For those of you who haven't been following this blog very closely in the last few months - TA DA! I'm pregnant.
OK, let's be real ... I highly doubt any of you reading my blog at this point are surprised by this news, since you've either seen my previous posts on the topic or have seen my ever growing belly in the last couple of months. And yes, it's starting to get pretty big. Considering I'll be 7 months this Friday, that's to be expected, though.
Since I've been pregnant, I've been getting a lot of questions about working out while pregnant and how things are going for me on that front. Today I thought I'd talk a little about what I'm doing these days, and also how I'm able to do it (from a wardrobing perspective).
But first, lemme post a selfie.
Ok, ok. This isn't exactly a super current photo - I posted it on Facebook before the turn of the New Year. But I haven't gotten a much bigger since this photo, so ... accurate enough!
As you can see in the above photo, I'm just about to teach a cycle group fitness class. Yes, at almost 7 months pregnant, I am still teaching. And yes, it's going just fine. Which brings me to the topic of what I'm doing right now to "work out".
My typical workout routine these days is:
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - Teach TBC (participate at about 50-75%)
Wednesday - Lap Swim with Coach Amanda
Thursday - Teach TBC (participate at about 50-75%)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Every other weekend teach Cycle (participate at about 75%) or walk/be generally active
Sunday - walk/be generally active
Now, before you all go crazy and tell me a pregnant lady should not be doing so much - my doctor is fully aware of my activity levels and supports me in what I'm doing 100%. In fact, at my last visit to her office, she told me "I far prefer to see someone, for example, stay running as long as possible. Because even if you dial it down from a 9 minute mile to a 12 minute mile, you're still running. So when you get back to it post delivery, picking back up is MUCH easier. After the baby, you'll go out and run 2 miles as a test and say to yourself: 'hey, that wasn't so bad'. Where as if you totally just stop being active during pregnancy, when you finally do go back, it's going to be WAY harder. And at that point you NEED to be active to help your body get back to what it used to be. But you'll just be frustrated because it will be such a struggle after not working out for so long. So listen to your body, modify when you need too, but stay active as long as you can."
What does this all mean? Well, basically: I'm taking my doctor's advice above, and listening to what feels ok or not so OK to my body while I work out. Or in other words, I've just been keep on keepin' on.
This being said, coming up on 7 months pregnant, I'm realizing that the above schedule is starting to be harder for me to maintain - not so much on the day of, but the problem is the morning after. Depending on what I did in TBC, especially, I find sometimes I have more low back stiffness the next morning than I would like to admit. And I'm also getting more tired immediately following class as well. Both issues are a total bummer, but not totally unmanageable. I just figure that as I grow from month 7 to month 8, I'll be doing more modifications and less activity as I learn what my changing body can handle (at least in TBC, which seems to be the only class where I'm noticing some minor issues).
Physical capacity aside, the real issue for me, starting around Thanksgiving time, was finding workout clothes that fit my ever expanding belly. Unfortunately, most women see pregnancy as an opportunity to stop working out (if they were even working out to begin with), so the market for maternity athletic apparel is incredibly slim ... and high priced.
This meant that at first, I had convinced myself that I could just buy some cheap workout gear at a size or two larger than my standard, non baby weight, and call it good. Who needs maternity workout gear, right?
Well, uh ... apparently me.
You see, I quickly discovered how uncomfortable it is to have an elastic waist band pressing into my baby bump ... no matter how stretchy my non-maternity workout pants were. Couple that discovery with some pretty good black Friday sales deals on apparel and ... I was sold. Maternity workout gear, here I come!!
After reviewing my options and comparing sale deals, I ended up buying maternity workout pants from Target, Old Navy and Motherhood Maternity. I also purchased a few maternity workout tops from Target and Old Navy, and a clearance maternity swim suit from Motherhood Maternity. (Since my standard workout bras still seem to work for me, and I had a pair of padded bike shorts from when I was "bigger" that fit fine for cycle class, I didn't need to buy anything else.)
Now that I've been using this gear for a couple of months, here are my thoughts:
Target BeMaternity by Ingrid & Isabel Active Capri
Black - available here
Seriously, if you work out - like, AT ALL - don't buy these. I say this because, at first glance, these look like great pants. And if you wear them just like regular leggings, they pretty much are! The belly area is roomy, the V shaped vent in the back is nice for a growing belly ... but the rest, no.
Want to know why? Try taking a deep lunge or bend over to touch your toes in front of a mirror.
Yep, totally see through.
For $30 at Target, and knowing the quality I get at JC Penny for similar priced (non maternity) workout gear, I guess I had higher expectations out of these pants than what I got. Granted, I didn't pay $30, since I got them on the 40% off all clothing savings event over the Black Friday weekend this past November. But considering these retail at the same price as the other pants I'll speak to below ... well, there are better options out there.
Unfortunately, since I already own these and I need options, they stay in my rotation. I just make sure to wear nude colored underwear underneath and a longer/tunic type top for extra insurance.
Old Navy Maternity Compression Capris
Blue - available here , Pink - available here
These pants, out of the three brands I have purchased, are my favorite. And actually, I kind of ... love them! Though some might think the style of waist on these isn't ideal (since they're not the soft, stretchy, unprinted kind you usually find on maternity pants), for me they stay in place the best while moving around, and I like the fact that they're the same print all the way up the belly so I don't have to worry about my shirt being long enough to cover any "unprinted" fabric.
In fact, these pants are so great, I wear them all the time - even not at the gym!
Now, keep in mind that I'm using these for TBC based classes. This means a lot of plyometric and cardio moves in a confined area, coupled with tons of strength training and bending in all directions. I am not wearing these for running, and frankly if I WAS wearing them for running, I would find the "compression" claim in the name a little disappointing. Not disappointing enough to NOT wear them, mind you, but enough for me to say I wouldn't call these compression myself.
Compared to the $30 price point for the Target option above, knowing that these fit so much better, and the fact that these currently list at Old Navy for $26 (plus they are pretty much always on a 20-40% off sale coupon for an additional discount) - these are a steal!
On a tangent here, I also bought a pair of Motherhood Maternity workout pants that I would rank a medium - not as good as the Old Navy pants above (which were good enough that after buying them in blue, I went back and bought them in pink), but not as terrible as the Target pants I discussed above. The Motherhood Maternity pants were also not the cheapest option, I believe closer to $40 per pair regular price. Unfortunately, now the Motherhood Maternity pants are no longer available online, so I'm not going to do any further review. I would however recommend that you do consider options at that store as well, if you're looking for other styles besides Old Navy to try out.
C9 Champion Women's Maternity Performance Long Tank
Assorted colors - available here
To be fair, I didn't try out many options in the maternity performance top arena. So far, I am fortunate that some of my old performance race t's are oversized enough that they work for my cycling classes, and I was willed a few maternity workout tops from a friend as well (#winning). When it came down to it, I actually only purchased three tops in this category - two from Target in the above cut, and one from Old Navy.
After wearing both tops from Target and Old Navy, I find I prefer the fit and fabric of this Target top the best. Though at $16-22 per top ... for basic performance material ... it does seem to be a little overpriced. Welcome to the world of maternity clothing price gouging. Ugh. Sorry folks.
And well, I suppose that about does it. My current maternity workout schedule and the gear that helps me do it. I know I kind of glossed over some of the details of what I bought, so if you have any other questions, feel free to ask away in the comments below.
*** Note that I didn't review the swimsuit I purchased, since it was a clearance item and hasn't existed on the internet in months now. If you're looking for a maternity suit yourself, I recommend you check into current offerings at Motherhood Maternity (since they offer the most options in 1 piece, which is what you'll want for lap swimming anyway) or SwimOutlet.com (last I looked there, they had a few options that, although they were twice the price of Motherhood Maternity, were still some of the only good options I found for non-fashion/lap swim suitable suits).