My Top Pregnancy Fitness Tips (Plus 4 Awesome Prenatal Workout Classes)

Pregnancy Fitness & Prenatal Workouts

I used to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to hit up Barry’s Bootcamp, a hot power yoga class (with weights) or train for a half marathon before work. Then I got pregnant and yeahhhh...not so much. My workouts really changed.

For the first trimester I had crippling fatigue and couldn’t fathom any cardio besides walking. And in general I had no desire to run, jump or do anything high-impact (although many other moms-to-be keep pounding the pavement right up until their due dates). And I encountered many “joys” of pregnancy that affected my workouts, like heartburn/acid reflux, swollen legs and feet, shortness of breath due to squished lungs, loss of balance and generally feeling big, heavy and uncomfortable. Sexy!!

That being said, I made it a priority to work out 3-5 times a week for all 40 weeks (I’m currently at 39 weeks, 4 days). This helped me keep my energy up, manage my weight gain (even while eating anything I wanted … and I do mean anything), avoid any back pain and most importantly, stay healthy and sane through an emotional roller coaster of a year.

Every person is different and every pregnancy is different, and what was right for me is not necessarily what’s right for everyone else. There are a few general rules when it comes to prenatal fitness - avoid any extremely heated workouts, sports where you are in danger of falling or getting hit in the stomach (i.e. horseback riding, softball) and forgo many core exercises since your abs are, as one instructor told me, “busy doing other things.” But for the most part, we are all on our own journeys. These fitness tips and classes are just what worked for me.

My Top 7 Pregnancy Fitness Tips

  1. Check in with your doctor

    Your OBGYN is the best person to advise you on what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Check in with her or him before starting (or continuing) any workouts, and ask about modifications, too, especially for anything core-focused or that has you laying on your back.

  2. Listen to your body

    Sounds corny but it’s true. Feeling tired? Skip a workout and nap instead, or choose a mellow yoga class or a walk. Need a break? Take one. A move doesn’t feel good? Stop doing it immediately. Only you know your body, so trust it and do what’s right for you and your baby. Which brings me to…

  3. Leave your ego at the door

    Newsflash: when you’re pregnant, you probably won’t be the fastest, strongest, most advanced person in class. You won’t be able to do everything you used to do. Which kinda sucks. But hey, that’s the way it is, and that’s okay. So just accept that you can do the very best you can for where you are in your pregnancy...and that it’s more than enough.

  4. Talk to your instructor

    Tell every instructor that you’re pregnant before class starts. They’ll be able to advise you about any moves that you should avoid (even if they seem like they’d be fine!), and are usually happy to help you modify throughout class.

  5. Fuel up and hydrate

    Eat a snack or small meal 1-2 hours before and after a workout to keep your blood sugar steady and make sure you’re not running on empty. Also, hydration is SUPER important while pregnant or breastfeeding, so make sure to drink water before, during and after your workouts.

  6. Focus on your pelvic floor

    Pregnancy and childbirth can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, which support the bowel, bladder and uterus. Keeping them strong will help you bounce back after birth and can benefit everything from your sex life to your underwear (as in, you won’t pee your pants as much xo). A few moves to try: Kegels, squats, bridges and bird dogs.

  7. Think of workouts as training

    Giving birth and being a mom take major strength and stamina, so it helped me to look at pregnancy as 9 months of physical training. I’m hoping that cardio sessions will help me power through labor and delivery, and that strength workouts will make it easier to lift car seats, strollers, diaper boxes...oh, and the baby.

My Top 4 Pregnancy Workout Classes

  1. Spin

    Spin class is a great low-impact cardio workout that needs minimal modifications during pregnancy! I did SoulCycle or another spin class about 1-2 times per week during my 2nd and 3rd trimester and it was a great way to safely get my heart rate up and really sweat, plus tone my legs and arms, in 45 minutes.

    Modifications: raise up the handlebar to make room for your belly, “run” instead of sprint, sit down or take breaks when needed, forgo the choreography if needed

  2. Lagree Pilates

    Core40 has been one of my absolute favorite workouts for years and I never want to give it up. Plus, I’ve heard from MULTIPLE sources that women who continue with Lagree up until the end of pregnancy have quick and easy births - maybe due to all the squatting and lower-body strengthening? Whatever, I’ll take it! Plus it’s low-impact and only 40 minutes.

    Modifications: use the pole for balance, replace center core and oblique sections with additional arm or leg exercises in 2nd and 3rd trimesters, avoid Ramped classes in 3rd trimester when your balance can be off

  3. TRX

    This is a fantastic strength-building workout that worked for me throughout pregnancy. There are so many moves to tone your arms, shoulders, back, butt and legs, and the cardio bursts are typically easy to modify (i.e. swap jumping jacks for step-out jacks, burpees for squat kicks, etc.).

