Exercising during and after pregnancy can be a minefield for women to navigate. What’s safe? What’s not? Health and fitness guru James Duigan – who has a client list that includes model mums Elle Macpherson, Megan Gale, Lara Stone and Holly Valance – has all the answers…
James Duigan is the ‘go-to’ personal trainer to an endless array of celebrities, from Elle ‘The Body’ Macpherson to Rosie Huntington-Whitely, Teresa Palmer, Christy Turlington, Lara Stone and a host of other A-list mums. He is The Carousel’s Fitness Trainer, founder of the ‘Bodyism’ philosophy, which has helped thousands of people around the world to improve their diet, and author of the bestselling Clean & Lean series. And now, James has just released is latest book, Clean and Lean Pregnancy Guide. In it, you’ll find great nutritional advice, from healthy eating tips and delicious recipes, to safe step-by-step exercises and expert advice. James has left no stone unturned, with pre-conception exercise and health tips, as well as post-baby advice, like catching zzzz’s, recovering your lost energy and breastfeeding power foods. Here, James explains his latest project…
Why did you write Clean and Lean Pregnancy Guide?
“I came to write the Clean and Lean Pregnancy Guide out of my own experience during my wife’s pregnancy. I felt I could use my experience as a trainer and couple it with advice from nutritionists and midwives to create a go-to guide for women wishing to experience optimal health during their pregnancy and beyond.”
Sick & tired expectant mums: what advice do you have?
“As we all know, what we eat, drink, how we move etc. during pregnancy gets passed on to our babies. So naturally, we all want to do the best for our bodies and our babies. The reality of this can be very different – as I experienced first-hand with my wife, Christiane, who got very sick and tired throughout the majority of her pregnancy. This was initially very upsetting for her because she wanted to eat well and move gently during her pregnancy. Instead, she was in bed all day, only able to stomach buttered white toast! The important thing to remember is to listen to our bodies. If it feels tired, rest. If it needs white carbs, eat them! We are grateful that Chrissy was in great health before she got pregnant, so she had all the stores she needed to grow a healthy beautiful baby.
How does health and fitness affect fertility?
“Lifestyle has a big influence on our ability to conceive. Of course, some women are very lucky and get pregnant easily – but more and more are taking longer. I think lifestyle has a lot to do with this. You can tweak things in your diet, look at the way you are exercising (over exercising is not good), and ensure your weight is normal (being underweight or overweight can affect your ability to conceive).”
Dealing with ‘unhealthy’ guilt – when women can’t exercise, eat well and have mood swings. Any tips?
“So many women struggle with food in that first trimester and it can be very difficult for pregnant woman, as it was for Christiane. Unfortunately for her, she was sick almost the entire pregnancy – and it’s all due to hormone levels changing and your body getting used to that perfect parasite growing inside you. The important thing was to learn how to manage it. Sleep when you’re tired. Eat small amounts and often. Eat what you can – even if it’s buttered white bread. Christiane couldn’t eat anything green or red meat throughout the entire pregnancy but as soon as she gave birth – this is all she wanted! You must listen to your body always. Your baby will always get the nutrients it needs from you – even if it leaves you without!”
There’s a huge amount of media pressure for women to ‘bounce back’ to their pre-baby weight. What do you believe is a healthy approach…?
“As they say, ‘It takes 9 months to make a baby, and 9 months to recover.’ I am a firm believer in this. There are so many amazing changes that happen to your body over this period and you must take your time to get back to the strength and health it was in before. For just this time, you must forget about the outside pressures of what you should or shouldn’t look like – it is unrealistic to bounce back straight away. Just read what Lara Stone wrote in the book! It’s very true.
Parting words of wisdom…?
“My main goal for this book is for women (and their partners) to learn to be kind to themselves – in their thoughts and their actions. Listen to your body and respond accordingly and just don’t worry – don’t worry about anything. Trust in yourself and your body – it knows what do! Enjoy and embrace the entire process.”
James Duigan is The Carousel’s Fitness Trainer and personal trainer to the A-list. He has been transforming bodies and changing lives around the world with incredible success over the last ten years. He and his cover model wife, Christiane, have also become parents themselves. As well as a host of guest experts featured in the book, Clean & Lean Pregnancy Guide was also written based on James and Christiane’s personal experience.