Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Break doesn't mean workout break...

Here are some at home workouts you can do over the holiday break no matter where you happen to be!!! I am reposting some and I have added a few new ones. NO EXCUSES!!!! 

Post to comments if you did one of the workouts, who you did it with, where you did it and how it went!!!

Happy Holidays!!!!! 


Most of these workouts require no equipment, all you need is you! 

1. Pushup and Sit-up Ladder
20 pushups, 20 sit-ups
18 push-ups, 18 sit-ups
16 push-ups, 16 sit-ups
Continue all the way down to...
2 push-ups, 2 sit-ups

2. Air Squats, push-ups, reverse lunges, mountain climber
20 air squats
20 pushups
20 reverse lunges
20 mountain climbers
repeat 3 times

3. Jump rope, walking lunges, burpees (if you do not have a jump rope, substitute high knee runs in place)
Jump Rope for 1 minute
Walking lunges for 1 minute
burpees for 1 minute
push-ups for 1 minute
repeat 3 times

4. Pushup Test
As many pushups as you can do in 1 minute
Repeat X3

5. Pushup circuit
10 regular pushups
10 staggered arm pushups
10 power T pushups
10 pushups with alternating knee to chest
Repeat X3

6. High Intensity Interval Training
20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest X 8 of the following exercises (with 1 min break between sets):
Box Jumps or Step Ups (onto a step inside or outside your house)
air squats
(this entire workout will take 23 minutes and will give you more benefit than doing 1 hour of cardio)

7. Workout Ladder
20 walking lunges
16 pushups
12 squat jumps
8 walking lunges
4 pushups
8 squat jumps
12 walking lunges
16 pushups
20  squat jumps
Rest and Repeat 

8. Outside Workout
Run 1 mile for time
50 situps
50 pushups
50 burpees
Run 1 mile (jog/sprinting telephone poles) 

These are all exercises we have done in class, so you should know how to perform them with proper form. Let me know if you have any questions about the exercises.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stroller Strong Moms Get Fit For 2012

Some Get Fit For 2012 info!!!!!

Get Fit For 2012 is a 10 week program that will start January 18th and it will end on March 28th.

It will include both a fitness assessment and body composition assessment (during class time) at the start and end of the program. The fitness assessment will include:

-2 Minutes of step ups, count your steps
-Shuttle run for time
-Front plank for time
-Push ups, count reps

The body composition assessment will be calculated using a bio-impedence scale which gives a readout of the following:
fat free mass
body fat
hydration %
You will receive points in five ways:
-Class attendance
-Improvement in fitness assessment
-Improvement in body composition assessment
-MVP of the day (a hard working mom will be chosen everyday as the MVP)
-Whether you reached the fitness goal you set for yourself on January 18th

Points will be tallied throughout the program and participants with the most points at the end of the 10 weeks will receive gift card prizes.

You will take a before/after picture at class at the start and end of the program so you can see how much the hard work payed off!

There is a $10 registration fee before the New Year and $15 registration fee afterwards. Payment can be made on the prices page of SSM website or at class. You have to be a member of SSM in order to participate in the GFF2012. To be a member of SSM, you must purchase a 1 month unlimited membership, 10 class pass, or 5 class pass. Click here to pay for membership and GFF2012.

'Get Fit for 2012' will happen during regular class days and times. The fitness testing will take place on January 18th and March 28th during class time. The body composition testing will occur by appointment during the first and last week of the challenge. More detailed info on the body composition testing is to follow.

You do not have to participate in the 'Get Fit For 2012' as a member of Stroller Strong Moms. It is your choice. Any questions, concerns, comments can be sent to info@strollerstrongmoms.com

I am really looking forward to this GFF2012!!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Turkey Lurkey Do and Turkey Lurkey Dap...

...I eat that turkey and I take a nap. And then I get up and go have another SLAM session!!!! Check out these Turkey Day Weekend SLAM photos!!! Stroller Strong kids help to make sure their mommies and daddies are working to the max!!!!

Great job over Turkey Day guys!!! Loved loved loved having all the families out at class. Class included moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas!!! Welcome back to all those who were traveling. Friday should be way warmer than Monday and Wednesday so I hope to see you ALL at class!!!  Happy Friday!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Workin' On Our Fitness...

