Exercise, pregnancy, and staying active when I feel like trash.

Written by CLAIRE HOLT | Sep 28, 2023
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I love to exercise for so many reasons, but one of the awesome benefits is that you get real results from the work you put in. With time you get stronger, fitter, have more energy, and less pain doing things like deadlifting a toddler or carrying 75 groceries bags in one trip. Exercise during pregnancy is an entirely different story. I feel weak, exhausted, large, and often find myself thinking why the hell do I even bother. But I keep showing up. I keep squatting, push-up-ing, and not so hot girl walking, because I know how much it helps in the long run. 

My relationship with exercise and pregnancy has been different each time.

During my first, I sat on the couch and barely moved. I was so terrified to do anything that could harm my baby, so I wanted to ‘play it safe’. Needless to say, recovery was a bitch and I felt like a wet noodle for many months after James arrived. When I was pregnant with Elle, I was far more active, but I was still scared to push too hard or let my heart rate get too high. It was also peak covid, so I didn’t have access to a gym or any group fitness classes. This time I’ve really gone for it. I ran as long as my bladder and pelvic floor allowed, I still lift heavy weights, and I aim to exercise at least 5 days a week. Funnily enough, I’ve gained about the same amount of weight each time. It's really not about the lbs, though. I don’t want to feel like I’ve been hit by a train during the postpartum period. I want to be able to bend over and hug my kids, rock my baby, and climb stairs without crumbling to pieces. I know how much better I felt after Elle than James, and I’m hoping that’s the case this time. Obviously it’s vital to get the all clear from your OB or midwife before you begin any kind of exercise regimen (there are definitely circumstances where they advise against it). If everything looks good, I highly encourage you to put on those hideous maternity leggings and get moving. 

The tools I’ve used and loved.

Obé Fitness - This app has been a go-to since before I had James. They have great variety when it comes to prenatal classes, which is key for me since I’m prone to boredom. I love to take Michelle’s bar/sculpt classes. They’re TOUGH but perfect for pregnancy. 

Peloton - I just reallllllly enjoy the peloton workouts. The instructors are the best in the biz (Cody, Tunde, Adrian, Alex T… I want to be friends with all of them). You can find classes to suit whatever your goals are, and I’ve taken them during my pregnancies, my marathon era, and everything in between. You don’t have to have the tread or the bike either. There are plenty of options to choose from if you have no equipment, prefer to run outdoors, or exercise in the gym. 

Forward Space  - I’ve always loved to dance, but the idea of taking my wide load to a group class has me feeling queasy. Also, why do all dance classes start at 8pm? I’m too tired to even contemplate that. Forward Space is my answer. I use their online portal and take the classes with my curtains drawn and music blasting. It’s without a doubt my number one feel-good activity. I have so much fun and the time passes really quickly. Rachel is my favorite and I’m actually going to take one of her classes once I finish writing today.

Pvolve - I am obsessed with these workouts. I first started going in-person in LA, but once I got back to Miami I purchased the equipment and online program so I could do it from home. I really feel like I’m hitting all areas of the body, and it’s a great combination of strength/sculpt + cardio. There’s also a ton of hip mobility and glute strengthening work, which makes a real difference for me since my hips give me such grief when I’m baking a kid. I’m really excited to try their pelvic floor classes postpartum. 

Instagram accounts I find inspiring.

@emsnell - She’s a pre/postnatal trainer who is currently pregnant herself. I love her videos and find them so informative. Lots of mobility, pelvic floor work (both strengthening and lengthening), and strength exercises for all trimesters. 

@emilyskyfit - I LOVE Emily. She’s so real and down to earth, and has worked her ass off to get fit and strong after two pregnancies (her son surprised her by making an entrance on her living room floor lol). She shares so much great info and is all around very inspiring. 

@deliciouslyfitnhealthy - So many great at-home workouts. She’s got a boatload of kids, is a pregnancy/postpartum/core specialist, and I really like her style of exercise. 

@meggangrubb - She’s a trainer who just had her first baby, and I’ve really enjoyed following her pregnancy workouts and early postpartum journey. I attempted one of her glute workouts (that she did when 38 weeks pregnant!!) and almost perished. 

@dalalovesdumbbells - Another fitness coach who just had her first. She shares a lot of helpful advice and I really like her attitude towards the changes that happen to your body during pregnancy/postpartum.

My favorite products.

Fitsplint - This is the BEST maternity support band out there. I’ve tried so many and this is the only one that I’ve found to be truly comfortable and supportive. You can also adjust both the top and the bottom of the belt to accommodate your growing belly. Highly recommend it.

Poshdivah leggings - I know the name is lame but the leggings are far from it. I tried to squeeze into my alo gear as long as I could but it’s just not happening for me anymore. These are a great, affordable alternative. I don’t believe you have to spend a bunch of money on maternity clothes in order to find stuff that works.

Electrolytes - These are really beneficial during pregnancy (and also regular life). Ask the experts! I’ve been switching between Cure and LMNT. I prefer LMNT in the evenings because it has magnesium which is supposed to help you sleep. Still kinda waiting for that to happen but I haven’t given up hope. 

Resistance bands - This is my most used piece of exercise equipment. Cheap as chips, lightweight (so great for travel), and you can target so many more body parts than you’d think. I do a lot of hip/glute work with bands and I really believe it’s helped mitigate some of my pregnancy symptoms. 

Just to be clear, none of this is sponsored. I invest money in my health and fitness because I think it pays off in spades, and I want to share the things that have worked for me. LMK what you’re loving too - I’m always looking for new ideas/apps/ways to stay motivated. 

Happy squatting! 

C x

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  • N
    Nicole | 11.02.2023 | 05:39PM

    Love your updates and your feelings written down. I read that you follow @deliciousltfitnhelthy and I do it too, she is fantastic, I really suggest you to follow @carolinepackarddpt and @karraherrik they are fabulous too and their work is specific for pelvic floor: how to work not to damage your pelvic. Anyway, greetings from Italy, really love what you do!!

  • J
    Jaclyn | 10.05.2023 | 04:12PM

    I wish you would “complain” more (if you would call it that). I love your honesty. I love that you share your favourite things and most of all it’s so nice to hear that while you look absolutely amazing, you don’t feel amazing all of the time and you talk about it and the world needs more of that and I’m here for it.

  • A
    Andrea Blanco-Nir | 10.05.2023 | 04:12PM

    I love the Alo moves app/site. They have great workouts, many preggo options. I’d love to swim but my OB doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me