During and after your pregnancy did you gain a lot of unwanted weight?
Not at all. I was very active when I fell pregnant. I was doing a lot of pilates and boxing and I actually had to tone down on my physical activity when it was discovered that I was pregnant with twins. At 16 weeks my pregnancy was declared “High Risk” due to the positioning of one of the foetuses so not only was I placed on bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy, I had to stop exercising completely.
In the end I only gained 20kg which was very impressive for a twin pregnancy. I was so mindful of not letting myself gain too much weight from the onset that I had to be extra vigilant with what I ate during that time.
I went into pre term labour at 35 weeks and spent a few days in hospital trying to stop the contractions with no success and the boys were delivered via C section. Unfortunately they were very little and had to spend a month in the neo natal ICU until they were strong enough to come home.
Training and getting back into shape took a back seat to spending every day with them in ICU and of course once they were home, taking care of twins kept us super busy. I didn’t gain any unnecessary weight during this time but did not lose the pregnancy weight as quickly as I would have liked.
Everything happened as and when it should have and when the time was right, my focus shifted and I was able to start working on myself again.
Looking back, what advice can you give to pregnant woman in terms of keeping active and healthy during their pregnancy? Do you think it is still fine to weight train during it?
Firstly, getting the okay from your doctor is vital. As long as there are no issues preventing you from being active during pregnancy, there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue to be active; HOWEVER starting a fitness program when you fall pregnant when you have not been active prior to that is not something I recommend.
There are many preggie friendly exercise programs that are endorsed by major medical aids and can be recommended to you by your gynae. Falling pregnant is not a reason to begin going to gym, in my opinion. Maintaining a healthy pregnancy through a nutritious eating plan that is suited to you and your baby is vital.
There is no reason to not continue with weight training while you are pregnant. If you work with a personal trainer, make sure that they are equipped to adjust your program accordingly.
If you train alone, be cautious and get advice from a qualified personal trainer on what changes you should make to your routine. It is important to listen to your body and be mindful to not injure yourself or your baby.
For women who have already made so much fitness progress before their pregnancy, how can they maintain or not lose all that progress while they are pregnant?
I believe that the healthier you are before your pregnancy, the easier your pregnancy should be and easier your body will bounce back. Muscle memory will kick in and your body will bounce back, trust me.
Your focus during pregnancy should be first and foremost, to be as healthy as you can for your baby. The weight will take care of itself. Placing restrictions on yourself during pregnancy to try curb your weight gain is not a good idea.
If you (for the most part):
- maintain a healthy and nutritious diet
- limit junk, refined and processed foods from your diet
- drink lots of water
your weight gain should be within normal limits. Allow yourself to enjoy what you are craving when the craving hits without over doing it and you will be fine.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO EAT FOR TWO! – that is a myth.
What sort of process did you follow after giving birth to get your body back in top shape?
I started slowly.
First I started running. When my fitness level improved I went back to boxing and started incorporating strength training along with cardiovascular fitness. This then developed into resistance training where I have now settled.
The process mentioned above took about a year from when I first started becoming active. My diet simultaneously developed from having no set structure, eating a little too much junk to cleaning it up completely and monitoring my macronutrient intake down to the last calorie when I started resistance training and deciding to work towards stepping on stage. It didn’t happen overnight. It was a process that took time and more importantly, took patience.