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WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: First Trimester Fitness

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Personal trainer Irene McCormick knows a thing or two about exercising during pregnancy. It was the topic of her thesis – one she chose after a woman criticized her at the gym.

“Exercise during pregnancy is safe and effective, if you’ve been cleared by a physician,” McCormick said. “There are so many things you can do, very few you can’t do, and there are a lot of things that you should just modify.”

Irene says the key is to listen to your body and make changes if you need to. “You may need to decrease speed, decrease intensity, decrease duration,” McCormick said.

That’s what I did during workouts during my first trimester, but I didn’t stop exercising altogether because I knew it was good for me.

“Exercise can give you so much energy – something you need desperately when you’re pregnant,” McCormick said. “Plus just general feelings of wellness and the endorphin high you get from exercising is wonderful!”

Body fat increases during pregnancy, so maintaining lean muscle mass is important, and McCormick says exercise is also great for your developing baby!

“You’re flushing back blood that is filled with nutrients and all sorts of wonderful things for this growing fetus, and many studies show that babies born to women who exercise self-soothe better, have higher levels of literacy, and communicate effectively at a younger age,” McCormick said.

And don’t forget what it’s going to take to bring baby into the world. It’s a good idea to train for it! “Labor, by definition, means work,” McCormick said with a smile. “It would benefit you tremendously to be doing strength training, cardio conditioning, and to have your body in tip-top shape for the big event – which is your baby’s delivery!”