On Being A Pregnant Fitness Instructor

Happy Monday friends!

I apologize for the blogging hiatus for the past few weeks – life just got to be too busy and intense for a while – but I’m so excited to be back. I love being able to write and reflect here on GPD, and it’s really become a special part of my life.

Just when I was reflecting on how lucky I’ve been to not get sick throughout my pregnancy, a wicked sinus cold/infection knocked me off my feet for all of last week.  Which was perfect because it was also finals week for me [life’s funny isn’t it?].  I actually lost my voice, wound up having to get subs for my TurboKick classes, and spent most of the week in bed.

It was rough for me not to teach my classes last week – especially as there are only a handful left – but I know just how important it is to honor my body, especially since I’m sharing it with someone else right now.  Regardless, this week will be my final week of teaching until baby comes [the new schedule starts next week, so it was the perfect time to stop], and I was really excited to get back to instructing this morning!

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Before I start, let me say that I’m simply sharing my own personal experiences.  Each person – and each pregnancy – is different, and I encourage you to find what works for you.  Also, contact your doctor or midwife before making any changes to your regimen.

This week marks my entry into the eight month of pregnancy.  Eight.  Months.  Seriously, I can’t figure out where the time went, but it’s true.  And although it’s gone by incredibly quickly, this journey never ceases to amaze me.

When Ben and I first started trying to conceive, we received all kinds of advice. Those I trusted most told me to start eating red meat and stop over-exercising.  Because we have local, grass-fed beef, I was willing to try some red meat, but as a fitness junkie, I had a really hard time with the latter.  At the time, I was teaching 3 TurboKick classes a week, running 3-4 times a week, keeping up with the LiveFit kettlebell program 4 days a week, and hiking on my rest days.  My body felt strong rather than worn down, but I could see how it might be difficult for an embryo to embed in my uterus with all the activity.

So I toned it down: I scaled back on the running and started swimming instead.

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After a couple of months with no pregnancy luck, I also decided to cut down a day on my weight training, just to see if it would help.  Throughout those months I knew that I was healthy and that I had to be patient with the process, but I was also adamant about teaching my kickboxing classes.

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Don’t get me wrong: I would have done anything to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but deep inside, I knew that being fit would help – not hurt – my pregnancy.  Being an instructor is something that has given me incredible fulfillment and joy as well, so I stuck with my guns and kept teaching.

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Because there is more to worry about during the first trimester – and because I was sick – I kept things much lower impact then, being sure to give my students their options for higher impact before class started.  Usually I’d feel sick and fatigued before class started, but once we got going I felt amazing.  As I’ve said before, I’m extremely fortunate to have incredible students who are willing to work hard and give me 100% even on those days where I’m not so bouncy, so that helped a lot.

By the second trimester my energy was back and I was doing much more with the gang than even I thought was possible.  I had to stop lying on my back or belly, so during the core sections I would demonstrate a set and then use a ball to modify while the rest of the class laid on their mats.  I also substituted a lot more standing core workouts.

I started using my maternal support band at around 20 weeks or so, which helps support the belly and lower back during activity, and it has been a life-saver!

Now that I’m in my third trimester I’ve been getting less quality sleep, am more fatigued again, and my lower back is feeling these extra 15 pounds.  I’ve reverted to my first-trimester tactics of showing options and then modifying the movements myself, but I’m always sure to encourage the students to challenge themselves and try the harder movements.

Personally, the classes have gotten harder to teach for me, but I’m always so amazed and inspired by my students that I just do what I can.  The toughest thing for me personally has been to keep the class motivated when I didn’t feel like I was giving 100%.  I’ve learned over time, though, that with motivational cues and an energetic attitude, it’s less about what I’m doing and more about what I can get out of my students.

Over these past months, I’ve gotten a lot of comments about my decision to keep teaching, both good and bad.  I know that each individual is truly just looking out for my and baby’s well-being, so I’m always sure to let them know that I feel well tuned in to my body and its needs.  I’ve always kept the mentality that if something didn’t feel right, or if it started to feel like too much, I’d find a sub for the rest of the semester.

Luckily, though, I’ve continued to feel really great while teaching, and here I am at the end of the semester – teaching my final few classes with an incredible group of students I’ve grown so fond of!

I have two more classes to teach [Wednesday and Friday], and while I feel physically ready for a break from teaching [I’ll be heading to the ocean/pool much more soon!], I’m really going to miss my students and all that they bring to my life.

I know that, for me, the decision to keep teaching was necessary for my pregnancy.  I was able to inspire others while staying active, sane, and strong for myself and the baby.  I have a feeling it’ll help me with childbirth, too.

To read more about my pregnancy, click here.  And for more about my fitness routine during the second trimester, click here.

Aloha Pumehana. Whether you’re here to find balance, wholesome recipes or inspiration, I hope you enjoy the posts.  Please subscribe to Green Plate Dinners to receive automatic updates and be the first to read new posts for free!

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5 thoughts on “On Being A Pregnant Fitness Instructor

  1. Danielle says:

    I’m glad you are feeling better! Were you able to fight the cold naturally? Were you able to take any supplements to fight the cold or not really? I’ve always worried about if I got sick while I was pregnant, and wouldn’t be able to take anything to fight the infection.

    • Haley Rabago says:

      I was able to fight the cold naturally – I try not to use much even when I’m not pregnant too – being sick is uncomfortable and just takes time, but our bodies are incredible healing organisms. =) I did rest a lot, ate a lot of soup, sucked on some slippery elm, and drank a lot of lemon tea and cinnamon tea with honey. Oh, I also tried using a salt-water nasal spray for the first time [a netti pot might work well too], which I think helped too… and I gargled with Hawaiian salt, which I think helped bring my voice back.

      • Danielle says:

        I love that, Haley! Good job! I’m glad to hear you are feeling better. I guess it was good to get that cold ‘out of the way’ and be 100% for the last month of your pregnancy 🙂 Looking forward to continuing the adventure with you for the last month of the journey…at least the last month of this phase of the journey! Aloha~

      • Haley Rabago says:

        =) Thanks Danielle! Yeah, I’d much rather have been sick at 8 months than while I’m trying to push out the baby [although, I never know… it could still happen, haha].

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