Check out these hard working mamas stepping it up at this new spot I found. How did I miss this spot all those weeks?  That's what I love about this park, so many hidden treasures, so many places to work our bodies hard!!! Two months of Stroller Strong Moms down, infinitely many to go!!! Great job mamas!!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Healthy Family Meals Prepared in Minutes

I found this little collection of quick and yummy family eats...enjoy!


I’ve learned how to make very quick healthy meals that aren’t fancy but take 10 minutes to make. While you might be tempted to go through the drive-through at MacDonald’s or plunk down a frozen pizza, believe it or not, these meals are quicker to prepare than the time it takes to drive somewhere or defrost that frozen pizza. And best, you’re in control of the ingredients and can make something scrumptious easily. Note that most of my recipes are complete with protein, whole grains and vegetables. When kids don’t like to eat vegetables alone, cook them within your main meal. When you get the hang of this, you’ll find that you don’t need to take time measuring or assembling complicated meals. 
Here are some ideas:

• One Meal Spaghetti – Brown some lean ground turkey or beef in a non-stick frying pan. When browned, throw in frozen chopped spinach, can chopped tomatoes and even some grated carrots. Pour a jar of spaghetti sauce over the top. Cook up a whole grain spaghetti and serve. Sprinkle a little bit of parmesan over for extra flavor. Tip – Buy good, fresh parmesan cheese rather than the processed canned stuff. It has a stronger flavor and a little goes a long way. This whole meal can be prepared in 10 minutes!

• Chicken Burritos – Buy a roasted chicken. Pull off the skin and hand pull some pieces in to bite sized chunks. Warm up some whole wheat tortillas. Create a burrito bar where your family can assemble their own burritos. Ingredients should include pinto beans or black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, grated cheddar cheese and the chicken. Put it all together and you have a filling, healthful meal made in minutes!

• Salmon Burgers – Remove skin from a salmon filet and finely chop in a food processor. Add in whole wheat bread crumbs, egg, a ½ cup finely chopped onion and a dash of ginger and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix well and mold in to patties. Spray non stick pan with a drop of olive oil and cook salmon patties. Serve on top of brown rice and with steamed veggies. Canned salmon can be substituted. 

• Veggie Pizza – Trader Joe’s has a great ready made pizza dough called Almost Whole Wheat. If you can’t get that, you can use a Boboli or make your own. Spread dough in to a large pizza circle. Top with jarred spaghetti sauce and any or all of the following toppings: Mushrooms, Red or Green Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes, Broccoli, Red Onions, Artichoke Hearts, Olives, baby spinach, or basil. For your protein, you can top it with chunks of chicken or seafood. Sprinkle with a little mozzarella cheese and bake at about 400 until browned and bubbly. A pizza stone greatly improves the crust of the pizza. 

• Colorful Quesadilla – A quesadilla seems to be the new kid’s grilled cheese. Normally, it’s just melted cheese between two tortillas. In this version, it’s a nutrition packed meal. Put one tortilla down as the base (preferably whole grain). Layer some shredded chicken, chopped veggies and jack cheese. Top with the other tortilla. Spray a non stick pan with a little olive oil. Brown on each side and make sure the inside is hot and melty. Serve with guacamole and salsa. 

• Apple Turkey Meatballs – Mix together 1 grated apple, 2 tbsp Dijon mustard, 1 package ground turkey, ½ cup apricot jam, ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1 egg and ½ cup defrosted, drained chopped spinach. Form in to balls and “fry” in non-stick pan that has been sprayed with a little bit of oil. Cook until browned and cooked through. Serve with quinoa (a wonderful and unique grain) and a side salad. You can make little bite sized meatballs for the kids. They will love them!

• One Pot Chili – Chili can be one of the healthiest meals, made year round. Brown one package of lean ground beef or turkey meat in a pot. Throw in 2 cans of beans (I like to use a variety). Add ½ cup of chopped onion, 1 cup of chopped spinach and a can of chopped tomatoes. Throw in your own chili spices or use a packaged variety. So long as you watch sodium intake regularly, using this once in awhile shouldn’t hurt you. Serve with a side salad.

