Working Out At Home While Pregnant During A Pandemic

The pandemic hit the same time my husband & I were moving from a condo to a single-family home, so while it wasn’t ideal, timing-wise we were already considering investing in indoor biking & treadmill equipment, which ended up being lifesavers throughout the pandemic, as well as the brutal Chicago snow that hit us in 2020.

While I will admit, the hardest part about working out in the basement was initially finding weights, because they were sold out EVERYWHERE in March of 202, I managed to pull together a variety of tools and equipment to allow myself to workout out throughout my pregnancy and the height of a pandemic in a way I felt was safest for myself.

ESSENTIAL EQUIPMENT:

  • Weights
    • At first, I almost sent my husband to create weights for me out of PVC pipe and rice, but eventually my sweet mother let me borrow/keep hers, because I knew I wanted to rotate between strength training, yoga, running & cycling.
  • Wahoo Fitness Kickr
    • This was something we already had because again… Chicago winters are brutal… and while I previously used a fixed gear bike to ride 5 miles a day to work, I didn’t want to lose that work I put in, and we hate biking outdoors in the middle of winter, so had invested in an indoor bike trainer in 2018 so we could use our tri bikes & had recently upgraded to Wahoo so we don’t have to worry about wrecking our back tires from our previous trainer & jankier version.
  • TechnoGym Treadmill
    • This was our most expensive purchase by far, it was delivered in March of 2020 so I’m sure now there are so many delivery delays and surcharges, so I’m grateful we bought it while we did. I did miss out on exploring our neighborhood via runs in the early days, but it’s so much easier for me just to head downstairs, put a quick mile or two in, because I still sometimes loathe running, and be done with it!
  • Resistance Bands
    • Below, I’ll mention some workouts I found specifically for women in different stages of pregnancy and these were easy tools to add into my workout rotation without having to add too much weight.
  • Exercise Ball
    • This was ordered for a dual purpose – safe ab work and back stretches in the beginning of my pregnancy & pandemic, as well as later on third-trimester bouncing to help aching hips & try ANYTHING to get myself into an on-time labor (did not help..).

ONLINE CLASSES & SUBSCRIPTIONS:

  • Zwift
    • I’ve been a fan of Zwift for years, as well as their convenient subscription-based model that does allow you to pause without having to lose your account. We had signed up for Zwift in 2017 or 2018 mainly during off season training in the winter, but paired with the Wahoo Kicker which simulates hills, it was a complete game changer for us, myself especially throughout my pregnancy. I was too nervous to bike when the pandemic was new, and also while I wasn’t sure where my balance was at with a giant stomach, so Zwift was a great way for me to keep up with my weekly cycling mileage in a way I felt comfortable. We also purchased a treadmill that was compatible with Zwift, which to be honest doesn’t always sync up easily, but when it does, it’s nice to see my progress on our Apple TV or iPad to feel like I’m running somewhere besides a dark, dank basement bedroom.
      • Added benefit – I believe they also now have programs for both pregnancy and postpartum which is super fun AND I was able to pause my membership for the first 3 – 4 months postpartum where sitting on a bike sounded like the WORST POSSIBLE THING.
  • Apple Fitness
    • Apple Fitness, especially if you have an Apple Watch, an iPad and/or Apple TV was a really easy and fun tool for me to incorporate. I primarily use their yoga & strength training videos, sometimes rowing, it’s a really great way to fit in even a quick workout, because you can stream it and sync it quickly to your watch (because we all want to track every moment of every workout) and airplay to the TV to watch on the big screen. You can also easily select a workout length no matter what type of workout you’re looking for, which I appreciate now more than ever when I procrastinate on social media too much in the morning and only have 20 minutes to fit something in before work.
  • Expecting And Empowered Fitness Guides
    • I found Expecting and Empowered on instagram and cannot recommend these two or their fitness guides enough! They break down workouts by trimester, ensuring they incorporate safe workouts depending on what week of pregnancy you’re in, with minimal equipment 2-3x a week. I was looking for an easy program I could follow (hello, triathlete here, LOVE a pre-made program with an end goal in mind) and this also made me feel so much stronger and more prepared for labor, delivery & of course, physically caring for a newborn. They also provide postpartum guides, which I absolutely purchased ( had just waited to determine whether I needed a C section guide or not) and it was really helpful, especially the first days of postpartum when I was in so much pain, so sleep-deprived, but needed to get out and at least walk around the block. Their guide can come printed or via a Digital PDF, which also then links to private youtube videos for workouts you may not be familiar with – cannot recommend enough.
  • Youtube Videos
    • Towards my second and third trimester, I was looking for lighter yoga and prenatal workouts, as well as some that prepped you for labor. Here’s a quick playlist of some of my favorite youtubers so you can see workouts I essentially did on repeat each week, or youtubers who have their own prenatal or postpartum series you can explore.

What have been some of your favorite equipment, subscriptions, or social media workouts you’ve found and embraced during the past 1.5 years? I will say, training for triathlons all these years, especially in the winter months and being forced indoors really helped me with finding the willpower to maintain my workout schedules while growing increasingly pregnant, and even one year postpartum.

I also managed to sneak in the 2021 Chicago Triathlon this past August… more on that coming soon!

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