Live Event Transcripts

Lisa Stone, ACE: Fitness - Before, During and After Pregnancy

StorkNet: Welcome to StorkNet's Interactive Guest Event! Today's guest is Lisa Stone ACE, certified fitness instructor. Lisa is the founder and president of Fit For 2, an original pre- and post-natal fitness program which she developed. She is also the co-host of the Easy Spirit National Fitness Forum. Lisa moderates our Ask a Certified Fitness Instructor forum on StorkNet's message boards and is here today to chat with us about staying fit during pregnancy and after. Welcome, Lisa!

Lisa Stone: Hello, everyone. I'm excited to be here.

Shelby: I have about 40 pounds that I want to lose. I have just joined a wellness center and they want me to use the exercise machines most of the time when I prefer water aerobics. Can I do both?

Lisa Stone: Yes, absolutely. A well balanced fitness program consists of strength training which you'll get through the machines, aerobic exercise which you'll get from the water aerobics, and flexibility or stretching. The aerobic exercise will help you burn fat and calories, the strength training will tone your muscles and help increase your metabolism. And the flexibility will help you avoid injury.

Lisa Stone: I'm not a dietitian, but I do know that you do need to couple your new exercise program with a healthy diet consisting of fresh fruits and veggies, lowfat dairy products, lowfat proteins, whole grains and . . . LOTS of water!

Lisa Stone: Does that help?

Shelby: Yes! Thank you Lisa!

Trixi: Why would it be that on the days I exercise, I seem to gain weight than when I don't? I use an elliptical cross trainer for 30 minutes and take one hour walks almost every day.

Lisa Stone: Trixi, first of all, please avoid weighing yourself on a daily basis. If you HAVE to step on a scale, please do it no more than once a week, and the best time to weigh is first thing in the morning.

Lisa Stone: All of the exercise that you are doing is aerobic, so you also need to start including some strength training and stretching. Warning, muscle weighs more than fat so gauge your weight gain or loss by how your clothes fit vs. a number on the scale. You may also want to enlist the help of a partner to take your measurements and retake them every month to track your progress.

Trixi: Okay - thank you - will give it a try!

Lisa Stone: Good luck. Visit us on the message board too, Trixi.

Marina: I have had 3 c-sections and doing regular sit-ups just doesn't feel right. Is there a better way to tone up the stomach area?

Lisa Stone: Marina, are you pregnant now? And if not, how old is your youngest?

Marina: I'm not pregnant, and my youngest is a year old.

Lisa Stone: The first thing you need to do is check for separation of your abdominal muscles. Do you know how to do that?

Marina: Yes.

Lisa Stone: Okay . . . Abdominal crunches are the most effective way to retone the belly after pregnancy. But you can't spot reduce.

Marina: I have a separation of about an inch. Is that bad?

Lisa Stone: Oh . . . you'll need to do some modified exercises then, Marina, in order to help the separation heal, and to see a difference in the flatness of your belly.

Lisa Stone: We could post them all here, but it would be best if you visited our message board (do you know where it is?) and I could post them all there for you. It is long.

Marina: Thank you - I'll do that.

Lisa Stone: Here is an example: Instead of doing a full crunch, just lift your head and tighten the muscles of your belly while using your hands to gently push the two sides of the muscle toward the center.

Lisa Stone: (we're all doing them here . . . <grin> does this make sense to you, Marina?)

Lisa Stone: You also need to do aerobic exercise such as walking, swimming, biking or running, etc, in order to burn the excess fat covering your flat belly.

Marina: Yes - how long does it usually take for the separation to go back together?

Lisa Stone: It can take several month. If you don't see progress of any sort within four to six weeks you may want to consult your health care provider for a referral for a physical therapist specializing in postpartum issues.

Lisa Stone: Does this help, Marina?

Marina: Yes - thank you so much for all your time! You've been very helpful.

Lisa Stone: You are very welcome.

StorkNet: Kat, you're up!

Kat: Hi, Lisa! I'm a runner and thinking about having kids. Once I am pregnant, for how long a period of time can I continue running? What exercises can I do in lieu of running to keep me in shape when I'm too far along to do high impact aerobic exercise?

Lisa Stone: Hi Kat! Great that you are thinking about fitness now!

Lisa Stone: In most cases, women can continue running at least through the middle of their second trimester, sometimes longer.

Kat: Great!

Lisa Stone: But you'll need to discuss your running plans with your health care provider once you are pregnant, to make sure you are not at risk for preterm labor. Once running is no longer feasible, you can switch to race walking, power walking, swimming, indoor aerobic machines such as a stationery bike, elliptical trainer, stairmaster or treadmill. You can join a prenatal fitness class or use a pregnancy workout video.

Kat: Wow, that's a lot of choices! Terrific!

Lisa Stone: (like Fit For 2) Visit my page:

Lisa Stone: :) Does this help, Kat?

Kat: Yes! Thank you. I'll be sure to visit your site, too!

Lisa Stone: This is great fun, everyone!

Lisa Stone: Alllison, do you have a question?

Allison: I walked a half hour everyday half way through my first pregnancy because of water retention. I had a miscarriage. Is it still safe to walk when I get pregnant again?

