So this evening, I’ve decided the only best way to keep track of any sort of pregnancy blog would be through tumblr (really, my only web blog I have). Each week I will try to post a picture and updates about the pregnancy until term.
Morning sickness has been absent through the majority of the pregnancy thus far, and it may be safe to say that it may never hit. I’ve been nauseated here and there, mainly if I haven’t been eating, which brings me to another topic. I’m constantly hungry! Although eating a large meal will set me off into a food coma and not feeling well (tummy ache) I do my best to eat small meals throughout the day. I find myself with more energy and a better attitude when eating healthy foods such as nuts, cheeses, crackers, veggies & fruits. Just like before pregnancy, ha. Diet truly makes a difference. Constipation is another issue I have, even when eating a balanced diet (including fiber, of course). We can blame that damn hormone Progesterone for slowing down the GI tract.
In the beginning of pregnancy I weighed about 130lbs and now I am weighing in at 135lbs on avg give or take. I’m not in my second trimester quite yet, so Im hoping to keep that weight at bay for now.
I’ve always been very health conscious since I’ve graduated high school and through college. I’m always attempting new healthy meal ideas and promote clean eating and decent exercise. Running has been my strength past couple years and I’ve really slowed down since becoming pregnant. Some of this is due to fatigue. I still consciously make aware to get a out a few times a week to do some cardio but tuning into your body is key in making sure you are not straining yourself in any way. Also, getting into a yoga class is next priority on the health list!
If anyone has any feedback; please leave it here. I’m a new mother to be to all of this and finding similar experiences from individuals out there will keep my mind at ease.
You’ve probably heard of Kegels before, right? By engaging your pelvic floor (act as though you’re trying to stop your urine midstream) before and during any abs exercise you perform, you better engage your transverse abdominals, which act as a girdle for your entire core. This helps give you a tighter midsection-quite literally-all the way around!
2. Focus on the Burn
Many times we completely zone out while working out. We’re watching TV, thinking of our to-do list, or even wishing the workout was over instead of paying attention to what we’re doing. By focusing on the exercise at hand, you not only are less prone to injury (no distractions so that you can listen to your body), but you also engage the mind-body connection which helps to recruit more muscle fibers, thereby improving your results.
3. Close Your Rib Cage
In your average sit-up you probably come up and down and don’t think much more about the movement, right? Well, when you lower down from a sit-up, pay close attention and keep your rib cage closed. This helps to “crunch” your abs more, engage your transverse abdominals, and keep your back safely supported.
4. Don’t Hold Your Breath
Your core muscles need oxygen to work at full capacity, so be sure that you keep breathing. As a general rule, you want to inhale on the easiest part of the move (on the way down from a crunch) and exhale when you have to exert the most force (on the way up on a crunch).
5. Work in All Dimensions
Your body doesn’t just work in one plane of movement, so why should your abs? Instead of always doing crunches, include abs exercises that rotate, twist and turn your body like you do in real life. Functional fitness moves such as this Side Lunge Wood Chop or this Stability Ball Chop and Twist are both great exercises to build a truly strong core.
6. Start Small
Just like you wouldn’t jump in the deep end of the pool before you know how to swim, you shouldn’t tackle a complicated or advanced core move on your first try. Start small by working in a smaller range of motion (holding a plank for 15-20 seconds), and then as your core strength improves and you master proper form, make the movement to larger and more difficult exercises.
7. Add a Weight
Dumbbells aren’t just for bicep curls! Like any other muscle, abs need to be challenged to get stronger. So if regular sit-ups aren’t doing it any more (or if you have to do more than 20 to feel the burn), throw someweight into the mix and watch your results multiply.
8. Always Warm Up Properly
A warmed up core is a happy core. Because your abs are tied in to your lower back, it’s extremely important to start any workout with a proper warm up to prevent injury. Warm those muscles up with some light marching in place and gentle standing rotation of your midsection.
