I'm Pregnant and Deadlifting All the Way to the Delivery Room (Part 1)

As many of you have noticed over the past few months, we have had several new additions to the TFL family. Of course we’ve had many new members, but I’m referring to the babies some of our proud TFL parents are having and are preparing to have. We thought it would be a great idea to interview some couples because their experience is an important one. Our lives are very busy and the arrival of a baby can be especially challenging when trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The stories shared by two couples can hopefully inspire us to continue on a path to wellness, while introducing our children to vital healthy habits. The staff at Train For Life would like to thank these brave couples for their candidness in allowing us the opportunity and we hope you enjoy reading this intimate glimpse into their lives.

Alyssa and Angel

1.     Hi guys, great to sit with you both. First, why don’t you tell us a little about yourselves for everyone who doesn’t know you already….

My name is Alyssa, 24 years old. Originally from Holyoke, moved to Southampton when I was 6 and I’m back in Holyoke with my lovely fiancé and son. I’m attending Mt. Holyoke to complete my Master’s Degree in teaching and I’m student teaching in English at Holyoke High School.

I’m Angel Maldonado, born and raised in Holyoke, MA. I’m an apprentice lineman for Holyoke Gas & Electric, this is my first year so I’m attending school for that. I live with Alyssa and the little guy, the little terrorist [laughing].

