General gym

General gym

working out while pregnant

Workouts to do While Pregnant

Future moms all have the same question – is it safe to exercise while pregnant?

Not only is working out while pregnant safe but it’s also desirable due to several health benefits and exercises that can help alleviate some of the back pain that is associated with pregnancy. That being said, caution is advised, and we recommend adjusting your workouts to fit your new state.

Even though the simple answer is yes, there are still a couple of things to consider before hitting the gym with full intensity. Today we’re going to discuss how much exercise is too much, and look into some safe and healthy exercises for pregnancy.

How Much Can You Work out While Pregnant?

Physical activity during pregnancy can be amazing for your overall health and can help you handle the inevitable symptoms that come with childbearing. However, a woman’s body goes through drastic weight and hormone changes that can affect when and how she exercises.

The amount of impact the aforementioned can have on your regular workout routine is individual due to every woman handling pregnancy differently. Some women might experience some symptoms more regularly and more intensely than others, which can hinder their ability to work out.

For example, some women feel nauseous in the morning, some in the evening, and some rarely ever experience it. Depending on when and how you handle nausea will determine the best time to exercise.

Also, the amount of body weight you gain can differ from case to case. The weight gain won’t be that significant in the first few months, but at one point, it will affect your ability to do cardio exercises like running or jogging.

So, how much exercise is too much? Generally speaking, in absence of contradictions, pregnant women are advised to get at least 30 minutes per day of moderate-intensity activity on most, if not all, days of the week. If you have previously been very active, we suggest you tone down your workout routine and stick to medium intensity exercises which do not require sudden changes in direction.

Here are some of the exercises you can do at the gym or at your own home. Mix these with walking and swimming (if you are an experienced swimmer). If you feel fatigued, dizzy, or just need to lay down, stop exercising immediately and consult your physician.

Exercises to Do While Pregnant

  • The Plie Squat

This exercise will significantly improve your balance and is terrific for firing up all your lower body (quads, hamstrings, and glutes) and core muscles. It is a very functional exercise, and it helps to open a woman’s hips in preparation for labor. It is considered a very safe exercise to perform throughout pregnancy because it keeps the pelvis in a stable position with weight equally distributed on both feet.

Start by assuming a standing position with your feet facing away from each other and slightly wider than hip-width apart. Slowly bend your knees and move to a squat position while keeping your inner core muscles active. Once you feel those quadriceps burning, slowly return to your starting position, that’s one rep.

  • Planking

Planking is a great stabilization exercise that will strengthen your core, shoulders, arms, and glutes.

To assume a planking position, you’ll need to lay down on your yoga mat and set your elbows under your shoulders. Then you’ll want to lift your knees and straighten your body to form a straight line from head to feet. Keep proper core engagement and neutral spine alignment the entire time while holding the position. Take a few breaths and return to your starting position.

Be ready to regress the exercise when you have difficulty engaging or you start struggling or breaking the form.

  • Side-Lying Leg Lift

If you’re looking to strengthen your inner and outer thighs, then this is definitely the exercise for you.

Start by laying on the side with your supporting arm under your head, your top arm on your hip, and your top leg extended. Slowly raise your top leg in the air while keeping your hip steady and your back straight. Avoid sudden moves and rotations.

Try out these three exercises and let us know how they work for you. One final word, when exercising during pregnancy, the most important thing to remember is to always listen to your body!

If you need more advice on how to exercise in general or have any questions regarding fitness, reach out to our team at Peak Physique & Performance, today! We are happy to help!

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warm up exercises

Great Warm-Up Exercises

Regardless of what age group you fall into, hitting the gym twice a week, and establishing a few healthy habits along the way, is key to leading an active lifestyle.

However, there are no shortcuts to obtaining good health and an admirable level of fitness. Just as you wouldn’t want to skip a meal, you also shouldn’t skip warming up before lifting weights or doing any kind of exercise. No matter if you are a teenager or past your prime, doing a few fun warm-up exercises will set the tone for your workout and prevent potential injuries from happening.

