Yes, all the exercises have been designed for complete beginners. More advanced trainers can also take part by simply increasing the number of sets, reps, and weight.
I do not advocate stretching whilst pregnant due to the increase in ligament elasticity during this period. We also advise women to stay away from high impact training such as running. Exercises that require a high degree of balance are also off our list, for example; the swiss ball is quite unstable and we advise you not to use it as the risk of falling is quite high. I also strongly advise you to NOT train to fatigue, it’s unnecessary and could cause undue stress.
No, you can continue to train as long as you do not exceed the training duration, intensity and frequency that you have been used to. As the pregnancy progresses you will have to taper down the training, listen to your body and adjust the training as necessary.
You can train everyday if you wish, the key is how hard are you training. A 20 minute walk is a form of training so there’s no problem with doing that everyday. Our program is designed to be just enough and not too much, 3-4 times per week is what we advise. However if you choose the easier options and don’t feel fatigued you could do it everyday, it should only take 10-15 minutes all in.
Absolutely, it’s actually a great way to get started with a fitness program. It covers all the major areas with all the basic movements. You would only have to add in some more abdominal training. If you have never trained before and have done little physical activity for a number of years it is far better to do gym work to get in shape than take part in some sport. If you take part in sport without any physical preparation the chances of injury are very high. Once you’ve gained a good level of fitness which shouldn’t take long (probably 12 weeks) you can take part in sporting activities.
By listening to your body. If you have any unusual symptoms it’s a sign that you’re doing something wrong. We always advise you to avoid training to fatigue. You should finish the session with plenty of energy and feel invigorated rather than exhausted. Remember we’re not getting ready for the Olympics!
You can use a fitness band for all the exercises. If you wish to use weights you could use tins of beans or anything that weighs 1-2 lbs such as small bottles of water.
By simply increasing the weight, the number of sets and the number of reps. You could also decrease the time between the sets. It’s important to note that some of the exercises form the core of many elite athletes programs, the only difference is the weight and volume utilized. It’s a myth that elite athletes use specialized exercises, this may be true in some cases but the vast majority will use squats!
Because pregnancy per se is a form of exercising, you are going to be carrying around more weight and later on your ability to breathe fully will be limited which makes everything harder. By exercising regularly you can make yourself more efficient which will make your everyday activities a little easier. It will also make it easier for you to get into a fitness program after the birth.
Many women I know have always promised themselves and others that once the pregnancy was over they would get to the gym to get back into shape. However; that hardly ever happens as other things take priority. Training throughout the pregnancy will improve your chances of getting back into shape afterwards as you’ve already acquired the habit of physical exercise. We are after all creatures of habit!
Absolutely, pregnancy is not an illness but a natural physical phenomenon. Women in primitive cultures will do hard physical labour right up to the day of birth. I’m not advocating that much work as we in the more modernized world have become soft when it comes to physical activity. That’s why I take a softly, softly approach, we can’t expect to match a primitive cultures physical hardiness in a couple of months when they have been “training” all their lives. Exercise within your limits, listen to the experts and stop if you have any unusual symptoms or doubts.
Absolutely, the workouts have been designed to utilize the least amount of equipment.
If you have any unusual symptoms or if you feel out of breath. I repeat; you should not be training to fatigue during this period if you are new to exercise. Women who have been exercising regularly will usually carry on their normal program and will know when to slow down as they will be more in tune with their body as they know the usual responses to training due to their prior experience.
The pelvic floor will be weakened during the pregnancy because of the load imposed upon it. However; regular training will improve the tone and aid in preventing stress incontinence. It’s a little known fact but the pelvic floor is vital to good spinal stability along with the transversus abdominus muscle, they both aid in increasing intra-abdominal pressure during heavy lifting. Experienced weight lifters practice a technique called “power breathing” which incorporates pelvic floor exercises.
Yes but start with the 2nd trimester workout and ignore the 1st trimester workout. Just start slowly and use light tension only on the band and the lightest weights or indeed no weights if that’s what you feel comfortable with.
We can’t make promises, especially if you have only started training at the start of your pregnancy. In my experience training a few months prior to getting pregnant and focusing on your core gives great results as far as back pain is concerned. However it is logical to assume that some exercise done gently even if started during pregnancy must be beneficial.
As long as your GP or consultant has given the go ahead then yes. It does depend on how high your blood pressure is and exercise is actually advised for mild hypertension due to the “stress relieving “effects of light exercise. However more severe forms will usually be dealt with by prescribing pressure lowering drugs such as beta blockers and diuretics.
Swelling is usually caused be reduced circulation which in turn can be caused by many other factors. In general; mild forms of exercise such as walking improve circulation. Standing still actually impairs circulation as the blood tends to “pool” in the lower extremities and has no help from the moving muscles to “pump” the blood back to the heart. Sitting with the legs raised and doing gentle ankle circling may help. If you do have your legs raised make sure that the WHOLE leg is supported as they would be lying on a couch. Sitting on a chair with a stool propped under the calves will hinder circulation. Also, the use of a roller as demonstrated in the DVD is beneficial also.
This is tricky, many Olympic records were set by women who were in their first trimester. Women who have always run usually continue for a while until they feel that it is no longer feasible. I always advise women whether they have always run or not to stop running and pursue other forms of exercise during pregnancy.
Low intensity exercise such as walking and swimming are excellent, along with the light weight training exercises performed in the workouts.
Because it will help you regain your natural weight and shape quicker, it will also help lift your mood due to the natural “high” that you get from the endorphins that are secreted when doing physical exercise.
After a natural birth it’s always good to listen to the advice of your doctor as it depends on many factors, in most cases however it’s usually very soon after birth. For caesarean births you must wait for the scar to heal and definitely not before 8 weeks, again listen to the advice given to you by your consultant.
Actually, yes and no. The aim of a warm up is to do just that, warm up the body, the reason you warm up the body in sport is to prepare it for more vigorous activity. Now, in the workouts, the work is not vigorous or unduly taxing therefore you don’t need to warm up prior to doing a squat. If this were the case then imagine watching a film at the cinema for 2 hours then at the end you would have to stand up. This requires getting up from a squat position, you’d hardly need to warm up before getting up from your seat. Now, If you’re going to run a 100 metres in under 10 seconds or run a marathon or do a strenuous spinning session or squat 100kg then you would definitely deed to warm up to prevent injury and prepare your nervous system.
I wanted to design something simple, safe, effective, and time efficient, hence the warm up is in a way included in the program because the exercises are not taxing. And, because of this you don’t require a prolonged “cool down”. This saves you time and makes things so much easier.
If you would want to include a warm up to get you mentally ready for the session then without doubt walking is the best option. If this is impractical then simply marching on the spot until you feel warm will give a similar effect. If you have an exercise bike then this would work too.
Yes you can at the start but as I mentioned before you will have to taper down as the pregnancy progresses.
Heavy weight lifting
Skiing (snow and water)
Don’t use steam rooms or saunas, they will make you too hot.
You will be fine to stop taking your folic acid 12 weeks in to your pregnancy.
If you still have a question then please feel free to ask Amanda.