Before I started growing this tiny human, I thought working out while pregnant would be a cinch. I assumed my mile time would be temporarily slower, but I didn’t think that finding the motivation to lace up my shoes would be so hard. I’m tired, moody, uncomfortable, and all I really want to do is snuggle in my heated blanket with a book and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. I’ve struggled with finding the motivation to workout during pregnancy, and I know I’m not the only one. Things have been getting better, however, since I recognized the problem and decided to do something to help myself.
Here’s what’s working for me. I hope you’ll find something that works for you.
Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
This one’s simple. There is a long list of reasons why exercising while pregnant is beneficial. It helps you sleep better, reduces uncomfortable bloating and constipation, and instead of taking energy away, a good workout can actually make you feel more energized. Staying active during the nine months you carry your baby will also prevent excess weight gain and make it easier to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
That’s the main thing I tell myself when I know I need to get off the couch. I know that if I don’t workout now, I will regret it later when I’m wanting to fit back into my favorite pair of jeans. There is even evidence that suggests working out while pregnant can help you have an easier delivery and postpartum recovery.
Find the Right Workout
Don’t expect yourself to complete the same kinds of workouts at the same level of intensity as you did before you were pregnant. I mean, seriously, you’re growing an entire human. Your body is already working harder than it ever has before, and it deserves a little leeway when it comes to sweating it out in the gym.
If you’ve always been a runner and don’t want to give that up, choose a shorter route or let yourself hit that down button on the treadmill. And if you’re new to working out or your old workouts sound like actual torture right now, find something that works. Swimming is a great pregnancy workout, or you can find an app or YouTube channel that specifically caters to prenatal exercise. Keep looking until you find something that doesn’t make you want to crawl into a hole and never come out. The important part is that you’re up and moving.
Treat Yourself to New Gear
One of the reasons why I wasn’t enjoying my normal workouts was because my new body felt foreign and uncomfortable. My clothes didn’t fit how they used to, and running with a belly and big boobs is just plain weird.
A new workout wardrobe won’t make your body feel any more “normal” but it will make you more comfortable. Take my advice and invest in those pregnancy leggings and buy sports bras to accommodate your bigger boobs. I also treated myself to a new pair of Nikes just because I felt like it. You don’t have to drop an entire paycheck on fancy workout clothes, but a few new things will be worth it.
Write It Down and Keep Track
I abide by this workout tip even when I don’t have a tiny human growing inside me. If you put in the work, it’s a glorious feeling to see all your accomplishments written neatly in a planner or crossed off on a calendar. Seeing those finished workouts laid out on paper makes me want to keep the streak going and motivates me to work out while pregnant.
At the same time, seeing future workouts on your schedule helps you make exercise a regular part of your life. This tip will have a bigger impact if you’re the type of person who looks forward to buying a new planner every year and gets a thrill from making a schedule and sticking to it. If it’s on the schedule, it has to happen, and that alone can be enough to motivate you to work out during pregnancy.
Choose the Right Environment
Gyms can be great for motivation, but they’re also crowded, smelly, and far away. Your super sensitive pregnant nose might not appreciate the stench of random man sweat, and having to get in the car and drive might make motivation even harder to come by.
If that’s the case, my suggestion is to invest in some kind of home gym. It doesn’t have to be an actual gym, it could just be a yoga mat set up in front of the TV or computer. Or maybe it’s the opposite for you, and you’ll find your motivation out of the house. Don’t make working out while pregnant any harder than it already is. Find a place that works, even if it’s not your usual.
I’m not going to lie and say all your workout woes will be fixed if you follow my advice. I still struggle to get moving, and wanting to work out during pregnancy is a lot harder than I thought it would be. But when I apply these tips, I know I’m one workout closer to being as healthy as I can be. And that’s all that matters.