Pregnancy Workouts

2 Dec

Working out while pregnant is a must do in my book.  As long as you are medically fit to do so and get doctor’s clearance that is.  I think a lot of woman use growing a baby as an excuse no to stay physically fit themselves when in reality, pregnancy is a major reason to get strong and fit. 

Not only is working out while pregnant good for your body, it is also good for your mind.  I’ve noticed that the further along in pregnancy I’ve gotten the more I’ve cherished my “me time” in the gym and have used the time to de-stress from all the stresses pregnancy can bring (like thinking about pushing out a baby)!

So, I wanted to touch on what I’ve done for exercise during the first second and third trimester so far.

First Trimester


This trimester, when I wasn’t suffering endlessly from morning sickness, I stuck with my pre pregnancy workouts.  I was lifting heavy weights, running high intensity intervals and doing lots of steady state cardio.  I tired to keep up with my usual routine.  Around week 12 (2 weeks before the second trimester) I had to decrease my running speed on the treadmill to keep my heart rate in check.  When I spoke with my doctors they told me to keep my heart rate between 135 and 154bpm.  This wasn’t going to happen for me.  I decided what was best for me was to keep my heart rate below 170bpm.  I based this on my pre and post natal exercise education and my own personal fitness level.

*My recommendation is to talk with your doctor or midwife about what is best for your own situation.  I do not recommend anyone working out while pregnant and allowing their heart rate to get to 170bpm unless it is medically cleared by your doctor*

My workouts first trimester looked like this:

  • Cardio 45+ minutes
  • Strength- Heavy lifting plus intervals
  • Cardio 45+ minutes
  • Strength- Heavy lifting plus intervals
  • Cardio- 45+ minutes

In addition, I tried to get in three prenatal yoga sessions


Second Trimester

2011-10-12 07.05.15

This trimester I had to slow down my workouts a lot by week 20.  I stopped running intervals right away (at 14 weeks), I stopped running all together this  (couldn’t stand my bump bouncing up and down) and really had to keep an eye on my heart rate.  I tried to average 5 workouts a week and stick with getting in three weekly prenatal yoga sessions.  I traded in running for incline walking.  I love incline walking to a song and then walking for another song on my iPod.  It makes time go quickly for me.  I also started doing a lot more elliptical this trimester as walking was bringing on lots of Braxton hicks contractions and was also pretty uncomfortable on my ligaments.  Here is what I did for most of my second trimester:

  • Cardio 45+ minutes
  • Strength- Back, Arms, Core
  • Cardio 45+ minutes
  • Strength-  Legs, Pecs, Shoulders
  • Cardio 45 + minutes

*My strength days I would change up but typically they were split like the following.*

Third Trimester

2011-11-23 07.06.52

So far third trimester workouts have been going great.  I am still trying to get in 5 workouts a week and plan to do so until I get to tired (or too big) to keep them up.  So far so good though!  : )  I’m also still getting in three prenatal yoga sessions each week, as they really help with my lower back pain and stretching out my hips.  I think all the yoga is going to be really beneficial during labor not to mention I love meditating at the end of each session and just take a minute to focus on my breathing.

Here is what my workouts have looked like so far in the third trimester:

  • Cardio- 45+ minutes
  • Strength-  Upper body with lots of cardio bursts
  • Cardio-  45+ minutes
  • Strength-  Lower body with lots of cardio bursts
  • Cardio- 45+ minutes

I’m not too worried with changing up my routine during pregnancy, I’m more concerned with keeping active and keeping my muscles from losing both their tone and muscle mass. 

In addition, I’ve been trying to walk the dog 5 times a week anywhere form one mile to 3 miles.  I have to take it easy since we live in a very hilly area but I don’t think the dog minds.  : )


*This post was to inform you about the choices I’ve made personally. It is not meant to be a guide to exercising when you are pregnant. Please consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially when you are pregnant.*


The makeup less awful pic has returned!  I was in my workout clothes though, so it seemed fitting!




  • Did you workout while you were pregnant or do you plan too?
  • Are you a yoga fan?  Do you find it helpful in de stressing?
  • When did you find your energy fading during pregnancy, if at all?


40 Responses to “Pregnancy Workouts”

  1. Jessica C. December 2, 2011 at 8:01 am #

    I am very inspired by your workouts while pregnant! Will defintely motivate me while I am pregnant:) I know for myself I work hard for my fitness level because it makes me feel good, not working out would not make me feel so good.

    I know you have probably mentioned this before, but what prenatal video did you get? Do you like it?

    You look amazing by the way!

  2. Claire @ Live & Love to Eat December 2, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    I love knowing that it’s safe to work out when I’m pregnant some day. Most women don’t seem to!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:36 am #

      A lot of woman think it is not healthy and tend to play it a little too safe. As long as you are listening to your body and your doctor, exercise is so great during pregnancy!