• Lollipop Chicken – Rather than the traditional hot dog on a stick, this grilled chicken option is a lot healthier (and tastier in my opinion). Buy a package of large lollipop sticks (can be found at most art supply stores). Skewers will work as an option. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Remove the sinew or tendon. In one bowl, mix up some flour seasoned with salt and pepper. In the other bowl mix up 2 eggs and 2 Tbsp water. And in the third bowl, mix up some Panko breadcrumbs and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Dredge chicken in the flour, then the water mixture and then the breadcrumbs, shaking off excess in between. “Fry” chicken in a non stick skillet with just a bit of oil until it is browned on each side and cooked through. Skewer on to the lollipop racks and serve with a cooked vegetable. 

• Sweet Potato Salad – Cut sweet potatoes in French fry type slices. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until tender. Mix sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 Tbsp Olive oil. Sprinkle some chopped scallions throughout. Serve warm or cold.

• Kashi Fruit Ambrosia – Cook one packet of Kashi as directed on box. Mix cooked Kashi with your choice of fruit. Stir in ½ cup of plain yogurt and ¼ cup of honey or brown sugar.

• Healthy Tortilla Chips – Cut corn tortilla in triangles. Put on baking sheet. Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt (and/or other seasonings). Bake at 400 until crisp and lightly browned.

• Veggie Lasagna – Layer the following: Whole wheat lasagna noodles, chopped spinach, shredded carrots, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, ricotta and mozzarella and jarred spaghetti sauce. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.

Halloween at SSM!

Halloween class was so much fun! Tons of babies came to class all dressed up in their halloween costumes and even some moms dressed up too! Charlsey and her daughter Claire dressed up as Super Mom and Super Baby...best mother/daughter costume ever! This class was also a record breaking 20 Stroller Strong Moms!! What a great day! 

Friday, October 21, 2011

"If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food!"

Here's the list of healthy foods I promised...

bulgar wheat
brown rice
whole oats
When buying pasta, cereal, bread or crackers, choose ones that say whole wheat or whole grain

Lean Meats and Beans
  • Lean beef 

    Flank steak

  • Lean pork

  • Pork loin

  • Chicken breast

  • Turkey breast

  • eggs

  • fish

  • shellfish

    all beans
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Pumpkin
  • Purslane
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Squash (all kinds)
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
  • Turnip greens
  • Turnips
  • Watercress

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carambola
  • Cassava melon
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon
  • All other fruits
Nuts and Seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Chestnuts
  • Hazelnuts (filberts)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios (unsalted)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
Healthy Oils/fats (these should be eaten in moderation)
  • Olive, avocado, walnut, flaxseed, and canola oils (use in moderation—4 tablespoons or less a day when weight loss is of primary importance


Non-fat milk
Greek Yogurt
low-fat cheese

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Eating and Fitness Flubs

SSM ladies...this is a MUST READ. The following is an article written by Christa Doran, a very successful boot camp fitness trainer. She discusses the big eating and exercise mistakes that women are making all the time and how to fix them. I feel like a lot of us moms find it very difficult to lose the body fat gained during pregnancy. Christa offers lots of tips and explanations that will help you to lose that fat so that you look and feel like one fit mama!!! 

Fatal Flubs on the Journey to FIT

I love reading all the weight/diet/food/exercise posts on facebook. They are just a blog waiting to be written! The reason I only train women is because I feel so many women just simply have no clue when is comes to HOW to lose body fat and build the body of their dreams. It is no fault of their just don’t know what information to trust.

So why is what I am telling you right? Well, I guess results speak for themselves and I have about 300 women who finally “get it” and would be willing to tell you they did it wrong for so many years. Here are the big ones. The big NOOOOO’s!!! that I see women do all the time.

Gimmicks- Have you seen the new Kim Kardashian Sketchers commercial? Apparently she has ditched her trainer and now gets the body of her dreams by walking around in stupid looking shoes. Sounds amazing right? Wrong. She gets paid millions to tell you that Quicktrim and Shape-Ups work. They don’t. You know what works? REGULAR, HARD work and a clean portioned diet. That is it. The stomach flu is a great way to lose weight too, that doesn’t mean it will produce long-term sustainable results.

