PERSONAL trainer Carly Rowena, 31, lives in Norwich with her husband Leon, 31, also a pT, and their daughter Jax, four months.
Here, she reveals why she decided to keep on lifting weights every day despite her GP recommending she reduced her activity.
Carly Rowena lifted weights every day during her pregnancy[/caption]
Carly, pictured six months pregnant, was advised by her GP during her 12 week scan to reduce her activity[/caption]
“Strutting around the gym floor in a sports bra and leggings, I proudly showed off my stomach. I was used to the occasional envious glance at my ripped abs, but today was different. Just one week away from giving birth, my pregnant belly was huge and as I started squatting with a 50kg weight on my shoulders, I noticed the whole gym was staring at me – but I didn’t care.
“I’ve always been active, but in my early 20s I fell in love with weightlifting. Watching my muscles grow made me feel strong, powerful and able to conquer anything.
“By 25 I was a real gym bunny, working out every day around my job in marketing. I even met my husband Leon at the gym in 2011, as he was a personal trainer there. We loved going out for drinks and pizza, but even with a hangover we’d hit the weights again the next day.
“In February 2013, I decided to take my love of fitness seriously, paying £2,000 for a six-month PT course that fitted around my job. I also set up my YouTube channel, focusing on health and exercise.
Carly, pictured here a week before labour, documented her workouts during her pregnancy[/caption]
Personal trainer Carly says she was frustrated when her GP recommended to reduce activity[/caption]
“Life was manic, but that September I was able to quit my job to become a full-time PT. Over the next few years my social media followers grew to 450,000 and I had 35 clients a week.
“While my career blossomed, so did my life with Leon. We got married in 2017, and in March the following year we were delighted to find out I was expecting a baby. I was excited to see our little family start to grow, but I couldn’t help worrying about losing the muscles
“I’d spent years building up. I’d learned about exercising while pregnant during my PT training, so I knew the basics, such as not lifting anything above your head and avoiding jumping so as to not strain your pelvic floor. Weightlifting isn’t advised while pregnant, but with my experience and knowledge of my own body I decided to continue with my rigorous exercise regime.
“At my 12-week scan, I was frustrated when my GP recommended I reduce my activity. Exercising five times a week, I felt as fit as ever, so I continued but made sure I had an extra rest day or took it easier if I felt tired.
Carly with Jax when he was three months old[/caption]
“I also sought advice from a women’s health specialist, who reassured me that moderate exercise was beneficial and I worked with my CrossFit instructor to tweak my regime accordingly.
“I continued posting my workout videos online, but trolls would write horrible comments, saying I was going to kill my baby if I carried on lifting and that I was a bad mum.
“It broke my heart – fitness was my job, but I’d never do anything to jeopardise my pregnancy. With Leon’s encouragement I ignored the criticism, and at the 20-week scan the radiographer told us that our baby looked completely healthy. I cried as I saw their fingers and toes on the ultrasound monitor.
“Even with a ballooning baby bump I carried on exercising right up until my due date in December.
“I made a few adjustments – when I was doing burpees or mountain climbers I made sure my belly didn’t touch the floor and reduced my weights so I didn’t risk slipping a disc in my back. I could squat and lunge with 50kg weights as normal, and I was even lifting weights the day before I went into labour. Giving birth to our beautiful daughter Jax on December 9 last year, I’d never felt prouder.
“She weighed 8lb and was perfect.
“For the next month I spent every second with Jax and left all thoughts of the gym behind, taking my time to recover from labour. But by February I was itching to work up a sweat again. I’d gained 2st during pregnancy, weighing 12st 6lb. I lost a chunk of that as soon as Jax popped out, but I wanted to rebuild my core fitness.
“I started going back to training three times a week, slowly building up to six times a week.
Carly says with Leon’s encouragement she ignored the criticism about working out while pregnant[/caption]
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“Now Jax is four months and watches me from her baby carrier while I work out.
“Weightlifting through pregnancy definitely isn’t for everyone, and every pregnant woman should consult their GP before embarking on any exercise regime, but for me I think it was the right choice. I can’t wait for the day that Jax and I can start training together.
“We’ll be unstoppable!”
- VIsit Carly’s YouTube channel at Youtube.com/user/Carlyrowena.
NHS guidelines recommend not doing strenuous exercise while pregnant, but to do your normal physical activity for as long as is comfortable, as this can help in later pregnancy.
Always follow the advice of your maternity team.