The goal of these warm-up techniques is to increase body temperature, increase your heart rate, lubricate your joints, and prime your muscles for the workout ahead.

Here are a few warming up ideas that will get you fired up and ready for an efficient training session.

Four Fun Warm-Up Exercises

  • Walking Lunge

The walking lunge will warm up your hamstrings, glutes, and quads, but is also a great way to start up your core muscles and stretch your hips.

When you go down into a lunge position, you want to make sure to keep your spine at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Your front knee should be in line with your toes, while your other knee goes down but does not touch the ground.

You can involve your arms by holding small dumbells, but if that’s too much for you, keep them on your hips. If you’re limited in space, you can perform a static walking lunge exercise.

Number of reps: 10 reps each side.

  • Squats

Another great way to fire up your quads and hamstrings is doing good old squats.

A couple of things to remember while squatting are:

  • keeping your feet flat against the floor as much as you can
  • keeping your chest high
  • focusing your weight on your legs instead of your back or knees

When you assume the squat position, you want your glutes to be in line with your knees. Going deeper is not necessarily a bad thing, but you want to get down the basics first and execute the squatting motion properly, so try and keep everything parallel.

Keep your hands in front of your chest. They will aid you in balancing your body.

Number of reps: 14

  • Walk-Outs

This exercise will activate some crucial muscle groups while giving you a nice stretch at the same time. Depending on your level of fitness, you can perform it faster or slower.

Start by placing your feet at hip width and slowly bend over. Use your hands to “walk out” to a plank position and hold there for a few seconds. This will engage your core, especially your abs. From the plank position slowly crawl back in the neutral position, and repeat.

Number of reps: 8

  • Jumping Jacks

Finally, star jumps will skyrocket your heart rate and put you in fifth gear for your workout session. Star jumps are super popular both as group warm-up exercises and as an individual exercise.

To properly execute a jumping jack you want to start with your feet together and your arms at the sides. Keep your back straight and perform a jump with the legs spread wide and your arms touching overhead.

Number of reps: 10

Now you have a better idea on how to warm up properly and assure your body is primed and ready for a great workout. That being said, everyone has a unique body and a different fitness level. Some of these exercises might be too easy, too hard for you, or not recommended, meaning that you’re either overworking yourself before even starting your training session, or not warming up enough, exposing your body to potential injuries.

We suggest you listen to your body, adjust the reps accordingly, or find the appropriate modification for you. If you really want to find out what works best for you, our experienced personal trainers can design the perfect warm-up regimen for you to follow. Reach out to our team at Peak Physique & Performance today, to start training with a proper warm-up routine.

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The importance of posture in your workout

Working out at PEAK PHYSIQUE & PERFORMANCEEach January, people flock to gyms and training programs, determined to get in shape, return to fitness and lose weight. Then: ouch! A hurt, an ache, an injury. Or, alas, no results. Often, that is due to bad alignment and bad posture.

Q: What does proper body alignment mean in terms of working out?

Proper body alignment means maintaining good posture and core stability, no matter what movement or exercise you are performing.

Q: Why is proper posture important when you’re in the gym?

Good posture has been proven to improve all levels of human performance. Studies show that when you are aligned, your body moves with less effort and mobility, stability and strength improves — and you become more efficient at transferring energy and strength up and down the kinetic chain (foot-to-ankle-to-knee-to-hips-to-spine-to-scapula-to-shoulders-to-arms). Therefore, stress of training stays within the muscles of your body and reduces joint stress and injury.

Q: Any advice to people headed to the gym about body alignment that can help them avoid injury?

Be aware that your body will mold to the posture you are in at the end of a rep. Ask yourself…is that what I want to look like? Compare how closed and slumped forward you look finishing a front fly to how open and tall you look at the end range of a reverse fly.

Also, one of the most important moves to master in fitness is a proper hip hinge. Most movements in core and posture training (squat, lunge, etc) involve moving properly from the hips, instead of rounding forward and using your back, which is the cause of many low back injuries in training and sports.

Interview with Dr. Brown

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