Ready to redefine your fitness journey during pregnancy? We promise this podcast episode will be your ultimate guide! Tackling fitness amid the whirlwind of pregnancy can feel daunting, especially if you've been practicing cyclical fitness prior to getting pregnant.
Should you keep following cyclical fitness? Are there phases to pregnancy? Haaalp!
We debunk the myth that pregnancy is merely an extended luteal phase, instead emphasizing that it demands a unique approach to fitness.
Moving forward, we venture into a powerful discussion on how to train like a mother, acknowledging the physical challenges that pregnancy and postpartum bring. This episode highlights why it is essential to fine-tune your workout regime according to your transforming body and uphold intensity levels that are perfect for you. We also delve into how to adapt your workouts during pregnancy and why these modifications can yield numerous benefits.
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Welcome to Keeping Balance, the podcast that brings the lived experiences of our health and fitness journeys to the forefront as we dive deep into the many nuances of what wellness and balance is. I'm your host, courtney Bibilia, a fitness nurse, business owner and mom of two, and if you want to feel heard and gain wisdom on your path to aligning physical fitness with mental health and joy as a woman, then you're in the right place. Hello everybody, welcome back to the show. So good to be back chatting with you. Hope you're doing well. Today we're tackling a beast, which is what to do when you become pregnant and how should you recalibrate your approach to fitness, especially if you've been practicing cyclical fitness. Do you keep doing the same thing? Do you change your approach entirely? Does cyclical fitness apply to pregnancy? What is the dealio? So we're going to tackle that today, but before we get started, we are going to start the episode off with new little segment I'm going to call KBM Win of the Week, where we're going to highlight some amazing women who are in the KBM community. And this is from Andrea, who shared this net with me via the KBM app. She dropped it in the community and she said just wanted to share a little love with Courtney. What I've noticed with KBM, especially Unstoppable, is that I'm able to work out any day of the month because I can trust that the workout is appropriate Not too easy, usually as challenging as I can handle that day, but never too hard or a mismatch for how I'm feeling. Even today where I'm feeling resistant, I know if I get started I'll be good. Thank you for introducing me to cyclical fitness and for challenging me too, and all I can say to that is I'm big, all hail. Yeah, that's exactly what I set out to do when it came to making all KBM programs is just making your yes easier, and Andrea has been showing us consistently through the community. I can see her tracking. Her progress has been incredible, and when she feels resistant, she says yes and she does it because she knows that it's going to be appropriate for her that day and I'm just so freaking proud. Proud mama over here. Oh, kiddo key, let's say you have been loving cyclical fitness. You've been doing it for I don't know, months, years, and then, boom, you get pregnant. And now, interestingly enough, this happens all the time, obviously because women get pregnant, but also because a lot of people who have been struggling with hormone imbalance or have been struggling to get pregnant sort of come into the cyclical fitness world as a tool to help them with their fertility, and it is a very powerful tool at that. So for a lot of women, this works as part of a comprehensive approach. It's not a match bullet by any means, but it's really going to help you support your body in a way that's sustainable, which is going to help your hormones and help your stress response and help your resilience, which is going to then, in turn, help your fertility. So what do you do? What do you need to change when you become pregnant, and does cyclical fitness even mean anything anymore? Well, first of all, you need to know that pregnancy isn't a phase right, and a lot of people try to say oh, pregnancy is just like one long luteal phase, and I think the reason that people say that is one because of general energy levels kind of matching that of the luteal phase. Two, because the star of the show in the luteal phase is progesterone. It's pretty high, and also in pregnancy, that's the other time when progesterone is very high. See, the issue is is you cannot call pregnancy or the entire pregnancy a luteal phase, because it's not. So what a luteal phase is is the two weeks after you ovulate. That is getting your uterus pretty much ready for a pregnancy. And so if you have conceived during ovulation, technically those first 10 days or so until implantation is going to be what feels like a regular luteal phase to you. And then, since your period is not going to come, then you start to get all those other pregnancy specific hormonal cascades HCG, estrogen and progesterone are rising rapidly throughout all three trimesters before they just fall off a cliff when you deliver. And so really, pregnancy is its own thing. It is not a luteal phase, and when you are pregnant you're not going to cycle through the four phases, because the whole point of the menstrual cycle is to make pregnancy possible. But then, once that pregnancy has occurred, you're not going to continue to cycle, you're not going to ovulate and you're not going to have a period. Okay, so once we have that established now you can kind of see. Well, you know it's not going to literally translate to what my hormones are doing If I am following, let's say, you know, the KBM program or the KBM membership, where you're going into different workout vaults depending on your phase. But here's the thing what is cyclical fitness? Yes, we are making our workouts match that of the physiological