Staying fit whilst pregnant

Staying fit whilst pregnant

When it comes to pregnancy and training there are usually two main questions that we as trainers are asked. One, can I continue training whilst pregnant? And two, can it be beneficial to start some form of training or exercise? The short answers would be yes you absolutely can continue training, maybe not at the velocity and intensity that you originally were training at but you most definitely will benefit from keeping an active routine, secondly for those who aren’t regularly active it would be a great idea to prepare your bodies for the changes that your body is going to be doing over the next few months. Experts agree when you’re expecting, it’s important to keep moving: Pregnant women who exercise have less back pain, more energy, a better body image and, post-delivery a faster return to their pre-pregnancy shape.

Benefits of staying in shape during pregnancy:  

  • maintain physical fitness
  • reduce lower back pain (hello, growing tummy!)
  • manage symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • reduce stress
  • improve postpartum recovery

As stated by the NHS,

The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour and get back into shape after the birth.”

Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. There is some evidence that active women are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.

I have put together some exercises that will help you along the way of each trimester, 3 days a week as a minimum will help prepare your to body cope with the extra strain throughout each trimester.

Be sure to warm up and cool down for at least 5 minutes before and after every exercise as well as frequent stretching.

Safety tips for exercising whilst pregnant

  • Get clearance from your doctor if you’re new to exercise or you have any health conditions that may contraindicate exercise. 
  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise.
  • Wear supportive clothing such as a supportive sports bra or belly band.
  • Don’t become overheated, especially during the first trimester.
  • Avoid lying flat on your back for too long, especially during the third trimester.
  • Avoid contact sports and hot yoga.

Exercises to focus on in the first trimester of pregnancy

The first three months of pregnancy can be a wild ride of emotions. From elation and pure joy to concern, worry, and even fear as you begin to realise that you’re responsible for nourishing, growing, and keeping this tiny soon-to-be human being safe and healthy.

As long as you’re not considered a high-risk pregnancy, a well-rounded prenatal fitness routine that includes at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity each week and 2 to 3 days of strength training exercises that target the major muscle groups is a healthy regime.

Focus on specific exercises to help make pregnancy easier and prepare you for labour and childbirth. (although it seems an age away it is key to start preparing the body for the extra strain!) 

One key area to focus on is body awareness, preparing for changes in your posture. Exercises like pelvic tilt will help with the mobility in the spinal area and help strengthen the abdominal area


Squats strengthen all the muscles in your lower body — including the quads, glutes, and hamstrings —having strong leg muscles is a great way to protect your back, so you use your legs instead of your back when lifting.

  1. Stand in front of a couch, with your back facing. Begin with feet just wider than hip-width apart. Use the couch as a guide to ensure proper form. 
  2. Squat down like you’re about to sit down on the couch, but come back up just as your thighs start to touch it. 
  3. Make sure you take 5 seconds to go down 3 seconds to come back up. 
  4. Exhale as you squat; inhale as you stand. 
  5. Do 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

Pelvic tilt 

  1. Stand with your shoulders and bottom against a wall.
  2. Keep your knees relaxed.
  3. Pull your tummy button towards your spine, so that your back flattens against the wall: hold for 4 seconds then release.
  4. Repeat up to 10 times.

Pelvic tilt exercises can also be performed laying on the floor flat on your back.

Kneeling push-ups

This move targets core and upper body strengthening together.

  1. Place your knees and hands onto the ground, once you are ready to start you should engage the core and have knees, hips and shoulders all in a straight line maintaining good posture in this exercise, push up onto your hands and knees, keeping your knees behind your hips.
  2. Pull in your abs (the pelvic brace), and then slowly lower your chest toward the floor as you inhale. 
  3. Exhale as you press back up. 
  4. Start with 6 to 10 and gradually work up to 20 to 24 reps.

Bicep curls 

This simple, yet effective move is another excellent exercise to perform throughout pregnancy. Bicep curls are a key move to add to your workouts since you need to prep your arms for lifting and holding your baby. 

  1. Grab 5 to 10 pound dumbbells and stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your knees slightly bent.
  2. Exhale as you slowly bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells toward your shoulders. 
  3. Inhale and slowly lower the weights back down. 
  4. Take 3 seconds to lift the dumbbells and 5 seconds to lower. 
  5. Do 2 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Exercises to do in the second trimester of pregnancy

Once the reality sets in that you’re in this for the long haul, you may notice a feeling of calmness and even an increase in energy over the next several weeks. Many women say this is the trimester where they feel their best, which is why it’s an excellent time to focus on your fitness routine. On the other hand since the uterus is getting bigger, you do need to be a bit more careful with physical activity.

During the second trimester, you want to avoid any activities that involve high impact exercise that involves jumping, running, balance, or exhaustion. You also want to avoid any exercise that has you lying on your back for extended periods of time so exercise like pelvic tilts may have to be amended a little or mixing between standing and laying.

In addition to the exercises in the first trimester, consider adding some variations to your squat such as narrow squats and wide stance squats. Triceps and shoulders during this trimester. 