  3. allieksmith December 2, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    I love this post! I think people are overly cautious about working out while pregnant, it is so good for you!

  4. Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather December 2, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I’ve definitely found working out while pregnant to be SOOOO beneficial. Exercise has always been a mental release for me (and good for my body), but now it also gives me so much more energy too. I’m at 15 weeks and still doing the same workouts as before I was pregnant (teaching cycle + body pump, lifting, running and walking), but I’ve definitely taken it down a notch. Instead of focusing on heart rate (mainly because I don’t have a heart rate monitor), I go by intensity. I’m not pushing myself to the limit, but I’m still challenging myself. So far feeling great.

    I love the breakout between each trimester. I should DEF try to add in some yoga + swimming soon too.

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:34 am #

      I would totally recommend having you add in yoga! It really helps to stretch the hips, glutes and legs out and prep your body and mind for birth. Plus it is such a stress reliever, if you need on! I love my time meditating at the end!

  5. Shanna, like Banana December 2, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Good for you!

    And I totally agree — working out has been key for me and for baby. I hear that keeping up an active physically fit pregnancy helps the baby sleep easier at night when he arrives. Let’s hope so!

    I’m doing 5-6 workouts a week but only for about 35-40 minutes and then some stretching and of course dog walking.

    Working out has also provided me the ‘high’ I needed and the stress release since I can’t have my glass of vino 😛

  6. Lisa @ Healthy Diaries December 2, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    Lots of girls use being pregnant as an excuse to not work and I think it’s so sad. It’s so good for the mom and baby. I know I will definitely continue to work out when I’m pregnant, but like you, alter some of my exercises.

    I’ve said this before, but you’re such a great role model for other pregnant ladies!

  7. Jamie @ Food in Real Life December 2, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    I’ve done an okay job staying active during my pregnancy- I’ve pretty much done something at least 3 times a week. Now at almost 8 months, my cardio ability is over because the hip/pelvic pain I get as a result is not worth it. But I’m loving yoga! It’s the best thing ever to stretch me out and relax that mind full of baby prep thoughts!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      I’m so happy you are loving yoga! I can relate with the pelvic pain. Some days I get it so bad it literally hurts to walk, but luckily for me, most of that went away about a month ago. Yoga is probably so great to help stretch out your hips!

  8. Julie December 2, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Luckily for me, I’ve had a great pregnancy to date (I’m currently 27 weeks) and have been able to continue exercising. I’m running about 10 miles per week (2-3 runs each week) and I personally think the baby enjoys the ride! Also, I’m still going to the gym and doing light weight lifting that doesn’t require squatting, lunges, or abs. I find those moves too uncomfortable at this point.

    Staying fit throughout my pregnancy really leaves me feeling more confident while in this new body…and once I have this little one I’ll know that I did my best to stay in shape so hopefully I won’t be too hard on my ‘after’ delivery body and can bounce back more quickly.

    But for the record, the 1st trimester was TOUGH. I was so tired…I could barely lift 5 pds! ha! 🙂

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:29 am #

      Wow, you are doing such a great job! I can’t imagine running ten miles a week right now! Walking I could manage! Squats and lunges are getting hard for me with the giant stomach but I’m still trying to get them in.

      I agree that working out while pregnant gives me confidence as well in this new body.

  9. Heather B December 2, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    You’re just as pretty without makeup as you are with it! I worked out my whole pregnancy but my running pace severely decreased! I usually run around a 8:30/9 minute mile (not fast – I run for fun) but my mile jumped up to 11 minutes!! I’m not a yoga fan but I like pilates. I had no energy in the first trimester and in the last part of the third trimester. I was sick for 7 out of the 9 months!!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:27 am #

      I don’t know how you ran your whole pregnancy! I can run for about one minute now and then my heart rate spikes up too high and it get uncomfortable. You are such a great motivation for me!

  10. Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength December 2, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Yup – I worked out my entire pregnancy including the day that I gave birth. Like you, I stopped running at some point in the 2nd trimester. It didn’t feel good and I had major groin pain the day after if I ran.

    I did a ton of kettlebell workouts. I did about 3 strength workouts each week and 2-3 easier days of cardio. On the other day(s) I would at least try to get in a decent walk just to move my body a bit. I am a huge believer in training while pregnant and look forward to helping other woman learn the benefits of staying fit during pregnancy. I had a really easy labor and delivery one day after my due date and my baby has been a great sleeper and really well behaved. (He’s now almost 6 months!)

  11. cardiopizza December 2, 2011 at 1:12 pm #

    I love reading about this – it’s so interesting to see what women do when they’re pregnant with their workouts. It gives me something to learn more about before I become pregnant one day!

