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Put Down the Pickles and Ice Cream and Pick up Some Weights

Jun 13, 2012 01:22PM

Pregnant Camie Cragg

Written by Micah Holley 

Every expectant mother worries about gaining weight, losing her figure, and being taken over by cravings of pickles and ice cream. Two of the biggest stigmas of pregnancy are that you will gain massive amounts of weight and never have your pre-baby body again. These are only true if you do not put in the effort to be healthy. Do not fall for the misconceptions of pregnancy. Push yourself to be healthier physically and mentally to get your pre-baby body back.

A prime role model for all mothers-to-be is Camie Cragg, Reno’s health and fitness goddess. She has quite the résumé and experience to know what she is doing during pregnancy. She is a mother of two boys, the owner of Camie Cragg Fitness, an advanced fitness and online trainer, a fitness and health column writer, a fitness competitor and model, as well as a life coach.

Not every pregnant woman looks like Camie—or even comes close. She is lean, toned, and in better shape than baby-free women. With only three weeks before giving birth to her latest child, she still hopped on the Stairmaster and worked just as hard—if not harder—than those she trains.

Gaining 35 pounds is the recommended healthy weight for most pregnancies. However, many women pass that 35-pound mark by giving into cravings of fast food, as well as by being inactive. This doesn’t have to be the case.

How can women stay fit while eating for two? We will find out as well as gain insight from both Camie Cragg and another certified trainer, Cristy Nelson. I talked with the mothers to discuss the benefits of working out pre- and post-pregnancy. So hold on to your belly and get pumped!

A note to mothers who did not work out prior to pregnancy: pushing yourself during pregnancy may lead to a miscarriage or other harmful effects. Camie suggests keeping your workout mild and moderate. Always, always, always consult a doctor before any type of exercise.

Cristy Nelson, a new mother and certified personal trainer, declares that a time to start a vigorous routine is not when finding out you are pregnant.

"The idea is really to just keep doing what your body has been used to doing,” she says. “If you’re an avid runner, keep running. If dance classes like Zumba are your thing, keep going! Keep your heart rate down and do not push yourself to the point of fatigue."

Like Cristy, a lot of Camie’s clients consult her on starting to work out during their first trimester. However, doctors are very strict with an expectant mother’s heart rate and not getting it over 120-130 beats per minute.

“It’s already a surprise and shock to the body when you start working out without being pregnant. That’s the last thing you want to do during your first trimester, because you never know what that person is capable of doing, like miscarrying. That heightens the chances of miscarriage,” Camie says.

The first trimester is easier regarding your body’s ability to do the same activities as you did before pregnancy. For instance, Camie kept her normal running routine for five months. As for weights, she stayed within her strength limit and did not push herself to become “stronger.”

“Your blood flows about 50 percent more than being not pregnant. So you work a lot harder, because you have to oxygenate all your blood, which makes you a lot more tired and really out of breath. You feel completely out of shape instantly,” Camie says.

“Throughout the whole pregnancy, I recommend cardio at least 30 minutes a day. And that is for some sanity. Because you’re getting bigger and it makes you feel like you’re doing something.”

Stay within your strength means for strength training. Still work out your muscles and body parts, but do not do it at the intensity you were doing before pregnancy.

Energy returns in your second trimester, allowing you to work hard without getting pains or hitting exhaustion. Camie says this is the time when you feel “fluffy and fat.” You can do the same workouts as you did in your first trimester.

Reminder: be conscientious of how much weight you involve in your workout. Do not strain your baby.

There is not much you cannot do until your third trimester. Do not do abs by lying down flat on your back.  When lying on your back, the inferior vena cava vein gets blocked while carrying blood back to your heart from your feet and legs. It cuts off circulation to your baby. Plank position is recommended for mothers-to-be who insist on doing an ab routine. There is less strain on your baby.

The main benefit of exercising while you are pregnant is that you are stronger going into the birthing process. As doctors always recommend, work your Kegel muscles. Camie recommends doing squats and lunges to enhance their focus.

“Working out and breathing helps so much in the delivery room. I didn’t even realize it,” she says. Camie did not do any breathing classes for either pregnancy. However, breathing in between sets and exercises can help if you do not take the classes. “It seems like a very natural thing.”

Breathing classes are a great suggestion for mommies-to-be who feel scared, time or nervous about having a baby. Camie only pushed for about twenty minutes.

“There is a ton of research saying [exercise] keeps the baby strong. The one thing that I noticed is that everything helps the development of the baby when you work out. You are shooting a chemical through your body: your endorphins. Everything that happens to you happens to your baby. So I was giving good feelings and good energy to my baby while I was working out,” Camie says. “My main source of cardio during my [first] pregnancy was the Stairmaster. After I had Bodee (her first child), the one thing that soothed him was the Stairmaster.”

She would put Bodee in the Bjorn baby carrier and he would be asleep within seconds. “Working out decreases stress levels. I feel like it decreased my child’s stress levels. He was not a crier. He slept well. He ate well. There were no serious complications.”

Women are required to wait six weeks to return to their normal exercise routine because their bodies are trying to get back to its original size. While pregnant, your body’s elasticity starts to expand so everything (like your hips) begin growing and moving.

“That is why post-pregnancy is six weeks, because everything starts to tighten back up within that six weeks. Everything is going back to its original place,” Camie says.

Rather than returning to the gym and pushing yourself as hard as you can go, increase your workout in little ways. Simply add pace to your mile run or up a level on your elevation on the treadmill or elliptical.

“Just increase things in small increments opposed to ‘I have to lose this weight now.’ You will end up hurting yourself,” Camie says.

Camie and Cristy are great examples of just how healthy you can be during those very long nine months. Do not wait to exercise until you are pregnant. Exercising is an important aspect of every woman’s life. Try incorporating different types of fitness in your everyday life to increase strength while maintaining a positive lifestyle in your life and your child’s.

Pregnancy is not only about you only; it is also about your baby, too. Take the suggestions from these women and have a clean, healthy pregnancy far away from junk food.