2.     Ok, that’s kind of why we’re here, the little terrorist, huh? Well, I want to congratulate you on officially joining the ranks of the parents club and I guess I’ll start off by asking how is that going? Al: It’s insane, but it’s a good insane. An: It’s hectic. Every day is different, no set schedule, everything is up in the air basically. But it’s awesome, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Al: I wouldn’t either. Not having a schedule drives me crazy sometimes but it is what is and you fit in what you want to fit in and go from there. 3.     As a member of the parents club myself for many years, it’s totally an honor to welcome people to the club, it’s a nice membership to belong to. I recall the last couple of years being a whirlwind for you guys. You went from pregnancy to labor in the blink of an eye it seemed, and then Alexis was here before we all knew it. Now he’s one! Do you remember what was going on until you discovered you guys were about to have a baby? Al: Oh my God, well I had a job that I absolutely hated. I was actually told we weren’t going to have kids without help. So that was kind of a shock when all of the sudden I was like “Ok, we’re gonna have a child, we’re gonna do this!” I just remember coming out of the bathroom to show him and his dad was helping him set up the cable line in our bedroom. And obviously we don’t want to say anything yet and his face was just stunned. His dad comes around the corner and asked “what’s the matter?” We said “Nothing! We’re fine!” So it didn’t really set in until the first ultrasound and even then it was so surreal until I was 6 or 7 months along and I had this giant belly, bumping into stuff. An: I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole idea, and all of the sudden, it’s happening, and it’s like “Oh my God, it’s really happening!” 4.     The big day comes when you realize “Wow, we’re having a baby!” Can you talk about what that moment was like? Al: Even then, the day I went into labor, I thought “I’m not ready for this. Ok, we’re doing this today [laughing]. An: Like she was saying, they always told us we would need help. So I was thinking, hey if it happens, it happens. We’ll get through it. And then she came out of the bathroom and it was jaw-dropping. So when did the conversation come when you said “Hey, Mom, Dad, so….” Al: It was the night before we left to go to Myrtle Beach with his parents for 10 days. I was 5 weeks. My parents asked us out to dinner with my sister and I didn’t want to go because I couldn’t keep anything down. They wouldn’t understand so I said “You’re going to be an aunt and you’re going to be grandparents.” My mom was like “Excuse me? Am I even old enough for that? I don’t have enough grey hair for that!” And my dad, I thought he was going to cry he was so excited. An: Yeah, he gave me a big hug and a kiss. It was like the most nerve-wracking ride just to tell them. Al: I don’t think we said one word to each other the entire ride over there [laughing]. The conversation with his parents was very different. An: Yeah, they didn’t believe me. From day 1, I was always joking and playing, telling them 20 times I was having a kid and they would be grandparents. So they didn’t believe me. Al: His mom looked at me and was still unsure. A couple days later, she told me that she really didn’t believe us, and she was sorry for her reaction but she was really excited for us. 5.     So you start going through this mental checklist of all the things that will change and how you guys will deal those changes, and you get to the point in the list where TFL comes up. I’ll ask you first Alyssa, what were your thoughts in terms of how you saw exercise fitting in with your pregnancy?    Al: I never thought that they didn’t belong together, only because that was probably the first thing I asked at my first appointment. They asked how long I had been training for and when I told them almost 2 years, they said to keep doing what you’re doing, just maybe go less on weights, tell your trainers you’re pregnant so they can adjust things. I knew I wanted to be at TFL at least twice a week so I would never get out of the habit of coming. It was something that I enjoyed and it was a stress-reliever for me. That was important. An: I was always told when she gains weight, you gain weight with her. I said “no way! I’m changing that!” I made it a point to go to the gym all the time and not gain that weight. I didn’t want to be that guy, I wanted to be different. And I encouraged her to go because it was healthy and she enjoyed it and wasn’t going to hurt the baby. 6.     Did you guys talk to the obstetrician about exercise? What were your biggest concerns regarding the baby?  What did he/she say?    Al: I was just more concerned with my heart rate and where I needed to keep that. If I’m stressed out, the baby is stressed out, so that was my main concern. Towards the end they had me wearing a heart rate monitor and a little watch. That was helpful but a little frustrating at the same time because I felt like I could push myself more and the watch was beeping at me and then I’d have to take a break. That made it frustrating towards the end. And then at 7 months, he tried to make an early appearance and I was told I couldn’t work out anymore. That was even worse, even more frustrating, having to come here and watch, not being able to participate. But obviously the most important thing at the end of the day was his health and making sure he takes as long as possible to come. Angel, you heard these things from the obstetrician and did you have concerns? Were there things you were nervous about? An: I think I was just nervous in general, but I didn’t really have any concerns. I knew she was taking care of herself so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But I was super nervous. Al: Especially after that early scare, I just remember he was white-faced the entire time we were there. At 7 months, he would have spent the last three months in NICU and that wouldn’t have been easy for any of us. But, luckily he stuck around. 7.     Did you end up making any immediate modifications to your exercise routine when you told Drew and Jordan? Were there things they told you not to do or different things to look out for? How did they help you adjust? Al: I don’t think the first modification came until I went to do a burpee at 4 ½ months with my belly getting bigger and Drew stopped me because he was worried about me hitting my belly on the floor. After that, it was little things here and there. I wouldn’t do jumping jacks as vigorously because the bouncing was awful. I wasn’t doing front planks because my stomach was in the way, and pushups were elevated. Lots of side planks. Just changed the weights. My single leg deadlifts got better because I had to counteract the belly weight, I think even now it’s better than before because I still think about where I had to be then. 8.     Everyone has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy and I’m sure you guys weren’t immune. How was the reaction from others outside TFL? Any criticism about how exercise was dangerous or not safe? Al: So many people thought I was nuts, as if I was just being selfish and wanting to do something I enjoy. Like it had no benefit to him, which I guess I took it with a grain of salt. But those were people had never worked out and so they have no idea what they’re talking about. They’re priorities are different. Eventually you just have to learn to shut it off because there’s no point in arguing with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re talking about. An: They thought she was crazy. We’d hear things like “You should relax,” “You shouldn’t work out,” “It’s all about the baby now, not you and your body.” Definitely raised a lot of brows when we told people she was still going to work out. Your response? Any doubts from either of you? Al: Never. I always at the end of the day thought about how I felt. If I felt fine and I knew I wasn’t overexerting myself, then I wasn’t worried about what was going on. 9.     You often hear that every pregnancy is different when it comes to morning sickness or mood swings, what did you experience during the first trimester when it came to exercise and your body’s reaction? Al: I was exhausted, all the time. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really eat. The only thing I could keep down was bagels and crackers. Even brushing my teeth made me want to throw up. You’re just tired and want to relax. It’s a huge switch from having all that energy and being able to do any exercise to all of the sudden having this little guy sucking the life out of you, literally. An: I think that’s the thing that bothered me the most. Hearing her every morning, and I’m lying in bed like “that’s awful, poor girl.” Al: I remember countless times going back to the bedroom and saying “this is all your fault” [laughing]. Any changes into the second trimester? Al: The 2nd trimester was the best. I had my energy back. I figured out when to take a nap and that was really key. I could eat again and that was fabulous. And then also being able to eat whatever I wanted, not literally but I was a little more relaxed with myself then I was prior to be pregnant. If I wanted a burger, I would have a burger. Dairy Queen commercials were the death of me [laughing]. An: I would say, “I’m not going to eat that, I’m gonna eat that clean stuff.” Al: So here I am eating a Dairy Queen burger, fries and Blizzard and loving every minute of it [laughing]. 10.  Angel, as a daddy, we sometimes get lost in the shuffle and the assumption is that only women deal with weight gain or the emotional rollercoaster during this process. How has this experience surprised you? Did you find it difficult to control your eating or stay focused exercising during the pregnancy? An: I wasn’t really surprised. It took me for a loop with her mood swings, they were crazy. One day she would be happy-go-lucky, the next day she wanted to kill me. Dealing with that was stressful enough. Al: Not just him, just the general population. Road rage went from a 10 to a 1000, I had no patience for that. I’m much better now. An: She would yell and she wasn’t even driving sometimes. Yelling from the passenger’s seat. But the worst part was the 3rd trimester because she kept getting the pains and couldn’t sleep. That bothered me, because of course she kept me up. You know, “Who cares, it’s just Angel.” She would say “I can’t sleep, I’m uncomfortable, this is ridiculous, I gotta get up in the morning, I gotta go to work.” So she’s making Dairy Queen runs and keeping you up all night and you’re like “Uh-uh, I need sleep. You won’t break me.” An: I was like “Oh my God, what did I sign up for?” That was trying. I guess it comes with the territory, right Joe? Yeah, and there’s nothing we can do about it. [all laughing] PART 2 Coming SOON...

