I decided to start a structured program when I hit 14wk of my pregnancy. After feeling tired and having bit of a morning sickness for over 2wk (early in my pregancy) I had lost all motivation to exercise. Pregnancy was a perfect excuse to finally have a little bit of a break from daily fitness routine and indulge myself on sweets, cookies and all naughty food available to humans. I''m pregnant right ? pregnant woman have food cravings, and they can eat for two! Yeah, we all know that's not true, on the contrary this is the time when we should look after our bodies and mind more then ever, eat as healthy as possible, avoid junk food and worst of all forget about soft cheese and raw fish.
Having that in mind I decided it's time for me to get back to fitness and keep my diet on the right track. I didn't want to join the gym as I had no idea how pregnancy will progress and if I will be able to attend as often as I like. Exercising with my husband become impossible as I no longer could keep up with him (not that I could before!) running at early stages was ok, but since I never enjoyed running it was a prefect time to stop it and look for something else. So one day I sat and started to think what exercise I always enjoy doing...
-Yoga ! I always liked yoga plus this is one of the MUST DO's during pregnancy,
-swimming pool, I always liked aqua aerobic! I quickly find out there is few good pools in the area where I can join either aqua aerobic or water running!
- strength training – as much as I liked it I didn't have a written plan to follow and wasn't sure where and what to do outside of the gym.
Around that time “Biggest looser” was on TV and Michelle Bridges advertising her 12wbt program which was about to start in few weeks time. I quickly ran some search on internet and find out she does pregnancy program as well as strength, running and weight loss. Seems like people were achieving great results and really enjoyed the whole journey. From what I was able to gather, she provides meal plan for each day and exercise plan which depends on your circumstances, you can choose to do either at home, outdoor or at the gym. Looks like I was about to get a good structure with my exercises. That's how I decided to join the crowd and start my program a week late. Because I joined 12wbt at last minute I missed whole the pre-season stuff and I can't really tell you what it is about..
Now some general information about me
low risk single pregnancy, got green light from my Dr to exercise
general fitness level – good, pre pregnancy I exercised 4-6 times a week (inc running, strength, yoga, walking, swimming)
no recent injuries
when I started the program I had no longer suffer from morning (read -all day) sickness
diet pre pregnancy- healthy and complex, lots of veggies and fruits not much process food, mostly home cook meals.
BMI before pregnancy - 21
Ready to go!
Exercise plan- you will get exercise plan every week, it doesn't change much from week to week , for example Monday is always cardio session , Tuesday strengthening/ toning day, Wednesday – power walk or yoga, Thursday – another strength routine, Friday – yoga or pilates, Saturday – cardio and Sunday – recovery day.
Exercises and their order will slightly change as the weeks go by as well as number of sets and reps. My program was set for home workout, I never checked how much it differs from gym workout (although all home exercises you can easily do at the gym!).
Strength sessions in general include; lots of squats, lunges, basically legs and gluteus (bum) work plus additional abs/core and more important pelvic floor exercises. It is a smart routine to follow while pregnant (as well as post pregnancy) we all know how much strength we will soon need in our legs, gluteus and pelvic floor, along with core and abs to keep that belly strong! For the home workout you don't really need any additional equipment, saying that we are lucky to have bench, TRX, and some free weights at home which I was using.
Cardio – you can do your own cardio routine – pregnancy DVD or follow one of the workouts provided by Michelle and available on 12wbt web, that was in fact the one I choose to use (there was a few to choose from). Each workout shows options for beginners , intermediate and advance. I started at intermediate to advance level but by week 24 of my pregnancy with additional 7kg I have happily switched to beginner – intermediate level. Workouts last for about 45min which I'm still capable of completing. Michelle advises to do 20-30min low impact of cardio. Exercise worksheet will also include stretching routine plus additional pelvic floor exercises for each day.
Yoga / Pilates – Personally I didn't like yoga videos available on 12WBT web instead I joined local studio where I do one 90min session a week plus another session at home using www.doyogawithme.com website -option prenatal yoga.
Meal Plan – is included in your program. 12WBT recommends intake of 1700kcal per day (for pregnant and breastfeeding) or 1800kcal if your BMI is over 30.
Personally I have never followed meal plan provided by 12wbt. It does look yummy but in the kitchen I really don't like to do as I'm told. Saying that I use FitnessPal app for Iphone where I keep on track with calories intake which I set to 1900kcal per day before workouts, saying that on most of the days I consume between 1600-1750kcal, so as much as 1700kcal doesn't sound like much, it is definitely possible, in fact that's quiet a lot of whole food. I'm not sure how different it is during breastfeeding as I heard that you are perfectly capable of eating entire horse a day, and a horse will be more then 1700kcal. I'll see when I get there in about 16wks.
Back to the Meal plan. You will have many options to adjust it to your liking, calorie lookup option will help you to find out how many kcal is seating in that Vietnamese chicken curry or chocolate bar. It's good to have food scale handy at home if you are serious about calories intake. Again I found MyFitnessPal app very helpful as I could scan bar code from most of the products and quickly find out what nutrients hiding in and number of calories per serve.
Whats more available on 12wbt program ?
heaps of smart mindset videos
forum (they really should make it more user friendly, I never managed to find out one just for pregnant woman)
shop and many more
In general I'm really happy that I choose to go with this program, its definitely easy to follow and has given me much needed structure! If you were never big on exercises I would advise you to get few PT sessions before you start program to make sure you know how to squat and lunge properly, not to mention pelvic floor muscles which many woman find very difficult to activate. Michelle provides videos and instructions how to perform exercises correctly, but I still believe nothing better then having someone physically explaining and correcting our posture during exercises.
Overall the program is great. I gained 7kg so far (24wk) Michelle would be proud :)
I managed to keep fit and strong, some exercises become more difficult as you go, like plank with knees off the floor or lunges. Recovery takes longer and I end up with post exercise muscles soreness pretty much after each session! Saying that my body is holding well, ah btw we were away on holidays for a while, I had to suspend program but kept exercising (hiking, walking and yoga). I started to feel aches and weakness in my body after just a week of having a break that only proved me how much we need to exercising during this time!
I will add quick review sometime during 3rd trimester, I'm sure there will be few changes happening!