Jamie Eason Middleton is one of the most influential women in the fitness industry. From her infamous clean culinary creations (who hasn’t tried her Turkey Muffins or Carrot Cake Protein Bars?) and popular LiveFit 12-Week Trainer to her fit, bright and gracious presence, Jamie has inspired women all over the world.
Now, as a Mom-to-be, Jamie is exploring health and fitness from a whole new perspective. Just a few weeks from welcoming her little one into the world, Jamie reflects on her pregnancy, shares her approach to training and nutrition and talks about how she’ll get back into shape. She is honest, real and comes clean about giving into cravings and “surrendering to the process.” I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!
First and foremost, we’ve been following your journey through social media, and you are an absolutely beautiful, healthy superfit Mom-to-be. How are you feeling? How many more weeks to go?
Jamie: Thank you so much! I feel great but definitely not “superfit.” My due date is July 31st, so I’ve only got two or three weeks left to go. Getting anxious!
Your announcement of the baby’s sex was absolutely adorable. Do you have a name for your baby boy yet?
Jamie: Thank you! We had a lot of fun shooting our announcement. As for the name, we had a really tough time picking out a boy’s name. A girl was much easier. It took us eight months to decide, but we finally settled on August Mitchell Middleton.
What a great name— so dignified. Now, you’ve seemed to have an incredibly happy pregnancy. What is your best piece of advice to help others do the same?
Jamie: My best piece of advice is just to take it day by day, because how you feel can really vary. If you are first-time parents like we are, make this time about the two of you and date a lot, because before too long, you won’t be able to go anywhere without a babysitter on the clock.
What has been the best part of being pregnant?
Jamie: The best part has been how friendly and accommodating complete strangers can be. I’ve never received so many random compliments and smiles.
You recently shot with FitnessRx For Women Magazine to share one of your 3rd Trimester Workouts. Tell us about that program and your approach. (Note: This will be out in a future issue.)
Jamie: In the 3rd trimester, you are likely carrying anywhere from 25 to 35 extra pounds (if not more). With the extra weight, even the most basic moves can tire you out quickly. Assuming that most FitnessRx For Women readers were working out prior to getting pregnant, I tried not to make the workout too terribly basic. I included compound movements like squat/rows and lunge/bicep curls, but I utilized a band to increase stability. I’ve found in the later stages of pregnancy that full-body workouts are best for maintaining overall fitness, because workouts will likely be fewer and farther between and reps/sets will emphasize cardio rather than strength and muscle growth.
You started a community on Facebook called Preggo Pals. Tell us all about it.
Jamie: I started Preggo Pals as a way to connect to other Moms-to-be, because it’s so much more fun when you can share experiences and offer reassurance to one another. For many first-time Moms, this is both scary and exciting. So having veteran Moms to get advice from can really be comforting and create a place of community.
I have a million other questions I would like to ask you about your pregnancy, but I will let our FitRx Readers take the wheel. The following questions were submitted on Facebook and Twitter.
FITRx READER QUESTIONS
1. Being a fit female, did you experience any anxiety about getting pregnant and knowing your body is about to change from what you’re used to looking like? (Michelle Cruz)
Jamie: Hi Michelle! I certainly had some reservations. But, being a first-time Mom, I think ignorance is bliss. I expected there to be changes, but not to the extent that I’ve experienced. It’s certainly surreal to see things change on your body that you have no control over, but being in my late thirties, I was really ready and hopeful that we would be able to start a family as soon as possible after we got married. We are so excited to have the opportunity to be parents, so I’ve just decided to surrender to the process and really enjoy this little miracle happening inside me.
2. You’re looking so great!! It would be great to hear how you have adapted your training to nurture a baby now. I’m also pregnant, and found dropping my intensity really hard. Best of luck! (Unknown)
Jamie: Thanks for the wonderful compliment! I definitely did lay off the training considerably. I was so exhausted in the 1st trimester that I didn’t work out nearly as much as I had anticipated. In the 2nd trimester, I was a bit more consistent but had to adjust a lot to account for the pressure I felt in my abdomen. It was at that point that I shifted my focus from maintaining and building muscle to more cardio/endurance type training with higher reps. Around 27 weeks, I really started seeing a lack of muscle tone and the accumulation of body fat despite any effort to keep up my workout routine. Estrogen was definitely winning! Where normally I would train for health and a certain aesthetic, I decided to focus on the health of the baby, eating lots of healthy fats (brain development is crucial at this stage) and cardio to prepare for the marathon of labor at the end.
3. Love to hear more of what kind of day-to-day workouts Jamie was doing through each trimester. She looks amazing. (Nicole Hopkins)
Jamie: Hey Nicole! Thanks for the interest in my pregnancy. When I had energy, which was not at all consistent, I would continue to lift as usual in the 1st trimester. However, if I only had energy a couple days a week, I would adjust my workout split to fit everything in. For example, one day of energy would mean a total body workout, two days of energy might mean training upper and lower body on different days and three days of energy would be a split of chest, triceps and shoulders on one day, back, biceps and abs on another and legs on the third. If I was lucky enough to have four days of energy, which was always my goal but rarely happened, I would use the three day split but add an additional day to work out my legs, making sure to rest at least a few days before training them again. In the 2nd trimester, I changed my reps from 8 – 10 to about 12 and dropped the weight considerably because of the hormone relaxin. Relaxin helps make our hips and joints more pliable. Unfortunately, it can affect our workouts by decreasing stability and increasing the potential for injury. For the 2nd trimester, I stuck to the energy factor as my guide and arranged my workout splits accordingly. With less weight and higher reps, I also used more supersets and less rest between movements to enhance the cardio aspect. For the 3rd trimester, I’ve found myself tired again with all the extra baby weight, so most of my workouts have been total body approaches with an emphasis on compound movements. I’ve also done my best to walk as much as possible— because as the baby drops down into the pelvis in preparation for birth, you’re able to breathe better and enjoy a little more outdoor activity.
