Fitness & Nutrition during Pregnancy
Ariane Brodier is a French actress and author, very active on her social media, offering advise on staying active with fitness during pregnancy. She has two beautiful toddlers (3 and 1) and loves talking about her mum life. More than 600k people follow her daily routine on Instagram.
She has always been active her entire life. Before her first pregnancy, she was into martial arts and fitness, working out about 2 to 3 hours every other day, with some running in between. Ariane is what you can call an active mum!
1 – ADAPTATIONS DURING PREGNANCY
Even if you are a fitness freak and you love to train every day, pregnancy will slow you down. That is completely normal, and you should not stress about it. But how do you adapt your workouts to still get a good session in?
ARIANE – First of all you should know that some sports should be avoided during pregnancy. Anything with an impact can have negative effects on your child, such as running or jumping. However, if you love cardio, you can still get your heart rate up without jumping, with an elliptical machine for example. We hear too often that you should not train or practice fitness during pregnancy and this is not true! Staying active will do wonders to your body when you are pregnant. Obviously, you are not pushing your limits at this stage of your life and you should not strive for performance.
If you want to stay active during pregnancy, make sure that you are doing it the right way. Stay close to your doctor during this period of your life, they will give you the best advice to continue your fitness journey while pregnant.
Were you able to stay motivated the whole time, even with all the changes that your body went through?
ARIANE – You know, when sport is something that you enjoy, I don’t think it is that hard to stay active. You should see training as a fun moment for you. However, if you do not feel like training at the gym or doing your regular workouts, how about trying new sports? For me, it was the opportunity to get into swimming for example. It was a new workout and made me feel very good. That is why I encourage you to use this period of your life to try new things that you might love in the long run.
Your body changes during pregnancy, and you cannot do anything about it. However, you can do something about your fitness during pregnancy.
Was there a turning point where you realised “I have to accept that my body changes”?
ARIANE – It is a little scary at first as this is something you are not really in control of. But being pregnant is such a magical experience that you quickly accept how your body changes. Enjoying this experience of becoming a mother is so much more important than losing your abs for a couple of years. No matter what, your body will be different after you have your child, the sooner you accept that, the better you will go through the changes.
As a fitness enthusiast you probably had some sort of understanding of how nutrition works and made sure that what you ate was on par with your goals and your fitness routine. How did that change during your pregnancy, and how did you make sure you did not gain too much weight?
ARIANE – You know, working out is never the hard part in a fitness routine, nutrition is! 70% of your progress is made through nutrition. The one thing you should absolutely be careful with is refined sugar. Whether you are pregnant or not it is not good for you, but in a case of a pregnancy, you should especially avoid it. Other than that, do not stress about it to much. Make sure that what you eat is the best quality possible, have some healthy fats along the way for the growth of the baby, and always remember that the health of your child will partially reflect how you ate during your pregnancy.
2 – GETTING BACK AT IT AFTER THE BIRTH
First thing first, when were you able to exercise again after giving birth?
ARIANE – Before you go back to your running and your jumping and the rest of your workouts, it is detrimental that you go through perineum rehabilitation. This can last 1 to 2 months depending on how your pregnancy went. During that time, I went back to my best friend the elliptical.
I also made good use of my Compex after I went through perineum rehab. It is a fantastic accelerator and it helps you tone your abs faster. It works your muscles deeper than with a simple abs workout, it is convenient, and you see results quickly after giving birth.
Every mum in the world knows that having a child is a full-time job. How do you deal with things like lack of sleep, being interrupted in your workout etc.?
ARIANE – My favorite thing now is the well known “Morning Routine”. I like to work out first thing in the morning, before breakfast, it works well for me. This is because I used to be very tired throughout the day and even if my kids were asleep. I had some time for me, I could not find the motivation to train. Getting up early and committing to working out was my only way to make it work. It was like “ok, now it is 5:30am and you are awake. Let’s make the most of the next hour, because you know you will not do it later in the day”.
I would also like to point out that you can use this opportunity to try out new sports again. Do not stress about a routine, as having children and a routine are usually things that do not go together (laughs). Be ready to adapt and things will go well.
Were you able to quickly go back to your eating habits or did you face any challenges?
ARIANE – Breastfeeding will not let you go back to normal: it makes you SO hungry! Your body needs fat to produce milk, and you will want to eat a lot, all the time. But the way the body works this out is incredible. Keep eating healthy, stay away from refined sugar and everything will be alright.
It depends on people, but having someone to guide you through this period of your life can be beneficial. We often think we are doing things right, but having an external person overlooking can help you with the choices you make daily.
Let’s end on a positive note here and talk about how you perceive your body after giving birth. Your body has changed and even if there are things you can do, you said that it is necessary to accept that you will not go back to 100% what you looked like before. And that is fine! Are there any tips you can give to young mothers to help go through that process of “accepting who you are now”?
ARIANE – When you become a mother, your focus shifts from “yourself” to “your kids”. You lose some of that “care” that you only had for your own body before. It can be harder for some mothers as the changes we go through can be very different from one woman to another. But becoming a mum is a whole new status and that is the most important thing to remember.
I love the “I am who I am movement” these days. It's a movement that highlights the fact that no matter what you look like, how much you weigh. As long as you are doing everything to becoming the best version of yourself, you are on the right track and you should be proud of yourself! Find things to challenge you daily and always enjoy the process. The smile of your children will always be more valuable than the best set of abs.