Eating diet food- Lean Cuisines, 100 calorie snack packs, Light and Fit,  and sugar free jello are all diet missteps that are making you fatter. Nutritionally empty, but filled with crap and artificial ingredients, these foods are a waste of your calories and your money.
Instead, eat small portions every 3-5 hours of real,whole, foods. And don’t get me started on the sugar! That Gatorade you are guzzling during your Zumba class? Loaded with sugar.
What is real food? Food that rots. Food that has one ingredient. Food that was grown, or harvested by farmers, not made in a lab with scientists. Whole eggs, whole grains, vegetables, whole fruit (not dried or juiced), lean meat, plain greek yogurt, almonds, beans, grains like couscous, Bulgar wheat, quinoa, and whole grain pasta are foods that fill you, fuel you, and make your body look, feel and perform better.
Good food has calories too so you need to watch your portions!

Going on a diet at all- If you want to change, then you  have to change. And a diet it a short term fix for a long term problem. Change the way you eat and change how much you eat, and your body will change. It will take time, but if you stick with it, 3 months from now you could be leaner, lighter, and feel amazing!

Using the calorie counter on the elliptical as a guide of how “good” your workout was- This is one of those that I just laugh out loud on. “Man do I feel great! Burned 500 calories walking on the treadmill!” Calories burned depends on how much you weigh, how much muscle you have, and how hard you are working. And the treadmill can only tell you one of those things. So you might THINK you burned 500 calories, but you probably burned about 20-40% less than that.
I actually hate when my clients asked me how many they burned. Who cares? Are you a sweaty beast? Can you barely lift your arms? Are you struggling to get up off the ground? Good! Then you earned the right to leave.

Using the elliptical at all- If you want to change your body, you have to challenge it.  And unless you are warming up on the elliptical (and even then I don’t like it) before you throw around some heavy metal, than you are making a HUGE mistake.
One of the reasons men lose weight quicker than women is because they have more muscle, and muscle is your furnace. It is what burns the calories. So a 140 pound woman with 15% body fat is burning a LOT more calories throughout her day than a 140 pound woman with 30% body fat. Build muscle, burn more.
The only way to build muscle is through strength and resistance training. So pick up some weights and get lifting. And those weights better weigh more than your handbag. In fact, if they are pink, and you can do 20 reps, they are too light. Take that Tracey Anderson.
It has to be HARD. You should be struggling. You should be breathing heavy. It should be very challenging. If not, trade up for something heavier.

Expecting overnight results-One week of hitting the gym hard and eating salads for lunch and you lost a pound. So you skip the gym and eat ice cream. Big mistake.
It takes a 3500 calorie deficit to lose one pound of body fat. And fat is what matters. Who cares about water weight. Yea, you are lighter after a night of boozing, but that doesn’t mean your jeans fit any better. Keep doing the right things, week after week, month after month, and if in a few months you are STILL not seeing changes, re-evaluate.

Quitting quickly- This goes hand in hand with seeing overnight results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will a chiseled, lean, strong physique.

Weighing yourself every day- Hormones, water retention, time of the month, a big meal, all play a part in our weight. Once a week weigh yourself- NO MORE. If you have fat to lose, and the scale is not budging, you are doing something wrong. Stop making excuses, and change something.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
-Albert Einstein

Focusing on a “goal weight”- Muscle weights more than fat. So if you are working out with weights for the first time you might actually gain weight. So what? Your body will look better, feel better, take up less space, and perform better. I would rather be a 130 pound size 4/6 with a shredded middle and cut arms than a 130 pounds flabby size 8/10 with no muscle. Wouldn’t you?

NOT lifting weights- Get off the elliptical, cut back on Zumba (gag) and start picking up things that make your muscles burn, your arms shake, and your sweat flow.
But be sure and work with a qualified trainer to teach you proper form or you could hurt yourself. What is qualified? NOT an accountant turned Crossfit trainer, or a substitute teacher turned globo gym training god after one weekend course.

