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What’s My Workout: Amanda Freeman

Amanda Freeman, founder of the boutique workout SLT (Strengthen. Lengthen. Tone.), made a career out of keeping other people in shape. But how has the mom-to-be, who is expecting a girl on October 3, and the creator of one of the most popular workouts in New York City kept fit herself during the last nine months? “I work out in some way almost every day, though I’ve taken the intensity down several notches,” she says, pointing out that SLT—a mash-up of Pilates, strength training and cardio done on souped-up Pilates reformers called Magaformers—is (“obvi”) still in the rotation. “While I have a huge tummy, the rest of me has stayed in pretty good shape, which I’m grateful for.” She chatted with us about being pregnant in the fitness world, tweaking her routine and the four things she looks forward to doing once her little one arrives.

Q: Before you got pregnant, what were your go-to workouts?

A: SLT, run/walking outside, vinyasa yoga with the great [instructor] Erin Jacques, paddle boarding and tennis.

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

A: SLT (still great), walking, swimming, Tracy Anderson prenatal DVDs and yoga, but it got very tough to do.

Q: Quite a variety!

A: I’ve loved adding swimming into the routine. I feel light in the water and my feet don’t hurt either. Such a treat. Since I was sleeping a bit more and needing to eat earlier in the morning, adding an at-home DVD workout into the mix was very convenient.

Q: Did you abandon anything?

A: I stopped running, in favor or walking, once I found out I was pregnant. I was afraid it would do bad things—even though I know it would have likely been fine. I’ve skipped yoga for the past few months and modified in the months before. And I kept up my SLT workouts throughout, making modifications based on the trimester. My abs aren’t what they used to be!

Q: What has surprised you about working out and staying active during pregnancy?

A: I was initially thrown off of my workouts a bit because I was so used to working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. For the first trimester, I’d wake up hungry and nauseous so I had to shift my routine a bit and eat first and then work out. I’ve been very fortunate that I’ve been able to stay active the whole time. I work out in some way almost every day, though I’ve taken the intensity down several notches. While I have a huge tummy, the rest of me has stayed in pretty good shape, which I’m grateful for.

Q: Have you developed any tips or tricks for staying in the game?

A: I think the key to staying active while pregnant is that you should try to get the workout in in the morning, because by the end of the day you can be so exhausted it’s not happening. That said, you have to be super opportunistic about when and what you do for exercise. Take advantage of the spurts of energy you experience and go for a quick walk or something, as you don’t know how long it will last.

Q: What is your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words?

A: Opportunistic. Varied. Routine.

Q: What motivates you to stay active now?

A: Looking in the mirror every day, feeling good and wondering what the aftermath will be post-birth are my motivating factors. Despite the inevitable changes to my body, I like to see certain body parts still looking fit. I have also had a pretty smooth, business-as-usual pregnancy and I think some of that can be attributed to how active I’ve been.

Q: How has being in the fitness industry informed how you’ve approached bring pregnant?

A: Because of my career, I feel a tremendous amount of pressure to stay fit throughout my pregnancy and pull it back together quickly afterwards. That has definitely had an influence on my approach to fitness. That said, I’ve certainly given myself latitude with everything.

Q: Sounds like a well-balanced strategy. What have you learned during this experience that you’ll carry with you through the birth of your baby and into your new mom role?

A: I’ve learned how to be a bit more creative and scrappy with my workouts, sneak them in here and there. I imagine that I’ll have to continue to do that when my life gets even busier with a little one. In fact, I have my jogger stroller all set so I can combine workouts with baby time. I don’t envision workouts going away, as that’s how I stay sane and happy.

Q: Food: What have you been into?

A: My eating hasn’t been amazing. I’ve had cravings that have evolved throughout pregnancy, including oranges, mango, challah bread, peanut butter and jelly, cookies, pizza, ice cream. I’ve been off of chicken, fish, eggs and many veggies for the duration of the time. Unhealthy things are in, healthy things are out!

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

A: I’d suggest sticking with the type of workout you are used to in a modified form. It’s not recommended to try something entirely new once you become pregnant. If your favorite workout isn’t entirely pregnancy friendly, find a way to take it down a notch or two or three. I also believe in better safe than sorry. If you do something and it is feeling weird or wrong, stop immediately and modify. And talk to your doctor about what is right for you at each stage of your pregnancy and tell fitness instructors and trainers that you are pregnant and elicit their advice on what to do and what not to do. Ask them to keep a special eye on you.

Q: What do you look forward to doing again after your little one arrives?

A: To be honest, I haven’t missed that many things. But now that you mention it: Working out hard is probably number one. Water sports like wakeboarding is number two. Shopping for normal-size clothes is number three. Having a glass of wine is number four.

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