9. Walk the Plank
Training your abs is not all about sit-ups and crunches. While those do work your abs, the plank is a more complete core move that works all the different parts of your abs and your upper-body. But instead of just holding the plank in a static position, engage even more of your ab strength by performing this challengingPlank Walk-Up. It’s tough, but your abs will thank you for it!
10. Picture a Grapefruit
One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing mat work for their abs is that they keep their head down. This puts unnecessary strain on your neck and takes the focus off of your abs to perform the move. Every time you’re doing abs exercises on the floor, imagine a grapefruit is lodged between your chin and your chest. For best results, don’t let your chin lower to your chest!
11. Do Squats
As exercise physiologists study and better understand the core, more and more are recommending that we think of our core not just as the stomach and lower-back area, but also as our entire pillar (meaning everything except our legs, arms, and head). To really strengthen your core, fitness professionals recommend strengthening the muscles that tie in to your pillar like your glutes. And what’s one of the best ways to fire those glutes? Deep squats, baby!
12. Train Your Lower Back
True muscle strength is all about balance. Many of us focus on toning our abs (the muscles we can see) and totally neglect our lower backs. This strength imbalance can lead to lower-back injury and pain. Here’s a good rule to remember: For every core exercise you do that only targets your abs (read: isn’t twisting, a plank, or involves standing—which all involve the back), you should do a specific low-back exercise as well like this Swan Dive. Working your lower back makes for a more complete abs workout!
13. Try Balance Work
Really want stronger abs? Incorporate balance work into your routine. Whether it’s with a Bosu, a stability ball, a balance board, or simply just standing on one leg, exercises that test your balance cause you to fire your core deeply, thereby giving you a more effective ab workout!
14. Go Slow
Think speeding through your ab workout will speed up your results? Think again. To really feel the burn, try slowing down. By changing the speed of your abs exercises, you’ll work your abs in a more targeted way that boosts strength and results!
15. Tweak Your Diet
It doesn’t matter how many hours you spend in the gym each week. If your diet isn’t on point, you’re not going to see that 6-pack. To show off those toned abs, eat a diet with plenty of lean protein, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Also, follow these tips to beat belly bloat (which might be hiding your fabulous abs!)
16. Give Yourself Adequate Rest
Just like other muscles, your abs need rest. Don’t directly work your abs two days in a row. Take a recovery day in between. Rest helps give you muscles time to repair and get stronger!
17. Change It Up
Are you guilty of doing the same ab workout day after day? If so, it’s time to switch it up. In fact, for best results, you should change up your entire workout-including abs!-every four to six weeks.
18. Maintain Constant Tension
If you’re short on time, here’s an easy trick to get more for your ab-workout buck: Flex your abs and keep them that way throughout your entire core workout. Whether you’re doing crunches, planks, or balance work, squeeze those abs as if you’re preparing for someone to punch you in the gut to get even more out of your usual moves.
19. Work Your Upper Abs Last
Many traditional abs exercises target the top of your abs. Problem is, they neglect your lower abs and obliques. Try starting your workout with lower-ab moves like this Double-Leg Lower Lift and this Bicycle Maneuver, which both work multiple areas of your abs. Then, if you have time, end your training session with upper-ab work.
20. Take Yoga or Pilates
Many yoga poses and Pilates exercises are extremely good for building core strength. If you’re sick of tacking ab workouts on to the end of your cardio or strength session, trade your usual moves in for a yoga or Pilates class. Besides building core strength, these mind-body exercises can also increase your flexibility and reduce stress. Bonus!
If you’re already working out with weights, keep reading so you can feel smug about all the benefits you’re getting. If you haven’t ventured into the weight room, here’s some extra incentive to do so.
It won’t even take that much time. You can get a solid strength workout in 20 to 30 minutes, and the American College of Sports Medicine says you only need two to three sessions a week. You don’t have to make a special trip to the gym either. Just cut back a little on the cardio to make room for strength training.