Training with the wrong people- I recently had a very thin client show up to bootcamp with 2 pound weights telling me she wanted to lose ten pounds. I had to fight back my laughter as I told her we don’t use 2 pound weights here (her large handbag weighed more than her weights). I also fought back a disturbed look thinking she needs to GAIN ten pounds of muscle, not lose ten pounds of fat. She told me she works with a trainer at a globo gym that I cannot stand. After watching her struggle during class it was clear to me her trainer was, just as I expected, terrible, and obviously feeding her weight loss neurosis. My guess is this client had never lifted a weight over 5 pounds. Shame on that trainer.
You get what you pay for. Work with a qualified, experienced, reputable trainer who will NOT stick you on any machine.
So in summary. Work hard, really hard, really regularly. Eat real food, in small amounts, real often. Don’t eat crap, steer clear of sugar. Get off the treadmill and lift heavy things. Push and pull your body-weight. Stop stressing about each and every pound and try to ENJOY the journey to your best body. It will take time, dedication, discipline, and sweat. But if you really want it, it can be yours.

What a great article by Christa Doran. Be sure to take away the following important rules to diet and exercise:
1. Eat real food: fruits, veggies, nuts, whole grains, lean meat, etc. 
2. Eat small portions about 5 times a day...tip...eat on smaller plates and eat just until satisfied
3. Push yourself HARD and 'Sweat like a Mother' during every exercise session
4. Don't focus on weight loss but rather on how you feel and how your clothes fit

Hope that helps ladies!!! Stay tuned for healthy eating food list....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Stroller Strong Moms Rock!

Here's a pic of some of the moms who participated in the Mogadishu Mile on Saturday morning to honor our fallen Rangers. From left to right, Charlsey (and Claire), Ashley, Diane (and Zosha), Cherish, Sarah (and Grace) and Me (and Velzy). Missing from the photo, but present at the race is Michelle, Carly and Heidi. You guys did awesome and I'm so proud of you all!!

There's another run next weekend on post. The Darby Ranger Run is either a 5K, 10K or 30K. Here's the website for registration:

A good reason to do it again:
"The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself."

See you at class tomorrow!!! Looking forward to another great week of SSM!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Quick At Home Workouts for SSM

Did you miss a class this week and want to get a workout in?
Do you feel the need to add a workout on a day there isn't class?

Before I begin, many of the following workouts have push-ups in them. Push-ups are one of the best exercises you can do and the great thing is, all you need is you! Push-ups work several major muscle groups all in one motion! The muscles worked include chest, triceps, shoulders, abs, obliques, lower back, and hip flexors. If you raise one leg or the other, it begins to work glutes and leg muscles as well. We love push-ups!!!!

Here are a few quick at home workouts you can do that will help you to continue to improve your fitness level...

1. Pushup and Sit-up Ladder
20 pushups, 20 sit-ups
18 push-ups, 18 sit-ups
16 push-ups, 16 sit-ups
Continue all the way down to...
2 push-ups, 2 sit-ups

2. Air Squats, push-ups, reverse lunges, mountain climber
20 air squats
20 pushups
20 reverse lunges
20 mountain climbers
repeat 3 times

3. Jump rope, walking lunges, burpees
Jump Rope for 1 minute
Walking lunges for 1 minute
burpees for 1 minute
push-ups for 1 minute
repeat 3 times

4. Pushup Test
As many pushups as you can do in 1 minute
Repeat X3

5. Pushup circuit
10 regular pushups
10 staggered arm pushups
10 power T pushups
10 pushups with alternating knee to chest
Repeat X3

6. High Intensity Interval Training
20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest X 8 of the following exercises (with 1 min break between sets):
Box Jumps or Step Ups (onto a step inside or outside your house)
air squats
(this entire workout will take 23 minutes and will give you more benefit than doing 1 hour of cardio)

These are all exercises we have done in class, so you should know how to perform them with proper form. Let me know if you have any questions about the exercises.

These mini workouts are designed with moms in mind. You need something quick (because you have babies napping or in need of your attention). And you need something that is going to get your heart rate up fast. Interval workouts are the best for getting strong, fit and burning fat. Do it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

For the Love of Cooking: Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Craisin and Pecan Cookies...

Hey Stroller Strong Moms. I made these cookies tonight. Great recipe! A little healthier than your average cookie....whole wheat flour, oatmeal, nuts....I substituted walnuts for the pecans. Still really tasty!

