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As my husband and I, (Hillary), are just days away from the beautiful and magical experience of birth and new life, I look back on my pregnancy journey the second time around. This one was different- a bit harder, seemingly longer. The body morphs, emotions spike, sleep patterns change. But this time I knew what to expect, from all the appointments, to the aches and pains, and most importantly what still is to come- that little, teeny, yummy BABY! This time I knew I had the support of our studio, our clients, MY BUSINESS PARTNER, who has stepped up for me in my late term absence more than anyone could ever have asked for and more. But the business partner appreciation blog is for another time:) The studio for me has always been “my happy place”. Through pregnancy though, it kept me fit, sane, and creative. It’s the beautiful, smiling riders that kept me motivated throughout these roller coaster weeks of gestation. I can’t wait to come back stronger, better, fierce! Thank you, Inner Cycle.

Without anymore ado, it’s with great honor that Emily and I have the privilege to share with you the memoirs of one of our avid riders throughout her FIRST pregnancy journey. We are excited to see it and live it through someone else’s eyes. Introducing Alicia Brown and her reflections on indoor cycling in the first trimester. Congratulations Alicia!

“First of all, I’m SO excited that Em & Hill have asked me to guest blog throughout my pregnancy! ¬†You probably all know me as that crazy girl who can be found sitting in the lobby 30+ minutes before class folding towels with “her bike” already reserved ūüôā

I never thought I would be blogging about working out while pregnant, working out while pregnant, or heck, even BEING pregnant. ¬†But alas, here we are ūüôā ¬†Quick back story on me…I found The Inner Cycle last spring through my friend, Nikki Murphy, and have been HOOKED ever since. ¬†I resisted “spin” classes for so long, and preferred mat-based classes that didn’t leave me winded or out of breath. ¬†However, after meeting the ladies of The Inner Cycle, coupled with their infectiously upbeat personalities, kick butt music & can’t-be-beat-workouts, how could I resist? ¬†Now, here I am…130+ rides later & 14 weeks pregnant with my first child.

As soon as I found out my husband and I were expecting, my first thought was, “I hope I can still work out!” ¬†I’m sure many of you can agree that working out provides SO many benefits, and particularly with “spin” classes, the release of endorphins after a sweaty session is like none other. ¬†My doctor told me that as long as I had been working out prior to becoming pregnant, he’d encourage me to continue working out as long as my body wasn’t fighting back (read: ¬†don’t get your heart rate so high that you can’t breath and are depriving yourself of oxygen). ¬†I started wearing a heart rate monitor as soon as I could get my hands on one and noticed a trend. ¬†Of course everyone is different, but as soon as my heart rate got over 175 or so, I could feel myself getting short of breath and had to pull it back. ¬†I’m insanely competitive by nature, so it was difficult for me to not give it 120% like I was used to.

What does that translate to on the bike? ¬†I tend to add a bit more resistance during sprints so that although I’m pushing as hard as I can, my legs aren’t flying so fast that my breath can’t keep up. ¬†Also, during our really tough 10 climbs that I love so dearly, I have to be wary of how fast I’m turning the resistance up. ¬†Smaller increments work better for me personally to keep my heart rate in check, but again, everyone is different (and I’m no doctor, so don’t take what I say as a how-to manual!). ¬†I still feel like I’m giving it my all during my workouts while still keeping myself (and baby Brown!) safe. ¬†Some days it’s a bit more of a struggle than others though; I was very exhausted & nauseous throughout my first trimester, but unless I was physically sick (read: throwing up), I would force myself in the car and off to Inner Cycle I went! ¬†Mentally, this was the toughest part for me. ¬†I had to remind myself however, that as SOON as class started, I instantly felt a million times better (and my energy levels and calm stomach lasted for hours after class was over). ¬†And for anyone who has experienced a first trimester like mine, I’m sure you can attest, ANY relief, however small or short lived, is well worth it.

Now that I’m into my second trimester (and feeling better every day!) I’m looking forward to continuing my “spin” schedule for as long as I possibly can. ¬†I’m currently riding 4/5x a week and will continue to do so as long as I’m physically able. ¬†The physical benefits of cycling while pregnant have been obvious (for me at least!). ¬†My legs are leaner and stronger than they’ve ever been, I haven’t noticed much weight gain other than the slight belly that is trying to make an appearance, and most of all…I have ENERGY. ¬†Personally, feeling strong and energized can’t be beat. ¬†“Spinning” leaves me with a sense of euphoria & accomplishment. ¬†And I’d like to think that baby Brown is rocking out inside my belly from all of the awesome playlists that these ladies deliver week in and week out ūüôā

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading along with me (Em & Hill originally asked for “1 to 2 paragraphs”….whoops! ¬†I guess I got carried away – sorry guys!), and I can’t wait to check in with you all in another few months!