2.     Ok, that’s kind of why we’re here, the little terrorist, huh? Well, I want to congratulate you on officially joining the ranks of the parents club and I guess I’ll start off by asking how is that going?

Al: It’s insane, but it’s a good insane.

An: It’s hectic. Every day is different, no set schedule, everything is up in the air basically. But it’s awesome, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Al: I wouldn’t either. Not having a schedule drives me crazy sometimes but it is what is and you fit in what you want to fit in and go from there.

3.     As a member of the parents club myself for many years, it’s totally an honor to welcome people to the club, it’s a nice membership to belong to. I recall the last couple of years being a whirlwind for you guys. You went from pregnancy to labor in the blink of an eye it seemed, and then Alexis was here before we all knew it. Now he’s one! Do you remember what was going on until you discovered you guys were about to have a baby?

Al: Oh my God, well I had a job that I absolutely hated. I was actually told we weren’t going to have kids without help. So that was kind of a shock when all of the sudden I was like “Ok, we’re gonna have a child, we’re gonna do this!” I just remember coming out of the bathroom to show him and his dad was helping him set up the cable line in our bedroom. And obviously we don’t want to say anything yet and his face was just stunned. His dad comes around the corner and asked “what’s the matter?” We said “Nothing! We’re fine!” So it didn’t really set in until the first ultrasound and even then it was so surreal until I was 6 or 7 months along and I had this giant belly, bumping into stuff.

An: I couldn’t wrap my head around the whole idea, and all of the sudden, it’s happening, and it’s like “Oh my God, it’s really happening!”

4.     The big day comes when you realize “Wow, we’re having a baby!” Can you talk about what that moment was like?

Al: Even then, the day I went into labor, I thought “I’m not ready for this. Ok, we’re doing this today [laughing].

An: Like she was saying, they always told us we would need help. So I was thinking, hey if it happens, it happens. We’ll get through it. And then she came out of the bathroom and it was jaw-dropping.

So when did the conversation come when you said “Hey, Mom, Dad, so….”

Al: It was the night before we left to go to Myrtle Beach with his parents for 10 days. I was 5 weeks. My parents asked us out to dinner with my sister and I didn’t want to go because I couldn’t keep anything down. They wouldn’t understand so I said “You’re going to be an aunt and you’re going to be grandparents.” My mom was like “Excuse me? Am I even old enough for that? I don’t have enough grey hair for that!” And my dad, I thought he was going to cry he was so excited.

An: Yeah, he gave me a big hug and a kiss. It was like the most nerve-wracking ride just to tell them.

Al: I don’t think we said one word to each other the entire ride over there [laughing]. The conversation with his parents was very different.

An: Yeah, they didn’t believe me. From day 1, I was always joking and playing, telling them 20 times I was having a kid and they would be grandparents. So they didn’t believe me.

Al: His mom looked at me and was still unsure. A couple days later, she told me that she really didn’t believe us, and she was sorry for her reaction but she was really excited for us.

5.     So you start going through this mental checklist of all the things that will change and how you guys will deal those changes, and you get to the point in the list where TFL comes up. I’ll ask you first Alyssa, what were your thoughts in terms of how you saw exercise fitting in with your pregnancy?   

Al: I never thought that they didn’t belong together, only because that was probably the first thing I asked at my first appointment. They asked how long I had been training for and when I told them almost 2 years, they said to keep doing what you’re doing, just maybe go less on weights, tell your trainers you’re pregnant so they can adjust things. I knew I wanted to be at TFL at least twice a week so I would never get out of the habit of coming. It was something that I enjoyed and it was a stress-reliever for me. That was important.

An: I was always told when she gains weight, you gain weight with her. I said “no way! I’m changing that!” I made it a point to go to the gym all the time and not gain that weight. I didn’t want to be that guy, I wanted to be different. And I encouraged her to go because it was healthy and she enjoyed it and wasn’t going to hurt the baby.

6.     Did you guys talk to the obstetrician about exercise? What were your biggest concerns regarding the baby?  What did he/she say?   