For the Love of Cooking: Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip, Craisin and Pecan Cookies...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? ~Vincent Van Gogh

When I look at this photo, it makes me smile. Look at all the mamas!!!! Mamas getting ready to sprint their butts off! I think about how awesome it is that all these mamas had the courage to come out to Stroller Strong Moms on Monday. It was an amazing turnout!!! I was pleasantly surprised and I am so excited to help these ladies reach their fitness goals!! It is so great to have so many ladies who are ready to get fit, to gain confidence, to sweat tons, to look and feel better than they ever thought possible, to gain confidence, to make a change! I just hope you all come back out!!! 

"To make a change, you actually have to make a change." 

See you tomorrow!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Grand Opening is Tomorrow!!!!

Stroller Strong Moms Grand Opening Class is tomorrow, September 12th at 9:30 AM at Lake Bottom Park next to the playground. 

Go To:
Stroller Strong Moms for more info!!!

If you are coming to the Grand Opening tomorrow....Just a few reminders. Please arrive 10-15 minutes early in order to fill out paperwork. Also, don't forget to bring plenty of water for you and your little one, a towel, blanket or mat for ground exercises, a sturdy stroller (no umbrella strollers), sunscreen, and snacks and toys for older children. Looks like it's going to be perfect weather tomorrow too! I am looking forward to it!! T minus 11 hours til go time!!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grand Opening Coming Soon!!!

Hey out there! 
It is less than a week until the grand opening of Stroller Strong Moms!!!

Check out the website for more details...


or check us out on facebook...



Exercising While Pregnant

I found a good article about exercising while pregnant. This is a good read for those who are hesitant to exercise once they become pregnant.  Happy reading! 

