“I’m Fit But Had A Rocky Pregnancy — Here’s How I Stayed In Shape”

by | Apr 13, 2023 | FitMama

Being pregnant is a journey with its ups and downs. That’s how it was for fitness influencer Ophela Mhlauli, who kept up her workouts throughout the journey. Here’s how she adjusted her fitness while pregnant.

Ophela Mhlauli’s first trimester

When Ophela, 25, found out she was pregnant, her first trimester didn’t go as easily as she’d hoped. Instead of feeling blissful, she spent most of her time resting because of morning sickness that lasted most of the day. “I need people to know that there is the good and the bad to that, you know, and we need to just stop sugar-coating it so much,” she says. “It is a wonderful journey. However, it also has its own obstacles.”

One of those obstacles was her difficulty keeping any food down. For the first trimester, she subsisted on ice, frozen drinks and a little fruit. “I could not stomach anything. That was what was so frustrating,” she recalls.

Added to that, her energy levels were low and her workouts, which she’s so well known for on Instagram, took a knock. Instead, Ophela turned to light swims in the pool. “I would go for a swim, for forty-five minutes, maybe an hour, depending on how I felt,” she says.

The second trimester

By the time her second trimester started in November, Ophela’s energy levels started coming back, along with her appetite. “From then I just really started enjoying my pregnancy because I could eat anything and everything that I wanted,” she says.

“Pregnancy just changed everything. It just took me back,” she says. Ophela would find herself wanting to eat foods from her childhood, like Maltabella, masi, meat and potatoes and infuse it with her usual healthy foods, like broccoli, brown rice and asparagus. She also loved to mix potatoes with spinach and cabbage, as she had in her childhood.

For her workouts, her energy levels and doctor gave her the go-ahead to train the way she’d been doing before pregnancy. She returned to cardio and weighted workouts. “ I would do some squats, weighted squats. I would do walking lunges. I would do single-leg deadlifts,” she says.

The third trimester

By the third trimester, her baby was growing and so was she. She kept at her workouts, but scaled them down to keep her heart rate in check. “I told myself that I’m just going to go with the flow, whatever it is, that is within my control,” she says. This involved light, simple weighted workouts, like squats with a Bosu ball and simple dumbbell presses. She’d also stick to swimming with her flippers on and did walks on the treadmill.

Looking back, Ophela thinks of her pregnancy with mixed feelings. “I can overall describe my pregnancy as a little both rocky (in the beginning because of the sickness) and a walk in the park (after the sickness),” she says.

To others, she advises to take things as they come and listen to your body. “My approach to health and fitness during pregnancy is to block all the noise, people’s opinions and experiences, social media (especially Google) and listen to your doctor and body and you’ll have the most blissful experience,” she shares. “When you feel like training, go and when you feel like resting, take that rest.”

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This