Thursday, August 22, 2019

Everything You Need to Know about HIIT Workouts During Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it’s normal to make dramatic changes in your health and life in general. You might sleep more (or try to at least), eat healthier, reduce your caffeine, and try to stay fit during your pregnancy.

If you’re used to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you might think that you have to change your entire workout plan because of your pregnancy. This is not entirely true, and HIIT can actually be an excellent way for you to maintain your health and fitness while you’re pregnant.

The key thing to remember is that you might have to modify your workouts, but you don’t have to eliminate them. Of course, it’s always important to seek counsel from your doctor before engaging in any HIIT.

Benefits of HIIT Workouts During Pregnancy

It’s no secret that HIIT is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and build lean muscle mass. This stands true during your pregnancy, as well. With the right modifications, HIIT is great for you and your baby.

1. Strengthen your back to reduce pain and aches: Carrying a baby bump all the time does a number on your back and pelvis, which can lead to severe aches and pains. Building muscle in your lower body and back is a great way to reduce the amount of pain you feel throughout your pregnancy.

2. Helps reduce constipation: One common issue that many women face during pregnancy is severe constipation. Getting moving and staying active right from the beginning will help increase your metabolism and help your digestive system flow smoothly.

3. Reduce fatigue: It’s no secret that regular exercise, paired with a proper diet helps you feel more energetic. It can be easy to give yourself a pass because of your pregnancy, but you are in complete control. HIIT on a regular basis will help you stay active and maintain a high level of energy throughout the day.

4. Promotes healthy weight gain: It’s normal to gain weight during your pregnancy but utilizing a regular exercise regimen is a great way to ensure that you bounce right back to your normal self after giving birth. HIIT creates an “after-burn.” This means you burn calories for 48 hours after your workout is over. This will help you to maintain a healthy pregnancy weight without any extra pounds.

5. Reduce anxiety and depression symptoms: It’s normal to feel emotional or even depressed during your pregnancy. It’s important to have distractions and anything that can take your mind off things for a while. Getting the blood pumping and the heart going is a great way to get the endorphins flying, which will help you feel happier and more relaxed.

6. Prepares your body for labor: People who exercise regularly generally have better breathing habits which will help with labor.

Modify Your HIIT Workouts Based on Your Trimester

As we said, you don’t have to stop your HIIT workouts completely, and now you understand a lot of the great benefits working out can have on your body. It’s important to listen to your body and let it tell you what you can do. Regardless of how your pregnancy goes, at some point, you will have to modify your workouts to accommodate your baby. Here are some tips based on which trimester you’re in.

First Trimester

During the first trimester, most women will not have to modify their workouts at all as long as they are already used to HIIT. Now would not be the time to start up a new HIIT if this is something you’ve never done before.

Either way, you still want to listen to your body and let it tell you what to do. During this stage of pregnancy, a lot of women might feel lethargic and nauseous so HIIT might not be the best workout for everyone.

Second Trimester

During the second trimester, you’ll start to experience some discomfort performing exercises you normally would have no problem with. At this stage, you don’t want to spend any time laying horizontal, and you don’t want to jump around at all. Now is when you should start modifying your HIIT to meet your needs. Here are some examples:

Instead of regular burpees, perform them at an incline to put less pressure on your back
Since you’re already carrying extra weight, use lighter weights during lunges and curls
Don’t jump when doing box jumps, step up one foot at a time, and use your baby bump as your resistance.

Third Trimester

Now is when it’s time to listen to your body and do what it tells you. At this stage of the pregnancy, your belly is its largest, and you are likely struggling to stay balanced. At this stage you also release a hormone called Relaxin, this loosens up ligaments in the pelvis to help with the birth.

This factor will make it easier for you to pull a muscle if you exercise too hard. You want to consider the modifications we suggested and go at a pace that you feel most comfortable with.

Possible Risks and HIIT Workouts to Avoid During Pregnancy

We’ve touched on it a little, but there are precise movements you want to avoid with HIIT during pregnancy. You should not jump, shake, twist, or quickly change direction. These movements will increase the strain on your joints and possibly cause injury.

If you want to continue working with an instructor or class, make sure you make the trainers and your other group members aware of your pregnancy. Take water breaks whenever you feel you need them, don’t wait for a break.

Make sure you focus on your breathing during all of your exercises. Your baby needs plenty of oxygen, so you want to emphasize that.

Lastly, listen to your body! If something doesn’t feel right, even once, don’t do it again. It’s great that you want to keep up a high level of fitness and health during your pregnancy, but it’s also essential that you keep yourself and that precious baby safe. 

Thinking of getting into HIIT, but not sure where to start? Sprinterval is an introductory HIIT program using sprints that works like Couch-2-5k.