August 21, 2015
When I was pregnant with my son, I began searching for safe and effective workouts that would address my fitness needs as a pregnant woman. It wasn't just something I wanted, it was something I needed. So, I went looking for advice that I could trust and I quickly came to the realisation that I couldn't find anything useful because it simply didn't exist. I knew this type of targeted and relevant information was a vital need for women during pregnancy and new motherhood, and that's why I created Baby2Body. The Baby2Body you see today has been expanded and revitalised to provide a comprehensive health and wellbeing experience for mothers on an easily accessible digital platform - call it Baby2Body 2.0 if you will.
But as a sport psychologist - and exercise fanatic - fitness remains near and dear to my heart. I always feel my best after exercising - and when I'm having a bad day the only thing that rejuvenates me is a good workout. That's why I'm taking you behind the scenes to have a sneak peak at my go-to workout routine. I hope you enjoy!
Step 1: Look the part
In order to fully prepare for a workout I need to feel like I am dressed and ready to perform. It's something small but it really does make a difference. I like to follow this mantra: 'if you look the part, you'll play the part'. Here's a look at what my gym outfit looks like, from head to toe:
- For my hair: I swear by these L. Erickson Ponytail Holders from Nordstrom - I won't use anything else. These elastics won't tear or pull and they're strong enough to hold up my ponytail - which is an impressive feat in itself. I recommend sporting a low-sitting ponytail for any exercise, as it will be much gentler on your hair than a high ponytail or bun.
- For my body: I always wear the same style outfit when I workout. I aim for clothes that are lightweight, breathable, and of course comfortable. This collection from Sweaty Betty is a great example of my trademark exercise outfit: capri leggings, a tank top with built-in bra, and a full-zip jacket to keep me warm pre and post-workout.
- For my feet: I like to treat my feet well - so my must-have footwear for any workout is a pair of Nike Free 5.0 trainers combined with some Nike dri-fit socks. The shoes give me just the amount of support and stability I need without restricting my movement, and the socks are breathable and lightweight so my feet never feel uncomfortable.
Step 2: What's in my bag
I go everywhere with my Longchamp Tote Bag, and that includes the gym. It's sturdy yet stylish, and spacious but still lightweight. I'd be lost without it. Here's what's inside my gym bag:
- Baby2Body water bottle - I only drink water during a workout and of course I use my Baby2Body branded water bottle, which will soon be available on our online shop!
- Philips ActionFit Headphones - I've had mine for 5 years and they're still amazing - they stay put, they're sweat resistant, and the sound quality is excellent.
- Eos Lip Balm - my personal favourite is the pomegranate, but EOS provides a lovely selection to choose from. This natural lip balm soothes and softens and adds a perfect touch of shine.
- Amie New Bloom gentle cleansing face wipes. These face wipes are convenient and great for quick cleansing, as they are safe on skin and lush with natural extracts. I use them on my face both before and after a workout. However once I'm home, I always follow a proper cleanse, tone and moisturise routine.
Step 3: The warm-up
An effective warm-up should slowly raise your heart rate and "wake up" the muscles you are about to use. Most importantly, a good warm-up will reduce your chance of injury by helping to loosen your muscles and joints. I'm a fan of hopping on an elliptical to get my body ready:
- 10 minutes (easy pace) - My initial goal is to raise my heart rate up to 100 beats per minute and maintain that for 10 minutes.
- 25 minutes (fast pace) - Next I work on getting my heart rate up into the target zone of 120-160 beats per minute to work on my cardio fitness.
- 5 minutes (easy pace) - To finish it off, I slow it down just a bit right at the end to let my heart rate come down a bit before hopping off and heading into a strength training workout.
Step 4: The workout
I tend to vary which muscle groups I focus on, but if I were to do a full body workout in one trip to the gym - this is what it would look like:
- Upper Series - using 4-kg weights and kettlebells
- 10 bicep curls
- 10 tricep curls
- 10 upright rows
- 10 lateral raises
- Repeat Upper Series
- Lower Series
- 10 squats
- 10 lunges - alternating sides for one repetition
- 10 side lunges - alternating sides for one repetition
- 10 hip lifts
- Repeat Lower Series
- Floor Series
- 4 sets of 30-second planks
- 30 second break in between sets
- 2 sets of 1-minute planks
- 30 second break in between sets
- 4 sets of 30-second planks
Step 5: The cool down
An effective cool down is crucial for safely lowering your heart rate and preventing post-workout dizziness. It's also a great time to work on improving your flexibility - because your muscles are warmed up and primed for stretching. My cool down usually lasts about 15 minutes and I love following this simple yoga flow to finish off my gym session:
- Warrior Pose - both sides
- 2 sets of Sun Salutations
- Downward Dog
- Crow Pose
- Pigeon pose - both sides
- Butterfly pose
- Supine spine twist - both sides
- Bridge Pose
- Cat and Cow pose
- Child's pose
How to fuel and refuel for your workout
- For early morning workouts, don't be afraid to have a small cup of coffee beforehand. Not only will it help wake you up, it can also make your exercise more effective! Check out the research here.
- If you're feeling hungry before your workout routine, opt for a banana as a snack. The research is still inconclusive regarding how much food you should have in your stomach during a workout, but one banana will give you a jolt of energy and the potassium will help reduce the likelihood of cramping.
- After a tough workout, I recommend refueling on lean meats and other healthy protein sources. My typical post-exercise meal includes salmon, chicken or a bean salad. I pair it with a tall glass of water that has some fresh orange slices cut up in it so I can rehydrate and replenish my balance of electrolytes.
Do you have a go-to workout routine or favourite fitness class? Share in the comments below!