Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC(NEW YORK) — To her more than 11 million followers on Instagram, Kayla Itsines is known for her hardcore workouts that deliver results.
The Australia-based BBG and SWEAT app founder is now pregnant with her first child, and as with any woman's pregnancy, her workouts have changed too.
"Prior to pregnancy, I was working out three to four times a week — high-intensity training. I was also doing walks five times a week and giving myself a break on the weekends," she told ABC News' Good Morning America. "Now I am doing one to two sessions, sometimes three, of low-intensity training. I’m also just doing a lot of walking, resting [and] relaxing."
Itsines, who is in her third trimester, also wants women to know that just like other women at certain times of their pregnancy, she also experienced the inability to exercise.
"I think that [women] see my workouts now and are like, ‘Oh she must have worked out the whole time,’ but that’s not necessarily true," Itsines said, explaining that feeling sick prevented her from working out until about 18 weeks into her pregnancy. "Now in the 20ish weeks I’m feeling much better so I’m able to work out."
"I’m not pushing myself, I’m not striving to set personal bests," she said.
Itsines has been open about her pregnancy with her followers and hopes that sharing her workouts gives women an idea of what an active pregnancy can look like.
"Active pregnancies are not new but they definitely are new to social media," she said. "Having someone work out with weights on social media — that definitely can be different — but I think now, after 10 weeks of them seeing me workout, I think they’re feeling more comfortable and they’re now realizing these are pregnancy-safe workouts."
Itsines is working with a health care professional to design her pregnancy workouts. When asked about the possibility of releasing a pregnancy workout program in the future, Itsines said she is exploring that and her fans must "wait and see."
"I feel like now that I am pregnant, women are looking at me and thinking, ‘She’s doing it. She’s going through it.’ And there’s more of a respect there from everyone. I really feel that," she said. "I really feel this warmth and I really feel this sense of community."
Kayla's top five pregnancy workout tips
1. Just do what you can: "I’m not pushing myself, I’m not striving to set personal bests. I’m honestly just working out so I feel good and have a clean mind. It actually makes me feel great and sleep better."
2. Don't feel pressured to work out: "Right now I’m providing pregnancy-safe workouts, but that’s if you’re able to do them. Don’t feel the pressure that you feel like you need to work out. If your doctor has told you to rest, if your doctor has told you to relax, that’s important for you to do as well."
3. Listen to your doctor: "It is so important to work with your doctor, prior to your pregnancy, if you’re trying to get pregnant, and during your pregnancy when you’re trying to work out. There are so many opinions out there so you have to work closely with your doctor. You have to work with your body as well and what feels right for you."
4. Focus on preparing your body for the baby: "There are a lot of benefits if you’re able to work out. Things like walking to clear your mind, working on postural exercises, the sort of things [where] you’re prepping your body for the baby, rather than not doing anything at all."
5. Don't fear exercise: "I think a lot of women are scared. I’m able to show women that an active pregnancy is okay."
Kayla's five-move pregnancy workout
"This upper- and lower-body pregnancy workout incorporates five exercises to help maintain strength and fitness. It is designed to be completed wherever is most convenient, whether that’s at home, the park or the gym," she said.
"The aim of the workout is not to go as fast as you can but to complete every exercise with quality repetitions in a full range of motion," Itsines noted.
"Remember pregnancy is not a time to set any personal bests, also, if you are a beginner, remember to start slow. Every pregnancy is unique, so ensure that you check with your health care professional prior to working out," she said.
1. Exercise mat
2. Bench (or use a chair if working out at home).
3. Dumbbells (around 10 pounds; use soup cans or alternate items for weights if working out at home).
Exercise 1: Sit squat
This exercise is great for strengthening your quads and glutes (using a bench for added stability and to help assist in the movement pattern).
Place a bench (or chair) horizontally behind you. Plant both feet on the floor hip-width apart.
Inhale. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until you are able to sit on the bench behind you, ensuring that your back remains within a 45- to 90-degree angle to your hips. Lean back slightly to sit up tall.
Exhale. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to the starting position.
Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Exercise 2: Bent-over row
This exercise can help to maintain good posture, which is beneficial in pregnancy.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing inwards), plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. While maintaining a slight bend in your knees, hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Extend your arms directly below your chest.
This is your starting position.
Exhale. Bend your elbows to lift the dumbbells in toward your body, ensuring your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
Inhale. Extend your elbows to lower the dumbbells and return to the starting position.
Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Exercise 3: Curl and press
This exercise targets the biceps, triceps and shoulders, and is a great way to build muscular strength and endurance in the arms.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a neutral grip (palms facing inwards) with arms extended on either side of your body, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
Inhale. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells in toward your chest, ensuring that your elbows remain in close contact with the sides of your body.
Exhale. Using the muscles in both your shoulders and arms, extend your elbows and press dumbbells up above your head, ensuring that arms are in line with your ears on either side of your head.
Inhale. Lower the dumbbells to shoulder height, then extend your elbows to return to the starting position.
Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Exercise 4: Bent-over reverse fly
This is another great exercise to help maintain posture, which could help to minimize aches and pains in the upper back during pregnancy.
Holding one dumbbell in each hand, plant both feet on the floor shoulder-width apart. Hinge forward from your hips so that your torso is parallel to the floor. Bend your knees slightly and extend your arms to hold the dumbbells directly below your chest. This is your starting position.
Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells outward and upward from below your chest until they reach shoulder height. You should feel a small squeeze between your shoulder blades.
Inhale. Gently lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Exercise 5: Front raise
Another simple shoulder strengthening exercise.
Holding one dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip (palms facing towards your body) in front of your legs, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder-width apart. This is your starting position.
Exhale. While maintaining a slight bend in your elbows, gently raise the dumbbells forwards and up to chin height.
Inhale. Slowly lower the dumbbells to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10 repetitions.
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