Exercise during Pregnancy for the Modern Woman

12 Sep

preg fit

Well since I have about a MILLION pregnant friends and clients right now, I thought it was best to write up a post that all my fit pregger chicks can refer to.

First of all, I want to say that I am SO PROUD that you have decided to make fitness a part of your life, and your baby’s life. Pregnancy is not an excuse to eat all you want and sit on the couch. (OK, actually, it is a REALLY good excuse to eat and sit.) However, most women feel much better and gain less weight during their pregnancy when they keep up with their regular fitness routine.

The rules on working out during pregnancy have changed a bit over the years. For example, there used to be a rule that you should keep your heart rate under 140 bpm. That rule has been thrown out the window. The best rule when it comes to exertion is that you really should listen to your body. If you have energy and are feeling good, there is no harm in exercising at a moderate to vigorous (let’s say…mildly vigorous) pace.

A question I get asked a lot is “Can I continue my boot camp classes when I am pregnant?” My answer is absolutely yes, under a few conditions. The first is that you are “continuing” your program, and not starting from the beginning. If you are new to exercise, it may be better to stick with walking, yoga and light weight training under the supervision of a personal trainer or other fitness professional. (Be sure to check your trainer’s credentials, starting a program when pregnant is not the time to work with someone inexperienced.) The other condition is that your doctor has stated that it is ok for you to exercise. Or that he has NOT mentioned that you can not exercise. Most doctors just assume you will continue what you were doing and/or ask questions if you are concerned. If you have a condition where you should not exercise, it is very likely that any good doctor will inform you.

I have had women who simply don’t have the energy to continue classes or just don’t “feel right” during class. I have others who feel great and work out all the way until delivery. What you need to remember is that every woman is different, and that every pregnancy is different. What felt good when you had a baby 3 years ago may not feel good during your second pregnancy. It is extremely important to get in touch with your body, and pay attention to how you feel. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I exercised every single day of my pregnancy, except about 2 days. But due to Placenta Previa, I had some cramping and didn’t feel right running or doing vigorous jumping movements. I kept walking, using the elliptical or stair climber, I lifted weights, danced, did yoga, etc. I found something to do every day to stay active and I felt really happy when I exercised. It also made it very easy to return to exercise after my delivery. It is also very important not to compare yourself to other women. There may be a lady about to deliver sprinting past you as you waddle along the track. So what? Does that mean she is better than you? No. Does that mean she will have an easier delivery than you? Nope. Just realize you are both exercising to feel good. Don’t let other feelings creep up, it is not a competition.

Here are a few tips for exercising that I find worth mentioning:

1. Don’t lift weights that are very heavy overhead if you are prone to lower back pain.

2. Don’t allow yourself to become overheated. Take breaks if you feel you are getting too hot and drink water.

3. Don’t spend more than 3 minutes performing exercises while lying on your back after your first trimester. This puts pressure on your vena cava, a major vein, and it can reduce blood flow to the heart- and possibly the brain and uterus-causing you to feel dizzy, nauseous, or short of breath. This will not harm the baby, and only happens in roughly 10% of pregnancies.

4. Know your modifications. Ask for low impact or alternate moves. For example, There are plenty of seated and standing abdominal moves you can do instead of sit ups. There are also low impact variations of almost all aerobic moves, such as jumping jacks, if you aren’t up to the high impact moves. Ask your instructor to provide you with an alternate move. If your pregnancy is still hush-hush, arrive before class to speak with your teacher for advice. No matter what, ALWAYS notify your instructor that you are pregnant before taking their class.

5. Stay hydrated. Bring more water than you normally do to your workouts.

6. Always have a proper “warm up” at the beginning of your workout and a “cool down” at the end of your session.

7. Avoid getting dizzy. When transition from the floor to standing, move slowly. Take your time. Also, never stop moving abruptly, even if you do feel dizzy. Always march in place lightly even when taking a break. This is a good way to end your session and begin your cool down as well.