processes that are going on in our body and we're capitalizing off of that so that we're getting the most out of our workouts. But at its core, cyclical fitness is just an approach to periodization, periodization. Periodization, if I do say so myself, is a way that personal trainers design programs so that you are going gradually through different levels of intensity followed by lower intensity levels, and so periodization is just time blocks. And so for a lot of people who are not considering their menstrual cycles, their periodization cycles are, let's say, six weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks long. But for us ladies who are honoring our cycles, we are going off of a four-week time block period. So we're just working out in series after series after series of four-week time blocks in which we are gradually working out our way through the different intensity levels, and then we're kind of tapering things down. We have a deload week at the end of our cycle and into the first few days of our bleed. Ok, so if you just look at it that way and then you translate that to any other time or phase of your life, whether that's pregnancy, whether that's before you even get a period whether that's menopause then it literally just looks like oh, I'm doing two weeks of gradually more intense activity, then a week of moderate intensity activity and then a week of lowest intensity activity to sort of recover, recoup, deload and prepare for the next cycle where we're going to ramp up that intensity once more. So in that sense, you don't need to change anything in terms of how you are approaching intensity levels in pregnancy. So you really could just keep doing the same old thing. Because at the end of the day, especially with KBM, I make sure that all of the different elements of fitness and all the different things that we should be touching on are being touched on, whether that's strength training, more aerobic training, mobility, stability all of those things are going to get addressed if you're following a KBM program. But here's the thing, because pregnancy is so special it truly is there are some things that are going to need to shift. So you got to see why I hear you got to work with your own physician. Every pregnancy is going to be different, every woman is going to be different, every body is going to be different, and the guidelines for exercise training pregnancy are just all over the place and, quite frankly, don't make any sense, but they are starting to change. I mean, for me, my pregnancies, I was told both times not to lift anything heavier than 30 pounds and I'm looking with my pregnancy with Kelly, I'm looking at my toddler, who is quite hefty, I'm thinking, okay, so he's just going to have to fend for himself, I guess. So it just it doesn't make any sense what most doctors will tell you. But I will tell you what the CDC says and what ACOG says, which is the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics. And they recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week for women who are pregnant, which would look like 30 minutes five times a week of brisk walking. And ACOG also says that it highly encourages strength training for pregnant women. Okay, we know that physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause for pregnancy complications, things like diabetes, gestational diabetes, and you know you have to work with your own physician, right. But physical activity is so, so, so important at all times of your life in a way that is manageable and makes sense and that is supportive of your current goal. Okay, so what needs to change during pregnancy? There's going to be a lot of anatomical changes, of course, right. So, number one you've got the hormone relaxant going on surging throughout your body, and what relaxant does is it helps all of the different ligaments in your pelvis stretch and expand so that you can make room for your baby to come out, which is fantastic. That's amazing, wonderful. Thank you so much, body. But what your body doesn't do is make it specific to your pelvis. In fact, it actually you can feel these effects all over your body. You can actually experience that in your gums. Your teeth can shift during pregnancy. Because of this, some pregnant women are more prone to ankle sprains and injuries of that nature because of joints just being a little more loose. When I was pregnant, my knees were actually a lot looser and I had a significant knee injury on my right leg, and so that knee was just always kind of a little bit wobbly. So that's just something to look out for. Make sure you're doing a good quality workout, warm up, and make sure that you are always on a stable surface and wearing shoes that have a solid base, that you are not basically standing on cushions and making your joints that much more unstable. So there's that. Number two you are obviously going to be experiencing more and more pelvic pressure as your pregnancy progresses. Now some women are just like cool, whatever, I just doesn't affect me. Other women, myself included, were pretty much debilitated by this pelvic pressure. I had SPD, symphysis, pubic dysfunction, and it was so difficult for me to even walk because of this pain and this pressure as my pregnancy developed, and so really walking for me was the most that I could do past the 20 week mark, even though I just had all of this. You know, this vision in my mind of how I would have an amazing, active, athletic pregnancy and I'd be the cute mom with a little bump doing handstand pushups and this, that and the other Like it just didn't happen. For me in the body. It was like what is going on? I don't, I don't like this. So I did what I could. I may do, but that pelvic pressure is it could possibly change your movement choice. Okay, and same thing with your position. So previously women were told never lay on your back during pregnancy, and that's because the weight of that belly is going to