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What’s My Workout: Coco Austin

Coco Austin is used to getting attention. So when the model, actress and super-popular Internet personality got pregnant, she wanted to share her experience with the world. She threw herself into pregnancy, learning from her friends and family—Austin’s younger sister, who is a yoga instructor, has four kids of her own; Kelli Giddish, who stars on Law & Order: SVU with Austin’s husband, Ice-T, had a baby in October—and blogging about it for E!.

The lifelong fitness fan (she has an exercise app called Coco's Workout World) kept active throughout, paid attention to healthy eating, sidestepped morning sickness and aimed to dispel myths: namely that being pregnant is a drag by default. “I tell people I could be pregnant for the rest of my life, just knowing that I’m giving life,” says Austin, who hosts the talk show Ice & Coco with her husband and is pictured here at 36 weeks. “That is awesome. It just makes you see that there is something way beyond this world that we just don’t know about.”

We sat down with her 11 days before the November 28 arrival of baby Chanel Nicole (who already has Twitter and Instagram accounts, the latter of which has more than 100,000 followers) to talk pregnancy fitness, bump size and post-baby plans.

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

A: The main things I’ve been into are weight lifting, cardio, yoga and Pilates. And when I got pregnant I was continuously doing all of that, up until about four months. Four months is when I just went to yoga.

Q: And then you learned you had an issue with the pregnancy, right?

A: Around four months, five months, I went to my doctor and Chanel was sitting really low, almost touching my cervix. They said, “Don’t try to squat.” They said, “You could easily promote labor at a really early time in your pregnancy.” And that kind of scared me because I was very physical up until that point. I was running. I was jogging on the treadmill. I was doing everything I was doing before. When she told me that I freaked out a little bit. I didn’t do anything strenuous. Ice and I didn’t have sex during that time. I didn’t go into the gym. I didn’t even want to reach down and squat, just in case. So it was a good two months where I had to be careful, until my placenta grew away from my cervix.

Q: After that point what did you keep up with?

A: I continued Pilates. Pilates is a really great thing to do because, to me, it is like yoga using dance moves. I love it. It’s not like you’re running, but you’re still using moves that stretch you out. And stretching is really big when you’re pregnant. I still stretch on a daily basis.

Q: Your sister is a yoga instructor and a mom. Did she help influence your practice?

A: I didn’t really like it at first because it was too slow. And I’m more into cardio, running, just doing something physical. But when you actually get in certain poses and hold it, you’re burning calories like no other.

Q: You feel it. That’s for sure.

A: You totally feel it. So she got me on this trend of acroyoga: When her and I get together and we use our own body weight to hold each other up. It’s an amazing workout. It might look easy, but give it a try. I’m sweating by the time I come out of the pose.

Q: Tell us your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words.

A: How about four? Listen to your body.

Q: You’ve had a very public pregnancy and everybody’s a critic. How have you dealt with that?

A: Well, there are two different types of criticism. Everybody seems to want to put some kind of negativity on a child. They’ll come up to us and say, “Get your rest now you’re never going to be able to sleep again.” They never say anything positive. And it really frustrates us. Can’t you just let us be happy about our situation? Just let us live. Why can’t someone, just one person, come up and say, “Right on! You guys are going to have the best time. It’s going to be the most wonderful ride you’ve ever been on.”

Q: And then people were very concerned about the size of your bump.

A: I didn’t have a bump. I wanted a bump! It’s not like I was going to the gym, doing ab work and trying to not have a bump. I wanted it, but my body was physically not giving that up to me. I would say at eight months I literally went to bed, got up the next day and I was there. Everybody thought I had a surrogate. That really bothered me.

Q: Everybody’s pregnancy is different.

A: I would go to my doctor and be like, “The world has it in my head that everything’s wrong with me. Is everything right with her?” This is what my doctor said: “With athletes, it’s harder for you to get a bump. Because you have such tight abs it takes longer for your abs to expand. But they will come out. They will eventually expand. They have to at some point. And a lot of women were on my side when I told them what my doctor said because they said it happened to them, too.

Q: How do you think things for you will change when the baby comes?

A: I will always stay Coco. I live that day-to-day. I can’t completely change, but I think I’ll change slightly for her. A little more motherly. I want her to be proud of me no matter what. Everybody always asks, “With all the stuff you’ve done in your life, do you think she’ll be proud of you?” And I say, “Oh, yeah!” I want to be that hot grandmother. I want to pull out my pictures and I want to be like, “This was me back in the day. Your grandmother was hot back then.”

Q: What advice would you give a mom-to-be who wants to stay active during their pregnancy?

A: Just keep maintaining a nice flow with your body. Listen to it; know what you really want.

Q: How happy are you that you documented this time in your life so well?

A: It’s amazing. I want to be one of those people that always remembers the experience. I’m not like, “Oh, can’t we just get on with life.” I want to know everything and I want to preach, too. If someone says, “Hey, tell me your story,” I want to be able to be an open book.

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