Tell us about yourself
My name is Brittney Jones. I’m 25 years old and I grew up in Milwaukee Wisconsin. I spent a few years living in Virginia before moving here to Missouri where I met my husband. We moved to Oklahoma for about 6 months while he was training to become a conductor for BNSF railroad, and then moved back to Missouri towards the end of my pregnancy where we would have help and support from his family.
How did you get into fitness?
I was always what I like to call “skinny fat”. I wasn’t overweight but I didn’t have the toned look I always longed for. I worked out on and off since I was 17, but never knew what I was doing so I’d jump on a treadmill for an hour… never making any progress. Then when I was 21 I started a job that had me sitting at a desk all day. I ate take out daily, and I spent a lot of time at the local Brewery with my friends on the weekends. With the extra weight I was gaining, I started to notice I was always tired, sluggish, and feeling depressed and I became very unhappy with how my body looked. So I joined a Gold’s Gym, where I was given a free personal training session. For the first time ever, I left feeling like I had an effective workout (without doing any cardio!) and I was desperate to learn more. I didn’t have much money at the time, but I signed up for just one personal training session a month. In just the first few months I lost all the extra weight I’d gained. In fact, I was in the best shape of my life!
How did being pregnant change your body
I have to admit that I hated my body during pregnancy. Many women talk about how much they love their bump, but if I’m 100% honest I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror. I felt bloated and fat all the time, despite being told how “small” I was every time I told someone I was pregnant. Looking back, I was pretty dang small up until about 30 weeks. At that point, my belly seemed to grow bigger every day. My ankles were terribly swollen. It was extremely painful. I got terrible varicose veins because Blake was putting so much pressure on my left side. And I was hot all the time, especially at night!
How hard were you exercising before you became pregnant? What were you doing?
Before I was pregnant I would be in the gym 6-7 days a week lifting weights. I’d be in the gym for about 2 hours every day, and I often trained until failure. You could definitely say I was obsessed and let my training go overboard.
When you found out you were pregnant, did you modify your workout routine? How & Why?
When I first found out I was pregnant I was determined to keep up my weightlifting routine as long as possible. But right away in my first trimester my workouts basically went out the window. I was constantly tired, regardless of how much sleep I got. When I did go, my routine was very similar to what I had always done but I backed down the intensity and length of my workout. In my second trimester, I started getting my energy back, but I was still winded very easily. So I started pacing my workouts better. I would do a set, and then sit and rest and sip my water until I felt completely recovered from doing another set. Around my third trimester, I had to start modifying my routine even more. I couldn’t comfortably do a leg press. My ligaments were looser and my balance was compromised so doing simple body weight lunges were a struggle. But I didn’t stop working out completely until about 30 weeks (at my husband’s request). At which point I just focused on the overall activity. I would swim and walk a lot. I stayed pretty active right up until I had the girls.
What was a typical diet plan for you?
My diet while pregnant was all over the place. In my first trimester, all I could stomach was sugary carbs. I couldn’t even look at a piece of chicken without feeling sick. So I pretty much lived off donuts, swiss cakes rolls, chocolate chip ice cream, and pop tarts… I’m ashamed to admit. But I knew that the twins were getting their nutrients from me, so in my second trimester and through the rest of my pregnancy I made a big effort to start adding fruits and veggies back into my diet and reducing the number of processed foods I was eating. I would still have an ice cream or donut here or there but it was a much smaller part of my diet.
What are your tips for those who are pregnant and trying to stay fit?
My tips for a pregnant woman trying to stay in shape is to focus on your health, not your aesthetics. Your body is going to change so there is no point in fighting it. Drink plenty of water, stay active, focus on eating foods that will benefit you and your baby, and do some moderate resistance training with the approval of your doctor.
How were you able to bounce back? What’s your workout and diet routine?
I was eager to start working out again after having the girls but was on restriction for the first 8 weeks after my c-section. Once I got the ok, I went right back to weight training. I was in the gym about 3 days a week and I focused on gaining my strength back in my compound lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, over head press, and barbell row) as they’re the most important when it comes to overall strength. At first, I progressed very quickly and then around 3 months postpartum things started to slow down but I didn’t stop making progress. At this point, I started looking at my nutrition again and logging my food which sped the progress I was making back up. I still eat a ton of food because I do exclusively pump for my twins and it takes a lot of calories. But a typical day might look something like this.
Breakfast: 3 eggs and oatmeal with peanut butter
Lunch: A lean protein like fish, chicken, or venison, cottage cheese, some kind of cooked veggie
Snack: Greek yogurt and a banana
Dinner: Another lean protein, sweet potato, some kind of veggie
Snack: Salad with tuna, chicken, or eggs, avocado, and pecans with balsamic vinegar and olive oil
How has it been caring for twins?
There are times almost every day where I want to rip my hair out. But caring for them and watching them grow every day has been the greatest blessing in my whole life. Every day I look at them and I want to be a better person for them. They’ve changed me in ways I can’t explain and they’ve shown me a love I didn’t know existed
If you could do things differently for your fit pregnancy, what would that be?
I probably wouldn’t do a whole lot differently if I got pregnant again. I would absolutely workout throughout my pregnancy because I think in many ways it was one of the reasons I had such an “easy” pregnancy. I would, of course, try to eat healthier through my first trimester but let’s face it, its the worst of all the trimesters, and sometimes you just need to have the donut! The biggest thing I would change is stressing about everything. But I guess that goes with the territory of being a first-time mom, especially to twins! I would get more massages, and pedicures, and just do things to make me feel good about my body physically and mentally.
How do you feel about your body now?
I love my body now. Probably more than I ever have. I think I respect it in ways I never did before. It carried two souls for almost 36 weeks, then was cut open, and then I experienced the miracle of being able to provide food for both my girls that were made just for them. I treat my body differently now. My attitude about training is even different. I don’t go to the gym and punish myself 7 days a week. I go maybe 4 times a week. I don’t train for failure. And I LISTEN to my body when I need time off to recover. Amazingly, my body has thanked me. I’m leaner than I was before I got pregnant. And after only 6 months postpartum my strength is almost completely back to where I was. So, yes, I love my body for all that it’s capable of.