8. Make sure you had enough to eat that day so your blood sugar levels are normal.

9. Don’t endanger yourself or baby for silly reasons. This is a controversial one. But if you don’t want to be judged by others, don’t do stupid things. Like contact sports, HOT (bikram) yoga (still controversial, but may cause neural tube defects, I would say not without doctors clearance and tell him the temperate of the room you are using), riding a bike on a highway (riding a bike in general is not recommended past first trimester bc of an increased risk of falling), running with your headphones on too loudly, attending classes without telling your instructor you are pregnant, (This is even more important with Crossfit classes) performing unsafe moves in a Crossfit or other gym/boot camp environment without supervision of a QUALIFIED instructor.

10. Most importantly, if your doctor tells you not to exercise, you should probably listen. If you don’t like his advice, seek a second opinion before taking the risk.

I wish you all a happy, safe and fit pregnancy!

Weekend Survival Tips

8 Aug

healthy eating
Here are some great weekend survival tips to stay on track and not blow your diet. (Summer is in full swing, every weekend counts!)

1. Weigh yourself today, tomorrow, Sunday and Monday. Sounds crazy. But knowing you have that commitment to yourself will do a little mental pre-damage control to keep you on track.

2. Limit alcohol. There are several reasons why. One, it is empty calories. Two, it lowers your inhibitions and may cause you to feel less guilty about making poor food choices. A good goal for those who love their boozies (myself included):4 alcoholic drinks per week, max. Best split up, not all at once! And choose either wine, a light beer, or vodka with seltzer and a splash of fruit juice if needed (Squeeze of citrus is best).

3. Plan ahead. Right after you finish reading this email, plan out your weekend meals so they provide the most nutrition. Going out to dinner? Read the menu ahead of time, choose what you are going to order, and order first. Skip the bread basket and dessert, or share the dessert with someone. Going to a wedding or other event? Eat enough beforehand so you are not starving. A protein shake, soup or salad are great about an hour before the event. Try to make good choices. A good rule of thumb is to limit alcohol, starchy carbs, and sugary items.

4. No plans? Stay busy. Make plans to walk, hike, garden or do yard work. Clean out the garage or your pantry. Keep yourself full and you won’t sit around eating out of boredom. Plus, keeping active burns more calories!

5. Finally make Sunday your prep day for the week ahead. Plan out your meals, get your food shopping done, and start making some items ahead of time. Healthy grains such as rice or quinoa, sweet potatoes, steam vegetables, portion out nuts and seeds, and grill some chicken breasts. Boom: you are already set up for a whole weeks worth of success! (See our previous blog post for the bets prep ahead tips.)

Fail to Prepare? Prepare to Fail……..

5 Aug

meal photo1
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Nutrition can account for up to 90% of your weight loss efforts, so don’t sell yourself short.

I recommend Sunday as the BEST day to prep for the week. However, any day that works for you, will work for you!

Take 15 min to yourself today and sit down and make your meal plan for the week. Then get out to the store to shop and get prepping.

Here are some great prep ideas to keep you going this week!

-Make your food list. Include lean poultry, healthy carbs/grains, plenty of fruits and veg, and high protein dairy.

-Go shopping! If you need to, purchase zip lock bags in various sizes and Tupperware containers of different sizes as well. Also, make sure you have an insulated lunch bag to bring with you wherever you go! Oh, and a blender bottle is great for making protein shakes at work. It is a bottle that contains a wire whisk ball so you can shake it up and you are ready to go!

-On Sunday, wash and cut your fruits and veg and put them in snack sized bags. If you take salads to work, portion out your greens into zip lock bags or Tupperware containers. Also portion out any nuts, hummus, protein powders and salad dressings so that they are ready when you need them.

-If you are an egg girl, hard boil some eggs. They are a great breakfast if you are low on time, also a great snack any time of day! They also work as great salad toppers to add protein!

-Cook up some quinoa, brown rice, or sweet potatoes to have healthy carbs at hand. You can do a variety of things with these items, the key is having them cooked so you don’t need 30 min to prepare before starting to make a quick meal.

-Pre-cook some chicken breasts or purchase a roast chicken from the supermarket so you have lean protein ready to go. Vegetarians should open up 2 different cans of beans, rinse them well in a colander, and store in Tupperware for easy use. Of course you can rinse, soak and make your own as well. Lentils are a great addition to a vegetarian diet.