The Truth About Prenatal Exercise:
"Exercise is an important part of good health and when women become pregnant, regular fitness routines should not automatically be abandoned. Pregnant women and their babies both benefit greatly when mom engages in regular moderate exercise. Women who are considered at low risk for complications and are in good physical health can continue to exercise throughout pregnancy as long as they modify their exercise routines to compensate for their changing physiques. Women who are not regular exercisers can begin a walking program, swim, ride a stationary bicycle or participate in structured prenatal fitness programs.
Exercise during pregnancy is a controversial subject. Many people believe that pregnant women should not exert themselves as they may cause harm to themselves or their unborn babies. While extreme exercise is not recommended,  pregnant women, greatly benefit from regular moderate exercise during pregnancy. In fact, many of the diseases that are common in the western world are positively affected by exercise such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
James F. Clapp, III, M.D. has done extensive research on the effects of exercise on pregnant women and their fetuses. His findings are presented in His book “Exercising Through Your Pregnancy”, and are the foundation for most of what is known about the effects of exercise on pregnant women. He proved exercise is beneficial not only to the pregnant woman, but also to her unborn child.
Benefits of Prenatal Exercise for Pregnant Women
Dr. Clapp and others have found that women who engage in regular, moderate exercise (defined as 13-15 on a scale of 1-20) for at least 20 minutes 3-5 days a week tend to:
  1. Have shorter and less complicated labors and less need for medical intervention.
  2. Have more energy during their pregnancies and recover faster after delivery.
  3. Return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner than less active women.
  4. Gain less weight during pregnancy.
  5. Experience an improved body image, enhanced self-esteem and a general sense of wellbeing.
  6. Experience less tension, anxiety and fatigue than less active women
  7. Experience a decrease in the common discomforts of pregnancy.
  8. Maintain cardiovascular fitness.
  9. Increase muscular strength.
  10. Experience fewer colds and other respiratory viruses.
Benefits of Prenatal Exercise for Babies
Dr. Clapp also noted that babies born to women who maintained a regular fitness regimen during pregnancy are:
  1. Better able to adapt to changes the changes that occur during labor and delivery
  2. Less fat. Babies born to exercising mothers had less overall body fat but were no more likely to be born at “low birth weight” and were fully developed compared to their counterparts born to non-exercising moms.
  3. More adaptive to their external surroundings. These babies tend to be alert and less startled by their environment, and able to settle and soothe themselves requiring less comforting.
  4. Normal in growth and development. Clapp tested children in his studies at one year and again at five years and found no stunting of growth or development.
Dr. Clapp’s work has changed how physicians and midwives prescribe exercise during pregnancy and how women should approach physical fitness during pregnancy. In 2002, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine issued the most recent guidelines for exercise during pregnancy.
ACOG Guidelines for Exercise during Pregnancy (Released 2002)
  1. Women with uncomplicated pregnancies can remain active during pregnancy and should modify their exercise routines as physically and medically indicated. Supervised exercise is recommended although not required.
  2. Previously inactive women and those with previous medical or obstetric complications should be evaluated before recommendations for physical activities are made.
  3. Active women with a history of or risk for preterm labor (labor prior to 35 weeks gestation) or decreased fetal growth should reduce activity in the second and third trimesters.
The American Diabetes Association recommends exercise as a helpful additional therapy for gestational diabetes when blood sugar levels are not controlled by diet alone. They note that prenatal exercise may be beneficial to help prevent gestational diabetes, especially in obese pregnant women.
Even with its benefits, there are times when pregnant women should not exercise or should proceed with caution when exercising.
According to ACOG, Pregnant women should not exercise if they have:
  1. Significant heart disease
  2. Restrictive lung disease
  3. Incompetent cervix/cerclage
  4. Multiple gestation at risk for premature labor
  5. Persistent second or third trimester bleeding
  6. Placenta previa after 26 weeks gestation
  7. Premature labor during the current pregnancy
  8. Ruptured membranes
  9. Pregnancy induced hypertension
Exercise with Caution
Pregnant women should exercise with caution and only with their physician’s consent and supervision if they have the following conditions:
  1. Severe anemia
  2. Uncontrolled irregular maternal heart rhythm
  3. Chronic bronchitis
  4. Poorly controlled type I diabetes
  5. Extreme obesity
  6. Extreme underweight (body mass index <12)
  7. History of extremely sedentary lifestyle
  8. Intrauterine growth retardation in current pregnancy
  9. Poorly controlled hypertension/pre-eclampsia
  10. Orthopedic limitations
  11. Poorly controlled seizure disorder
  12. Poorly controlled thyroid disease
  13. Heavy smoker
Pregnant women who are not at risk for complications and who have their physician’s or midwife’s consent to exercise must use care not to over do. While exercise can relieve many of the aches and discomforts of pregnancy, it should not hurt or cause any sort of physical distress. Pregnant women should feel comfortable and at ease as they exercise.
Dos and Don’ts for Prenatal Exercise.
  1. 1.Do engage in regular, moderate exercise for at least 20 minutes per session, at least 3 times per week. Maximum benefit is obtained by exercising for 40 minutes 5 times per week.
  2. 2.Do continue to exercise throughout the duration of pregnancy. Clapp found that women who stopped exercising midway through pregnancy lost the benefits of exercise, and their babies did not receive the short or long-term benefits from maternal exercise.
  3. 3.Do stay well hydrated. Drink lots of water before, during and after workouts.
  4. 4.Do eat a well balanced diet. Eat healthy snacks prior to exercise sessions and have a small snack prepared for post exercise consumption.
  5. 5.Do consider the exercise environment. If the environment is warm or humid, or if there is poor ventilation, alter the exercise session by decreasing the intensity or duration as necessary to prevent overheating.
  6. 6.Do wear comfortable clothes that allow for air circulation, heat expression and adequate support of the pregnant physique. (Especially the belly, breasts, back, hips and feet)
  7. 7.Do not exercise if there is injury, disease, pain or bleeding.
  8. 8.Do not exercise to the point of fatigue.
  9. 9.Do not engage in activities that could involve changes in air pressure such as scuba diving or high altitude hiking or climbing.
  10. 10.Do not engage in activities where risk of abdominal injury is increased. (For example, roller-skating, skiing, contact sports.)
James F. Clapp, III, M.D. 2002 Exercising Through Your Pregnancy, Omaha, Addicus Books, Inc.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Guidelines for Exercise during Pregnancy (Released 2002)
Retrieved January 2, 2008, from http://bjsm.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/37/1/6
Author: Darline Turner-Lee
Physician Assistant, ACSM Exercise Specialist