Pregnancy doesn’t have to slow you down! Just look at Tenna Cathey of Detroit Fitness Hub. At 27 weeks, she’s still working out regularly.

Maintaining regular exercise throughout your pregnancy can be just as beneficial to mom as a healthy diet

Peter Smith

Tenna’s been a personal trainer for six years and says she got into fitness while in college. “I went to school in Chicago and was living a very unhealthy lifestyle. My self-esteem was low and I had to do something about it. So, I started working out, started a blog out there and then decided I wanted to do it full-time and started teaching classes and training.” From there, she got certified, started teaching Zumba and has “just been running ever since.”

Upon moving back home, Tenna opened Detroit Fitness Hub, a co-working fitness and event studio in the Eastern Market. “Detroit’s home…and there’s family here. And, with the whole transition Detroit’s been going through, it seemed like a no-brainer.” Tenna specializes in prenatal fitness, balance and core stability, post- rehab training, and is also a healthy habits coach. “The baby hasn’t slowed me down.”

For most women, pregnancy signals an onslaught of change. It can be scary to imagine working out with pregnancy symptoms. “[My] first trimester was really rocky and rough, the second trimester I was like ‘okay.’ I started gaining my energy back and felt good working out. Now, going into the third, I’m starting to slow down because I’m gaining more weight.” As her baby-bump grows, Tenna says her workouts have been scaled back a bit. “But I think that just comes with the territory. [I’m] just making sure that I’m healthy.”

Maintaining regular exercise can be just as beneficial to mom as a healthy diet. “Having a good workout regimen helps with your stress levels, helps with your weight gain, and your energy levels,” says Tenna. Working out has other values as well. While strength training prepares you for the extra weight you will carry later on in pregnancy, cardio helps you build the endurance you will need for labor.

“You do have to push yourself to do it, but you also have to make it work for you. Cause if you have kids or you’re running a business or working a nine to five, you kind of have to make that work for you. If all you have is 10 minutes, cool. That’s why I [suggest] moves where you combine two moves in one. You want it to be efficient and effective at the same time.”

Before you begin working out, it’s important to consult your OB-GYN. “As long as you consult your doctor and if you’re working out with a professional it should be okay.” The key though is to never push yourself to a point where you can’t recover. If you start to feel abnormal, don’t be afraid to talk to someone. “[Because this is] my first pregnancy I had to ask people ‘is this normal?’ Ask other moms or ask your doctor. You don’t even have to go in, just call. Sometimes [being uncomfortable] is normal just from the growing pains and gaining weight, but if you are doing a workout and it’s too much for you, definitely tone it down.”

One aspect of fitness to focus on is balance training. “You can just trip on air,” warns Tenna. “You have more weight in the midsection, so your balance is going to be off.” She also recommends that you don’t neglect lifting weights. “Strength training is going to help you maintain, muscle tone. It will help get your heart rate up, and you can incorporate cardio into your strength training. When baby comes, you don’t want a weak upper body. You want to maintain that a little bit, to carry your baby and toddler.”

For women who enjoy running, they can keep going. “Whatever you were doing before you can still do it. You may not be able to go as hard as you were before but you can still definitely do it.” If you prefer guided classes, prenatal yoga is very popular and low impact. For guided classes, Tenna recommends letting the instructor know you’re pregnant so that they can modify workouts for you to ensure you and baby stay safe.

If you weren’t working out regularly before pregnancy, it’s generally still safe to start in the first two trimesters. If you are in your third trimester and want to start exercising, its best you seek guidance from a trainer and take things very slow. Then, six weeks after birth, you can start working out gradually, granted you take it slow and consult your doctor.

Although exercise has many benefits for pregnant women, they should not rely on it as a tool for weight loss. “So if you are already overweight before the pregnancy, [your] doctor will recommend that you adopt a healthier diet. Cut out the fatty foods, especially fried food and sweets, and then start working out. You might lose a little bit but you’re not gonna shed off an astronomical amount of fat like you would if you weren’t pregnant,” says Tenna.

Tenna also highly recommends that you surround yourself with women who share your experience. “If you know any other women that are in their pregnancy, reach out to them. Work out with them because it’s better when you have a support system. Cause there’s going to be days where you don’t feel like it. And it’s fun because you guys can work out and vent about your pregnancy together.”

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