-If you work outside the home, pack your bag Sunday night. Make sure to include, breakfast, two snacks, and lunch. And diner too if you work late!

I promise if you do this every Sunday, your week will go much more smoothly!

Good luck everyone!

Summer Slimdown Approved Cocktails!

5 May


In honor of Cinco De Mayo, we decided to post our favorite Summer Slimdown approved cocktails, enjoy!

Lisa’s Skinny Rita:

1 oz Tequilla, 4-6 oz seltzer, fresh squeezed lime juice. If you need added sweetness, put a drop of liquid stevia or agave syrup. (Use syrup in major moderation.) Feel free to salt your glass rim, ole!

Andrea’s Paradise:

1 oz Coconut vodka, 4-6 oz seltzer and splash of pineapple. Optional: splash of cranberry juice.

Coral crush:

1 oz Orange vodka, 4-6 oz seltzer and a splash each of fresh squeezed orange juice and cranberry juice. Optional: make it a creamsicle by using vanilla vodka instead.

Laura’s Raz-Refresher:
1 oz Raspberry vodka, 4-6 oz seltzer, and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Commercial Break Workout!

28 Apr



Don’t feel like giving up your TV time but missed your workout?

Have no fear. Grab a set of weights and workout during the commercial breaks!

Follow this basic outline:

Cleaning Commercials: Cardio: Do some jumping jacks, high knees, or march briskly in place. Advanced, go for burpees or mountain climbers.
Make up Commercials: Arm toning exercises. Grab your weights and do some bicep curls, tricep extensions or shoulder presses. You can also do push ups, etc.
TV Show Commercials: Leg toning exercises. Squats, lunges, wall sits or “Jane Fonda-style” butt and leg raises on the floor.
Car commercials: Ab exercises. Crunches, sit-ups, planks, etc. Get those abs burning up!
All others: Wild cards! Choose your favorite or your problem area and work that body part during all other types of commercials. If you are still not getting cardio or walks in, I suggest cardio!







Summer Slim Down: Week 2

21 Apr


Make sure you are all tracking your calories and activity.


Register at http://www.MyFitnessPal.comand don’t forget to add me as your friend. (Use your computer, not smartphone, go to “Community” then “Find Members” and search for me under username JessicaFederici.

Then go to setting and make diary either public or public with a password so I can view it. Text me when you are setting up and I will provide you with a password to use that I will remember.

This will allow me to check on your food diary in case you are having trouble losing weight while following our plan.

Refrigerator Raid Victim: Andrea

16 Apr

For those of you not familiar with our “Refrigerator Raids”, sometimes we pop into our boot campers and personal training clients’ houses. We rummage through their pantries and fridges, pointing out where they may need a little makeover and praising them for having healthy items in stock. Well yesterday I surprised of our fav gals Andrea with a fridge raid. I have to say, Andrea earned an A+ for having prepped foods on Sunday and for keeping healthy options in to bring to work in NYC and snacks to prevent junk food binges. Andrea is a contestant of our Summer Slim Down contest and with prepping like this, she is sure to have great success! Here are some photos of Andrea’s fridge and notes on her report card!

-Clementines for easy and healthy snacking

-Bananas: the ultimate on the go fruit

-Fage greek yogurt, high in protein

-Beets, sliced and ready to go

-Mashed cauliflower: Andrea’s current comfort food

-Siggis yogurt: low sugar, Icelandic yogurt (great tip: freeze for a yummy frozen yogurt treat)

-Campari tomatoes: delicious seasonal veggies

-Hummus: for dipping veggies

-Salad greens: for easy lunches and dinners

-Prepared chicken breast and acorn squash: so dinner is done!

-Portioned trail mix: appropriate size pouches of nuts and dried fruit for a sweet and salty snack

-Quinoa and brown rice quick cooking blend: for quick and healthy grains filled with protein

-Dark chocolate: antioxidant packed treat

-Kind Granola Bars: a healthier granola bar option using nuts and dried fruit



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