Exclusive: This to-be mum feels that pregnancy is no excuse to NOT exercise!

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Leanne's currently in her third trimester and you'd be surprised to know that she has been exercising every single day since the beginning of her pregnancy.

Most of us would love to skip our daily exercise routine whenever we get an opportunity simply because we're too lazy to do it every day. To make up for it, we come up with a hundred reasons to not exercise. And, if we actually get a valid reason to give up exercise altogether we'd jump with joy, right?

But that's not how it is for Leanne Saldahna, a fitness athlete from Bangalore who is expecting her first baby this August. Leanne currently in her third trimester and you'd be surprised to know that she has been exercising every single day since the beginning of her pregnancy.

theindusparent caught up with the fit and healthy to-be mother on what inspired her to exercise even during her pregnancy and what's it that keeps her going:

1. Did it ever cross your mind (even once) that you should stop exercising when you discovered that you were pregnant? Did anyone discourage you?

No, never! In fact, I always had this decided that If and when I conceive, I'd still continue with my fitness regimen. The day I discovered I was pregnant I was already 6 weeks and all those 6 weeks I was lifting heavy and training as usual which clearly sums up pregnancy is just another beautiful phase of your life and not an illness to stop being active. However, I did modify my training plan to suit this new beautiful phase.

Talking about the discouragement part, yes almost everyone had things to say like - Now that you are pregnant, please stop exercising or no more gym or please don't lift weights anymore or rest as much as you can. I totally understand their concern.

But it's the sheer lack of knowledge about fitness that make people turn their back on pregnancy fitness. Moreover, most experts agree that moderate exercise during pregnancy with your doctor's okay, can lower miscarriage risk and make the mother and baby healthier by reducing stress, aches, gestational diabetes and even building up stamina for labor. So it's high time we started changing negative preconceptions.

2. What kind of exercises do you do right now during pregnancy? Do you exercise every day? Tell us about your daily routine.

Let me first explain what routine I followed pre-pregnancy and how I'm doing it differently now.
My Pre-pregnancy exercise routine included: Exercising two hrs every day, six days a week. Daily training plan involved, 20-30 mins of cardio, 1.5 hrs of intense weight training (training 2 muscle groups a day), 10 mins of stretching and cool down. Saturdays were dedicated boot campsmps or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

My pregnancy exercise routine includes: Exercising an hour every day, 4-5 days a week. Daily training plan involves 20 mins cardio (10 mins cross trainer + 10 mins treadmill), 30 mins of moderate to low-intensity weight training (training 2 muscle groups a day), 10 mins of stretching and cool down. No boot camps or HIIT now. I also make it a point to do 3 sets of sumo squats every day irrespective of whether I'm training my legs or not.

3. Do people in the gym stare at you while exercising? How do you react?
[Laughs..] Yes! Right from pre-pregnancy days for lifting heavy weights, I guess to now for still lifting with a bun in the oven. I'm used to all those stares and usually don't let it bother me. The curious ones will always walk up to me to know more about my pregnancy fitness.

4. Did you face any difficulty while exercising during your first trimester?
I had a pretty rough first trimester with morning sickness (nausea and vomiting) kicking in at the 8th week which literally drove me nuts and due to which I lost 5 kilos in no time.

So I'd be lying if I said it was easy to hit the gym during the second half of my first trimester with all that discomfort my body was going through. But whenever I managed to squeeze in a good workout session, it just felt great.

I wasn't stuck up that I have to work out everyday whatsoever rather whenever required I allowed my body the rest it needed to cope with all the hormonal changes. The key is to listen to your body.

Exercising during the second trimester was a breeze. And now that I'm in my third trimester, I hope things go smooth enough.

5. Being a fitness athlete, any tips you'd like to share with our readers on exercising during pregnancy?

Maintaining a regular exercise routine throughout your pregnancy can lift your spirits and help you stay healthy.If you were physically active before pregnancy, it is safe to remain active during pregnancy.
Or if you weren't active earlier and are having a normal no risk pregnancy, you could start exercising to prepare your body for the big day.

A good 20-30 mins workout 3-4 times a week can also be sufficient. However, it is important to get your doctor's approval.

Here are a few points to keep in mind to practice safe exercise routine during pregnancy:

• Check with your doctor first
• Always warm up before starting strength training
• Use proper lifting technique
• Avoid weight training while lying flat on your back
• Use proper breathing technique
• Adjust your strength-training routine as needed
• Rest between strength workouts
• Drink water during a workout. It's important to stay hydrated all the time
• Keep moving. Don't overdo things.
• Get enough calories
• And most importantly, listen to your body

Also, make sure you follow a balanced healthy diet. It's equally important to eat healthily.

6. What are your exercise plans after your baby is born?
First and foremost to build back the strength and stamina I had before pregnancy. And, thereafter the goal is to start building lean muscles. Well I know it's going to be one hell of a challenging journey considering the newborn around. But I'm mentally prepared for it and hope to bounce back tenfold stronger and better. So yeah! Bring it on!

️Disclaimer: theindusparent suggests all mums and to-be mums to consult their doctors before embarking on new routines or continuing with old ones. Because each body is different.

Also Read: Pregnancy exercise: 5 easy workouts for every trimester

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[Images courtesy: Leanne Saldahna]

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