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Fit Follow-Up: Melissa Paris

  • Name: Melissa Paris
  • Baby: Son Augustine Julian, born September 30, 2014
  • Backstory: Even after working with many expecting clients before she got pregnant, personal trainer Melissa Paris had no idea how her own experience would go. “Was I going to be nauseous, lightheaded, put on bed rest, have preeclampsia or none of the above?” she says. Turns out all went well and she was able to do what a great trainer does: lead by example. Taking it day by day, Paris—who has a background in nutrition and dietetics and has trained clients at New York’s CORE club and Exceed Physical Culture (where she now leads a new mom-and-baby workout; keep an eye out for our review of it)—stuck to a plan, modified moves as needed and got creative. “I would not change a thing,” she says. “I kicked major ass when I was pregnant.”
Pregnancy Prep

I was not sure how my body would react or even what to expect when I found out I was pregnant. I knew that everyone’s experience is different. I went in with the mindset that I could do most of what I was doing before and I would modify as I got further along. One thing I paid much more attention to was environmental factors—like the temperature of the location of a workout so that I was wearing the appropriate clothing to avoid overheating. And the timing of my meals: I wanted to make sure I had enough calories to get through my workouts feeling good, but not stuffed. This required some planning and truly prepped me for what to expect post-birth, since currently I revolve my schedule around pumping or breast feeding.

Full Support

My doctor was on board with my level of fitness and my daily activity. I continued to push myself throughout my pregnancy doing a variety of exercises, including plyometrics, lots of varieties of push-ups, TRX—and I never missed a leg day! I felt amazing, strong and in control at all times. I listened to my body and stopped when I couldn’t do anymore. I think I got the most resistance when I returned two weeks post c-section. I was doing extremely light, short workouts with resistance bands. It wasn’t my doctor or close friends, family or clients that gave pushback. It was people who didn’t really know the whole story.

Looking Back

I moved slower and took longer to get through my workouts as I got further along. But I didn’t have a per-trimester approach. It was really day by day or week by week depending on how I felt. I learned that the female human body is even more amazing than I could imagine. I was totally surprised at the level of fitness I was able to maintain.

Into the Unknown

I don’t think you can possibly prepare for what is in store because sometimes things just don’t go as planned. But I worked as hard as I could as long as I could so I would be in the best possible shape for whatever my future held. Because I had a c-section—and my abdominal muscles were basically nonexistent—I relied a lot on my arms and legs to take over [after the birth]. Daily tasks like bending to pick up something turned into a forward lunge to avoid bending at the hips. I believe that because I was in great mental and physical shape before, it made the recovery process so much shorter and easier.

Getting the Green Light

At my two-week appointment I was cleared to do light workouts. I wasn’t running or jumping around, but I took long walks—more than an hour—with the baby and I would stop and use my resistance bands and incorporate planks, push-ups and wall sits. Isometric movements were the easiest to incorporate into my immediate post-birth plan. But I would say six weeks after I felt comfortable doing almost everything I did before, without hesitations.

A Trainer’s Advice

Do as much as you can and for as long as it feels good. Birth and motherhood are two of the most mentally and physically challenging things in life so why would you wimp out on your workouts? When people ask me what I’m training for I say, “Life.” I do have a handful of currently pregnant clients and some on round two or three. So exciting. It never gets old!

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