be compressing on your blood vessels, which may drop your blood pressure, may make you dizzy, those sorts of things and inhibit blood flow, especially to baby. But that's not necessarily going to happen to all women and while I would not want you just laying on your back all day, of course you're not going to need to see how you feel and I would recommend that you play around with positioning for things that are laying on your back. So maybe you're going to lay on a bench that has an incline so you're propped up a bit, or you're placing a pillow underneath your back, things of that nature. Obviously we're not going to be laying on our bellies when we've got growing babe right there in front. So positional change is going to be a huge thing too. And then of course, there's physiological changes, like you know blood pressure changes, blood sugar changes, physiological anemia, where you may get more winded, you may get a little more dizzy, you might need more snackies. I was really sensitive to that first trimester where I actually passed out my first trimester with my pregnancy with Kellen and it was blood sugar and a blood pressure thing. I just had to pump electrolytes and water and have snacks literally all the time so that I wouldn't straight up fall over. So those are all different things to look out for and things that you might need to adjust. So the other thing too is, as your pregnancy progresses. I always tell women that pregnancy is really a day by day thing. So, yes, you can have a general plan for, yeah, I'm going to do two weeks of higher intensity, two weeks of lower intensity. But on that higher intensity day, just like any other time of life, you could just be like whoa, I am not feeling it today. Maybe you have pregnancy insomnia I know that's a thing too. Maybe you are crippled with nausea, and so you really gotta go day by day and just do what you can. So do you have to stop following a cyclical fitness progression in terms of your periodization and your general overall approach to fitness? Absolutely not. But should you be taking it day by day and just doing what you can? Absolutely and seriously. This is the same for everyone. Whether or not you're pregnant, you should never just blindly follow a program, even if your body is telling you something completely different. So in that first trimester I've gotten questions all the time. What do I do? This first trimester is kicking my butt. I can't even get up. And, honestly, when I was pregnant and I was working night shift in the ER, the most I could do sometimes and this was when I was having a lot of issues with my pelvic pain too. A lot of times I would just do laying down things. I would lay down in my bed and I would just move my joints around. I was like this is all I can do right now. So this is what I'm gonna do. I would just do gentle things that I could do, laying down on my side, on my back occasionally and there's tons of laying down workouts in the KBM membership which would come in such good handy, but that's all I could muster at the time and then lots of walking when I could. In my second pregnancy with Kellen, I was able to do much more activity. A because I had a toddler and I had no choice but B because I just felt so much better. My body was much more capable. It felt like it was just like oh okay, I remember this, this isn't so bad. And I was able to strength train and do a lot of gym workouts when I was pregnant and I stayed active through my whole pregnancy with Kellen. Now I will say my recovery and my birth experience with Kellen was way, way, way easier. Is that because it was my second time around and I just knew what to do? Maybe Is it because I was more active and that's what helped me recover. Maybe I definitely, I think, played a role. But the other thing I want to throw out there too, is that when you're pregnant and you are working out, your purpose changes, right. Your movement choice and your specific approach is definitely going to change, because pregnancy and delivery and postpartum girl, that's the most athletic thing that you were ever going to do in your life. In fact it's been. It's going around Instagram right now where labor is pretty much equivalent to running a marathon plus some. Or pregnancy the whole pregnancy is equivalent to running marathon after marathon after marathon. I mean you're just giving all of your resources and it's an incredible athletic feat. Then you are going to have to have this fitness to deliver the baby right, it is called labor for a reason. You are pushing, you are using so much strength to get that baby out and my delivery with Murphy I had to push for three hours, three hours, and I was so exhausted in between contractions that I would be falling asleep, felt like I was hallucinating, seeing myself from a different point of view, like I was on the ceiling looking down, grabbing crazy dreams and I was. That was truly the most intense exhaustion that I've ever done in my life, and my pregnancy, with my delivery with Kellan, was a much different story. I basically sneezed and he came out, but either way, it was an incredibly athletic thing that I had to do to carry those children and get them into this world. And so when you're training when you're pregnant, you're literally training like a mother. You're training not only to get these kids into the world, but then also you're going to be carrying them around all the time. When I had Murphy, I remember my biceps being so sore. I'm like whoa, why are my biceps so sore? It's because I was essentially holding an isometric contraction, holding him at my breast all day, every day. Get some good pillows, I'll just say that. But it's incredible how much you're using your strength To have to pick up your children all day, every day, and they get heavier. You know that is the ultimate progressive overload. Right, there is when your children are growing up and they are getting bigger and they're getting heavier and