    Modifications: replace ab and oblique exercises with additional arm or leg exercises in 2nd and 3rd trimester, choose low-impact cardio options, modify any moves that require suspending your foot (or feet) in the strap that might affect your balance

  4. Walking or hiking

    The ultimate pregnancy workout. You can do it anytime, anywhere, even if you didn’t have an established workout regimen pre-pregnancy. It’s also a good default when you get too big or uncomfortable for other workouts. To amp it up, pick up the pace and add hills or stairs.

    Modifications: none needed! Switch things up with new walking paths, hiking trails (I love the All Trails app to find new ones) or stairway walks for more of a glute burn.

P.S. Wondering where prenatal yoga fits into all of this? Well...it doesn’t, for me anyway. I tried one very popular, highly recommended class and ended up leaving halfway in. Personally I just felt it was wayyy too slow-paced, too touchy-feely (we had to go around the room and each talk about our pregnancy and how our bodies were feeling :-| ) and too long (90 minutes). I ultimately felt like I got a better workout walking to the class than actually taking it. But others love prenatal and swear by it! So if that’s you, go on with your bad self.


Posted on December 20, 2018 and filed under Fitness.

My Top 20 Healthy Foods from Trader Joe’s

Healthy Food at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

I’m going to preface this by saying … I LOVE TRADER JOE’S.

Yes, that needed to be shouted. I love their branding. I love their prices. I love their feel-good ambiance. And can we talk about the Trader Giotto’s/Trader Jose/Trader Ming epicness? One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday is get there right when the doors open at 8:00 a.m., load up on the free coffee and samples, and discover new and different culinary delights while I blissfully stroll the still-empty aisles.

I don’t always get my produce at TJ’s, but I buy tons of staples there – nuts, medjool dates, almond butter (have you tried the raw kinds? So good dude), coconut oil, RX Bars, chia seeds, sprouted grain bread … the list goes on. This list, however, is a round-up of 20 of my favorite finds that you can’t find everywhere else.


Fridge

1. Sweet Potato Ribbons: A delish alternative to pasta. Sautee with oil, salt and pepper, then toss with sauce.

2. Broccoli & Cabbage Slaw: A great way to reinvent the boring spinach or lettuce salad. Great in a cranberry and apple situation.

3. Steamed Lentils: Lentils are an awesome source of vegan protein, and these are ready to eat warm or cold.

4. Green Goddess Salad Dressing: Made with avocado, green onion, lemon juice, chives, basil and garlic. Need I say more?

5. Sriracha Flavored Baked Tofu: I love this stuff! Super firm, full of flavor and ready to eat. Chop it up and toss on a salad or grain bowl.

6. White Bean & Basil Hummus: I’m a sucker for flavored hummus (jalapeno and cilantro! Roasted red pepper and garlic! Artichoke!), and this kind is unique and a crowd-pleaser.

7. Spinach and Kale Greek Yogurt Dip: I feel like this was really “in” when it came out a few years ago, but it’s worth the hype. Try with baby carrots or as an alternative to sour cream.

8. Almond mozzarella style shreds: If you’re looking to cut down on dairy, try swapping in this almond “cheese” on top of pasta or pizza (pair with the cauliflower pizza crust).

9. Roasted butternut squash, red quinoa and wheatberry salad: My favorite of the grab-and-go salads. Hearty, healthy and only $3.99.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

Freezer

10. Colorful Carrot Coins: The perfect easy-to-heat side dish to add to your dinner. Warming and full of flavor.

11. Zucchini Spirals: Spiralizing your own veggies is kind of a production (what? It is!). These taste just as good as fresh, and are amazing paired with a little olive oil, pesto, garlic and nutritional yeast. They also have carrot spirals if you want to mix it up.

12. Cauliflower Pizza Crust: I always have at least one of these chilling in my freezer for easy weeknight dinners. Made with just 7 real ingredients and ready in 10 minutes.

13. Salmon Burgers: Another good one to have on standby. Full of healthy fats and omega 3s, plus their fish is wild caught and sustainably harvested.

14. Gone Bananas! Chocolate Covered Banana Slices: A delicious sweet treat that isn’t that bad for you.

Healthy Foods at Trader Joe's | Bellini Bootcamp

Shelves

15. Gluten-free Ancient Grain & Super Seed Oatmeal: If you’re an oatmeal fan, definitely consider swapping out your average oats for these fiber- and antioxidant-packed ones.

16. 10 Minute Farro: Basically fool-proof and creates fluffy, perfect farro in no time, every time.

17. Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta: Sometimes “healthy” pasta can be soggy, weird-textured or flavorless. This stuff tastes great and holds the weight of sauces and add-ons.

18. Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend: This has been trending for a reason – it’s addictive on eggs, chicken, popcorn, roasted veggies, vegan mac and cheese

19. New Zealand sweet apple rings: Satisfies my sweet tooth and excellent dipped in almond butter

20. 3 seed sweet potato crackers: I just discovered these and LOVE LOVE LOVE. And all that’s in ’em are: yellow corn, sunflower oil, sweet potato, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds and sea salt. Boom.

 

BUT far and away my favorite thing that comes out of TJ’s is … the FEARLESS FLYER. You know, their quarterly newsletter highlighting new and featured products. It is honestly amazing and the most entertaining read ever. My favorite issues are: October (pumpkin everything), November (gingerbread everything), and December (peppermint everything). Get into it. You’ll thank me later.

Want more? Peep some new healthy TJ goodness here.

 

Posted on February 27, 2018 and filed under Food.

My 3 Favorite Health & Fitness Podcasts

My 3 Favorite Health & Fitness Podcasts | Bellini Bootcamp

It took me awhile to hop on the podcast train (I also only recently learned what “woke” means ... moving on), but now I love listening to 'em while commuting, running errands, jogging, you name it. And while sometimes a true crime thriller hits the spot, other times it’s nice to have lighter options that inspire me to continue progressing on my wellness journey (and after the indulgences of Super Bowl Sunday, let’s just say I am in dire need of a little fitspiration).

 

In the market for a helpful nutrition podcast, motivational fitness podcast, inspirational wellness podcast ... or just a positive way to pass time on your way home today? Here are my three favorites.

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The Skinny Confidential Him & Her

I’m obsessed with Lauryn Evarts’s blog The Skinny Confidential (that’s how I learned about GG crackers, shaving your face, jade rolling, the list goes on) and also follow her fabulous life on Instagram. Her podcast, which also stars her husband Michael, covers everything from career advice to healthy eating to travel tips and more. Get into it and thank me later.

A few to check out:

Episode 91: Dr. Dennis Gross - Youthful Glowing Skin & Stimulating Collagen

Episode 90: Tanya Zuckerbrot - The F-Factor Diet

Episode 98: Kelly LeVeeque - Be Well by Kelly

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Beauty Inside & Out

Kimberly Snyder is a celebrity nutritionist (Kerry Washington, Channing Tatum, Reese Witherspoon, hello) and author who is all about a vegan, whole foods diet. My favorites are her weekly Q&A episodes, where she answers questions sent in by listeners, and I generally just love how this podcast inspires me to stick with a plant-based diet.

A few to check out:

Episode 197: How Digestion Determines Your Weight Loss

Episode 209: Shedding Light with ‘What the Health’s’ Keegan Kuhn

Episode 215: Infrared Health Benefits

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On Air with Ella

Want real talk? You’ve come to the right place. Ella is just like us, except that she quit her business career to become a podcaster, entrepreneur and triathlete (while being a mom). Umm dream, right? She tackles all things diet, fitness and wellness with a healthy dose of humor. Don’t miss the Good/Bad/Yummy episodes – fun, quick musings on wellness topics and trends.

A few to check out:

Episode 130: Breaking the Nighttime Snacking habit

Episode 124: The Perfect Diet? Part I - Dr. John Berardi

Episode 100: Healthy at Home: Detox Your House!

 

Are there any other wellness podcasts I need to check out? Let me know in the comments!



 

Posted on February 5, 2018 and filed under Lifestyle.

Your Ultimate Hangover Handbook

You came. You saw. You partied off 2017 til you couldn’t remember it (lucky).

And now you’re waking up to a beautiful new year, a fresh start … and a f***ing horrific hangover.

Never fear, my friends. I’ve been preparing for this. And so has the Internet, which has been sending helpful hangover remedies my way for years. Here are a few of the latest and greatest that will get you back on your feet and back to causing trouble in no time.

And on that note, I’m kicking off Sober January. And pretty freaking excited about it.


How to Get Through a Hangover: Eggs, homemade sports drinks, ginger and more

Natural Hangover Helpers: Miso soup, acupressure, B vitamins and more

10 Best Hangover Cures: Alka seltzer, sauna (YES), ginger tea and more

The Embarrassing Hangover Cure: One word. Pedialyte.

31 Weird Hangover Cures People Swear By: Weed, grilled cheese, a bath and more

How These 8 Yogis Deal with a Hangover: Green tea, bone broth, probiotics and more

DIY Hangover Kit: Advil, Kombucha, eye masks and more

Want even more ideas? Here ya go. There’s gotta be something that works in here

 

Nothing’s helping? Embrace the pain, grab a mimosa, and make brunch your bitch.

