Training for Child Birth
Amy Munro is 39 years old and five months pregnant.
And she’s still in the gym, weight training at Free Form Fitness’s ByWard Market location. Some people find that surprising, even alarming.
“People often say ‘you’re not lifting any weights, are you?’ when pretty much all I do is lift weights,” she said.
A growing body of research indicates that exercising, including lifting weights, isn’t only safe during pregnancy, but beneficial, too.
Take, for example, a randomized trial that followed 80 women during weeks 14-25 of their pregnancies. The women who engaged in moderate to vigorous resistance training for an hour twice a week suffered no adverse effects related to childbirth outcome, pain or blood pressure.
In fact, exercise in general is a great way to build stamina for the rigours of childbirth, increase energy and avoid pregnancy-related aches and pains.
Amy is the first to agree.
“I’m five months pregnant and still feel great,” she said. “A big part of that is still coming to FFF because that boosts my energy every time. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at what I can still do and the mentality of the trainers to watch that I do everything right.”
Amy has been an FFF client since January 2014. After years taking classes and working out by herself at one of the big chain gyms, she decided she wanted the accountability and attention that comes of working with a personal trainer.
When she became pregnant, she relied on the FFF team to help her wade through the pseudo-science and get to the hard facts about exercise and pregnancy. She found that even the book widely considered the Bible for pregnant women, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, put too much emphasis on taking it easy.
It all comes down to common sense. Amy had built a lot of core strength before becoming pregnant. Now the goal is to maintain that strength through her pregnancy but avoid exercises that put too much strain on her back or core. Practising proper form and technique for each exercise is crucial to avoid injury.
“I don’t find the exercises we are still doing limiting whatsoever,” Amy said.
Amy isn’t the sort to sit around much in any case. As the general manager of a busy sports bar in the ByWard Market, she’s on the go throughout a 10 to 12-hour workday, logging 20,000+ steps on her fit band. In addition, she sits on the board of the local Business Improvement Area and on an organizing committee for the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Maintaining a consistent schedule of healthy meals is a challenge. The FFF team helps keep her on track in this regard as well, with a focus on well-rounded nutrition with real food, rather than a cocktail of pricey supplements.
It’s all about finding a balance that works.
“I had three family members pass away over just a couple of years and that really made me think about being healthy and strong for the long-term,” Amy said.
“I know I have more stamina, energy and strength than the average person, that’s more of a reward than a loss of pounds on the scale. My staff are quite young–most of them don’t how old I am and often don’t believe me when I tell them.”