exercise

Sprinting while pregnant? Jenna Wolfe made do with walking, light weight lifting and Cocoa Pebbles

June 27, 2014 at 12:02 PM ET

A pregnant Alysia Montano runs in the opening round of the women's 800 meter run at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, California.
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A pregnant Alysia Montano runs in the opening round of the women's 800 meter run at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, California.

After we aired this morning’s story about the dynamic woman who ran an 800 meter race 8 months pregnant, it got me thinking about my athletic accomplishments during my pregnancy. Don’t worry, it was a fleeting thought… because there weren’t that many.  

Yes, I worked out… a lot. But there’s no way I could have sprinted with that ginormous belly I had. No way!! I would have tipped over shortly after the starting gun went off. But I give that woman a round of applause for getting out there and doing it (obviously with her doctor’s permission).

The day I found out I was pregnant last year, I did two things… I ate a bagel (for the first time in years), and I called my OB to map out a fitness plan for the next 9 months. I had read over and over and over again that there wasn’t a correlation between working out during pregnancy and the pregnancy itself… or the delivery. But I had been working out fairly consistently for the last 20 years, so I wasn’t about to stop.

WATCH: Was it OK for Alysia Montano to run while pregnant?

My doctor encouraged me to cut back on the crazy jumping around that I like to do, especially later on in the pregnancy, and she wanted to keep my max heart rate below 150. Not ideal, as I love high intensity interval training, but at least I could still work out. In my head, I was going be in the gym almost every day… cardio, strength training, light plyometrics… for 9 straight months, right up until Harper’s arrival. I obviously had no idea what carrying around a 27-pound basketball bulge would be like.

Ripped to round: Known for her amazing abs and punishing workouts, fitness buff Jenna Wolfe had to learn a whole new way of eating, exercising, and treating her body through her pregnancy and now that she's a new mother.
Courtesy Jenna Wolfe
Ripped to round: Known for her amazing abs and punishing workouts, fitness buff Jenna Wolfe had to learn a whole new way of eating, exercising, and treating her body through her pregnancy and now that she's a new mother.

Turns out I had every pregnancy symptom in the book. Morning sickness, back pain, knee pain, heartburn, calf cramps, pregnancy brain and weird cravings (Annie’s Mac n Cheese, Cocoa Pebbles, Total Corn Flakes, mint chocolate chip ice cream).  Right away I had to adjust my fitness plan. I still did a lot of bootcamp-style exercises for the first 6 or 7 months and then when the belly got too big, I switched to a lot of light weight lifting/toning coupled with treadmill walking. I walked a lot. A LOT. I downloaded multiple seasons of "Royal Pains," "Veep," "Parks and Recreation," and even, to the delight of Stephanie, "Game of Thrones," even though I couldn’t understand who anybody was, what they were saying or where they were all going. But watching all that TV on my iPad kept me on the treadmill for at least 60-90 minutes a day.

The day I gave birth, I went to the gym in the morning as usual, waddled on the treadmill for an hour, took a long bath, packed my bag and … well the rest is history.

I consider myself fairly athletic and I kept moving throughout my pregnancy. Did it make the delivery any easier? Hard to say … I have nothing to compare it to. Did it make the pregnancy any easier? Certainly not, as I had a bevy of lovely morning sickness issues. But my body bounced back into shape pretty quickly after I gave birth and I’d like to think it had at least SOMETHING to do with staying in shape the 9 months prior.

My advice is this … we all want to get our bodies back after having a baby. Why make it harder than it has to be? Don’t spend the pregnancy gorging on food and sitting on the couch. You don’t need to run an 800-meter race, but try to keep moving, try to eat healthy when your body allows it. Give in to the cravings when you need to, but aim to balance it out when you can. I promise you it’ll make it that much easier when it’s time to lose the weight.  

And I know what you’re thinking… Cocoa Pebbles???

Video: Social media is on fire after athlete Alysia Montano ran in the U.S. Track and Field Championships while eight months pregnant. In a TODAY poll, 63 percent said they supported her run. Carson Daly reports from the Orange Room.


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