Kayla Itsines Shares Why She Stopped Doing Leg Day Workouts During Pregnancy
"I'm actually enjoying the lower-intensity exercises for a change."
Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide (BBG) workouts have earned a cult following for being easy to follow while delivering results (just take a look at some of these incredible before-and-after photos of women who religiously follow the workouts on her SWEAT app). That isn't to say, though, that these exercises are a walk in the park. If you've done BBG before, you know leg day, in particular, can be absolutely killer. So much so that Itsines herself has decided to take a step back from doing these lower-body workouts as she heads into the home stretch of her pregnancy. (Did you know joining an online support group could help you finally meet your goals?)
"Okay, so I hope everyone can relate to this feeling I'm about to explain," she recently wrote on Instagram alongside a video of herself crushing a leg workout. "You know when you first start training? And you're working out, doing legs? And then suddenly it feels like someone has just filled your entire leg up with lead? It goes stiff and your legs get heavy and you feel like you just need a minute. That's literally what I felt like after a few squats in this workout." (Related: Anna Victoria Apologized to Her Followers for Making Her Fit Body App Workouts So Hard)
Itsines added that she hasn't had that feeling since the very first time she set foot in a gym. "[It's] amazing how your body changes," she wrote. "Pregnancy is just so different. I have stopped lower-body sessions and I am just incorporating legs into my full body workouts 2–3 times per week."
Contrary to popular belief, exercising while pregnant is totally safe, especially if you're continuing the same kind of modality you're used to doing. But it's also important to listen to your body and know when to scale back (and know that it's okay to do so). "In general, I always tell my mamas to avoid any exercise that puts stress on her pelvic floor, causes incontinence, and/or creates 'coning' of the belly," Erica Ziel, a mom of three and creator of Knocked-Up Fitness and the Core Athletica rehab program, previously told us. ICYDK coning is when abdominal muscles bulge during an exercise and cause too much stress on the abs. This can happen while doing intense jumps that are such a signature part of Itsines' workouts, so it makes sense that she's choosing to forgo those movements for now.
"I'm actually enjoying the lower-intensity exercises for a change," Itsines wrote. "At least you ladies finally get a bunch of 'non-jumping' workouts. We all win here ... maybe not my legs though."
Itsines' post is a reminder that even at her fitness level, moms-to-be may need to take things down a notch. Trainer Emily Skye, for instance, had to completely stop working out while pregnant in the interest of her baby's health-something that was difficult for her to cope with at the time. The bottom line is that expectations for first-time moms are high enough, so it's important to embrace your individual journey and do what you feel is best for you and your little one. Leg day will be there waiting for you when you feel up to it again.