Losing Fat & Gaining Muscle While Pregnant

Your ultimate goal when expecting is to have a healthy pregnancy. According to Bonnie Berk, author of Motherwell Maternity Fitness Plan, a weight gain of 24 to 35 lbs can be expected during pregnancy due to baby, increased body fat, and increased weight of the uterus, among other things. Expectant mothers should follow a healthy diet and engage in regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training to lose fat and gain muscle.

Strenth train during pregnancy to maintain body fat levels.


Step 1

Count nutrients and not calories when expecting to monitor your eating. Eat nutritive foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and low or non-fat dairy when expecting.

Step 2

Eat at least six small meals daily to fuel your metabolism, maintain blood sugar levels, and to provide energy for you and your growing baby.

Step 3

Bring your hands together with your palms open. A small meal should fit into the palms of both hands.


Step 1

Eat a light, low-fat snack at least one hour prior to exercise to avoid low blood sugar. Drink water before, during, and after your workouts to ensure proper hydration.

Step 2

Begin all workouts with a five to 10 minute warm up.

Step 3

Perform 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, as tolerated, three times per week.

Step 4

Perform strength training exercise utilizing fitness machines two to three times per week. Perform a strength training exercise for each major muscle group. To add variety to your strength training program perform circuit training exercises using six to eight pieces of strength training equipment.

Step 5

Perform core-strengthening exercises using the exercise ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Athletic shoes

  • Athletic clothes

  • Gym membership


Stretch all major muscle groups of the body following strength training.

Use an exercise ball for exercise to strengthen your torso and to prevent undue stress on the joints of the knees and back.

Enlist the help of a fitness professional certified to work with expectant mothers if you need help.


Avoid performing exercises on your back after the first trimester.

Obtain clearance from your physician before beginning a new exercise program.

Wear a heart rate monitor during exercise, in your first trimester, to ensure that you are training between 50 to 80 percent of your maximal heart rate. Obtain your maximal heart rate by subtracting 220 from your age.

Never exercise to the point of exhaustion.

During your second trimester of pregnancy use rate of perceived exertion, (RPE), instead of heart rate to determine exercise intensity. RPE is a scale of one to 10 with one being very light exertion and 10 being maximal exertion. Aim to work at an RPE of five to eight.

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