Living in the tropical Indonesian capital of Jakarta, long-time Free Athlete Denise Spiegel (33) depends on her Freeletics training to stay fit, healthy, and grounded. When she found out she was pregnant in July 2016, she couldn‘t have been happier. But she also couldn‘t imagine giving up her training, and undoing all of her hard-earned results. It was time to find a balance between a healthy pregnancy and regular training. After all, a true Free Athlete finds solutions, not excuses.
I was the happiest person ever when I discovered I was pregnant. But I also realized this didn‘t give me an excuse to stop my training! My midwife especially encouraged me to continue with it – how else would I be able to handle labour? So, I kept it up. I made sure to monitor my heart rate, ensuring it didn‘t exceed 150 bpm to reduce any risk. I also modified certain exercises that I thought might be harmful to the fetus, and avoided some altogether, such as jackknives and pistols. But for the most part, I completed my Freeletics training as prescribed during the first trimester.
Once I entered the second trimester, I began to adjust my workouts according to my changing body. I had read about a condition called diastasis recti, where the two sides of your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. Although a certain amount of separation is normal, it can be made worse by doing certain exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, frontal planks, push ups and straight leg levers. So, I modified some of my workouts to an elevated position to reduce the strain on my abdominal muscles. I also replaced certain high-impact exercises, like jumping jacks and burpees, with lower impact ones like elevated/wall push-ups, 30 seconds wall sit or side step jacks. These modifications were really great for me because they allowed me to continue doing Freeletics workouts 3-4 times a week in line with my coach week. Luckily, many of the workouts that were already included in my training, such as squats and lunges, were low impact enough that I was able to continue with them as usual without any modification whatsoever.
Although I couldn’t go all out in my usual Freeletics style, my regular training allowed me to easily deal with the changes in my body. My growing baby bump and weight gain was never a hindrance to my daily life, and after the birth I quickly bounced back to a size I‘m comfortable with. It will still take some time before I return to my ‘pre-baby body‘, but I hope that my 6 weeks prescribed recovery will fly by. In the meantime, I plan on doing only minor exercises and certain intervals from the Coach with movements like pelvic floor training, squats, hip raises, calf raises and wall push-ups as they won’t put too much stress on my body.
There was never ever a moment during my pregnancy when I felt like giving up on my training. Sure, it was tough sometimes, but I felt so energized, fit and happy. I was always so motivated by my husband and the Freeletics community to keep going that quitting was never an option.
I hope my story can inspire other Moms-to-be to stay active during their pregnancy. The most important thing to remember is to always listen to your body, and adjust the level of physical activity accordingly. Only you know what you‘re capable of, but if you take it one day at a time and embrace the changes your body is going through, you will come out stronger in the end.
Remember to always consult your doctor before continuing with your training during pregnancy.