Growing a human being, with another small human being running around...is harder.
Once you become a mum you relinquish control over your recovery time. Your free time goes from hours a day to a few minutes here and there. Rest and sleep are both 100% dictated by someone else. You are no longer in control of those precious seven (eight if you're lucky) hours which are increasingly more important in your first trimester.
Balancing this with another on the way is….well, I wouldn't call it balance. It’s survival. Mental and physical.
Trying to hold everything together whilst all you want to do is lay down and close your eyes.
I usually treat myself with a bit of ‘tough love’ when it comes to training. Pushing myself even when I’m feeling unmotivated or tired. 99% of the time this is exactly what I need. Once those endorphins kick in, I always have a much better session than anticipated and leave feeling strong and empowered.
What's the saying...you never regret a workout.
But, during pregnancy you have a lot more to factor in. So on those days when you’re run down, ill or just completely exhausted do you keep pushing through?
When is it time to just give yourself a break?
There are no hard and fast rules on this and personally, I've just had to tune in to my body and decide what's going to be best long term. Early on in my pregnancy I was still training when I was ill. But, it was clear from my lack of recovery (from both training and various illnesses) this was not going to be the way forward.
The thing is, your body already has so much is it trying to do when you're ill and pregnant, that it doesn't need to be repairing your muscles as well. So, I surrendered and took the approach that if I was physically ill or clearly very rundown, I rested. This was more than I would have liked. I was ill a lot in those first few months, it was super frustrating and I didn’t feel like myself at all but, it is what it is.
When I wasn’t ill and it was just general fatigue or lack of motivation holding me back, this is where I’d force myself to train. Getting out the door was always a struggle but honestly every time I felt so much better as soon as I started training and even better afterwards. You feel so strong and empowered having done a good session despite what you're going through.
Looking back if I hadn’t forced myself to go when I didn’t fancy it, I probably wouldn’t have trained at all which wouldn't;t have left me in a great place physically or mentally.
I don’t just train for my body, I train for my mind, for some headspace, to feel strong, to get time to myself and for so many other benefits.
It helps if you FEEL STRONG during pregnancy.
So Allin all it's been about doing what I can, when I can and really making the most of those opportunities when I am feeling good because those days have been rare.
Its never going to be perfect, but it doesn’t need to be.
My nutrition hasn’t been hideous but there have definitely been a lot more carbs slipping in, on a daily basis.
Cake, cookies, baguettes and pastries have never been so tempting and cravings are just so much harder to ignore when pregnant. I was almost scared to let myself get hungry in case I keeled over so I was regularly topping up the energy levels.
I also started switching my usual protein and fat rich breakfast (Check out this nutrition blog on breakfast) with a huge bowl of carbs (cereal, muesli or chocolate granola) because it’s all I could think about eating in the morning. It’s not ideal, it’s not how I advise my clients to start their day, but it made me feel a bit better each morning so I went with it.
Fortunately I didn’t have any food aversions this time round so I was able to balance this out with lots of protein and vegetables during the rest of the day so not a complete disaster.
It’s common to feel anxious about your changing body during pregnancy. I mean, it’s inevitable that your body will change!
Your body is designed to put on body fat during this period and you have to remember that your priority should be growing a healthy baby not trying to stay as lean as possible for as long as you can. Running yourself into the ground because you’re restricting your food of not giving yourself a rest when you need it is not good for anyone.
I am trying to be kind to myself, surrender to how I feel, take it a day at a time and just do the best I can.
In work, training and life there've been many points o ver the last few months where I’ve felt like I’ve taken one step forwards and three steps backwards. Its obviously frustrating, particularly on the work front as I know time is limited, but again I’ve just had to let go of what I think I should be doing and just focus on taking small steps forwards when I can. I've also had a few super low days where getting myself into a positive headspace has felt like an impossible task but fortunately these have been fairly rare and temporary.
So for now, I’m praying that trimester two will be slightly kinder to me and in the meantime will be continuing to be as consistent as I can, when I can. I'll keep you posted. :)
A little bit of advice that might help if you’re going through the same thing…
If you unsure whether to train (and you’re well enough) just start and see. If you’re not feeling it after 10 minutes you can stop, but 99% of the time you will feel so good afterwards it’s worth that initial effort.
If you’re ill, rest and don’t feel guilty about it. Your body needs to rest in order to to recover faster.
If you’re not recovering from your training (excessive soreness or severe exhaustion) dial it down, lower the weight or reps, reduce the workout time or add in some extra rest days.
Switch things up if you need to. Shorter sessions, yoga, swimming, go for something that feels good for you right now, it doesn’t need to be a perfect workout routine each week. The primary goal is a healthy pregnancy so whatever keeps you moving, energised and feeling good is best.
Let your body have what’s its craving (within reason obviously considering your overall health). Make sure you’re getting the good stuff in as well.
Be kind to yourself. View your changing body with pride, focus on the end goal, and love yourself for where you’re at right now.
Embrace gratitude. Whenever I’m struggling I think of all the women that would give anything to be pregnant. You are doing an amazing thing that so many women never get the opportunity to experience and as much as it is hard work, you have to embrace it and be grateful every day that
YOU GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THIS
to have a child is a gift, bloody hard work yes, but a gift all the same!