Maternity Workouts & Workout Gear

running while pregnant

Before I got pregnant, I thought that I would spend the nine months running and sweating in the same way as before. I had visions of finishing multiple races while wearing a fun pregnancy tank, further developing my muscles and strength during high intensity workouts and continuing to explore and try different NYC boutique fitness workouts via ClassPass.

I quickly realized, that pregnancy is unique for each person. Personally, I found it virtually impossible to workout during weeks 7-12 of pregnancy due to exhaustion and some nausea. Over the past 11 weeks I have luckily been able to return to a consistent workout routine, averaging six workouts per week. However, my weekly workout schedule has evolved and quite different than what I did before.

  • Most weeks, my workout schedule is as follows:

Instead of trying multiple studios and teachers per month, I am more focused. Each of the above workouts leave me feeling strong, energize and most of all – safe. The instructors are able to easily provide me with prenatal adjustments while also focusing on form and technique. These workouts are also helping me prepare for the marathon that will is child birth and being a new mom. These workouts also take place in Brooklyn, which is quite an adjustment from my previous routine.  Walking to workouts allows me to enjoy some fresh air and extra movement while also saving on commute time.

In addition to changing my routine and class choices, I’ve also had to make some changes to my workout gear. By the time I entered my second trimester,  my body was significantly growing and changing. Suddenly I felt as if I had no workout clothes, even though my dresser drawers were filled with sports bras, leggings and tops. I did my best to resist buying things but then realized that the last thing I wanted to feel or resemble while working out was a stuffed sausage. I spent an afternoon going through my dresser and made three piles – donate, keep but store for after pregnancy, and keep to wear now.  Once I purged my drawers I invested in a few pieces that would allow me to feel confident and comfortable while working out.

Here is the workout gear that I’ve been loving during pregnancy.

  • For Two Fitness Tank – I love this comfortable tank as it comes in a number of colors, is flattering and very comfortable. The technical fabric and long length ensures that the top stays in place and I stay cool during every workout  This makes a perfect gift for a new mom who enjoys working out and wants to share her news with everyone.

For Two Fitness Tank

  • Brooks Pick-Up Tank Top – This was one of my favorite workout tanks before pregnancy but now that I am the proud owner of a growing bump, I’ve fallen even more in love with it. Available in more than 15 different colors, this affordable tank ranges in price from $21-$42 depending on color and is so soft and stretchy. In fact, it’s so long and stretchy that I am still able to wear my pre-pregnancy size though I finally ordered 2 new tanks in a size larger to enjoy during the rest of pregnancy.  My friend who is also pregnant raves about the higher neck so she isn’t constantly flashing people during workouts and I love the skimming shape.

Core Power Yoga Ashley

  • Brooks Juno and Brooks Fiona Sports Bras – The first piece of workout gear I had to invest in during pregnancy were new sports bras. My 36A sports bras were uncomfortably tight within the first trimester as I rapidly grew from a 36A to a 36C. Now, at week 23 I’m between a C and a D but luckily, thanks to the adjustable straps on each of these styles, I’m still enjoying both bras. The molded cups limit my headlights during workouts and the light compression provides me with the support I need.  Many of my mom friends recommended these bra styles as they can also be used for nursing after I give birth.  In addition, Brooks sells these bras in almost every size beginning at 30B and going up to 44DD.
  • Nike Power Epic Running Tights – I’ve been surprised to find myself reaching for these black tights week after week, even as my stomach and body grows.  They stretch more than any of my other leggings and the mesh details on the calf help keep me cool.

Your turn: If you’re pregnant or have been pregnant before, what were your favorite pieces of workout gear? Unfortunately, it seems like most brands have discontinued or limited their maternity gear over the past few years, as when I read older blog posts or articles, more than half the links and lines no longer exist. 

Follow:

CorePower Yoga New York City

Get excited New York City – CorePower Yoga is finally coming to Manhattan.  This May CorePower Yoga is opening the doors of it’s first New York City location at 70th and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

170204_CorePowerYoga_002

For years, I’ve heard friends and fellow bloggers rave about CorePower Yoga. With over 160 studios nationwide, it seemed like there was a studio in just about every metropolitan city except New York. Focused on helping students live their power, push beyond their boundaries and turn stress into sweat, CorePower Yoga is far more than your typical yoga studio.  Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to preview CorePower Yoga thanks to a lovely morning event hosted by CorePower Yoga and Well+Good NYC at Central Park’s Tavern on the Green.

170204_CorePowerYoga_017

Evann and I attended the 11 AM event together, during which we enjoyed a hybrid class, hosted by three dynamic and energetic women who are leading the opening of the NYC location. The hybrid class blended aspects of two of their class offerings,  Yoga Sculpt and Core Power Yoga 2, together in one 60-minute class.

Evann and Ashley CorePower YogaCan we take a minute to appreciate the sunlight that flowed through the space? Tavern on the Green’s atrium was the perfect venue for a morning flow as we were able to enjoy the blue skies and morning sun as we stretched and energized our bodies.  Even though it was freezing outside, it was warm and toasty on our mats.

Since this was my first time experiencing CorePower Yoga, one of the first things I noticed were the hand weights which they recommended we place on our mat. Unlike other studios, one of their signature classes, Yoga Sculpt, include light hand weights to intensify each yoga pose. In addition, throughout the flow weights are incorporated into strength-training moves such as squats, lunges and bicep curls.

170204_CorePowerYoga_003

Once we were all situated on our mats, the three instructors welcomed us, introduced us to CorePower Yoga and explained the flow of class. As you can see from this picture, they were on Cloud Nine, thrilled to finally be sharing CorePower Yoga and the news of their new studio with so many New York City yogis. Their positive energy set a great tone for class before we even started. I loved when they told us each to not take class too seriously – it’s only Saturday morning yoga.

