Archive for ‘fitness’

May 7, 2012

On Being A Pregnant Fitness Instructor

Happy Monday friends!

I apologize for the blogging hiatus for the past few weeks – life just got to be too busy and intense for a while – but I’m so excited to be back. I love being able to write and reflect here on GPD, and it’s really become a special part of my life.

Just when I was reflecting on how lucky I’ve been to not get sick throughout my pregnancy, a wicked sinus cold/infection knocked me off my feet for all of last week.  Which was perfect because it was also finals week for me [life’s funny isn’t it?].  I actually lost my voice, wound up having to get subs for my TurboKick classes, and spent most of the week in bed.

It was rough for me not to teach my classes last week – especially as there are only a handful left – but I know just how important it is to honor my body, especially since I’m sharing it with someone else right now.  Regardless, this week will be my final week of teaching until baby comes [the new schedule starts next week, so it was the perfect time to stop], and I was really excited to get back to instructing this morning!


Before I start, let me say that I’m simply sharing my own personal experiences.  Each person – and each pregnancy – is different, and I encourage you to find what works for you.  Also, contact your doctor or midwife before making any changes to your regimen.

This week marks my entry into the eight month of pregnancy.  Eight.  Months.  Seriously, I can’t figure out where the time went, but it’s true.  And although it’s gone by incredibly quickly, this journey never ceases to amaze me.

When Ben and I first started trying to conceive, we received all kinds of advice. Those I trusted most told me to start eating red meat and stop over-exercising.  Because we have local, grass-fed beef, I was willing to try some red meat, but as a fitness junkie, I had a really hard time with the latter.  At the time, I was teaching 3 TurboKick classes a week, running 3-4 times a week, keeping up with the LiveFit kettlebell program 4 days a week, and hiking on my rest days.  My body felt strong rather than worn down, but I could see how it might be difficult for an embryo to embed in my uterus with all the activity.

So I toned it down: I scaled back on the running and started swimming instead.


After a couple of months with no pregnancy luck, I also decided to cut down a day on my weight training, just to see if it would help.  Throughout those months I knew that I was healthy and that I had to be patient with the process, but I was also adamant about teaching my kickboxing classes.


Don’t get me wrong: I would have done anything to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but deep inside, I knew that being fit would help – not hurt – my pregnancy.  Being an instructor is something that has given me incredible fulfillment and joy as well, so I stuck with my guns and kept teaching.


Because there is more to worry about during the first trimester – and because I was sick – I kept things much lower impact then, being sure to give my students their options for higher impact before class started.  Usually I’d feel sick and fatigued before class started, but once we got going I felt amazing.  As I’ve said before, I’m extremely fortunate to have incredible students who are willing to work hard and give me 100% even on those days where I’m not so bouncy, so that helped a lot.

By the second trimester my energy was back and I was doing much more with the gang than even I thought was possible.  I had to stop lying on my back or belly, so during the core sections I would demonstrate a set and then use a ball to modify while the rest of the class laid on their mats.  I also substituted a lot more standing core workouts.

I started using my maternal support band at around 20 weeks or so, which helps support the belly and lower back during activity, and it has been a life-saver!

Now that I’m in my third trimester I’ve been getting less quality sleep, am more fatigued again, and my lower back is feeling these extra 15 pounds.  I’ve reverted to my first-trimester tactics of showing options and then modifying the movements myself, but I’m always sure to encourage the students to challenge themselves and try the harder movements.

Personally, the classes have gotten harder to teach for me, but I’m always so amazed and inspired by my students that I just do what I can.  The toughest thing for me personally has been to keep the class motivated when I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%.  I’ve learned over time, though, that with motivational cues and an energetic attitude, it’s less about what I’m doing and more about what I can get out of my students.

Over these past months, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about my decision to keep teaching, both good and bad.  I know that each individual is truly just looking out for my and baby’s well-being, so I’m always sure to let them know that I feel well tuned in to my body and its needs.  I’ve always kept the mentality that if something didn’t feel right, or if it started to feel like too much, I’d find a sub for the rest of the semester.

Luckily, though, I’ve continued to feel really great while teaching, and here I am at the end of the semester – teaching my final few classes with an incredible group of students I’ve grown so fond of!

I have two more classes to teach [Wednesday and Friday], and while I feel physically ready for a break from teaching [I'll be heading to the ocean/pool much more soon!], I’m really going to miss my students and all that they bring to my life.

I know that, for me, the decision to keep teaching was necessary for my pregnancy.  I was able to inspire others while staying active, sane, and strong for myself and the baby.  I have a feeling it’ll help me with childbirth, too.

To read more about my pregnancy, click here.  And for more about my fitness routine during the second trimester, click here.

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

January 10, 2012

Second Trimester Workouts

I mentioned in my first trimester reflection that I was nervous about moving from weight-loss mode to healthy-baby-gain mode.  I also talked a little bit about a few modifications I made to my workouts during the first trimester that helped keep me and baby safe, but quite honestly, my workout routine was pretty shot during the first trimester.

