Athlete Zoe Modgill on training during pregnancy

8/29/2021
Under Armour athlete Zoe Modgill, who is active on social media about training during pregnancy as late as 28 weeks in, says that the "current Olympics has proven how the female body is just incredible, and some women athletes were able to continue to train and participate and win whilst being pregnant".

She speaks to IANSlife:

Q: You have stayed in India for a long time. What are your top observations about fitness in India?

A: Yes, born in the UK, but brought up in India since I was 3, has made me feel completely Indian at heart. Fitness as we know it only came into my world 8 years ago, before that my profession was a sedentary graphic designer.

Having owned one of the very first boutique fitness studios in New Delhi, Studio 60, and now during the last two years training completely virtually has given me a lot of insight into the Indian fitness world. What probably was all about either body building for men and just weight loss for women has slowly developed into an all rounded health and fitness journey experience, where not only does the space we exercise in, but the atmosphere, the people, the food, the clothes, the equipment and the price also pay an important role in what, and where we workout. It has become apparent with social media that documenting and showing our hard work is also of utmost priority. Since the pandemic, we see quite a big shift with regards to the fitness world. My top observations about fitness in India would be:

Virtual fitness will continue to grow. Whether it is one on one coaching, or guided 5-week challenges via apps, WhatsApp and online communities such as my www.strongerwithzoe.com online programs -- the virtual world offers, convenience, no commute, short no nonsense workouts, and friendlier non-intimidating environments for beginners.

Outdoor and home fitness routines are becoming much more desirable. The growth over the last nearly two years with home gym setups has been massive. Needless to say outdoor adventures, and workouts, too, have become more of a priority, as we learn more and more how much we benefit and desire to be outside rather than locked up like we have experienced through the pandemic.

My main focus is training women. And my main aim has been to educate and drive women to focus much more on health and fitness being all rounded and a forever journey rather than only a weight loss driven aesthetic mindset. I can slowly see this happening.

Q: When it comes to staying fit, what are the principles you swear by?

A: Sticking to a workout program. Being consistent. Not obsessing over nutrition. Not be distracted by fad diets. Instead adopting a well-balanced all rounded way of eating that focuses on lots of water, protein and fresh unrefined ingredients. Making sure I Live a little. Eighty per cent clean and with 20 per cent room for things I enjoy. Being consistent with this approach.

Prioritising recovery and sleep. Giving my body the time it needs to properly recuperate. This means workout breaks and mind breaks. Being in nature, relaxing, and learning to unwind through my day. It all works wonders for muscle growth and development.

Incorporating weight training into my routine. Nope it doesn't make you bulky. It changes the internal composition of your body which makes you lean and toned and much more efficient at dealing with food. It reduces the chances of injury. I feel better, look better and perform better.

Accumulating knowledge. It really is a superpower. Learn as much as you can about your body, your nutrition and your mind. Break a mental sweat, it's just as important as your physical one.

Q: You have been active on your Instagram about training during pregnancy, even as late as 28 weeks in, in your mid-30s. What made you continue? You have also stopped certain exercises, such as skipping rope. Could you share more on that?

A: Being a Pre- and post-natal certified coach, has allowed me to have not only worked with incredible women over the years but also has provided me with the base from which I can trust and allow myself to believe in my body's abilities. A good fitness program will always give you long lasting results and knowledge power that will ensure you trust yourself and know your body. Because I feel confident and trust my body and all my training, pregnancy did not mean I needed to stop anything.

Fitness is my world, my job and for all uncomplicated pregnancies is clearly proven that exercise will benefit both mother and child.Every pregnancy is different. For me, certain changes needed to be made, and along with my doctor I found ways to work with what I could and couldn't do, and this included removing a lot of high impact movements for medical reasons. However, the current Olympics has proven how the female body is just incredible, and some women athletes were able to continue to train and participate and win whilst being pregnant. Information, guidance, and knowledge are key. Pregnancy is natural, our bodies are designed to reproduce. Being careful is one thing but keeping active for your health and the baby's health is another!

Q: What is your advice to pregnant women when it comes to staying active?

A: With uncomplicated pregnancies cleared by your doctor, exercise helps both you and baby.

For you: Reduces the risk of pregnancy complications and lowers the odds of delivery complications. The more you increase your pregnancy fitness, the faster you'll recover physically after childbirth, the more fit you'll be after delivery; Boost your mood: exercise during pregnancy reduces chances of depression by releasing endorphins that help improve mood while diminishing stress and anxiety; eases back and pelvic pain; relieves constipation; helps you sleep better and feel more energised through the day.

For baby: Boosts brain health; Lower BMI: exercise during pregnancy, researchers found that their babies were less prone to obesity and diabetes; A fitter heart: it's been discovered that a regular workout routine during pregnancy helps lower the heart rate of the baby keeping them less strong and less stresses.

Q: As an athlete, how different will post-pregnancy recovery be for you?

A: I'm so excited to be able to look forward to move a bit more freely and to work on my performance and abilities. Pregnancy isn't a time for personal bests, it's about maintenance, so getting back to my routine will be a lovely challenge. However keeping that in mind, it's important to remember that every new mother's journey is unique, and being judged for or pressurized to bounce back, whether she is an athlete or not is her personal choice. My recovery will be all about listening to my body and allowing myself to feel and do what I truly feel I can.

From a health and healing perspective it's important to focus greatly on core function, pelvic floor function and regaining body balance with a slow but progressive program. Nutrition will also continue to play an important role to help heal my body but to also allow me to produce adequate nutrition for my baby whilst breast feeding.

Q: How instrumental has Under Armour been in your fitness journey? How do your values align with the brand's?

A: Very. Comfortable and supportive clothing, simply a size bigger than my usual, Under Armour clothing has been all I need! The Under Armour core values comprise of "love athletes, stand for equality, fight on together, create fearlessly, always connect, stay true, think beyond, and celebrate the wins". All the above are so important and have helped me stay focused and present on what my body needs at this important phase of my life as I create another human being. From continuing to treat my body with respect, good nutrition, movement, recovery and rest, I have been able to trust my gut, stay true to myself, think about the benefits and celebrate any little movement accomplished for that day without judging myself too harshly. The brand has truly been my proud guiding force behind my focus to be an example and role model for all women around me.

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