Here are five really good reasons to do so:
TO PROTECT YOUR BONES
Strength training is one of the best ways to maintain or increase bone density. Maybe you’re thinking, “I already jog or walk. Isn’t that enough?” It might be—for the lower half of your body. But what about the rest of you? Working out with weights encourages bone to become denser and stronger. Here’s why: During strength training, muscles exert force on bones that stimulates new growth. A well-rounded strength program applies good stress to the bones of your hips, spine, arms, and wrists (common fracture sites in people with osteoporosis). The best possible time to build dense bones is before you reach age 35. But it certainly isn’t too late for women in their 50s and 60s. You can learn more from my post “Six ways to save your bones,” which lists the top six exercises for building strong, sexy bones.
TO METABOLIZE SUGAR BETTER
Researchers have done fascinating studies on the plusses of regular strength training for diabetics. The more healthy muscle tissue they have, the better their bodies handle blood sugar and manage insulin. But you don’t have to be diabetic to benefit. Studies on healthy men showed that they improved too. Subjects who performed regular strength training and put on a little muscle had significantly reduced blood insulin concentrations after consuming a good-sized dose of glucose. This makes a lot of sense. Glucose—blood sugar—is your muscles’ fuel. You build muscle, you need more blood sugar to feed it. And that brings me to point No. 3.
TO BURN MORE CALORIES ALL DAY LONG
The word metabolism is tossed around a lot, but what does it really mean? The simple answer is that metabolism equals the energy it takes to exist—to run all the bodily processes necessary to keep you alive. The energy cost, or number of calories, required for you to breathe, digest food, pump blood, and so on is your basal metabolic rate. Your daily activity also has an energy cost, and we’ll touch on that in the next section. I know that some of us females are terrified of gaining muscle, but we shouldn’t be. First, unless we’re taking steroids or human growth hormone, we’re not going to look like men. Second, unless our body fat is extremely low, we’re not going to display much muscle definition. But muscle is your friend, not least because the more you have, the more calories you burn all the time, even when you’re asleep or stretched out on the couch. In my report “Build a Faster Metabolism,” I explain it all in detail, while comparing hypothetical twins. One exercises regularly, and the other is sedentary. The active one has 11.5 pounds more lean muscle mass than her sister (and looks a hell of a lot better in a pair of shorts). The leaner twin has a basal metabolic rate that’s 115 calories higher than the couch potato, and that doesn’t even take into account how many more calories the active one burns every day through exercise. Over a year, 115 calories a day amounts to the energy equivalent of 12 pounds. Pretty significant, yeah?
TO BURN MORE CALORIES AFTER A WORKOUT
Exercise of any kind is an essential weapon in our fat-burning arsenal. But did you know that you continue burning extra calories even after you’ve hopped off the treadmill or put away your bike? We’re talking about a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC. On days when you do cardio, your calorie burn is slightly elevated for up to several hours after you finish. But when you perform high-intensity strength training, your EPOC is even greater. As trainer and fat-loss expert Tom Venuto puts it in his book Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle, “studies have shown increases in metabolic rate of as much as 4 to 7 percent over a 24-hour period from resistance training… . For someone with an expenditure of 2,500 calories per day, that could add up to 100-175 extra calories burned after your weight-training workout is over.”You can see how quickly adding even two strength-training sessions per week could boost your fat-loss results.
TO CREATE A BETTER SHAPE
Even if you’re not especially motivated by the idea of building strong bones or processing glucose better, I’ll bet you care how your butt looks in a pair of tight jeans. Ladies, nothing in this world can improve your shape like working out with weights. Want a firm and curvy rear end, lean legs, and shapely shoulders? Cardio can’t deliver them, but weights can. I know we tend to get anxious about the scale. But if you gained 10 pounds of muscle and lost 10 pounds of fat, your appearance would be significantly improved—even though the needle on the scale hadn’t budged. You’d be smaller, and your clothes would fit better because the 10 pounds of fat you burned were much bulkier than 10 pounds of lean, lovely muscle. Of course, it won’t happen overnight. For most women, adding muscle is a slow process. But while you’re patiently lifting weights to gain all their unique benefits, you might find you fall in love with the iron.