By Martha Hicks Leta
My husband is training for a ten-mile adventure race, which involves, among other things, scaling towering obstacles, commando crawling under barbed wire, jumping into an ice-cold vat of Jell-O, and carrying a 30 pound log for three miles. The race is called the Tough Mudder. I’m not so impressed by this set of challenges. I would like to see a race called the Tough Mother in which men get to experience third trimester pregnancy while sprinting for a connecting flight through Dallas as they push a sweating toddler strapped into a stroller with a broken wheel while carrying a sticky car seat on their head and a gigantic diaper bag slung over their shoulders filled with leaking juice boxes and stale snacks. At the end of it they get to fold laundry, clean out a refrigerator and then give birth while reading “Horton Hears A Who” with all the voices and accents to the aforementioned toddler.
Having been through pregnancy and early motherhood myself more than once, I now know what I wish I knew then: this is something a person should think about training for.
Motherhood and certainly labor itself is nothing if not a test of strength, courage and endurance, so maintaining your fitness program, or even starting one sometime well before the doctor says, “Push!” may be in your best interest. But many women find safely navigating the challenges a fitness regime for a body that, at times, can seem alien (or like it’s growing one) can be confusing and overwhelming. Should you give up those Zumba classes and switch to yoga? Or is it best to stay off your feet and catch up on “Lost” for the next few months?
Megan Anderson was one of those tentative people during her first pregnancy. Despite the fact that she was a seasoned competitive runner who knew her body pretty darn well, she was so unsure of what she should or shouldn’t do during her pregnancy she erred on the side of caution. “My doctor’s recommendations were the basis for my workouts. By the end of my first trimester I’d given up running and resistance training and would try to walk outside three to four times a week. I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy and often felt uncomfortable and lethargic.”
Three months after her daughter was born, Megan was downsized from a job she didn’t really love, which allowed her to shift gears and meld her interest in athletics into a new career. She went back to school and became an Advanced Certified Personal Trainer. A short while after landing a position at Fitness Together in Westborough, she took on the challenge of studying for her prenatal/postnatal certification, all while continuing to work as a trainer, caring for her toddler and navigating her second pregnancy.
She credits her education in personal training with giving her the wherewithal to surmount such a daunting set of challenges. “If I hadn’t continued my cardio, resistance, and flexibility training throughout my second pregnancy, then I would not have had the energy or motivation to juggle it all! But I was able to complete all the required reading and studying and complete the exam to send it in two weeks before my second child was born!”
The experience galvanized Megan’s commitment to help other women by guiding them through an appropriate fitness regime before, during and after pregnancy. “I am excited to use my knowledge and personal experience to help others, especially moms-to-be, to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle and to enjoy it at the same time!”
There is certainly a lot to know about exercising safely during pregnancy, so finding an experienced trainer like Megan Anderson with knowledge of pre and postnatal exercise is a great way to go, and the payoff will certainly be worth it. The right amount and the right kind of exercise during pregnancy can keep your energy up and your weight gain to normal levels. It can also mean a shorter and less complicated labor and a quicker recovery, which will let you be the best mother you can be.
To schedule an appointment with Megan Anderson at Fitness Together in Westborough call 508-366-0099 or go to FTWestborough
To find a Fitness Together training expert near you go to FTGetsResults.com
Megan has suggested some additional articles mothers, or mothers-to-be, or even those, ahem, Tough Mudders, might want to check out: