Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

What’s My Workout: Kelly Valdez

Kelly Valdez is no stranger to fitness journeys. Overweight for most of her life, the personal trainer and weight-loss management specialist turned things around in 2011, when she lost nearly a hundred pounds by working out, eating well and setting small goals that added up to big results. Now pregnant with her first child—a boy due March 18—she is drawing from what she learned during her transformation to help complete a healthy, active pregnancy. Sharing snippets of her experience on her fitness blog, My Fitting Life, Valdez hopes to motivate other moms-to-be and new moms to keep on moving despite the challenges. “Pregnancy has been a truly humbling experience,” says the 27-year-old, who chatted with us about her current workout schedule, doughnut cravings (“Bring them on!”), future fitness goals and getting back to her roots.

Q: Describe what a standard training week looked like before you got pregnant?

A: I was typically working out five to six days per week. I focused on weight lifting, circuit-style training with body weight and cardio. I love to run and hike! All of my workouts are usually around one hour in length. I try to work hard during that hour so I don’t have to be in the gym any longer than that. Work hard, work smart!

Q: Excellent advice! What do your workouts look like now?

A: A lot of things have changed! I always thought I would be able to keep up with my schedule—with modifications, of course—and still be able to jog, walk and hike. I was so wrong! I am still able to lift and complete body weight workouts, but I can’t manage to walk more than half a mile without my round ligaments hurting and cramping. This is a complete 180 to the long runs I use to love to wake up to.

Q: So you’ve had to switch up some things.

A: My key for cardio has been the stepmill. I am able to do sessions on the stairs that last between ten and 20 minutes depending on how I feel that day. My weight lifting has also switched from being more full body to focusing more on my upper body. My muscles are much looser in my lower body so I only get to work those maybe once a week if I am lucky. I can safely say what I thought I would be able to do throughout these nine months was completely wrong and I have had to re-adjust to my body and how it feels.

Q: How has your body taken to being pregnant?

A: I have had a pretty easy pregnancy. I have had no morning sickness at all, which has been amazing, and I feel good most of the time. The only significant symptoms I have had to deal with are the round ligament pain, fatigue and slight dizziness at times. My family would probably tell you I am dealing with pregnancy induced moodiness as well!

Q: How have you approached your nutrition? Any cravings?

A: My nutrition has definitely changed. In my first two trimesters, I could not even look at vegetables or protein without feeling sick! So I have had to get creative with getting my protein in. I find that FlapJacked protein muffins, Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt cups and egg whites are my go-tos. Whatever tastes like I am being “bad” and eating sweets usually works! I am also pretty lenient on cravings. I feel that my body is craving exactly what it needs and I trust the process. I have had huge cravings for doughnuts! I never ate them pre-pregnancy because, once I lost weight and changed my diet, I never craved them. But now, bring them on! As long as I can stay with about a 70 percent healthy diet, I don’t mind splurging on the other 30 percent. My goal is to stay within a healthy weight gain for my body and I am doing just that. Working out also helps to keep my weight gain manageable while allowing me to indulge a little more than I usually would.

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

A: Celebrate your best. Always go into each day and do what you can and appreciate what you are able to still do. Carrying a baby is one of life’s greatest gifts and it is easy to get down on yourself for not being able to do what you used to. It is so important to celebrate yourself and cheer yourself on, whether it’s running a half marathon at eight months pregnant or getting in a walk around the block.

Q: You are a fitness pro—and have also struggled with your weight. How did both of those experiences help to inform the way you way approached this pregnancy?

A: I wasn’t scared to gain weight back. My journey through weight loss and becoming a personal trainer has led me into a lifestyle that comes so naturally to me now. I allow myself to listen to my body when it comes to food and exercise and know that, after I have my son, I will be able to get back into my more hardcore fit life. I’m ok with splurging on treats and not working out as much. I do crave my more intense workouts, but I know I will get back to them soon enough!

Q: Do the physical changes ever give you pause?

A: Some days are harder than others when dealing with my pre-existing body issues. When I see my body changing and putting on body fat, it does mess with my mind at times. But I just try to remember my precious baby and it makes it all worth it! Plus, there are some benefits to having been obese previously. For instance, my belly button has come back, I know how to rock a larger belly and I’m really good at holding my breath to tie my shoes or shave the back of my legs!

Q: What has surprised you the most about working out while pregnant?

A: I always envisioned myself as that adorable pregnant girl who could run and lift and basically do everything I wanted. I have had to take a step back from my pride. Honestly, it has made me a better person because of it! Since I have been fit for about two years now, I sometimes forget the struggles that my clients and other overweight individuals are dealing with. Pregnancy has given me back some of my memories and feelings of being overweight and has brought me back to my roots a bit more.

Q: What have you learned about yourself?

A: I have learned that I don’t have to be 100 percent all of the time. In fact, it’s completely okay to take time for myself and to slack when I need to. I got into a mindset after competing in my figure competition that my body needed to be on point physically for others to look up to me. Pregnancy, as well as my changing body, has brought me to a place where I am fine with not being on point 100 percent of the time. It’s okay to take time to let my body change and people will look up to me if they choose to. My merit lies in myself, not others. That has been a very valuable lesson to learn during this time.

Q: How do you think—or hope!—your high level of fitness will effect your birth and postpartum recovery?

A: I really hope that staying fit will help this baby slide right out! My plan is for a natural birth utilizing some sort of squatting technique to help ease my son out. I have high hopes that I will be able to return to working out within a relatively short time frame and cannot wait to get back to hiking and running. Working out gives me those happy emotions and I think those will ultimately help me to become a better mom and stay sane.

Q: What are your post-pregnancy fitness goals?

A: Ultimately, I plan to get back into running as soon as I can and complete another half marathon this year. Lifting will always be a part of my life; I am eager to start building my strength back up in some of the more standard lifts like deadlifts and squats. I really look forward to the day when I can go until failure again!

Add your comments