    I do think there is a big difference with how much a more fit woman can do while pregnant vs. a non-fit woman. My boss taught group exercise classes all the way up until the day before giving birth!

    You look great by the way!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:25 am #

      It is interesting to read about what other woman do. I found it hard to find examples when I was first pregnant so I thought this would be helpful for a lot of woman. Everyone is so different but it is inspiring to read about other’s journey’s with working out while pregnant!

  12. Running Girl December 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    You look amazing! I did work out with my first, and stayed in reasonably good shape. I had a surprise pregnancy when I was 4 months post-partum (be careful on that mini pill!) & honestly was completely wiped from having a tiny, non-sleeping newborn at home & being pregnant on the second go round. I did not work out, and I could tell! I lost a lot of muscle tone & it was not pretty. It’s taken me just under five years to lose all of the baby weight.

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:23 am #

      4 months post partum! You were one busy mom! We’re hoping to add to our family soon after Cameryn is born, but definitely not that soon. Good for you for working towards your goal, I’m so happy to hear you have lost all the baby weight!

  13. Dawn December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm #

    It’s great that you are still so active with your pregnancy. When I was pregnant (many years ago) I walked a lot and it made my pregnancy easier on me than most people. I walked up until it was time to have my daughter.

  14. Erica December 2, 2011 at 6:01 pm #

    Yes! Keeping healthy is sooo important. You def have to be mindful of both your hr and how you feel!! But keeping moving is super important. I taught pump the week i delivered-the body can do amazing things

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:21 am #

      You do have to be mindful of both your heart rate and go by how you feel. You did such an amazing job when you were pregnant with teaching and working out!

  15. Shayla @ The Good Life December 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    You look so fantastic girly!!! You’ve done an amazing job working out throughout all your trimesters! 🙂

    I definitely plan on exercising throughout my pregnancy – I hope to do just as well as you and you’ll be inspiration for me when it’s my turn! I have no clue how I’ll feel once I’m pregnant, but I sure hope I have the energy to since I think it’s so important to stay active during pregnancy, for mom and baby. I’ve also read that being active during pregnancy instills in the baby to have a propensity to love exercise and be active in their adult life. I’m a believer since my mom exercised (Jazzercised!) during both her pregnancies and we’re workout fanatics! 😉

  16. sweetlyvegan December 2, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    I love having a personal trainer’s example and own personal experience to go by. You look fantastic which really shows you know exactly what you are doing. Plus you are very disciplined with your workouts and seeing that kind of dedication really lights a fire under my butt every morning to get down to the gym! I know I always feel better after I have worked out! (:

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 3, 2011 at 7:17 am #

      I agree that I always feel better once I’ve worked out. I’ve never regretted working out, but I alway regret when I don’t workout! I’m glad we can all motivate each other to stay fit and healthy during pregnancy!

  17. Lea @ Healthy Coconut December 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Kjirsten,you are really an inspiration. You look great, you look healthy and your baby is lucky to have you as a mom. Someone who is dedicated and takes care of her health.

    You know what they say….Happy Wife (or Happy Mom), Happy Life!

    I hope to continue my workout when the time comes for us to have children. Although I have some medical issues, I will have to consult my doctor and see what’s best for me. But as long as I feel comfortable then I will keep moving and keep my fitness routine.

  18. Allie @ PickyEatingRD December 5, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    I love that you discussed your heart rate max with your Dr. So many of my clients just (who are extremely active prior to pregnancy) just stick to the general 140. I think you need to keep safety on the forefront but if you were working out consistently for years with a heart rate reaching the 180s+, you should be able to go a bit beyond the generalization. Again, keeping safety and how you feel in mind!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 7, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

      I totally agree. I think it depends a lot on your fitness level. Also, new guidelines don’t talk about heart rate but talk about sticking with what your used to and slowing down as needed, which I think is a great rule. I tend to push myself super hard so I knew keeping below a certain number was probably best in my case.

  19. Marissa December 5, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Awesome job, Momma! You look fabulous! YES, I was actually teaching aerobics to the teachers after school when I went into labor with my second son. With my first, I worked out until the last week before delivery too! Awesome feeling and I think you bounce back A LOT faster! Hang in there, can’t believe you’re almost there!! You seriously look great!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Oh my gosh! That is so crazy that you went into labor teaching with your second son! I can’t believe I’m almost there too! Just as long as time keeps going by quickly!

    • Trainer Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 7, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

      Oh my gosh! That is so crazy that you went into labor teaching with your second son! I can’t believe I’m almost there too! Just as long as time keeps going by quickly!


  1. 21 weeks « sweetlyvegan - December 20, 2011

    […] have to be more careful. I try to keep my heart rate between 150-170 as one of my friends, Kjirsten, a personal trainer/blogger who is also pregnant […]

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