If you think you’ll need gladiator strength to rock Tiffiny Hall’s favourite pregnancy workouts, you’re (thankfully) wrong!
Stretches, gentle walks, Tai-chi, Pilates and meditation are just some of Tiff’s activities of choice, thanks to multiple glow- and energy-stealing ailments during her pregnancy.
The former The Biggest Loser Australia trainer, health and fitness coach, author and founder of TIFFXO.com suffered atrocious morning sickness during her first trimester, which left her hospitalised several times due to dehydration from vomiting, and pelvic instability during her second trimester. Now in her third trimester, when Tiff should be lapping up her final weeks of freedom and nesting, the mummy-to-be has morning sickness again! All that, of course, hasn’t stopped Tiff from kick-starting her energy levels with just the right amount of preg-friendly exercise.
So it’s with enormous gratitude that Tiff has taken time out of her busy schedule to share her bump-friendly exercise tips and some of her favourite pregnancy workouts during (morning) sickness and health…
Tiffiny Hall’s Favourite Pregnancy Workout & Bump-Friendly Exercise Tips
“I couldn’t imagine my life without Taekwondo,” explains Tiff, who is a Sixth Dan Black Belt, qualified personal trainer in fitness and a sport coaching and has a specialisation in martial arts. “But a Dollyo Chagi (roundhouse kick) isn’t exactly pregnant friendly! So, since Ed and I found out we were expecting our own little Ninja, I’ve had to modify my workouts from high intensity sessions to gentle low-impact exercise – especially as I’m now in my third trimester! (Where has the time gone?!)
“Exercising while pregnant is important for both mum-to-be and bubs. But carrying a child is already a workout, so I’m only exercising every second day to give my body plenty of time to recover. Regular and gentle exercise is not only great for the soul, but it’s packed with benefits, both physical and mental including:
- Increased energy
- Weight control
- Healthier self-image
- Stress relief
- Improved mood
- Improved sleep
- Easing of pregnancy symptoms (e.g. constipation and bloating)
“I’m also enjoying Poomsae (a form of Taekwondo Tai-chi) and regular meditation to keep the calming chemicals in my body to protect against cortisol. Last thing I want is my baby floating around in a bath of stress hormones!
“Before commencing any exercise, I’d suggest having a quick chat with your family GP – even just for peace of mind. They’ll guide you in terms of frequency and intensity, ensuring you don’t overdo it. I find 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity works for me (moderate means you should be able to talk without feeling short of breath during your workout). I’ve been so lucky as filming my TIFFXO workouts has allowed me to maintain my strength and tone, but I’m choosing the low impact modifications. Walking and swimming is also in my weekly mix.”
Before you start
“Exercising when pregnant should have a different purpose – it’s not about weight loss – it’s about being healthy and looking after your well-being. Focus on the quality of your training and moving that beautiful bump around. It’s crucial you’re always hydrated, too, even if you’re not training. And don’t forget to look after the girls! You’ll want a comfortable sports bra to support those ever-growing breasts (it may be worth getting fitted professionally).”
“Our bodies are carrying and growing another human being! (I still find this mind-blowing.) So, take special care of your tummy and avoid placing any excess stress on your abdominal muscles. Always remember to roll over onto one side and raise yourself up by your arms when getting up from a lying position. It’s also recommended you avoid exercising lying on your back from about 16 weeks. Instead, try raising one arm and the opposite leg when on all fours and holding for three to five breaths – this exercise is comfortable for me.”
“During your first trimester you may be suffering from nausea and exhaustion; be kind to yourself and don’t push it too hard. You don’t need to go to a gym either; walking is sufficient to get your blood and circulation flowing.
The second trimester should bring you a little bit more energy to exercise. Take advantage of the extra stamina, but don’t go overboard. If you’re craving something a little more intense, chat to your GP first.
“By the third trimester it will be harder to move (trust me, I’m experiencing this now) so don’t try anything vigorous more than three times a week. Just move a little every day, even if it’s a walk to your local café. Or try walking in blocks of 10 minutes throughout the day.”
Don’t forget to cool down
“After your workout, remember to cool down (just like you would normally). I’d suggest a gentle walk for five to ten minutes and some low-impact, slow stretching. Stretching helps improve flexibility and prevents sore muscles. It’s also a good time to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles – they go under great strain in pregnancy and childbirth.”
“To identify your pelvic floor muscles, contract the muscles that stop your flow of urine midstream (but don’t do them while urinating – this could weaken your muscles over time). Contract the muscles and hold for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Do three sets of 10 repetitions a day. Gradually work up to contracting for 10 seconds and relaxing for 10 seconds.”
“Ladies, I wish you all a beautiful and healthy pregnancy – it really is a special (and sometimes challenging) time. Exercise has helped me stay strong and calm, and I hope it can do the same for you.”