170204_CorePowerYoga_314

After a few minutes of intention setting, we  started the flow with time in child’s pose, grounding ourselves, before quickly transitioning into the flow portion.  During the flow, which moved at a pace fast enough to induce a sweat but slow enough to ensure proper form, the instructors were hyper-focused on form and adjustments, which I always appreciate. They also created a supportive, inspiring environment for the students motivating us to do our best and be present in the moment.

170204_CorePowerYoga_211

170204_CorePowerYoga_128
After thirty minutes we regrouped and transitioned into the challenging but fun yoga sculpt portion of class. Unlike any yoga class I’ve taken before, this class mixed strength, cardio and flexibility into the practice. For example, in chair pose we would hold the pose and then begin doing arm exercises using the weights before flowing to the next move. I really enjoyed the use of weights and appreciated the added challenge EXCEPT for the transition points on the mat. This may have been that the lighter weights didn’t have enough space to be held properly while also allowing for wrist movement but I felt clumsy during plank and sun salutations.  The cardio bursts were also a fun change of pace, incorporating things like mountain climbers into the middle of a plank series, or burpees following a flow.

170204_CorePowerYoga_294

170204_CorePowerYoga_257

170204_CorePowerYoga_251
By the end of the class, I was exhausted but completely zen. My muscles were still shaking from the strength training and my tank top was sweaty from the cardio but I was standing taller and feeling lighter due to the yoga and positive vibes. Regardless of your level of practice, CorePower Yoga offers a class that is right for you. I appreciate that under one roof you can find sculpting, cardio and zen.

Core Power Yoga Ashley

Even though it is a trek from our apartment in Carroll Gardens, I will certainly be heading to the Upper West Side to enjoy classes once they open.

Interested to learn more about CorePower Yoga’s UWS location? Head over to their website to learn more about the studio and their limited time 25% off special.

Thank you to Turner PR, Well + Good NYC and CorePower Yoga for inviting me to a wonderful event. Photo credit: Barbara Corella, Evann Clingan and Well+Good NYC

Follow:

Getting Back into Body Pump

Happy Thursday! After seven days down in Savannah, our Christmas vacation has come to a close. Cold, dreary rain kept us inside today and provided us with the perfect opportunity to unpack our suitcases and put away the Christmas decorations. Even though it’s only 2pm, I am ready for a break after working non-stop on cleaning and putting away the Christmas decorations all morning.  Is it just me or does it seem like it takes 2x as long to take the decorations down and wrap them with care as it does to decorate.

Now that our Christmas vacation in Savannah has come to a close, I will be blogging daily. I have a lot of content lined up for the next few days including two workout reviews, first trimester reflections and suggestions, as well as thoughts on 2016. Today’s post is the first of two workout reviews coming over the next week.

If you’re a new reader, you may not recall that I’ve been a BodyPump fan for years. When I lived in Wayne, Pennsylvania the neighborhood gym featured BodyPump on the workout schedule three mornings per week. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday you could find me in the group fitness studio lifting and laughing with the same group of women each morning from 6:30-7:30. I remember the first time I walked in the studio, unsure what to expect. But an hour later I walked out energized and exhilarated by the very balanced workout. Unfortunately, after two years of BodyPump classes, I had to say goodbye to my favorite workout when I moved to New York City other than a few opportunities to enjoy Les Mills classes like Body Attack when we lived in Switzerland.

Until last month, when we joined the Brooklyn Dodge YMCA, it was virtually impossible to include BodyPump in my workout routine. In New York City there are very few gyms that have BodyPump or the other Les Mills workouts. Luckily, once again, I have access to this workout since the YMCA offers it seven times each week.  Since some of you may not know what this workout is, even though you’ve probably heard friends talk about it or even seen it on your gym’s schedule, let me give you some background.

body-pump-workout

BodyPump is a weight-training group fitness class which was created by Les Mills International, a New Zealand based company whose popular group fitness classes are taught at gyms around the world.  A typical class is 55 minutes long and features 10 different songs. During each song, the workout focuses on a different part of the body.

body-pump-tracks

As you can see, you are able to push yourself during each track since you are done with that body part after that song is over. The music ranges depending on which release or version your teacher uses that day.  On January 14th, 2017 gyms around the world will celebrate the release of Body Pump 100, the latest release.

body-pump-weights

During each class, students use a step, risers, mat and a Les Mills branded barbell and plates. Students are able to add weight, as desired, using weight plates which range from 1 pound to 20 pounds.  If you’re a beginner, it is advised to experiment with the weights during your first few classes, starting light and adding on as needed in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Another aspect that I like about the class format is that the moves are simple enough for a beginner or pregnant woman to master without injury. In so many of the high intensity interval classes I’ve taken in NYC, the compound moves often result in me falling a step or two behind and sometimes not being able to keep up. Since BodyPump includes moves such as squats, chest presses, dead rows, and lunges it is easier to ensure I use the correct form. In addition, since I am able to personalize my weights and the moves include a reduced range of motion compared to many other types of resistance workouts, it is a great way for me to increase muscle tone and strength throughout my pregnancy.  Both the instructors who teach at the YMCA are very familiar with prenatal adjustments and suggest that once it is no longer comfortable to lie on my back, they will help me turn the bench into an incline as well as provide alternative ab exercises during that track. My goal is to include at least one, if not two, BodyPump classes in my prenatal workout routine during the next six months. I know that once Baby Girl Diamond arrives I’ll need lots of strength to lift, feed and keep up with her!

Your turn: Have you tried BodyPump before? What’s your favorite track? 

The above is a sponsored post in partnership with Les Mills but, as always, all opinions are my own.

Follow: