Workout Program

My Prenatal Workout Routine

Since we returned from our New Zealand honeymoon in February, I’ve been trying to do at least two full-body workouts per week, plus some form of prenatal yoga at least once a week. My body definitely feels less achy when I maintain this routine, so even though sometimes I feel so exhausted I’d rather just crash on the couch, I try to do at least 15 minutes of something a few times a week.

It’s well known there are so many benefits to exercising throughout pregnancy, and if you were quite active before getting pregnant you can still continue your workout regime with some modifications to keep your body and baby safe. Since I cut out all exercise aside from yoga and walking before getting pregnant, my prenatal workout routine (shared below) is rather light compared to what it used to be, and that’s okay.

I’ve noticed as my belly gets bigger I need to modify things a bit more (lunges aren’t feeling so great now and I’m being careful with how I engage my core as I’m noticing some ab separation already), but otherwise I’m hoping to keep this up right until delivery.

Prenatal Full Body Workout

A few tips/things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you are cleared by your doctor before doing any prenatal exercise.
  • Use a wider stance (feet hip-width or slightly farther apart, toes slightly pointed outward) than before you were pregnant during standing exercises to help you stay balanced.
  • Use a chair or other prop for balance if needed.
  • Ensure you maintain proper form (knees not tracking over toes when bending, keep your core engaged for a nice straight back) – if you can’t, don’t do they exercise.
  • Watch for ab coning.
  • Obviously avoid any exercises on your stomach, crunches, and extreme twists.
prenatal workout

I can usually do this routine in 15-20 minutes, as I kind of power through without breaks and only use 5-8 lb dumbbells so it acts as my cardio routine as well. I also usually do an extend yoga stretch at the end, making sure to hold long side-stretch poses now that baby’s feet are constantly up in my ribs (ouch).

Let me know if you try the above workout or if you have any other favourite prenatal workouts to suggest!

A strength coach tries to get InstaFit: Which popular exercise program is more effective – Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide or the Tone It Up Challenge?

This year, I decided to spice up my regular strength training and running routine by trying a few exercise programs that seem to be popular with the Instagram crowd due to their impressive #transformationtuesday progress pictures and heavy focus on their respective social media communities: the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide (#BBG) and the Tone It Up Bikini Challenge (#TIUChallenge).

Besides trying something new for fitness last year, I was curious to see if these Insta-popular exercise programs are actually safe and effective from a strength training, functional movement and body composition point of view, instead of just another way to burn extra calories.

**Warning! This post contains #Fitspo images (bikini bods, abs, butts, etc.), so maybe don’t read it on your work computer OR if you’re trying to avoid images like that.*** (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 7 Recap

Happy Friday, friends!

Even though I haven’t been updating my Tone It Up Bikini Series progress as regularly on the blog and Instagram, I promise you I’ve still been doing the workouts and about 85% of the nutrition plan. Over the past few weeks we’ve been really busy with camping, BBQs, parties and other fun social stuff, plus taking care of the new addition…

THAT FACE

THAT FACE

… so I haven’t had much time to blog and share my experience so far.

Thanks to said social stuff and parties, my nutrition the past few weeks hasn’t been great. Well, from Sunday to Thursday I’ve been on point. But Fridays and Saturdays have been another story. I’ve only been slightly below maintenance these past three weeks, so my progress has pretty much stalled. I’m definitely feeling the Pilates/barre workouts and some of the moves are getting easier, which I’m happy about, and my core is getting stronger. But I’m still overdoing it a bit on the weekend and paying the price digestion-wise for it. I’m bloated like 50% of the time thanks to not eating Bri-friendly foods on the weekends, so it’s really hard to tell if my clothes are fitting a bit better. I also have another potential health issue going on that’s semi-related, and I’ll blog more about soon once I have a clear diagnosis. Ugh. (more…)

Workout Wednesday: 20-minute HIIT workout for runners

Workout Wednesday_ hiitI have a love/hate relationship with high-intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT workouts. Even though I generally hate every minute of each exercise in a HIIT circuit and am always left feeling winded and dripping with sweat, you really can’t argue with the results. Not only are HIIT workouts a great way to boost your anaerobic capacity (which can translate into speedier run times), but also can help build your strength and power in your legs with pylometric movements. Also a plus: HIIT workouts are short in duration (they shouldn’t be longer than 20-30 minutes), which makes them an effective way to get a workout in when you’re short on time.

If you’re looking for a total-body 20-minute HIIT workout to help build strength, power and anaerobic capacity, I’ve got you covered: (more…)

Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016: Week 1 Review

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Meal prep Sunday for the Tone It Up Bikini Series 2016!

Despite not lifting heavy weights during my usual early morning sweat seshes, my muscles sure feel like they got a good workout this past week. Everything from by abs to my glutes to my shoulder to my biceps feel worked. So that’s a good sign!

I did the full 7-day routine, which included 2 to 3 short workouts per day (that I went over in detail in my last post if you want to know more) plus a few 5K runs and 40-minute dog walks. I also followed the meal plan more or less. Well, I made most of the meals on the plan, but added about 25 per cent more calories from other suggested snacks or things I like, because the calorie count was far too low for me to function on. I tried everything suggested for meals on the first three days of week one, then stuck to my favourites for the rest of the week (I’m obsessed with the protein pancake!). (more…)

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