The second trimester has definitely lifted my spirits and brought my energy levels back up. My workout routine has picked back up now that I’m feeling much more like myself, which has given me lots of rewards: even more energy, restful night sleeps, fully functioning organs and regularity, and mental clarity and sanity. 

This post is to share my own personal experiences.  Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise to be sure it’s safe for you. 

I’m extremely cautious to honor my body at this point in my pregnancy – making sure to monitor my heart rate during exercise and paying attention to how exerted I feel.  I personally think exertion levels are a more helpful tool than the actual number on my monitor, but I try not to exceed 160 beats per minute for longer than short spurts during my workout [turbo HIIT sections bring me above that, but not for more than a minute or two].  160 works as a ‘cap’ for me because I had been working at a higher level for years before pregnancy… if you’re just starting out, experts say to stick below 140. 



I mentioned before that I plan on teaching my cardio kickboxing classes until it no longer feels safe.  I hope to teach until the last few months or weeks of my pregnancy, which means that my class will have to adjust with me as I get bigger.  Luckily I’m able to be completely honest with my students, who are supportive, hard workers willing to go on this journey with me.  Also, because there are two Turbo teachers this semester, which means I can offer a class with lower-impact options but still give my students a great workout. 


I really enjoy group exercise – I tend to push myself harder and stick with it when I’m held accountable by others.  Whether I’m taking a yoga or tone + tighten class, I always make sure to talk with the instructor beforehand to let him/her know that I’m pregnant.  They’re usually really good about giving modifications for me. 

Walking, swimming, and aqua-jogging have also been excellent lower-impact forms of cardio for me during the second trimester.  Ben and I usually walk around our hilly neighborhood a few times a week to catch up with each other. 


I feel stronger and less flabby when I lift at least twice a week [plus it helps with bone strength!], so I try to make room in my schedule for three days a week.  Before I was pregnant, I was really digging LiveFit’s at home kettlebell workouts, but when I asked them if they could give me suggestions for being pregnant, they [understandably] said they couldn’t offer me any help because of liability reasons.  I was pretty devastated to lose my favorite workout, but after a while I decided to do some research and modifications of my own. Using all my own equipment at home, I’ve created a few routines that are challenging yet acceptable for both baby and me. 


Workout 1: Triceps + Chest

  • Warm up

–> at least five minutes of jumping rope, quickly walking in place, arm swings, etc. 

  • Overhead triceps extension [10lb dumbells] – 10 reps
  • Two hand clean-squat press [30lb KB] – 5 reps
  • Triceps kickbacks [10lb dumbell] – 10right/10left
  • Side plank – 30 sec each side

–> Repeat 3 or 4 times

  • Single-handed overhead triceps extentions [10lb dumbells] – 10 reps
  • Chest press on ball [12lb dumbells] – 10 reps
  • Bent-knee deadlifts [15lb KB] – 15 reps
  • Chest flys on ball [12lb dumbells] – 10 reps

–> Repeat 3 or 4 times

  • Double-handed swings [15lb KB] – 20 reps
  • Pushups – 10 reps

–> Repeat 3 or 4 times

  • Cool down + stretch

Workout 2: Biceps + Back

  • Warm up

–> at least five minutes of jumping rope, quickly walking in place, arm swings, etc. 

  • Two hand clean-squat press [30lb KB] – 5 reps
  • Bent-over row [10lb dumbell] – 12right/12left
  • High-pull [15lb KB] – 10right/10left
  • Halos balancing on one leg [15lb KB] – 10right/10left

–> Repeat 3 or 4 times

  • Hammer curls [10lb dumbells] – 10right/10left alternating
  • Calf raises [holding 10lb dumbells] – 15 reps
  • Bicep tempo work [10lb dumbells] – 8 top-half only / 8 bottom-half only / 8 at up1-down 3 tempo
  • Plie squats [holding 10lb dumbells] – 15 reps

–> Repeat 3 or 4 times

  • Double-handed swings [15lb KB] – 30 seconds on/30 seconds off

–> Repeat for 5 minutes straight

  • Cool down + stretch

[Resources I often look to: Lauren Brooks’ article, the SistasofStrength, and the awesome videos available at]   


The body is going through incredible changes inside and out while pregnant, and it is especially important to get stretching and flexibility in.  Because I love at-home options, here are a few of my current faves:

  • foam rolling  [So painful, but so necessary!]
  •  [I've loved them for a while now and am really appreciative that their prenatal practices come with pose guides, in case you’re not sure what the pose is supposed to look like]
  •  [Another great source of podcast yoga that you can do at home.  I enjoy their shorter options for when I don’t have much time]
  • Yoga DVDs  [I’ve heard really great things about this one by Jennifer Wolfe in particular, but am still waiting for it to ship to me]  I’ll let you know how it is once I get it! 



Have any great workout resources to share?  I’m always looking for more options from home. Smile

Aloha Pumehana.
Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!


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