you're still picking them up and getting them up the stairs. That is the ultimate form of progressive overload if I've ever heard it. Okay, so keep that in mind. Train like a mother, and so I even in that sense, your movement choice might change because of that. Maybe you're doing more things to target your, your upper back, your shoulder strength, your bicep strength. Ladies, get that upper body strong so that you don't feel totally depleted by those early days of postpartum, because it's already, you know, quite a feat and you deserve to be able to rest and recover without you know I I almost want to say being at a disadvantage because you weren't prepared. So I just want to put it out there. But at the same time, please don't take this as me saying this is what you must do, and if you cannot be as active as you wanted to be, then you're a failure in this and the other. No, no, no, no, no. Like I said before, I dreamed of having a super strong, active pregnancy with Murphy, and all I could muster was laying down in my bed on my side and lifting my leg up and down over and over again and walking at work, because that's just the cards that was dealt and I did the best that I could with the situation that was at hand, and that's all you can do, and if you're doing your best, then you are incredible. Okay, so I hope this was helpful. Obviously, there's so many other things that we could be talking about pelvic floor work and breath work and this, that and the other and, yes, that's important. But I'm not a pelvic floor therapist, so I'm not gonna be sitting here preaching to you about specific ways to be healing your prolapse and pelvic floor issues, because that's not what I do. But you should definitely go see the pelvic floor therapist during pregnancy if you can, because I really wish I had that. I did have prolapse after I had Murphy. Like I said, I pushed for three hours and I had a bladder prolapse as a result, a cystocele and I didn't even realize this until I went back to work at 11, 12 weeks postpartum and, after a 12 hour shift being on my feet at the hospital, I was just bleeding and I was thinking to myself what on earth, why am I bleeding? I stopped bleeding from delivery about six weeks ago and then I started to feel this really Weird sensation like there was something between my legs, like there was like a ball. You know that sensation where your tampon is hanging halfway out and you have to walk around like that. Um, yeah, that's exactly what it felt like, and so I went home. I got a mirror, I was like holy shit, something's coming out of me called my doctor. She was like come on in and, sure enough, yes, cystocele, and. But you know what? I was told do your kegels and then eventually, when you're done having kids, we can do a surgery where we put a mesh there. I was thinking to myself, really that's the best we can do. Now I had a conversation with my uncle who is a urologist and he was telling me listen, you don't need surgery, you're way too young. There are different ways that you can deal with this. But also just know that there's nothing to be ashamed of Because you are quote-unquote fit and healthy and young, right like I think a lot of women assume that, since they are fit and Healthy and do all the right things, that they're not gonna have any complications. And I really did feel like a failure for such a long time after my delivery with Murphy, thinking like what? What did I do Wrong? Why couldn't I push him out? And he was sunny-side up, so he was facing the wrong way and nobody caught that and he had to. We had to use a vacuum to help get him out and I just felt like a total failure for for not having been able to like, do that delivery the way I thought that someone like me should, but the whatever should have could have stuff. That is the absolute death of joy and it totally just stole any confidence that I had as a mother going in. And so please, please, don't think that just because you are XYZ that means that your delivery has to be XYZ. It is what it is healthy baby, happy baby is only thing that mattered to me, and obviously a healthy mama. And here we are, four or five years later and he's probably the exact same as he would have been had I delivered him a different way. So that's my soapbox. That is. That is what I think about Transitioning from a typical fitness to pregnancy. Okay, I hope that helps. If you have any questions, you please feel free to DM me, email me, whatever you want to do, we can chat about it. But you know, I wanted to address this because there were some women who were messaging me and saying well, I really like these workouts, I really want to keep doing them, but I'm pregnant. Do I have to change anything? And so I just wanted to put that out there, that, while there are going to be definite anatomical considerations and modifications that you want to take into consideration, that the overall approach and how you're going to break up your intensity and your deloads and the timing of things doesn't have to change, because we want to be active and if something's working for you, then you should definitely keep doing that. Okay, I will see you guys next time. Lots of love If you are pregnant, happy pregnancy. I am just rooting for you from the bottom of my heart. Love you all Bye. Oh hey, can you believe that next week is Thanksgiving? Oh my God. Well, I am truly so, so thankful for you listening, for all of the KBM ladies and everyone who makes keeping balance such a fun place to be, which means it's my turn to give back to you for some amazing Black Friday deals on some of your favorite KBM programs. Friday, saturday and Sunday I'll be offering big discounts on my signature course, the annual membership and the bundle of the two for the best deal. So make sure you're on my email list so you don't miss out. The link to sign up for my emails is in the show notes. Have an amazing Thanksgiving. I love you all and I'll see you inside KBM.