Before I found out I was pregnant, I was a member of a professional NHL cheerleading team and actively training for an upcoming NFL cheerleading tryout. Needless to say, my fitness and nutrition regimen was quite rigorous. I woke up every morning at 4:45 AM to attend a 5:30 AM bootcamp, prepped all of my meals on Sundays and packed for the day the night before, stood for a few hours at my desk at work, and attended 2-3 practice sessions that lasted for 3 hours after work each week. As you can probably infer, I was lucky to get to bed by midnight and if you do the math, I was getting an average of 4 – 4.5 hours of sleep each night. It was a lot, however I loved not only the structure, but was getting a high off of the feeling of accomplishing my goals.
Once I found out I was pregnant, and I had a precious life other than my own to take care of, I instantly made a few changes. I still woke up at 4:45 AM to attend Bootcamp, but the other components of my well-composed regimen completely dropped off the face of the Earth. I would prep meals, but my cravings would win (and typically were the complete opposite of whatever I had prepared), and all of the changes and oncoming fatigue led me to bow out of the last three practices for my then cheerleading training program. Even with all of the instant adjustments, I didn’t realize just how much things would change.
I started my pregnancy journey with an obnoxiously aggressive goal of lowering my body fat percentage and gaining muscle over the next 9 months. I was like, “Yeah, no problem. This should be a piece of cake compared to my previous regimen.” I planned to go to the gym 4 times a week (2-3 less days than before), continue my weekly meal prep, continue to be active at work, and gain as little weight as possible.
Piece of cake.
2nd trimester me now giggles incessantly at my eager-beaver, naive, 1st trimester self. Now don’t get me wrong–I am by no means saying the above is impossible. In fact, it’s super-doable. I see tons of Instagram super-preggo mamas-to-be killing the fitness game. For me personally, I took on WAY more than I could chew–especially considering I had no idea what to expect.
In reality, I am seriously lucky if I make it to the gym twice a week. I honestly think I only go once every week because I signed up for personal training sessions at my local gym (bless my trainer’s heart…….YAS Joe!). In terms of meal prep, I might as well admit that it’s practically non-existent.
The first few weeks I was literally wasting food, so I decided to put the meal prep on pause until my cravings became a bit more manageable. Because I’m dishing the truth, I will also admit that my food of choice the past 20 or so weeks has been some form of unhealthy, fast food or a savory, starchy concoction covered in hot sauce (Frank’s Hot for the win…). I tried to drink protein shakes for breakfast and inhale salads, but ya’ll I can’t even explain to you in words how quickly my body (and this precious child of mine) rejected the healthy food.
Thankfully, my metabolism was a rockstar during the first trimester and I didn’t really gain any weight. 2nd trimester, however, laughed in my face. All the weight that held off those first three months quickly built up every week past the 14 week mark….so that was a fun experience. My body essentially played catch-up.
Activity during the first trimester was such a struggle due to the fatigue. As you can probably tell from my pre-pregnancy routine, I’ve never been much of a napper. I like to be on-the-go and busy all the time—makes me feel more accomplished for some reason. The busy schedule took a major backseat and it felt like I couldn’t get enough sleep. It made getting up for morning workouts extremely difficult, and after work I was completely exhausted. I had just enough energy to maybe make dinner and go right to bed. The entrance into my 2nd trimester thankfully brought along with it a surge of energy. I felt like I was Queen of the World compared to my first trimester–even worked in a 3 day workout week! The one drawback to the energy surge is being more prone to overdoing it. I was so excited about having more energy and being motivated to workout that I would push myself just a bit too hard….and would really feel the after effects the next day.
Talk about a humbling experience…
The bump also makes an appearance (which is awesome of course), but it brings its own challenges. Your balance gets a bit wonky, you start to feel a little odd pulling around your midsection when you stand too long, and you start to notice your posture changing. Instead of being able to stand at my desk for long periods time, I had to stay seated for most of the work day. To counteract the constant sedentary position, I make sure to take little afternoon office strolls at 3 PM each day (and sometimes this counts as my workout….so sue me).
It was definitely a struggle for me to adjust, but y’all there’s hope!
I am now 24 weeks pregnant, and I think I’m starting to figure this whole “being pregnant” thing out. I’m starting to pass the woe-is-me stage and regain my will, and most importantly the confidence, to attempt to create a new, improved, and much more practical health & fitness regimen. I’m thinking a little prenatal yoga , mix in a few strength circuits with light to no weight, and meal prep for maybe 2 days at a time instead of a whole week.
Pregnancy is a new experience, and definitely eye-opening experience. It’s amazing what our bodies can do! I’ve been blessed, and am so honored and excited, to grow this beautiful life inside me. I’ve learned to be patient with myself, and listen to what my body needs. Nobody’s perfect–all you can do is move on and put your best foot forward.