Let’s talk about how to incorporate safe HIIT workouts in a simple way while you are pregnant!
So, what are HIIT workouts?
HIIT training stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Sounds pretty straight forward. Basically, it is a type of workout with alternating bouts of exercise. Bouts that make you work really hard followed by periods of recovery or rest. Typically, both intervals tend to be fairly short, resulting in quicker workouts. Great for mamas who are short on time!
HIIT workouts are a great way to burn a larger amount of calories in a shorter period of time relative to most other methods of exercise. The body responds by improving cardiovascular conditioning (your heart will be pumping!) and fast-twitch muscle fibers, while optimizing your ability to recover quicker. Those flights of stairs won’t have anything on you! It is especially appealing to prenatal women when they have little energy and don’t find the sound of an hour workout very exciting, let alone doable.
How do you make safe HIIT workouts for pregnancy?
So generally speaking, HIIT workouts would not be safe while pregnant. The goal is to create a high intensity through powerful, and usually high impact, movements or heavy loads (weight). Your heartrate pushes to the max and you get out of breath. All things your doctor may be saying a big N-O to. BUUUUUT, with modifications HIIT workouts can definitely become safe while pregnant.
- First and foremost, ALWAYS get clearance and approval from your physician before starting any workout program or exercise. ESPECIALLY while you are pregnant.
- Modify, modify, modify. That’s right I said it.
- Use the Talk Test to monitor your intensity.
- HAVE FUN!!!!
That’s it. It’s really that simple. What do I preach here? Fitness is as simple as you make it. Now I know that was so simple and short that you are waiting for me to explain some more so keep reading!
Always get clearance from your physician
I think this kind of goes without saying for anyone that doesn’t live under a rock, hehe just kidding! But I am sure we all know or have heard this from the fitness industry. EveryBODY is different and so it is important to make sure that you are not going to do something that could hurt yourself because it is beyond your limitations. Every pregnancy is different as well and may come with special limitations if you have any kind of medium to high risk complications. So always speak with your doctor first!
While you are pregnant your body is doing some pretty big and important things and is going through some big and important changes. It is especially important to make sure that nothing you do will hurt your precious cargo. So keep in mind, that as you progress through the trimesters you will need to adjust to meet your body’s and baby’s needs. The basics of exercising while pregnant are not to try to start a more intense or brand new form of exercise than you were not previously doing prior to pregnancy. So if you were already doing HIIT before, it should be safe to continue HIIT workouts while pregnant.
Modify, modify, modify
So how exactly do you modify? I will tell you my little grasshoppers! The things you will need to modify depends on the trimester you are in as well as how experienced you are. So begin by following the general guidelines of exercise limitations during pregnancy. Listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
- Movement- minimize jarring movements or those that are high impact by taking the impact (or jump) out. Such as a squat that comes up to the toes rather than a squat jump. Through pregnancy our joints begin to loosen to prepare for delivery. So impact can lead to an injury or just be all around unsafe. I personally felt ok to do small jumping motions into my third trimester until it made my joints whine too much.
- Equipment- swap out or avoid things that can cause you to fall or cause impact onto your body in an unsafe way like box jumps, or hanging exercises like pull-ups. Simple solution for those would be step ups and bent over rows. If you are noticing your balance seems to be untrustworthy, keep the exercises simple and avoid fast changes in direction or movements that require balance within these types of workouts. That would mean sprinting and agility-like exercises or again jumping onto a box. Barbells are also not my favorite to use (at least when using them for olympic lifts like cleans and such) during pregnancy because you could easily hit your growing bump and that to me seemed too dangerous.
- Frequency- again this one depends on what you were doing before and what trimester you are in. So my suggestion is to listen to your body but to keep these HIIT workouts to a few times a week and a shorter duration. Your body is already working so hard. You don’t want to cause too much stress that can have a negative impact to you and the baby. Two to three times a week of HIIT workouts that are fifteen to twenty minutes long should be plenty!
- Intensity- these modifications should automatically adjust your intensity to an appropriate level. However, an easy way to do this is to increase the time of the recovery phases of the workout and decrease the time of the work phases. That way you will be able to catch your breath and keep your blood properly oxygenated.
Use the Talk Test
A sure fire and simple way to make sure that your intensity is at the appropriate level is by using the Talk Test. This replaces good old fashioned pulse rate check. So instead of watching the clock, simply work at a pace that allows you to hold a conversation. If you feel like you may be working too hard just try to say a sentence or two. If you can, then you are doing great!
Now that you can feel confident to do safe HIIT workouts during your pregnancy, let yourself have some fun! You can workout without having to sacrifice a ton of time and even maintain a style that you may already enjoy. HIIT workouts tend to offer lots of variety and can also help boost your mood and energy levels once those endorphins kick in!
Now join me for your prenatal-safe, HIIT workout!
Try one of my safe HIIT workouts while YOU’RE pregnant
If you need a pick me up to get motivated for your prenatal workouts, head here for some tips!