Hi all - Melinda here!
I'm so happy you're here. This campaign is so important to me because it’s a story I’ve lived. As a lifelong athlete, I was horrified when my doctor told me that I should just “sit on the sofa and eat biscuits” when I asked about maintaining my exercise routine while pregnant. Over 20 years ago this drove me to critically explore the reasons why many women follow this sort of outdated advice. Even today these myths are pervasive and are still a part of the language around pregnancy, and it’s stopping women from exercising due to fear of judgment, lack of support, and uncertainty on what to trust. I hope you use this site as a way to gain information that you can trust, share your story, and spread the #shapeyourpregnancy message.
I want to share my story with you, and as a sports psychologist – and exercise fanatic – fitness is a huge part of my life. I always feel my best after exercising – and when I’m having a bad day the only thing that rejuvenates me is a good workout. That’s why I’m taking you behind the scenes to have a sneak peek at my go-to workout routine. I hope you enjoy!
Step 1: Look the part
In order to fully prepare for a workout, I need to feel like I am dressed and ready to perform. It’s something small but it really does make a difference. I like to follow this mantra: ‘if you look the part, you’ll play the part’. Here’s a look at what my gym outfit looks like, from head to toe:
- For my hair: I swear by these L. Erickson Ponytail Holders from Nordstrom – I won’t use anything else. These elastics won’t tear or pull and they’re strong enough to hold up my ponytail – which is an impressive feat in itself. I recommend sporting a low-sitting ponytail for any exercise, as it will be much gentler on your hair than a high ponytail or bun.
- For my body: I always wear the same style outfit when I workout. I aim for clothes that are lightweight, breathable, and of course comfortable. This collection from Sweaty Betty is a great example of my trademark exercise outfit: capri leggings, a tank top with built-in bra, and a full-zip jacket to keep me warm pre and post-workout.
- For my feet: I like to treat my feet well – so my must-have footwear for any workout is a pair of Nike Frees trainers combined with some dri-fit socks. The shoes give me just the amount of support and stability I need without restricting my movement, and the socks are breathable and lightweight so my feet never feel uncomfortable.
Step 2: What’s in my bag
I go everywhere with my Longchamp Tote Bag, and that includes the gym. It’s sturdy yet stylish, and spacious but still lightweight. I’d be lost without it. Here’s what’s inside my gym bag:
- Baby2Body water bottle – of course!
- Philips ActionFit Headphones – I’ve had mine for 5 years and they’re still amazing – they stay put, they’re sweat resistant, and the sound quality is excellent.
- Eos Lip Balm – my personal favorite is the pomegranate, but EOS provides a lovely selection to choose from. This natural lip balm soothes and softens and adds a perfect touch of shine.
- Simple Skincare gentle cleansing face wipes. These face wipes are convenient and great for quick cleansing, as they are safe on skin and lush with natural extracts. I use them on my face both before and after a workout. However, once I’m home, I always follow a proper cleanse, tone and moisturize routine.
Step 3: The warm-up
An effective warm-up should slowly raise your heart rate and “wake up” the muscles you are about to use. Most importantly, a good warm-up will reduce your chance of injury by helping to loosen your muscles and joints. I’m a fan of hopping on an elliptical to get my body ready:
- 10 minutes (easy pace) – My initial goal is to raise my heart rate up to 100 beats per minute and maintain that for 10 minutes.
- 20 minutes (fast pace) – Next I work on getting my heart rate up into the target zone of 120-160 beats per minute to work on my cardio fitness.
- 5 minutes (easy pace) – To finish it off, I slow it down just a bit right at the end to let my heart rate come down a bit before hopping off and heading into a strength training workout.
If pregnant, try: 5 minutes at an easy pace, step it up to 10 minutes at a medium pace, then 5 minutes at a faster pace, making sure you don’t work yourself to a fatigue or feel dizzy at all. Finish with a final 10 minutes at a gradually slowing pace.
Step 4: The workout
I tend to vary which muscle groups I focus on, but if I were to do a full body workout in one trip to the gym – this is what it would look like:
- Upper Series – using 4-kg weights
- 10 biceps curls
- 10 triceps extensions
- 10 seated rows
- 10 lateral raises
- Repeat Upper Series
- Lower Series
- 10 squats
- 10 walking lunges – alternating sides for one repetition
- 10 side lunges – alternating sides for one repetition
- 10 standing leg lifts
- Repeat Lower Series
- Floor Series
- 4 sets of 30-second planks
- 30-second break in between sets
- 2 sets of 1-minute planks
- 30-second break in between sets
If pregnant, try: lighter dumbbells if needed, but otherwise, you can proceed with the above workout with the following changes: Substitute 10-second Bird Dog holds for 1st plank series, and substitute 15-second Bird Dog holds for 2nd plank series. Make sure to do holds on each side for a set.
Step 5: The cooldown
An effective cooldown is crucial for safely lowering your heart rate and preventing post-workout dizziness. It’s also a great time to work on improving your flexibility – because your muscles are warmed up and primed for stretching. My cool down usually lasts about 15 minutes and I love following this simple yoga flow to finish off my gym session:
- Warrior Pose – both sides
- 2 sets of Sun Salutations
- Downward Dog
- Pigeon pose – both sides
- Butterfly Pose
- Supine spine twist – both sides
- Cat and Cow Pose
- Child’s pose
If pregnant, try: the above flow, refraining from supine spine twist.
Step 6: Fueling and refueling my workout
- For early morning workouts, don’t be afraid to have a small cup of coffee beforehand. Not only will it help wake you up, it can also make your exercise more effective! Check out the research here.
- If you’re feeling hungry before your workout routine, opt for a banana as a snack. The research is still inconclusive regarding how much food you should have in your stomach during a workout, but one banana will give you a jolt of energy and the potassium will help reduce the likelihood of cramping.
- After a tough workout, I recommend refueling on lean meats and other healthy protein sources. My typical post-exercise meal includes salmon, chicken or a bean salad. I pair it with a tall glass of water that has some fresh orange slices cut up in it so I can rehydrate and replenish my balance of electrolytes.
Do you have a go-to workout routine, favorite fitness outfits, or ways you love to fuel and refeul your workouts? We'd love for you to share on Instagram or Facebook using #shapeyourpregnancy. Give us a tag @baby2bodyofficial for a chance to be featured on our page!