If your willpower is failing you, try Olympian Amanda Beard's tips to keep up with your pregnancy exercise routine.

By Jen Dennis
April 29, 2014

Staying motivated to exercise is a major challenge when life is easy -- ask the 78 percent of us who fail to keep our New Year's resolutions each and every year. Add in pregnancy fatigue, hormone shifts, morning sickness, a rapidly morphing body, and all the big thoughts that arise when you're having a baby, and you might need a little bit of strategy to keep up your mojo when it comes to pregnancy exercise.

We sought advice from a mom who knows a lot about motivation: Olympic swimmer and Rio 2016 Olympics contender Amanda Beard (mother to Blaise and Doone).

Her fantastic real-life motivation secrets could be just what you need get your own pregnancy workouts going.

1. Remember that pregnancy workouts are worth it. "When I don't want to dive in the pool, I try this mantra: 'You'll never regret a workout,'" Beard says.

"Think about it," she continues. "Barring an injury, when was the last time you regretted getting up and working out, even if it was only a quick walk around the block?"

2. Think of pregnancy exercise as an energy booster. Looking at your pregnancy workout as something that gives -- rather than takes -- energy can help to inspire you. "As any fitness instructor or enthusiast will tell you, exercise gives you more energy," Beard says. "I truly believe that the hardest part of working out can be getting there, whether it's in a pool, on a trail, or to the gym."

3. Savor every success. The best way to prep for exercise success, Beard says, is to build on your achievements. "Motivating yourself to start a workout begins at the end of your last workout." The best way to do that is to focus on how good you feel when the workout is over. "Remembering that the next time you lace up your shoes or throw on a swimsuit can be insanely motivating," she says.

4. Find an environment that works for you. Beard says pregnancy can affect where you like to exercise. "I once tried to go to my local fitness center when I was pregnant with Blaise, and the fact that I was pregnant totally exacerbated the smell of sweat. Gross, right?" she says.

She focused instead on exercising in places that made her feel good, like the pool. "For me, the water dissipates whatever stress I may feel at the time, whether it's mental or physical. It's like being in a quiet room alone, or hiking in the mountains: The silence somehow allows you to think more clearly, and focus your energy on problem solving or healing." Find the place that gives you that feeling and you're halfway there.

5. Try something new. Beard, not surprisingly, suggests that moms-to-be consider joining a local pool. "I think pregnancy is a great time to start a swimming routine," she says. Swimming works for women of all experience levels, she explains, "because it's low-impact, meditative, and soothing."

"My suggestion is to find a pool that doesn't have a ton of chlorine in it -- which can be nauseating -- and kick laps with a kickboard to begin. From there, they can start swimming laps, or incorporating pool tools, like Aqua Sphere's Aqua-X Gear, which help add low-impact resistance training in the water."

Other recommended low-impact workout options include yoga and power walking.

6. Gear up. You won't want to work out if your clothes make you uncomfortable. "One of the biggest drawbacks for pregnant women is no doubt the gear," Beard says. "My advice? Comfort is key!" Invest in a few key maternity workout pieces that support your breasts and belly without binding -- and don't forget that you may need new athletic shoes, too, thanks to pregnancy foot growth.

7. Work out with people you love. If you have other children, incorporate them into your pregnancy workouts to make exercising more fun. "Throughout the entire pregnancy with Doone, Blaise was my go-to swim buddy. We'd swim laps together, chase each other in the pool, and generally goof around, which is still an awesome workout, given the resistance of the water," Beard says. "Plus, we'd laugh a lot, which is one of the best remedies for aches and pains, in my opinion."

"When Blaise and I would exercise together, I'd explain to him that exercising was helping the baby grow, and that we were helping the baby grow together, which I think made him feel important in this whole process," Beard says. "I definitely think those early workouts together helped him form a bond with me and understand the importance of taking care of his baby sister."

Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.

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