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What’s My Workout: Heidi Kristoffer

Yoga instructor Heidi Kristoffer is known for her breezy, body-bettering approach to yoga and love of inversions. She also happens to dislike sitting still—a trait that is bound to come in handy for the soon-to-be-mom, who is expecting twins in late July. “My body craves movement,” says Kristoffer, who was named one of the most inspiring yoga instructors in the world by DoYouYoga last year. Between keeping up with her workouts—yoga (of course) and SoulCycle included—and getting ready for her girls (she spends at least 30 minutes a day doing hip openers in preparation for birth), she chatted with us about what it is really like to be a fit mom-to-be of multiples.

Q: What was your typical weekly workout schedule before you got pregnant?

A: CrossFlowX—a hybrid yoga style I created that meshes power yoga, high-intensity cardio intervals and kundalini kriyas [spontaneous movements]—or vinyasa yoga every day and SoulCycle two to four times a week. I also biked anywhere I could and swam laps anytime I was near a pool. I love being active any chance I get!

Q: Describe your typical workout routine since you got pregnant.

A: I kept my workouts pretty much the same for the first trimester, just being conscious to modify when appropriate, which generally meant toning down the intensity a touch and steering clear of pregnancy no-no yoga poses like deep, closed twists. For my second trimester I had to take out the crazy core work part of CrossFlowX that I love so much. Around 21 weeks I had to have a surgical procedure done and was on bed rest for two weeks after. Not being able to move was incredibly difficult for me so I grabbed my five-pound weights and made up arm exercises for bed.

Q: You had to get creative! How did you ease in post-surgery?

A: After I was cleared for movement again I took baby steps back into it, but was told in no uncertain terms that riding a bike around New York City was out. I still maintain it’s safer than riding the subway as a pregnant woman, with all the shoving and elbowing that goes on! Unfortunately, the cardio intervals and calisthenics in CrossFlowX were too much for my increasingly pregnant body so I had to stop that class all together. But I kept up with vinyasa yoga and SoulCycle.

Q: How has the cycling worked out?

A: In my third trimester all of the extra weight and fatigue really set in so I started to slow down. I noticed that I could no longer keep up with the faster SoulCycle songs, but was lucky enough to have an amazing instructor who told me to take everything half time. Now, at 31 weeks, I think I need to take a break. My belly is actually getting in the way. A twin pregnancy measures ten weeks ahead of a singleton pregnancy—not surprising that I have to take out some things.

Q: And yoga?

A: I am keeping up with vinyasa yoga, since I know how to modify it. I tried prenatal yoga when I was recovering from my surgery and it was fine for me for then, but it really doesn’t move at all. Maybe now that I am so close to the end of this pregnancy I can try it again. I like the way vinyasa feels much more because you flow through the poses and aren’t ever held in one position for too long. In terms of workouts I wouldn’t have considered before pregnancy, I have started to incorporate more toning videos into my repertoire, which I only do because I physically can’t do the amount of yoga or cardio that I would prefer. I find traditional toning to be beyond boring and I normally detest it, but anything is always better than nothing.

Q: Describe your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words.

A: Whatever feels good!

Q: Did you need to make any special considerations because you’re carrying twins?

A: Absolutely. I am under much more strict supervision, with tons more restrictions from my doctors. I’m also extremely careful about doing any kind of core work that might invite diastasis recti—a separation of the abdominal muscles—as that is much more common among women with twin pregnancies.

Q: What motivates you to stay active right now?

A: Carrying twins around once they are born is going to be no small feat! Giving birth and taking care of them requires me to be in great shape—that is mega motivation. Once they are born, I am so excited to be able to go all out in my workouts and have no more restrictions on what I can and can’t do. I am so excited to take ownership back of my body!

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

A: Listen to your body. It will tell you what is right for you for that particular stage of your pregnancy. Don’t feel guilty about taking it down a few notches—your babies need your oxygen! But do not be a couch potato, unless it is doctor ordered. The ease with which you can get back into shape and reclaim your body after birth depends largely on what you did throughout your pregnancy.

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

A: This pregnancy has taught me to put my girls’ needs before my own, as they depend on me to do that right now—that is certainly a lesson that I will carry through while raising them. I am a firm believer that being a good parent means putting your children first and I intend to do just that. I am so excited to be a mom and I want nothing more than to raise two daughters who feel supremely loved every day. Hopefully this pregnancy has taught me how to make them feel that love.

Photo: Colin Douglas Gray
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