How Peloton Trainer Robin Arzón Is Keeping Her Body Fueled During Pregnancy
"My belly is growing, I've gained some weight, and I welcome all of the changes."
In September, Peloton's Robin Arzón shared that she was pregnant with her first child. The trainer announced the news while leading her popular Together We Ride cycling class and nearly broke the Peloton app. "I've always called Peloton members family, and in moments like that, when you see such an outpouring of support, it's humbling," she tells Shape. "I've been in their lives celebrating milestones, and now, it's powerful to have them celebrate such a huge milestone for me."
The trainer also took to Instagram to share the news, where she was instantly flooded with questions about how she's been keeping up with her fitness and fueling her body during this time. (Related: If You're Not Ready to Buy a Peloton Bike, You Can Try It at Home—for Free)
Turns out, it's been business as usual for Arzón. "I'm very fortunate that I've been able to maintain a rigorous, demanding schedule, both energetically and physically," she says.
The mom-to-be also notes she was lucky enough to avoid symptoms in her first trimester, and she didn't have any bouts with morning sickness. "I honestly feel really good, and I'm going to ride that as long as I can," she shares. (Related: Shop Everything That Got Me Through My First Trimester of Pregnancy)
Now in her second trimester, Arzón says she's started to notice a little baby bump, which has made everything feel much more real, she says. "For me, it's [impossible] to be in my body and not notice differences," she says. "My belly is growing, I've gained some weight, and I welcome all of the changes."
What's most important to Arzón right now is that she continues moving her body, she says. "I'm just so grateful that I can still work out," she explains. "I can't imagine how difficult it is for people who don't have movement as an outlet."
Arzón, a former non-athlete and litigator, has long been open about why movement is so important to her. At 20 years old, the trainer survived a horrifying hostage situation and turned to running to work through the trauma. Since then, she's gone on to become a New York Times best-selling author, a 26-time marathoner, ultramarathoner, and is now the vice president of fitness programming at Peloton. In short: movement fuels her life. (Related: How Robin Arzón Runs 100-Mile Races with Type 1 Diabetes)
Now, with a little one on the way, Arzón hopes to continue being active for as long as she can. "I'll take all of the changes as they come," she says. "I'm just focusing on what I'm capable of each day rather than what is restricted — and thankfully, that isn't much yet." (Related: One Woman Shares All the Unexpected Ways Pregnancy Can Change Your Body)
Since learning she was pregnant, Arzón's demanding schedule hasn't changed much. She still trains about 2-3 hours a day while hosting classes five days a week on the Peloton tread, bike, and strength mat, she shares.
In fact, the trainer says she just hit a PR on her back squat last week. "I was able to maintain numbers that I haven't seen since before the pandemic, and I was shocked — especially because I'm really approaching pregnancy training not from a source of ego, but a place of capability," she says. "So, when you have wins like that, it feels so good." (Related: How Much Exercise Is *Actually* Safe to Do While Pregnant?)
That said, Arzón knows that from a fitness standpoint, she may be restricted down the line. But she'll cross that bridge when the time comes, she says.
A big reason why Arzón has been able to keep up with her fitness is her diet, she adds. Since learning she was pregnant, the plant-based athlete hasn't let her nutrition slip.
"The great thing is, I was already reaching my nutrition requirements pre-pregnancy, so I've made a point not to change that," she says.
As her pregnancy progresses, Arzón knows her caloric needs will change. But she hopes that will be one of the few adaptations she'll have to make. "I just plan on honoring the fact that my body needs more fuel," she says. (Related: The 'Eating for Two' During Pregnancy Idea Is Actually a Misconception)
To help sustain her energy, Arzón says she's been aiming for upward of 100 grams of protein per day. That's roughly double the recommended amount of protein per day for the average woman, and 40 grams more than the recommended amount of protein per day during pregnancy. (Here's why many experts suggest fit women need far more protein per day than the average person.)
Arzón says she predominantly reaches her protein goals by eating beans, lentils, legumes, and nuts. On top of sourcing these ingredients herself, Arzón also relies on plant-based products, such as Explore Cuisine pasta. Made with spirulina, mung bean, chickpeas, and edamame, this high-protein pasta substitute is an easy way to pack in the protein. Arzón says she usually throws some tempeh, seitan, or tofu into the mix as well for even more protein. (Related: 12 Things No One Tells You About Going Vegan)
"It's a rotating menu," she explains. "I try to vary the [nutrient] sources and be mindful about eating the rainbow and making sure every single meal, from when I wake up to when I go to bed, has at least 20 grams of protein."
Mind you, the three-meals-per-day standard doesn't cut it for Arzón. "I pretty much eat every hour," she says. "That actually works in my favor because eating small meals is something doctors recommend for pregnant women anyway."
"As an athlete, over the past seven years, I feel like I've been able to set myself up for this moment," adds Arzón. "Thankfully, I still have an appetite for all the things I loved a few months ago."
The mom-to-be does admit to experiencing some cravings, though. "I've craved a lot of fruit, especially melon, as well as saltine crackers and just creamy foods in general," she shares. One of her favorite recipes these days is vegan spaghetti carbonara, made with tofu, cashew cream, and black bean spaghetti or edamame spaghetti. "It hits the spot, and is still nutrient-dense," she says. (Sound tasty? Wait until you try this vegan bolognese.)
Arzón also confessed that there have been days when having a salad for lunch doesn't exactly sound appetizing. But she's found a way around that. "One staple to my day, especially on the few days I wasn't feeling the best during my first trimester, was my morning smoothie," she shares. "I drink it every day, seven days a week, without fail, even when I'm traveling." (Related: The Best Vegan Protein Powders That Don't Taste Like Dirt)
When whipping up her smoothies, the athlete is a big fan of Sproud, a lactose-, gluten-, and allergen-free milk alternative, which Arzón says gives her almost half her day's worth of protein. "I highly recommend a blended smoothie drink to get your nutrients in, especially if you're not in the mood to eat solid foods," she says.
On a more personal level, Arzón says her vision for her pregnancy certainly didn't include a global pandemic. Still, she's making the best of the situation. "One silver lining of this year is that my husband and I have been able to spend so much time together," she says. "You want to talk about forced nesting — it's made us really excited to make our home the first place our baby will live once it's born." (Related: How Coronavirus Might Affect Your Reproductive Health)
As for motherhood, a little challenge has never held Arzón back. "I lead with values," she says. "When you're at the precipice of becoming a parent for the first time, you're forced to do that gut check of like, 'Who am I?', 'What am I about?' 'What kind of environment am I going to bring this child into?'. My husband and I are really excited about that challenge because really we believe we were made for this moment."