Knocked-Up Fitness: Prenatal Workouts with Erica Ziel

You know Project Nursery for featuring the latest in nursery design and gear, however we’d be remiss without mentioning the most important aspect of a fabulous nursery—a mom and baby who feel incredible. We had the opportunity to chat with Erica Ziel, creator and host of Knocked-Up Fitness, a Pilates-inspired prenatal workout system. Erica is a mother of three, personal trainer, Pilates instructor, nutritionist and core specialist about staying active during pregnancy.

Erica holds a B.S. in Kinesiology and Health from Iowa State University, as well as many certifications. Erica’s prenatal DVDs and recently released Pilates-Infused Functional After Baby DVDs help mothers maintain their bodies during pregnancy and get their figures back after giving birth.

Prenatal Workout

What inspired you to create these workouts?

When I became pregnant with my third child, I realized that there was a lack of prenatal DVDs with appropriate exercises, specifically core exercises. Many were just way too long and not challenging enough. With the tired and exhausted element most pregnant mothers feel, it can be daunting to think about working out for an entire 40-60 minutes. For this reason, I created my workouts to be short and to enable the mother to mix and match exercises to form her own workout each day. Applying my professional fitness training and personal experience, I developed my unique style of Pilates-infused functional workouts. The core of many exercises comes from my Pilates training, and I incorporate exercises that make sense for the pregnant body. My workouts keep the butt lifted, arms toned and deep core strong, without ever doing crunches. In fact, I strongly urge mothers to never do crunches during pregnancy.

prenatal workout

What are mommy participants saying about your workout DVDs? 

Pregnant moms love that my prenatal workouts are short, that the functionality of my exercises help with sciatic, low back and hip pain—a lot of my exercises are designed to help strength where you need it during pregnancy—and that my exercises really provide a good workout

What’s the most important piece of advice you can give to busy moms who want to bounce back into shape once the baby arrives?

Expecting mothers should stay active during pregnancy but also rest when needed and remember to eat healthy. With limited time to work out, they should focus on strength training to get the body strong for delivery. In an ideal world, it would be great if we could fit in 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular and strength training every day, but moms should just try the best they can, both during and after pregnancy. Lastly, listen to the body. If an exercise doesn’t feel good on the body, skip it and move onto the next. This is true after giving birth as well. Give the body time to heal. Start walking and doing Kegel exercises. Wait for the doctor to give the green light to do more. Gradually increase your activity. Squats and arm exercises are a great place to start after having the baby.

prenatal workout

For more from Erica, visit her blog, and leave us a comment below telling us how you kept fit during your pregnancy!


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    Erica, you are amazing! Love the tips and although I’m not expecting I could still put most of this into play. My core isn’t what it used to be after three babies but I’m working on it! Thanks again.

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    You should also feature exercises idea for moms of toddlers or little kids. After I had my baby, my energy level was never the same, and I just kept on gaining weight. Sigh.

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