Boot Camp Classes During and After Pregnancy
Boot Camp Classes During and After Pregnancy
This is the second post in a series on popular exercise classes and what to keep in mind if you’re pregnant or a new mom. Today we’re talking about boot camp classes during and after pregnancy. Click here to read the first post in the series about spin classes.
Before we get into the specifics of boot camp classes, here is some general info to keep in mind regarding exercise classes…
If you’re pregnant:
- Number one rule – listen to your body. Do what feels right and don’t compete with others in the class. We know it’s tempting to want to do everything others are doing but resist the urge and instead tune into your own body and go at a pace that feels right for you.
- When possible, take prenatal specific classes (that are taught by QUALIFIED instructors). Unfortunately, there aren’t that many prenatal specific classes out there. The most common prenatal class is yoga. Prenatal Pilates classes are popping up here and there but definitely not as widespread as prenatal yoga classes.
- Tell the instructor before class that you’re expecting and ask for modifications. This is also important so the instructor doesn’t push you to do things you’re not comfortable doing (which they shouldn’t do in the first place but some classes and instructors are taught with a “tough love” philosophy).
If you’re a new mom:
- If you’re just getting back into exercise, don’t be surprised if it’s more difficult then before you were pregnant or even when you were pregnant. Take it slow and do what you can. You might not be able to finish an entire class and that’s okay.
- The same tip applies here as for pregnant moms – listen to your body. It’s tempting to be competitive and do what everyone else is doing, but that could lead to injury or overdoing it if you’re not careful.
- If you have urine leakage, changes in bleeding or pain, these are all signs that your body isn’t ready for that intensity/type of workout. Don’t ignore these signs.
Many group exercise instructors (not all) aren’t educated about prenatal/postpartum women. They might know some modifications but they probably won’t know what’s going on with your body or how to address questions/concerns that come up. Again, this doesn’t apply to all instructors but quite often this is the case. This makes it even more important to listen to your body and only do what feels right. If you’re unsure, seek out a qualified pre/post natal exercise specialist.
Now for the specifics about boot camp classes during and after pregnancy…
Typically, boot camp classes are pretty intense, usually featuring intense intervals throughout the hour-long class. Boot camp instructors tend to be more “tough” on participants than instructors of other types of exercise classes. Participants are encouraged to push themselves to the limit and then some. Because of the intensity of the class, the format and exercises typically included, and the emphasis to push past your comfort zone, boot camp isn’t the ideal type of class for pregnant moms and moms just getting back into exercise after pregnancy. There are, of course, exceptions, and boot camp classes might work for some women. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- If you haven’t taken the specific boot camp class you’re interested in BEFORE getting pregnant, we wouldn’t recommend starting during pregnancy. If you have taken the class before, be sure you know the instructor and are comfortable with him/her as well as the format of the class. Also, be sure to let the instructor know that you’re pregnant before class and talk in detail about modifications.
- Again, boot camp classes are not the type of classes you should start taking during pregnancy.
- Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. As we mentioned before, typically boot camp classes encourage participants to push past their comfort zone. This isn’t something you should do during pregnancy. You should never push yourself to the point of overexertion or fatigue when exercising during pregnancy. Stop before you get to that point. A good way to monitor the intensity of exercise is to use the talk test (you should be able to comfortably speak…if you can’t, decrease your intensity or take a break). As we’ve written about before, monitoring your heart rate isn’t the recommended way to monitor intensity during pregnancy. If you missed our post on the topic, click here to read it.
- Don’t do everything the instructor says if it doesn’t feel right to you. Even if the exercise has been modified…if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. You know your body better than anyone else.
- Keep your body at a comfortable temperature. Dress appropriately and stay hydrated. If the class is outdoors and it’s too hot on a particular day, it’s probably best to skip class.
- If the class incorporates weights, be flexible and open to adjusting the weight you use. You might not be able to lift as much as you did before pregnancy, which is normal and something you need to respect about your changing body.
- Boot camp isn’t the type of class we’d recommend taking until you have built up a strong foundation and have done less intense forms of exercise first.
- Many women feel a strong temptation after pregnancy to do the most intense exercise they can, hoping to lose baby weight quickly. As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race. Take the time to ease into exercise and if/when you feel that your body is ready for a class like boot camp, take it slow. Don’t push yourself past your comfort zone if your body is giving you signs that it’s not ready. Signs include: pain, bleeding and urine leakage. Women often feel embarrassed about urine leakage and choose to ignore it and continue exercising. Urine leakage is not to be ignored. It’s a sign that your pelvic floor is not ready for that type of exercise. Get help from a physical therapist or perinatal exercise specialist.
- If you have diastasis recti, an abdominal separation that can occur during pregnancy, you need to get it corrected BEFORE starting other forms of exercise, including boot camp classes. We offer a personalized diastasis recti correction program, so contact us if you need help. If you had diastasis recti and it’s been properly corrected and you are doing the proper maintenance/monitoring, you shouldn’t have a problem taking boot camp classes. Again, if you need help or have questions, contact us.
Be sure to sign up to receive our blog posts so you can read about all of the classes we’ll write about in this series. If you’d like us to write about a specific type of class, let us know in the comments below.