Pregnancy Exercise & Recovery

If you’re following me on Instagram or Twitter, you might already know that I got a pretty pink envelope in the mail this week from the UK with several new FittaMamma apparel items inside. The package made my day!

Inside were a pair of FittaMamma yoga pants like the ones we gave away last month, and three FittaMamma tops. The pants are just as cozy as I’d hoped, and they tested well in my morning yoga class on Thursday.

Taller mammas-to-be will be glad to know that these yoga pants are a little on the long side. I’m 5’4″, and you can see that they’re a little too long on me. I’m standing on my tip-toes in the righthand photo, and the pants are still touching the ground. Thankfully, that’s an easy-peasy fix for a gal with a sewing machine. 🙂

FittaMamma Maternity Yoga Pants Length via

The first top I tried out is one of FittaMamma’s Pregnancy Workout Support Top. The promise for support is a serious one. The top has a wide, seamless elastic band around the bottom that keeps it from riding up. It has a built-in shelf bra that gives extra lift and support for the now-larger girls. And the whole shirt just sort of squeezes your body gently while you’re wearing it.

Pregnancy Exercise & RecoveryI wore the shirt for yoga, but I’m looking forward to trying it out on the treadmill or for a HIIT workout at home, since I think the support would be great for things like jumping jacks and high knees.

The timing was great for this new shipment of clothes, because dang, has my belly stopped being a secret. The only logical questions a stranger might ask me at this point are:
1) “When are you due?” or
2) “Wow, how much German beer have you been drinking?”

It’s Hard to Get Good Pregnancy Workout Photos

Since it’s the due date and not the German beer that’s causing my belly to grow, I’m trying to document my pregnancy exercise. Hopefully, other moms will find some of my posts when they’re searching for pregnancy fitness information.

Pictures make blog posts better, so I’ve been trying to get pictures of myself working out. I feel so silly sometimes, though! I usually work out alone, so it can be challenging to get photos of myself in my workout clothes unless I find a willing photographer or use my tripod and timer at home. This week, I opted for the latter.

Here I am, 16 weeks of pregnant, still trying my best to stay active and look cool taking pictures of myself using the camera’s built-in timer. Someday, I’ll be a big-time blogger who can afford to have a photographer on call for days like this. For now, I get pictures like these, of the big dog taking a tinkle just as the camera’s timer went off.

This is my real life, you guys:

16 weeks walk and jog via MilliGFunk

Week 16 brought a really important learning lesson for me that I hope you’ll let me share with you. I especially hope that the first time mommas out there will keep reading. If you’re stressing about how different your exercise routines feel now compared to how they felt before they got pregnant, I can relate. But if I got through one pregnancy and I bounced back to do it all again, you can, too.

Here’s What Happened

Last Thursday I went on a really fun bike trip with six other women from our Army post. We rode 9.4 miles or so from our post to a nearby town, where we enjoyed hot drinks (it was a cold day!) and pasta for lunch.

Riding the Beautiful Trails between Hohenfels and Kallmunz

We rode the 9.4 or so miles back to our cars at a quicker pace, trying to burn off some extra calories and stay a little warmer than we did on our outward journey (during which my teeth started chattering).

The ride was fun, the company was fantastic, and I honestly felt great after. I got a good workout in, and I slept well that night. My recovery was easy, and I felt rejuvenated from the time outside.

MilliGFunk Riding the Trail Between Hohenfels and Kallmunz

Here’s What Happened Next

I got so excited about the time outdoors on Thursday (I’ve been working out inside a lot lately, but much prefer outdoor activity) that I went back outside over the weekend. I decided to mix running and walking this time. I was pushing Small Shaw in the jogging stroller and trying to make our 50-pound lab mix heal on her leash.

Again, the time outside was awesome. This time, though, the recovery was really awful.

