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What’s My Workout: Rachel Doell

Rachel Doell, personal trainer and founder of online training destination Daily Routine Fitness, knows that when it comes to pregnancy fitness, there is no typical scenario. “Each pregnancy has taught me to remember that the fitness journey is a personal journey,” says the mother of two (four-year-old McCarthy and two-year-old Bennett), who is expecting her third child in early June. “Competing or trying to keep up with your non-pregnant body only creates unrealistic expectations.” Doell, who lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, has won a loyal following with her frank personality and knack for motivation. We chatted with her about tuning out opinions that don’t matter, finding inspiration and how movement is the best medicine.

Q: What were your go-to workouts before you got pregnant?

A: My typical workout routine is a mixture of boot camp, spin, barre and yoga. Throughout my pregnancy I made the decision to listen to my body and really enjoy what made me feel good in each trimester. I haven’t really changed my workout schedule that much, but I have changed the style in which I do my workouts, including lowering the amount of weight I lift or maybe not trying to be the fastest in spin class.

Q: Describe your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words.

A: Don’t stop moving. No matter how your body changes or personal frustrations you may face, meet your body where it’s at and allow it to do what it’s meant to do—move.

Q: You’ve been pregnant twice before, but what surprises you the most about working out while expecting?

A: How much I enjoyed it. It is a complete mental and physical release for me. I honestly thought I would start dreading my workouts as things progressed, but knowing the clarity that comes after the pregnancy helps to motivate me to make the workout happen.

Q: What have you needed to modify?

A: My routine can be pretty intense when I’m not pregnant because I crave and love hard, intense workouts. So when I’m pregnant I need to remind myself to scale it back, take more breaks and allow room to breath. I also love swimming while I’m pregnant, which is something I don’t normally do. Knowing I’m getting my cardio in, strengthening my joints and allowing weightless movement is the best when that belly gets heavy!

Q: How do people react to your desire to work out?

A: During my first pregnancy I came up against a lot of resistance in terms of my workout schedule and what people felt was best for me. With my third there is more confidence in my decisions. I don’t allow the input of people to dictate my decisions and I believe every body is different. You are the best decision maker when it comes to what is right for your body.

Q: What motivates you to stay active right now?

A: My little boys. We live an active lifestyle and I know my recovery is better when I keep my body healthy and strong. This fall we are planning a surf trip to California, so there are days I dream about not having a belly attached to my body and feeling the adrenaline rush of training again.

Q: You have hypothyroidism. Are there any specific symptoms you deal with during pregnancy?

A: I have my blood checked every six weeks to make sure my levels are healthy for the baby and me. Every pregnancy I have had so far my body has had amazing levels! I had heard pregnancy heals the body and in my case it does. I don’t feel the effects of my low thyroid—fatigue, foggy thinking, emotional highs and lows—at all.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give fellow pregnant women when it comes to continuing and enjoying their workouts?

A: Find movement that you enjoy and surround yourself with women who inspire you on a daily bases. You will have tired, sore and emotional moments. Having friends to support you and encourage you to take a hike with them is a whole lot better then sitting on the couch feeling bad for yourself.

Q: What have you personally learned during this experience that you’ll carry with you through the birth of your baby?

A: Each pregnancy has taught me to have patience and allow life to be flexible. Before I had children my life was structured and everything was on schedule. That is by no means the case these days! I have learned that workouts will happen at random times, things will not always be clean and tidy and that some days you pray no one comes to the door and experiences the way you look. But I also truly realized that I had never really lived life till I saw it through my little boys’ eyes. Wonder, excitement, joy and love all have a different meaning once you become a mom.


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