Lisa Stone: Allison, I'm not a medical professional and you definitely need to consult your health care provider when you get pregnant again. But most likely, the walking had nothing to do with the miscarriage (so very sorry to hear about it).

Lisa Stone: I can tell you from my personal experience of miscarrying right after an aerobics class that you might be a little hesitant to exercise during your first trimester . . . and that is okay! Once you know that the pregnancy is viable, at that point, you can start a moderate walking program again. And still get the benefits of being active throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.

Lisa Stone: I'm sorry for your loss, Allison.

Jenn: I was an infrequent jogger prior to becoming pregnant. I am now 12 weeks along, and too tired to even THINK about getting on my treadmill!! Any suggestions? I feel awful that I'm not doing much.

Lisa Stone: Jenn, congratulations on your pregnancy. Be assured that your energy will pick up eventually. In the meantime, so that you don't completely lose your fitness level, could you go for a walk or use the treadmill to walk at an incline so that it is a little more challenging than walking outdoors on flat terrain?

Jenn: I should, I know! I'll try to get my lazy self more active!

Lisa Stone: Water aerobics might be a nice alternative during the summer . . . exercise will help with the energy level.

Jenn: My husband says that, too!

Jenn: Thanks for the advice.

Lisa Stone: Start slow, Jenn. Do what you can. Ten minutes is better than nothing. Work up from there.

Lisa Stone: If you need some daily motivation, email me at and I'll send you a daily motivational message! :)

Jenn: Thanks!

Jennifer B: Which do you think is better/ healthier, to be a couple pounds over weight vs. under weight? I seem to be fixed on a number and I'm not sure that's right.

Lisa Stone: Are you pregnant?

Jennifer B: No, I just gave birth. I have a two month old son and I am breastfeeding. All my clothes fit but that darn scale has different numbers on it than pre-pregnancy.

Lisa Stone: You will most likely hang onto a few extra pounds while breastfeeding. This is your body's way of making sure your baby has enough to eat. You should continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise three to five times a week.

Lisa Stone: That will ensure that you won't put on additional weight and that you stay strong so you can care for your baby.

Jennifer B: Can you overdue the exercise while breastfeeding?

Lisa Stone: In my experience, those extra couple of pounds will fall right off when you are done breastfeeding. But don't let weight loss be a reason to wean early. Keep giving your baby this healthiest of foods as long as it works for both of you. Does this help?

Jennifer B: Alright! I'll hold you to that weight falling off after breastfeeding! :-) Yes, thank you!

Lisa Stone: You asked about overdoing . . . if you notice that your milk supply is reduced and you should be able to tell based on the number of wet diapers your baby has, then you are either overdoing it, not eating enough calories, or not drinking enough fluids. Staying well hydrated by drinking lots of water before, during and after exercise is extremely important, especially while breastfeeding.

Jennifer B: We have plenty of wet/poopy diapers!! LOL!! I just tend towards being overzealous, and didn't want to worry.

Kim: Hi! I am trying to lose the last 15 lbs and reduce the size of my rear (it is huge!). This is my fourth baby (she is 6 weeks now) and I don't remember it being this hard before. The only difference is that I was on steroids at the end of the pregnancy but thought that by now the side effects would be gone. Now that I've gotten the ok from my doctor, what would be best to tone my rear and lose the weight?

Lisa Stone: Hi Kim. It does get harder with each baby, not only has your body stretched a fourth time, but you are older with each one too. <g> As I've been saying, you need to do aerobic exercise to burn the fat and calories as well as strength training to tone the muscles. The best exercises for your rear view are squats and lunges.

Kim: Could it just be my hips spreading again?

Lisa Stone: Kim, your hips do tend to widen with each pregnancy, but with proper diet and exercise, you should be able to get pretty close to the shape you were in prior to pregnancy.

Kim: Thanks I will start the squats and lunges tonight!

JenniferT: Hi Lisa. I had abdominal surgery last September, then a cesarean with a vertical incision four months ago, and then abdominal surgery following the same incision line about 2 months ago. I'd like to start doing sit-ups, but I have noticed that my tummy muscles are sore even from just a long walk. Is it too soon to start working out with crunches? What can I do to strengthen those muscles?

Lisa Stone: Jennifer, maybe you could start with modified crunches and isometric abdominal exercises. The first step should be making sure you hold in your tummy from the time you get out of bed in the morning until you get back into bed at night. Just think about pulling your belly button in toward your backbone. Combine that with modified crunches where you lift just your head off the floor. As you feel stronger, add lifting your shoulder blades as well, making sure you pull your bellybutton in toward the floor and exhale as you lift your head and shoulders.

Lisa Stone: Does this make sense?

JenniferT: Yes, it does . . . any other suggestions? This sounds doable. :)

Lisa Stone: Why don't you start with that, and email me for more exercises as you get stronger?

JenniferT: Super - thanks!

StorkNet: Thank you so much for joining us today Lisa, and for all of the helpful tips!

Lisa Stone: Thanks everyone for being here. I'm always available on the message board or via email at and there are also specific exercise ideas on the fitfor2 website, if you'd like to drop by.

Lisa Stone: Thanks for having me today! Bye, everyone.

StorkNet: Thank you for joining us everyone.

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