Heard the stories about the eight-months-pregnant woman who ran a marathon? Me, too. Stories like those are inspirational. They prove that the pregnant body at work can be powerful in sports performance! How uplifting!
But sometimes those stories help set the stage for feelings of inadequacy and personal dissatisfaction.
Each trimester comes with its own set of awesomeness…and changes. The good news is that you, as a trainer, can have a positive impact on this journey.
Not only is every woman different, each pregnancy (even if it’s the same woman) is different.
Now, having said that, it’s impossible to list in this short post exactly what your client thinks or feels. But reading through what she may be experiencing might help show just how vast the possible emotions and reactions are. And understanding will help you keep her positive when the going gets tough.
Fear of exercise intensity…or the goal to exercise throughout.
Popular opinion/advice says a pregnant woman can keep up the exercise intensity she maintained before becoming pregnant. While that’s good to hear and know, that advice might not be what your client wants to follow.
Mystery twinges or cramps occur for some women. But the decision to decrease intensity or stop training altogether might also have nothing to do with cramps or physical ability. Some simply prefer to take a break or at least hold down intensity until later in the pregnancy.
On the other end of that vast range of goals, you might have a client who takes the marathon-running third-trimester woman as a personal role model. But even then, only some will be able to keep up moderate or high intensity. Others might become disappointed when they find themselves tiring out.
You can encourage your client by cheering her goals, but letting her know that it’s not failure if she needs to slow down or stop.
The “golden trimester,” they all say. Energy picks up, and it’s a good time to get in some quality exercise or even a road trip! Right?
Well, not every woman will experience that boost. In fact, some will still feel fatigued and have morning sickness at this point.
Ask how she feels a few times during the workout. If she doesn’t like being questioned so many times, make it clear that she should be vocal about any feelings of discomfort before, during, and after the work out.
During those tired days when motivation flags, remind her of the benefits of her exercise and let her know that you understand and it’s okay and normal to feel tired. Even in trimester two.
Everything aches! Movement is slow. Sleep may be difficult as it can be hard to get comfortable at night.
Keep a close check on your client’s demeanor during the workout. It can be hard for an athletic woman to suddenly not be able to do what she’s used to. Plus, it can be hard to appreciate a workout when it doesn’t produce copious amounts of sweat and tired, sore muscles!
Help her celebrate every workout, and continue to remind her that all exercise she accomplishes has a benefit. And that the marathon runner made news for a reason!