Alanis Morissette sang about the irony of rain on wedding days, black flies in Chardonnay, and 10,000 spoons when you really need a knife. And who could forget the verse about finding out that you’re pregnant after you had given up trying? You were actually OK with it because you were psyched to be prepping for your first powerlifting meet. Then … bam! Baby on-board. Oh, wait. That’s just me, I guess.
I found out I was pregnant about three weeks before the meet. I’ll admit it was bittersweet. I was hoping the competition would be a wonderful bonding experience, since I’m still a new Miss Fit. I’ve been struggling with feeling like an outsider since getting the news and having to change up my gym routine—not because of anything that anyone else has said or done, but just because of my own insecurities. Plus, I had worked so hard to prepare for the meet and was really excited about it. But I was definitely thrilled because hubby and I have been waiting for this for a while. And I was still able to feel like a part of the group and share in the ladies’ triumphs by attending as the “official photographer.”
Anyway, as soon as I found out about the pregnancy, the fear and anxiety set it. What if something goes wrong? What if I lose the baby? What if it’s sick … or has two heads? Hubby says that stressing is the worst thing I can do, so I’m trying to take everything in stride. But that’s easier said than done for Miss Type-A over here. Word to the wise: Conduct Internet research at your own risk! I’ve pretty much stopped because I was just freaking myself out. I can only do my best, right? I already follow a healthy primal lifestyle and do what I can to minimize toxins in the products I use, so I know I’m ahead of the game. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. And I’m not going to kill the baby if I eat something off plan!
Along with the anxiety, of course, came the fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Morning sickness my butt! I’d like to have words with whoever coined that term. And let’s not forget the emotions. I cry at happy movie endings! I also went from feeling great during my workouts and being able to push myself to having barely any energy to make it through the day. I swear it was like running into a brick wall. I decided to rest up during the week I found out. It was hard at first, but eventually I didn’t even want to go to the gym. The next week I started feeling a little better but still wasn’t feeling up to hitting the gym. However, I knew I had to stay fit for the little one, so Jim suggested dialing it down to two times a week, with light walking in between. I lifted a little bit here and there, but sometimes I just went through my lifting warm-up four times and then went home. (This week, I’m starting back into three days a week: two lifting sessions and one strength and conditioning class.) One of the toughest things I’m dealing with is knowing when I can do more in my workouts and when I should back off—and just when I was starting to get the hang of it! I figure it’s best to err on the side of caution and do a little less.
I plan to continue lifting throughout my pregnancy. Jim has worked with many pregnant women, so I know I’m in good hands. And I’d argue that because of my healthy diet and fitness regimen, my first trimester actually hasn’t been that bad. (I’ve heard some horror stories!) I never actually got sick, and the worst of the nausea only lasted a few days. It was more like a lack of an appetite for me; I had to force myself to eat up until a few days ago. I’m now approaching the tail end of my first trimester, and the fatigue and nausea have gotten better. Actually, the nausea is gone except for a few instances here and there, and my appetite has returned.
Anyhoo, let’s get down to what you really want to know about: what my fitness program will look like. I’ll still start with foam rolling and a mobility warm-up, but I’ll run through my pre-lifting warm-up four times instead of two. Then I’ll do whatever lift I have planned for that day but turn down the volume. Depending on how I feel, I might do some accessory work after. Here’s what a recent deadlift day looked like (after my warm-up routines):
1×5 at 65 pounds
1×5 at 85 pounds
1×5 at 115 pounds
3×3 at 125 pounds
(Three sets of lat pulldowns in between at 45 pounds)
Four sets of one-legged glute bridges (hip thrusters) on a bench and half-kneeling chops with a 20-pound kettlebell
Short, light prowler sprints (about two sets of 10)
Even though I’ve been going in tired, I feel pretty good during and after my workouts. Hopefully I’ll feel even stronger once the difficult first trimester is over. I’ll keep sharing my progress, and I hope some of you fellow lady lifters will find my journey helpful if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant in the near future.