Al: I was just more concerned with my heart rate and where I needed to keep that. If I’m stressed out, the baby is stressed out, so that was my main concern. Towards the end they had me wearing a heart rate monitor and a little watch. That was helpful but a little frustrating at the same time because I felt like I could push myself more and the watch was beeping at me and then I’d have to take a break. That made it frustrating towards the end. And then at 7 months, he tried to make an early appearance and I was told I couldn’t work out anymore. That was even worse, even more frustrating, having to come here and watch, not being able to participate. But obviously the most important thing at the end of the day was his health and making sure he takes as long as possible to come.

Angel, you heard these things from the obstetrician and did you have concerns? Were there things you were nervous about?

An: I think I was just nervous in general, but I didn’t really have any concerns. I knew she was taking care of herself so it wasn’t that big of a deal. But I was super nervous.

Al: Especially after that early scare, I just remember he was white-faced the entire time we were there. At 7 months, he would have spent the last three months in NICU and that wouldn’t have been easy for any of us. But, luckily he stuck around.

7.     Did you end up making any immediate modifications to your exercise routine when you told Drew and Jordan? Were there things they told you not to do or different things to look out for? How did they help you adjust?

Al: I don’t think the first modification came until I went to do a burpee at 4 ½ months with my belly getting bigger and Drew stopped me because he was worried about me hitting my belly on the floor. After that, it was little things here and there. I wouldn’t do jumping jacks as vigorously because the bouncing was awful. I wasn’t doing front planks because my stomach was in the way, and pushups were elevated. Lots of side planks. Just changed the weights. My single leg deadlifts got better because I had to counteract the belly weight, I think even now it’s better than before because I still think about where I had to be then.

8.     Everyone has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy and I’m sure you guys weren’t immune. How was the reaction from others outside TFL? Any criticism about how exercise was dangerous or not safe?

Al: So many people thought I was nuts, as if I was just being selfish and wanting to do something I enjoy. Like it had no benefit to him, which I guess I took it with a grain of salt. But those were people had never worked out and so they have no idea what they’re talking about. They’re priorities are different. Eventually you just have to learn to shut it off because there’s no point in arguing with someone who doesn’t understand what you’re talking about.

An: They thought she was crazy. We’d hear things like “You should relax,” “You shouldn’t work out,” “It’s all about the baby now, not you and your body.” Definitely raised a lot of brows when we told people she was still going to work out.

Your response? Any doubts from either of you?

Al: Never. I always at the end of the day thought about how I felt. If I felt fine and I knew I wasn’t overexerting myself, then I wasn’t worried about what was going on.

9.     You often hear that every pregnancy is different when it comes to morning sickness or mood swings, what did you experience during the first trimester when it came to exercise and your body’s reaction?

Al: I was exhausted, all the time. It didn’t help that I couldn’t really eat. The only thing I could keep down was bagels and crackers. Even brushing my teeth made me want to throw up. You’re just tired and want to relax. It’s a huge switch from having all that energy and being able to do any exercise to all of the sudden having this little guy sucking the life out of you, literally.

An: I think that’s the thing that bothered me the most. Hearing her every morning, and I’m lying in bed like “that’s awful, poor girl.”

Al: I remember countless times going back to the bedroom and saying “this is all your fault” [laughing].

Any changes into the second trimester?

Al: The 2nd trimester was the best. I had my energy back. I figured out when to take a nap and that was really key. I could eat again and that was fabulous. And then also being able to eat whatever I wanted, not literally but I was a little more relaxed with myself then I was prior to be pregnant. If I wanted a burger, I would have a burger. Dairy Queen commercials were the death of me [laughing].

An: I would say, “I’m not going to eat that, I’m gonna eat that clean stuff.”

Al: So here I am eating a Dairy Queen burger, fries and Blizzard and loving every minute of it [laughing].

10.  Angel, as a daddy, we sometimes get lost in the shuffle and the assumption is that only women deal with weight gain or the emotional rollercoaster during this process. How has this experience surprised you? Did you find it difficult to control your eating or stay focused exercising during the pregnancy?

An: I wasn’t really surprised. It took me for a loop with her mood swings, they were crazy. One day she would be happy-go-lucky, the next day she wanted to kill me. Dealing with that was stressful enough.

Al: Not just him, just the general population. Road rage went from a 10 to a 1000, I had no patience for that. I’m much better now.

An: She would yell and she wasn’t even driving sometimes. Yelling from the passenger’s seat. But the worst part was the 3rd trimester because she kept getting the pains and couldn’t sleep. That bothered me, because of course she kept me up. You know, “Who cares, it’s just Angel.” She would say “I can’t sleep, I’m uncomfortable, this is ridiculous, I gotta get up in the morning, I gotta go to work.”

So she’s making Dairy Queen runs and keeping you up all night and you’re like “Uh-uh, I need sleep. You won’t break me.”

An: I was like “Oh my God, what did I sign up for?” That was trying. I guess it comes with the territory, right Joe?

Yeah, and there’s nothing we can do about it. [all laughing]

PART 2 Coming SOON...