Incline pushups

  1. Stand facing a ledge or railing and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the surface. 
  2. Step your body back into a standing plank position with your back in a straight line. 
  3. Bend your arms and slowly lower your chest toward the railing or ledge. 
  4. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

Hip flexor and quadriceps stretch

Due to postural changes, the second trimester is the ideal time to develop a stretching routine that focuses on the hip flexors, quadriceps, low back, glutes, and calves.

Because of your changing centre of gravity, the belly tends to fall forward, creating shortened hip flexor muscles. This exercise allows you to safely stretch during pregnancy. 

  1. Go into a half-kneeling position on the floor. Place your right knee on the floor and your left foot in front of you, left foot flat on the floor. 
  2. Keeping your posture nice and tall, lunge toward your left foot until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh. 
  3. Hold for 30 seconds, ease off, and then repeat 2 more times. 
  4. Switch sides and repeat.

Exercises to do in the third trimester of pregnancy

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Pilates
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Bodyweight moves

These help to keep your upper and lower body muscles strong.

It is important to avoid any exercise that places you at a risk for falls. Your centre of gravity is now going to be constantly changing, it’s smart to avoid exercises that could lead to a loss of balance, resulting in a fall.

Excersizes to target during the third trimester include:

  • Bodyweight squats or sumo squats with a wider stance for an increased base of support (only if you’re not experiencing pelvic pain)
  • Bicep curls with light weights
  • Push ups against a wall
  • Tricep kickbacks with light weight 
  • Standing shoulder press with light weights

Staying physically active during pregnancy is beneficial for both mum and baby. 

Including some form of exercise most days of the week will maintain a strong core always as improving it, keeping your muscles, and your cardiovascular system in good shape. Plus it can do wonders for your mental health.

Please listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain. You should always talk with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions regarding wanting to try new things in your workout or about how your body is responding to an exercise.

Credit – James Comley – Personal trainer & Sport coach

Key nutrients to help your children feel happier, healthier and smarter

Key nutrients to help your children feel happier, healthier and smarter

Key Nutrients to Help Your Children Feel Happier, Healthier, and Smarter

As a parent, you have a huge number of different jobs and roles. In fact, it can sometimes be rather overwhelming when you realize just how much responsibility you have and how much you need to remember and get right.

No pressure.

But here’s something else that’s important: nutrition. There are specific, key nutrients that can make a world of difference to your children’s happiness, their health, and their performance in school.

Again… no pressure.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important nutrients for our fast-growing children.


Omega 3 fatty acid is a fatty acid that is found in fish, particularly salmon and tuna. It’s also available in various nuts and other sources and can be taken as a supplement.
However, your kids get it, ensure that they are getting it. It is one of the key nutrients for happier and healthier children. The current Recommended Adequate Intake of omega-3s for kids are: 0 to 12 months: 0.5 grams/day. 1 to 3 years: 0.7 grams/day. 4 to 8 years: 0.9 grams/day.

Omega 3 fatty acid plays a huge number of different roles, but some of its greatest hits include:

● Reducing inflammation in the joints

● Reducing inflammation in the brain (which can reduce brain fog and even depression)

● Improving communication between cells by increasing cell membrane permeability

● Improving myelination of brain cells, helping young children to learn

● Increasing the production of DHEA and reducing cortisol (the stress hormone)


Lutein is a nutrient that is typically associated with eye health. In fact, elderly patients are advised to supplement with lutein in order to prevent macular degeneration and other issues. Vision is important for children too, especially during their developmental years. Lutein has also been shown to improve the efficiency of the mitochondria (a cell that converts out nutrients to energy), helping to give children more energy. Children are often thought to have and need more efficient mitochondria than adults. Lutein has also been linked with brain development and appears to correlate with performance in school during a child’s early years!

Vitamin D

A happy kid is a kid who spends a lot of time playing outdoors. Those are also the kids that have the most vitamin D – a prohormone that manages the production of other key hormones in the body. Vitamin D is produced in the body when we are exposed to sunlight. It can also be supplemented if your child spends more time indoors or if you living in the UK like us, where we get very few sunny days!  The most effective source of usable Vitamin D, though, is sunlight. Our children need regular, daily doses of this vitamin because our bodies don’t store Vitamin D. So, it doesn’t work to get a lot of sun one day and then none for a week! Daily exposure to sunlight, for at least 20 minutes, is essential or a supplement is highly reccomended.

It’s particularly important for our little people for a few reasons:

● It manages the production of growth hormone and testosterone.

● It encourages good sleep (which further elevates those hormones).

● It works synergistically with magnesium and calcium in order to strengthen the bones and aid growth.

There’s many more nutrients and vitamins our growing children need and its always good to talk to your GP or health practitioner to seek advice before supplementing your child with concentrated vitamins. However, these are a few examples of key nutrients that your kids need for a healthier, happier, smarter development.

Other important nutrients for children include (but are not limited to):

● Healthy fats
● Vitamin C
● Calcium
● Magnesium
● Iron
● Folate
● Protein

Do your research, look at your children’s diet and consult with your physician, to ensure that your children are given every chance to grow up as smart, strong, and happy as possible!