4. How late in your pregnancy can you lift? (Krysta Fauria)
Jamie: Hi Krysta! As long as you were lifting prior to getting pregnant, you should be able to continue to lift throughout— just with some modifications to maintain safety and with your doctor’s consent.
5. How much lighter did you have to go on your weights once the relaxin kicked in your joints? (Regina Marie Amos Mead)
Jamie: Hi Regina! For most exercises, once the relaxin kicked in, I dropped the weight by about half and just increased my reps and sets, while reducing rest times.
6. How did you find energy to work out in the first trimester? (Emmi Gestrin)
Jamie: Hi Emmi! I actually rarely had energy in the 1st trimester and struggled to get my workouts in. I’m normally not a nap person and in the 1st trimester, I was taking two and three naps a day. To try and maintain at least some consistency in workouts, I would just structure my workout split in a way that would allow me to train as much as possible in one single workout or just a few a week (for details, see question 3).
7. How much has your day-to-day diet changed? Any specific foods you omit now? Add? Do you use protein powder? (Melissa Van Portfleet)
Jamie: Hi Melissa! My diet changed a lot! Sometimes I just ate two big meals a day, and other times I would snack all day. I also indulged my cravings quite a bit. My husband and I took this time to go on a lot of dates. We went to practically every great restaurant we could think of. I still tried to make better and healthier choices, but clean eating sort of went out the window. I really wanted to enjoy this time and not be too neurotic about watching everything I ate and worrying about body changes. My one saving grace is that I trust the process of getting in shape again with a clean diet and consistent workout program. Although it won’t be easy, I’m confident that it can be done. My learning curve will be doing it with a baby in tow, but I know lots of incredible ladies who have figured it out and who I can turn to for help and guidance. Oh, and as for the protein powder, I did keep it in my diet. I continued to bake protein bars for my snacks and just used a simple whey protein that was all natural with no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
8. What are her food aversions? I couldn’t stand egg whites, broccoli & tilapia while preggo & wanted red meat 24/7! (Yuri Sapia)
Jamie: Hey Yuri! As a former egg white lover, I couldn’t stand them either. I also didn’t like the smell of coffee, which is crazy because I used to love it! Oh, and I could eat chicken, but I couldn’t prepare it. My husband had to do that part. Just seeing raw chicken made my stomach turn.
9. How does she deal with CRAVINGS?! During the last 4 weeks of my last pregnancy, my blood type was Ben & Jerry’s! (Suzi Boles)
Jamie: Hi Suzi! I think we have the same blood type! I would indulge on occasion (OK, a little more than on occasion), but I tried, for the most part, to keep the naughty stuff out of the house. My husband and I have been consistently gaining weight, because I usually make him split any desserts that I’ve been craving. He’s definitely been taking one for the team.
10. What is your best biggest concern with getting back your pre-baby body, and how do you plan to attack it? (Jessica Mudd Mattingly)
Jamie: Hey Jessica! My legs and glutes are my biggest concern. They have literally turned to mush in these last few months of pregnancy, and I’m sporting some sexy cellulite. My goal post-pregnancy will be to regain the muscle that I’ve lost by lifting weights at least twice a week for my lower body, no matter what else I’m able to get done. But hopefully, I’ll be able to train my upper body a couple times a week as well. I do not plan to restrict calories so that I can breastfeed and keep a consistent milk supply for the baby. So, in a nutshell: weight training minus cardio and clean eating minus calorie restrictions.
11. What workout and nutrition supplement plan do you intend to use to get back in shape post baby? Also, are there supplements and protein OK to use during pregnancy and nursing? (Alicia Parris Martyn)
Jamie: Hi Alicia! I’m hopeful that breast feeding will help shed a lot of the weight, because I plan to avoid cardio while breast feeding (except for walking) and focus more on regaining the muscle that I’ve lost. To start, I’ll need to regain dexterity and build up endurance. So, once I get the green light to exercise, the first few weeks will be to focus on higher reps and sets. Then, once I get past the soreness, I’ll start lifting heavier with fewer reps and at least four to five exercises per body part. As for supplements, all-natural vitamins, essential fatty acids and all-natural protein powder will definitely be in my plan. Most infant formula is made from a combination of whey and casein protein, so as long as it doesn’t upset the baby’s tummy, I’ll be keeping it in (just as I have my entire pregnancy) to make sure that I get adequate protein to build muscle.
12. When will the baby start lifting? (Ben Chabot)
Jamie: Lol! I guess it depends on if he likes it and wants to. I think that kids can start fairly early as long as they are mature enough to grasp proper technique and master the basics like bodyweight exercises.
You can get more of Jamie’s fitness advice in the FITRx FREE SUMMER E-BOOK. Get access to your copy here: http://www.fitnessrxwomen.com/ebook/
Images of Jamie courtesy of:
Half Orange Photography, LLC
Stancy Higley & Katie Pinson
Day Ray Photography