 

 

Posted on January 1, 2018 and filed under Lifestyle.

12 Steps for Party Perfect Skin

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(That's me before a recent holiday party, driving home from DryBar with full hair, makeup ... and sweats. Yes, I changed.)

Champagne, confetti, countdowns ... New Year's Eve is coming, whether you like it or not. And with it comes all the potentially unfiltered photos that will grace – or haunt – your social media for the next month. That means when you head out to whatever extravaganza you've got planned, you want to look and feel your best ... which means an outfit you love, hair on point (thanks, Drybar!) and most importantly, party-ready skin that looks fresh, not fried. Staying home to watch Mariah *try* to redeem herself at New Year's Rockin' Eve? It's still worth putting in a little extra time to wake up on January 1 with an enviable "this is my year" glow.

I'll preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who occasionally suds up with a bar of Dove soap and miraculously has a complexion like Lily Collins. Like many people, I struggle with breakouts, wrinkles, dark under-eye circles ... the list goes on (*sob*), so I do my best to stick to a regular skincare regimen to keep things in check. And, for big events. I like to add a few more special steps for glowing skin.

Whether you're heading to a casual dinner, a fancy soiree or just the local dive bar this NYE, here are a few night out skin secrets that will have you reaching for the selfie stick (hey, they actually do take good pix, okay) when the clock strikes midnight.


The night before

  1. Avoid salt. You don’t want your face to look like a puff ball, do you? So avoid anything laden with sodium, like processed and packaged foods, sauces, canned soups, etc.

  2. Chug depuffing drinks. I drink two, typically the night before an event AND the morning of the event if I can make it happen. Recipes for Ultra Lemon Water and Cranberry Flush are below.

  3. Steam. Set a pot of boiling water on the stove (bonus points if you add in dried herbs), then carefully (carefully!) hang your head about 10 inches above the pot. Drape a towel over your head to keep the steam in. This will help any gunk ooze out of your pores, which brings us to Step 3 ...

  4. Apply a detoxifying mask. Now that your pores are nice and clean and open, purge any buildup with a mask suited to your skin type. I switch it up, but usually like masks by Peter Thomas Roth, Aveda, GlamGlow and Glossier.

  5. Slather on an intensive moisturizer or oil, and eye cream. Moisturized skin is plump, bouncy, youthful … all things we’re going for, so lay on the hydration. I’ve been using this nighttime oil and this eye cream.

  6. Apply an overnight face mask. Your skin repairs itself while you sleep, so this is a great time to load it up with beneficial nutrients and vitamins. This is one of the only overnight masks I’ve tried that gives me visible results.

  7. Use two pillows. This will help fluid drain away from your face and prevent under-eye bags the size of carry-ons.

The day of

  1. Give yourself an ice facial. What’s an ice facial, you ask? It’s simple. Dump a tray of ice cubes into a large, shallow bowl, fill the rest with cold water, and dunk your clean face in for as long as you can stand. This will tighten up your pores and bring a beautiful flush to your cheeks. Kate Moss does this, so you know it’s legit. Make sure to hold your breath.

  2. Apply a hydrating sheet mask. Again with the moisture. Sheet masks are great because they really press ingredients into your skin. Look for ones featuring words like “luminous” “brighten” “hydrate” and “glow.” I recently used this one and liked it.

  3. Jade roll. I freaking love jade rolling. It’s basically a form of facial lymphatic massage that drains away excess fluid and puffiness (it also pushes those good mask ingredients in even further). Store yours in the freezer, then roll repeatedly over forehead, cheeks, eyes, sides of nose, chin, and neck. No jade roller? Massage your mask in with your fingertips, and place two frozen spoons over your eyes for a minute or two.

  4. Apply light moisturizer and depuffing eye cream. Ok, now it’s time to get down to business. Apply your daily moisturizer (I use this one) and a depuffing eye cream, and let them sink in for at least 10 minutes.

  5. Smooth on primer. Don’t miss this step!! Primer is critical for ensuring smooth, even makeup application. This one is an old standard. And, for brownie points, you can keep chugging depuffing drinks throughout the day.


Ultra Lemon Water

Wash 2 organic lemons and slice them in half.

Bring water to a boil.

Squeeze the lemon juice into the water, then throw in peels as well.

Let steep for at least 10 minutes.

Sip slowly.

 

Cranberry Flush

Blend ½ cup frozen cranberries with 1 cup water.

Drink.


What are your favorite tips and products for amazing night-out skin? Please let me know ... I need 'em!

 

Posted on December 28, 2017 and filed under Lifestyle.