Pregnant Mom Shares The Diet And Exercise Plan That Keeps Her So Fit
The human body is a mystifying thing that, much like the bottom of the ocean or Ariana Grande's ponytail, we all still have much to learn about before the puzzle is fully solved.
Earlier this month, kickboxing momma-to-be Chontel Duncan stunned the Internet when news of her abs and flawlessly toned body at eight-months pregnant started trending.
As mind-bending as it seems, keeping in top shape throughout the festival of physical changes that happen during pregnancy is not just an option for fitness models like Duncan. You -- yes, you, beautiful unicorn of a woman -- can also stay as toned as you please while pregnant.
The key to maintaining her killer shape while carrying an entire second human in her womb every moment of every day relies just as much on diet as it does exercise, so Elite Daily asked Cooper to share a day-in-the-life sample of her food and fitness routine.
Immediately after waking up, the fitness blogger prepares breakfast for her and her son, Greyson. Usually, Cooper will kickstart her metabolism with scrambled eggs, bacon and Ezekiel toast, or she'll make banana nut oatmeal made with a half cup of quick oats, 1 cup of almond milk, a banana, some cinnamon and a few pecans.
A fiber-rich breakfast prepares Cooper for an hour of exercise, which, at 32-weeks pregnant, she continues to commit to five days a week.
The Florida resident told Elite Daily,
I spend 30 minutes doing cardio, which is usually incline training on my incline trainer or HIIT exercises such as squat jumps, lunge kicks and mountain climbers. The other half of my workout session is spent lifting weights.
Cooper insisted she's refrained from working her abs over the course of this pregnancy to avoid getting diastasis recti (aka abdominal separation), a condition that causes a gap to form between ab muscles, which often results in a visible ridge down the center of the abdomen.
As difficult as it is to get motivated on an average day, finding the strength to get moving after eight months of pregnancy requires double the determination.
Finding motivation can be hard. I roll out of bed just like everyone else and I have to give myself a pep talk to want to go work out some days. However, what keeps me going is knowing that I am doing the best that I can physically for my baby and setting an example for my family… To me, that is all worth it!
On her Instagram, Cooper posts plenty of useful at-home, equipment-free exercises perfect for expectant mommas who feel they're being stretched too thin to schedule a workout.
I want to inspire other moms out there that you can get a little creative and find ways to fit your workout in. One of the most common excuses that I hear is 'I do not have time.' I have a video where I am doing squats while doing laundry and getting a workout in at the park while playing with my children. The truth is that we all have time -- you just have to make it and not feel guilty about doing something for yourself.
**HOLD UP: Let us take this time to reflect on that last statement and offer a moment of silence to every kick-ass woman folding impeccably laundered sheets while doing full squats. You are Oprah-level inspiring.**
Between meals and workouts, Cooper stays alert for cues her body is ready for a snack. Clean, healthy bites like yogurt and granola or an apple and peanut butter keep her full without sacrificing calories or nutritional benefits.
I like to refer to my diet as being 80 percent clean and 20 percent indulgent. I do not count calories during this pregnancy. I feel that if you listen to your body, it will tell you everything you need to know. I know the difference between a pregnancy craving and legitimately being hungry so I eat whenever my body tells me, 'Hey, look, eat something!' With my first pregnancy, I did count calories because I was so worried about gaining more than the recommended amount, but I am more relaxed the second time around as I know to trust my body with eating clean and exercising regularly.
By the time lunch rolls around, Cooper turns to the meals she prepped in bulk at the beginning of the week to save time on busier days.
She told ED,
My typical lunch is either a chicken or salmon [fillet] with broccoli or green beans served with brown rice or a sweet potato. Then I will have another snack in between lunch and dinner.
For dinner, aka the meal that low-key makes me want to ask Cooper to adopt my grown ass, she whips up homemade Chipotle chicken burrito bowls that look outrageously delicious and are even fresher and healthier than the real thing.
Not one to deprive herself of yummy, addictive cheat meals, Cooper indulges in two per week at places like The Melting Pot, because melted cheese is a must for anyone with tastebuds and a functional cerebral pleasure center.
Cooper's lifestyle demands commitment and certainly provides her with a body that challenges all our expectations of pregnant women, but her badass commitment to balancing the selfless act of motherhood with the oft-forgotten practice of self-care could inspire other expectant moms to find the same balance in their own lives.
Cooper said she's “proud” to maintain clean eating and regular workouts while she waits to meet her second child, regardless of anyone else's opinions of her body.
Most of the [controversy] stems from people just not knowing any better and unfortunately old medical practices haven't helped that one bit!… There's always going to be [controversy] behind a pregnant woman with a six pack; however the more that pregnant women get out out there and say, 'Yeah, I am pregnant and I lift weights -- so what?' the more accepted it will become.
Admittedly, Cooper's five-day workout schedule and clean diet can seem intimidating, but the strides she's achieved are possible for any of us if small steps are taken.