Workout Recovery Isn’t the Same as It Was Pre-Pregnancy

When I got home, I was totally wiped out. I slept for a couple hours that afternoon, and I woke up tired, still. I ate three clementine oranges, and I kept craving sugar like crazy afterward. I usually have 1-2 clementines during an 18+mile run, so three after a 3-mile walk/jog was a red flag.

The recovery nightmare didn’t end there. I woke up totally shot the next morning, and I craved sugar all day long. I was tired, mentally lethargic, and my body was just not getting the energy back that I’d expended the day before. It was obvious that my pregnancy body couldn’t handle that type of workout right now.

Learn More: This free pregnancy exercise guide talks about how to exercise safely during pregnancy.
It even lists “excessive tiredness” like what I was feeling after my walk/jog
as one of the warning signs that you’ve pushed yourself too hard.

The Lesson

Sometimes our bodies just can’t recover the same way during pregnancy as they did before. For me during this particular pregnancy, running seems simply to be a no-go. If my body’s response to an easy walk/jog workout was exhaustion and a prolonged feeling of needing nourishment (36 hours or more), then the workout was too much.

During my first pregnancy, I think I would have been hard on myself about this. I think I would have felt weak. I also think that I would have told myself that I was a marathoner, and that my running days were over if I couldn’t do three miles of walking and jogging.

This time, I know that’s not true. I PRed my half marathon after Small Shaw was born. I felt strong and healthy and well before we got pregnant this time around. And I biked almost 20 miles last week with no issues at all. I’m doing okay, and chances are, Momma who’s reading this post, you are, too.

Here I am, 14 months postpartum, training for that PRed half marathon with the dog and the jogging stroller, on exactly the same trail where I did the bike ride last week. I hope that these photos encourage you. You really can bounce back postpartum, even if you don’t feel up for high-intensity or high-impact workouts during your pregnancy:

PostPartum Running & 16 Weeks Cycling via MilliGFunkListen to Your Body, Not Your Inner Mean Girl

If you’re navigating pregnancy fitness, you might have trouble figuring out how much is too much or what kind of exercise is good for you during your pregnancy. I’ve learned that there are two voices that might “talk” to me during my workouts. One of those “voices” is my body, and the other is in my head.

My body tells the truth. When I’ve pushed it too hard, it lets me know. Some of the ways it’s told me to slow down during my two pregnancies are dizzy spells, balance issues (or even tripping and falling down), fatigue, and the aforementioned sugar cravings. My body is honest with me, and it tells me when I need to take it easy.

My inner mean girl, on the other hand, is just nasty. Usually, if I’m feeling inferior, weak, or otherwise down about myself and my fitness, it’s the mean voice talking, and I need to keep her in check. I have to ask myself sometimes whether I’m listening to my body or to my inner mean girl. If what’s happening is negative, it’s probably my inner mean girl.

My hope for you is that you can discern between what your body is saying and what’s just your own inner mean girl trying to beat you down. Your body will almost definitely send you signals that say whether to go harder or easier. Your internal mean girl is the one that might push you to go too hard. She’s probably the voice that you’re familiar with if you’ve struggled with body image, exercise addiction, or eating disorders, too.

Care For Yourself

Care for yourself, Momma. YOU are going to be the most important person in this little tiny little human’s life very soon. Your body is doing the most incredible thing it’s probably ever done right now, creating and caring for this baby inside your ever-expanding belly. And for the rest of that tiny little human’s life, you’re going to be one of the most powerful sources of influence, love, and support they’ll have.

Love yourself, listen to your body, and be a bigger person than your inner mean girl wants you to be. Your focus should be on wellness, not thinness; healthfulness, not athletic achievement. There’ll be time later to max out your lifts, PR your races, or kill the WODs. For now, your body is accomplishing so much more than it ever has, and it will let you know when you need to slow down. You’ve just got to be sure you’re listening to it.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by FittaMamma, who has graciously outfitted me with maternity activewear for my active pregnancy. FittaMamma supports active Mammas by offering exercise tips, recipes, and maternity activewear that holds and supports your baby bump!

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