nausea compared to when I sit at my desk at work, feel sick and crave the next weird snack :D.

  25. Goldie on April 29, 2015 at 12:25 am

    WOW! You put me to shame! Before I had baby on board I was doing circuits with 30lb dumb bells and jump rope and lifting very very heavy. As soon as I knew baby was on board I switched to no jump rope, no heavy lifting. Instead I now do 2 circuits a week with 20lb dumb bells and do A LOT of walking! It’s frustrating but due to a previous loss I just didn’t want to take any risks but I do miss being challenged and feeling super sweaty!

    I’ve just hit 24 weeks so in 3 months time (all being well and baby arrives happy and safely) I can do some slightly more strenuous stuff. 🙂

  26. Shaina Anderson on May 6, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Its so weird how things are different with each pregnancy! With Tripp, I pretty much stopped running right away because my poor girls hurt so bad. By the time that surpassed, I was up 10 pounds and that just wasn’t happening haha. With Ry, I was able to keep running until about 5.5 months. I couldn’t do anything with heat while pregnant with Tripp (so no Bikram), but practiced until 39 weeks with Ry. Lifting always felt good during both, as well as Zumba, most yoga postures (especially back bends!) and lots of walking. I’m interested to see how #3 goes.

  27. Jane on January 26, 2016 at 11:59 am

    I love OTF and had been actively using this method for 6 months pre-pregnancy, but have been struggling with the workouts in my first trimester. In particular, the rowing and ab workouts cause discomfort over the past couple of weeks. No problem with walking or weights. I also (less common) get dizzy or fatigued during the treadmill “push” phases. It sounds like this isn’t normal? How did you modify the workouts to work for you? Any advice? I was thinking about freezing my account until after pregnancy.

  28. Lindsay on September 5, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    You said you were creating a modifications list for Orangr Theory. I was wondering where I could find that. Thanks!

    • Fitnessista on September 5, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      i haven’t made it because i had to stop while i was pregnant. i can definitely make one in the next few weeks!

      • Lindsay Mangum on September 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm

        That would be great! I would love to see it as well. I just found this blog post after searching the internet and immediately recognized coach Jolen from your photo! I go to OTF Mission valley and Point Loma 🙂 13 weeks pregnant currently and I haven’t been modifying anything yet (other than slowing down on my sprints!).

        • Fitnessista on September 28, 2016 at 11:01 pm

          that is so awesome! thank you for reminding me to write that post 🙂 and jolen is one of my favorite coaches!

      • Milan Cox on October 23, 2016 at 12:09 am

        Also looking forward to your OTF post!!

        • Fitnessista on October 23, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          it’s up on the PBB website! 🙂

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