The benefits of exercise before, during, and after pregnancy are tremendous. Though beginning an exercise routine one year ahead of when you intend to get pregnant may seem excessive, this gives you time to get used to the routine and to build strength.

Here are several tips to working out that I have found really helped me to get the most out of my workouts and stay committed to working out.

  1. Have a routine. If you write out which workouts you want to do on which days, you are more likely to actually carry through and workout. Additionally, having a routine written out helps you make sure that you are doing a balance of cardio, strength training, and stretching/yoga.
  2. Vary your routine. Workouts stop being effective after only 6-8 repetitions! This means that it is important to rotate your workouts frequently. Plus, this prevents workouts from becoming boring!
  3. Pay attention to what the trainer is wearing. No, really! Specifically, pay attention to what the trainer is wearing on his or her feet. If the trainer is wearing sneakers, go put on a pair, you will probably need the support for your feet during that workout.
  4. Find workouts you can do from home. The routines I have below all use free online videos. This means that I can workout when I have time and without the 30-minute round-trip commute to the gym!
  5. Challenge yourself. Not only is a workout that isn’t challenging boring, but it is also less effective. One way to keep workouts challenging is to find workouts that use hand weights and gradually increase the weight of the hand weights.

My Routines

These are the three workout routines that I rotate through. Each routine has 5 days worth of workouts. On the remaining 2 days each week I either find some other exercise to do (hike, swim, etc.) or I rest. All of the routines use free online workout videos. I perform each workout routine for 6 weeks. That way, I switch workout routines just as my body is adjusting to the routine (and so the routine is becoming less effective). Each routine has the dates that I will be doing the routine, the names of the workout videos, links to the videos, descriptions of the videos, notes about continuing to do the video during pregnancy and a general intensity rating for the workout.


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