I had been doing Orangetheory for over two years when I found out I was pregnant. At that point I was going about 4-6 times per week.
Once my doctor approved (in fact, encouraged) me to continue – it was a no brainer to keep my membership going (and I didn’t want to lose my precious grandfathered rate).
Some of you may not know what Orangetheory is, or have seen those of us obsessed posting our workout summaries, but have very little idea of what it is – as a super brief overview it is a heart rate based workout focusing on three main areas of fitness endurance, strength, and power.
It is completely customizable for many fitness levels whether that be in the cardio section or floor exercises. The coaches are all certified personal trainers that are there to help you along your journey and make sure you’re not over or under training.
Trimester 1: Non-stop Sickness
I will say I initially had some self-doubt in the first trimester. I was exhausted and definitely unable to keep up my 5:30ams during the week. It was awful I was so sick, couldn’t keep any food down and was often very close to dehydration. My class attendance plummeted for a bit, but when I did get there – there were very few things (if any at all) I modified.
Telling my coach was essential, just so they were aware of why I would go jogging out of class with morning (or all day) sickness and not performing at my normal level with my usual enthusiasm. My coaches actually knew before a lot of my family.
I’m so glad I stuck with it, my second trimester went completely different
One day I just woke up and felt like a whole new human. You know like when you’re sick and congested and when you can finally breathe again you’re like “I will never take my nose breathing for granted again” 😂 that’s how I felt. Amazing.
Insert a new problem: clothes.
If I was going to commit to working out the whole pregnancy I was going to be comfortable doing so. I invested in three pairs of maternity workout pants that I continue to wear to this day I just rotate between the three.
I got two pairs of these PattyBoutik Capri style pants.
I highly recommend the full panel ones and they are much more supportive and (in my opinion) comfortable than the under belly’s.
Through all the bump growth I was able to stretch my workout tops over the bump and use my more worn in/bigger sports bras to tuck them pregnancy boobs into.
Second Trimester Modifications
Around this time I think the hardest thing for me when it came to modifying was my mindset. As someone who is super competitive (especially with myself) I needed to focus on taking a step back and realizing this wasn’t about just me anymore. I was growing a life and there was a much bigger picture now. This wasn’t a season of my life where I’d be breaking through personal bests or improving my time or hitting my weight maxes. Fitness took on a different meaning and keeping this growing baby safe was the top priority.
As far as modifications go EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT. You really need to go with how you and your body feel and have open conversations with your doctor/midwife. Self advocacy and research is also super important. Keep in mind that all of your coaches have very different levels of training and have certifications from a variety of institutions. Some institutions offer zero training on prenatal care or exercise. (No offense to any coaches out there!)
I personally am obsessed with fitness, so taking an online prenatal workout course was fun and exciting for me, but there are free articles out there for you to read and take with a grain of salt PAY ATTENTION TO THE SOURCES.
I started to realize coaches I was more comfortable going to and who were aware of how to modify for this stage of life. My schedule happened to fit into and land with two great coaches. As I started pulling back and only attending every other day/3 days a week, I was so lucky to mostly be with one amazing coach who I don’t think I would have kept going without. For real. THE. BEST.
I didn’t have to make very many modifications – I could still lay on my back (up until the final few weeks of the trimester where I inclined the bench), do core exercises without coning, and didn’t experience any discomfort with overhead lifts. I avoided anything on the belly and was hesitant/cautious with any Ab dolly moves. It seemed like all the workouts had bosu ball back extensions which were a no-no.
At times it was pretty comical; when the bump started showing/growing my coaches would catch me laughing at myself. Like doing push-ups and touching the ground or doing upright rows or snatches and needing a little extra room.
Orangetheory is awesome because your heart rate is right there in your face so it’s easy to keep track of. I kept below 170bpm and was super aware of how I was feeling- Ideally I kept below 160 and stayed within 12-18 splat points.
I stopped running around 25 weeks because I just wasn’t comfortable, so I became a power walker. And let me tell you those inclines do amazing things for your legs which I hear leg muscles help immensely with labor.
Around the middle of my second trimester I began getting regular prenatal massages (once per month). I truly think they (along with monthly chiropractic visits) helped me stay comfortable throughout pregnancy and helped my changing body adapt to the differences.
If you’re in the area I highly recommend InnerTruth for massages. (This link will get you 20% off your first!)
Bumpin in the Third Trimester
Baby girl popped out for realllllll in the third trimester.
I power walked as much as I could, but towards the end of the trimester I was less than a power walker (haha) a reggy walker I’ll call myself. I stuck around a 3.1 and maintained the inclines where I could. My big focus was on my heart rate and trying to stay out of the orange zone and completely avoiding the red zone.
I LOVE rowing, like loveeee it. So, when I started experiencing ‘coning’ and slight discomfort while rowing it was devastating – I was so bummed out. Especially since around this time Hell Week started and one class was strictly dedicated to rowing .. I had serious FOMO. Instead of the WaterRower I used the strider and made sure to go forward and backwards to work as many leg muscles I could.
Hell week themed photos:
I still participated in Hell Week and earned my 2019 Hell Week tank at 35 weeks pregnant. And I’m super proud of that!
Baby J earned her onesie too!
I gained the most weight in my third trimester, my belly started feeling super heavy around 35 weeks. (Enter even more of a mental struggle)
As with most pregnant women my center of gravity was all off, so I was more aware and cautious and took exercises very slowly. I also decreased the weights I grabbed even more (about half the weight I normally would lift).
Every day is different at this point; some days some exercises feel great and other days, not so much. This is where communication with your coach is critical – they don’t know your body and cannot read your mind when you need a modification or what you are comfortable with. While the majority of the time I just grabbed a bench or used the TRX straps to do the same moves, other times I needed more guidance and asked for it.
Because of all the changes going on in a pregnant woman’s body things are moving, muscles are changing and more stress is placed in different areas. Most of the modifications my coach had me focus on had to do with engaging the posterior muscle chain (back muscles and glutes galore) think bird-dogs, hip bridges, squats, etc.
When it comes to stretching – over stretching is a definite possibility during pregnancy with all the relaxin pumping through. Adding in prenatal yoga once a week has helped me to realize my limitations and appropriate comfort areas.
Having the support of other members, coaches, and employees has been essential for my journey of a fit pregnancy. Working out at the same time every week I tend to have many of the same crew in class which is amazing. Everyone is so encouraging (and concerned at times too).
These people become your family and my amazing crew even threw me an OTF themed baby shower!!
Overall, I’ve had an amazing experience continuing Orangetheory while pregnant. If you’re pregnant and also doing Orangetheory – congratulations and remember that everyone is different! There are multiple pregnant women at OTF right now in all different stages and we all have different comfort levels, requirements, or limitations. Listen to your body and most importantly, make sure you are having fun!
I will absolutely update this once Baby J is here and share our birth story. I think continuing OTF is going to have a very positive impact on my delivery.
All the positive vibes,