If you’ve been keeping up with my pregnancy on IG, you likely already know that I’ve had a very positive and healthy experience being pregnant so far and I’m so thankful for that. I’ve been loving strength training while pregnant, and the other day on stories I shared that I woke up feeling strong. I was inundated with messages from women thanking me for sharing that, it was so sweet. I really, really want to emphasize that even though I’m 36 weeks pregnant, I still feel strong, energized, and healthy.

(Also, I deal with a lot of guilt when I’m honest about how I feel because pregnancy is challenging for everyone in it’s own way. Thinking of all the other brave and beautiful mothers-to-be out there no matter what you’re experiencing.)

Prepping For A Healthy Pregnancy

There were a few weeks in my first trimester that not all my favorite foods sounded appetizing, but for the most part I’ve been able to eat as I normally do. This includes my daily smoothie, high-protein dinners, lots of eggs (read more about why in this post), and plenty of snacks to keep me going. I also really cracked down on my supplements and wrote a comprehensive list of everything I’m taking in this post.

Aside from focusing on my nutrition, I’ve also made exercise a priority. I completed GOOD // SWEAT Strength 2.0 Level Up while pregnant, and modified for comfort as I made my way through the guide. The last few months I’ve also been developing my own pregnancy workout guide (coming late 2024!) which includes strength training, Pilates-style workouts, and more.

Why I Recommend Strength Training Before & During Pregnancy

  1. Positive Pregnancy. I’ll attribute a lot of why I’m feeling so good to my routines – eating well and strength training. Overall, regular exercise will lead to better physical health. Better physical health will only help carry and deliver a baby!
  2. Maintain Lean Muscle Mass. Pregnancy can lead to muscle weakening, and can put you at risk of being your weakest when you’re at your heaviest. Lifting weights throughout pregnancy can counteract this, preserving muscle mass and overall strength. I’m not going to recommend lifting your absolute heaviest of course, but consistent weight lifting is so beneficial.
  3. Posture & Overall Comfort. Before and during pregnancy, my focus was to maintain muscle. My body has changed so much during pregnancy, but I really believe that having lean muscle mass has helped me stay comfortable as my belly gets bigger and baby gets heavier! Core and back strength especially was a big focus of mine pre-pregnancy.
  4. Prevention of Pregnancy-Related Aches and Pains. Maintaining strength through pregnancy can alleviate common pregnancy-related discomforts like lower back pain, pelvic pain, etc. by providing better support to the body.
  5. Reduced Risk of Gestational Diabetes. Nobody talks about this part of pregnancy! Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, characterized by high blood sugar levels. Regular strength training regulates blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
  6. Increased Energy Levels. Regular strength training is incredible for energy levels, pregnant or not. Since my workouts are 85% low impact and strength based, my heart-rate stays controlled at a slightly elevated state. That is so important for having a consistent energy level throughout my day – I’m not burning myself out in the gym first thing in the morning. Strength training also combats fatigue, which is great because energy levels naturally decrease throughout pregnancy.
  7. Weight Management. Strength training is a great way to find a healthy weight for your body, wether you’re pregnant or not. Building lean muscle mass and eating a high-protein diet will help your body stimulate MPS – you can read more about that in this post.
  8. Mental Health Benefits. Aside from the endorphins, which are reason enough for regular exercise, there are so many benefits that regular movement has on our mental health. Stress management, anxiety, depression, and even just our overall confidence in ourselves can all be positively impacted.
  9. Postpartum Recovery. There are so many factors that go into a postpartum experience, and it’s something that I’m planning on taking day by day. I hope that by maintaining lean muscle mass throughout pregnancy, postpartum recovery will be manageable and I’ll be able to get back to my pre-pregnancy fitness routine.

16 Weeks Of Gym-Based Workouts

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Welcome! I’m Rachael.

I enjoy sharing my love for food and fitness. I'm a registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and a New York Times Bestselling author. Here you'll find all kinds of recipes and kitchen hacks, as well as workouts and fitness motivation. Enjoy! — xx Rachael

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