Pregnancy Articles

Is Your Exercise Program Wearing You Out?

No Pain = BIG Gain

As a BabyFit member, you understand the importance of exercising moderately and consistently throughout pregnancy—for the health of you and your baby. 
For some of us, common sense dictates that the more you work out—and the higher the intensity—the better.  But that’s not necessarily true.  Even if you’ve gradually increased the intensity, duration and/or frequency of your workouts, you can still run into problems. 
Have you noticed that your workouts suddenly feel harder than before, even though you haven’t changed anything?  Do you feel like you are losing ground, even though you’re working hard?  You may be overdoing it.  
The cause of overtraining is simple.  Your body is going through many rapid changes as your baby—and belly—grow and develop.  Even relatively simple tasks are harder to complete when you’re hauling around extra weight.  If you’re not allowing your body enough time to recover (from exercise and the increased demands of pregnancy), or if you’re doing the same exercises too much, common symptoms of overtraining can occur:
  • Feeling tired, drained, and lacking energy
  • General body aches or mild muscle soreness
  • A decrease in performance
  • Inability to complete workouts
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Lack of motivation
If you have been overtraining, it’s not too late to get back on track!  Follow these three steps:

1.  Your first priority should be rest.  Just a day or two probably won’t do it.  Depending on how severely you’ve been pushing yourself, three to five days should give your body enough time to recover—both physically and mentally.
2.  Get plenty of sleep and make sure you’re eating well, particularly during this recovery period.  Focus on getting adequate amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, and lots of fruits and veggies.
3.  When you are ready to return to your exercise routine, start off slowly.  Most research shows that it is okay to exercise at your pre-pregnancy level of intensity, but you may need to cut back on the length and frequency of your workouts. 
Here are some simple things you can do to avoid overtraining and burnout: 
  • Use common sense!  Work out less on days when you’re not feeling up to it.  Schedule at least one or two rest days per week.  Resting might mean no exercise at all, or “active recovery,” which is light activity (an easy walk around the neighborhood, for example).  Rest days should give you the feeling that you’re storing up energy. 
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About The Author

Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. As a certified personal trainer, she also holds a certification in prenatal and postpartum exercise. Jen has two children and enjoys running marathons.

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