Interview with Cassandra Forsythe

When you can talk to a dietitian, who is also a strength coach and on top of that pregnant, you want to ask them a million things. Cassandra Forsythe was extremely kind to accept my invitation, and answered some of the pressing questions that many girls looking for healthier and fitter pregnancy wonder and worry about.

What are the nutrition rules that pregnant women should follow?

The rules are basically the same as for anyone who would like to be fit and healthy. Pregnant women should eat whole natural foods and make sure that they eat often to maintain energy levels. There are some very beneficial foods. Whole eggs, for example, provide choline. Choline plays a critical role in helping fetal brains develop regions associated with memory ( choline aids in neuronal cell creation and maturation), so whether the mother got enough choline is crucial to the child’s life and memory. Choline may also contribute to avoiding neural tube defects, even if you are taking enough folic acid. 2 eggs a day provide half of your daily needs, and you can also find choline in meats and organ meat, in cauliflower and wheat germ.

It’s important to get healthy fats, such as fat from fish and fish oil. There have been some serious concerns about the quality of our fish, because of pollution and heavy metals, so eat fish from clean sources and look into purified fish oils and krill oil for supplementation. It’s also important that you eat green leafy vegetables throughout your pregnancy, and explore new ways to eat them, like Kale chips for example.

How did your exercise program change when you got pregnant?

I was very active before I got pregnant. I didn’t feel great during the first trimester. I took it very easy in the beginning, because I was nauseous, and very tired. I just could not train. Then as my energy got better, things picked up and I went back to my usual activity.

I feel best when I challenge myself, I am not afraid to be sore. I do a lot of core exercises, stability work, as well as exercises using cables. Guidelines often say to not do exercise on your back, but there is some new research, showing that it’s OK to be on your back if you are moving. I think your body can tell you when you are not comfortable in a certain position and you can make changes yourself!

Are some people saying that the workouts you do are too challenging?

They aren’t easy, but labor is challenging, too, right? I am currently at the end of the second trimester and I am teaching 8 boot camps a week, doing intervals of 45 seconds work and 10 seconds of rest. We do kettlebell swings, snatches, ropes.

You can see a video of Cassandra training, here:

Did you find it was harder to recover from workouts once you got pregnant?

Definitely. It takes more nutrition to recover. I see that I feel sore more and it takes a lot more food to recover. I just eat more. I am not counting calories, I make sure I eat mostly healthy.

Why do you think not many women train during pregnancy?

I think doctors are more aware of being liable if they do tell you to be physically active, so they don’t. They would rather play safe and not give recommendations.

Do you think the cravings that women get during pregnancy, specifically for carbohydrate, are physiological, that sugar is something your body needs?

I think that the hormones are changing rapidly and this has an effect on brain chemistry, which in turn affects appetite and makes us reach for that box of cookies. I was in my first trimester when I found myself in the cookie isle in the supermarket. I don’t think I had ever been there before.

What are some books you would recommend to women who would like to educate themselves about nutrition and pregnancy?

You can always read the ACOG exercise guidelines for pregnant women and I also recommend these books:

Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy
Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom's Healthy Eating Guide
Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James Clapp
Super Fit Mama: Stay Fit During Pregnancy and Get Your Body Back after Baby by Tracey Mallet

They are all good places to start.

What would you like to say to women who are worried about exercising through pregnancy?

No matter what you know or read, if you can listen to your body, you will know how much you can do and you will know when you have to stop. Of course, if something hurts, you should stop. I think your body is very smart at telling you what you can and what you cannot do. Pregnancy is a time when you have a lot of renewed energy and you can improve your fitness as well. If you are healthy and you can exercise, you should by all means do it. If exercise is something that you enjoy doing, you should keep doing it and make sure you monitor how you feel, because your body will tell you!

Cassandra Forsythe is a PhD Kinesiology graduate of the University of Connecticut. Her MS is in Nutrition and Metabolism from University of Alberta, Canada. She is certified as a Registered Dietitian (RD) through the ADA, is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), and is a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN). She is a researcher, a coach, a writer, a motivator. Her books, the New Rules of Lifting for Women, and The Perfect Body Diet, have made a world of difference to tens of thousands of women.

You can read more about Cassandra Forsythe and her experience with pregnancy, exercise and nutrition, on her blog.

Listen to a great interview Cassandra recorded with Krista Scott-Dixon, talking about body image, disordered eating, and training during pregnancy, here.

A sneak peek inside the Fit Mommy Secrets e-manual

This training manual will give you everything you need to get back in shape after giving birth

How do you know if this manual is for you?

* You want to start exercising after birth, but you don't know how to start

* You are afraid to resume exercise on your own

* You have aches and pains from pregnancy and taking care of your new born

* You don't have time to go to the gym

* You still lack energy

* You have 10 or more lbs to lose

* You have given birth quite some time ago and you still have a mommy tummy and thighs

* Conventional exercise is too painful

* You want to exercise the right way to be healthy to take care of your baby

If one or more of your answers was YES, then the workouts in this manual will turn your life around!

In only 12 weeks and less than 50 easy to do at home workouts, you will feel like your body has returned to its strong, balanced, fit and happy self. You will find you no longer complain of aches and pains, you find taking care of your baby much easier and chores don't tire you. You will enjoy resumed energy and vitality and a sense of well being like you couldn't believe in the first days after birth.

Inside the Fit Mommy Secrets e-manual you will find:

* State of the art exercise demonstration and detailed exercise description by Galina Talkington, NSCA-CPT, perinatal fitness expert

* Exercises you can do at home, with no need for a gym or special equipment

* One of a kind step by step approach to organizing workouts, suitable for the busiest of moms

* Flexible work out schedule

* A once and for all solution to your mummy tummy

* Easy to follow weight loss nutrition guidelines

* Simple posture correction exercises to alleviate pains and aches

If you have already purchased the Fit Mommy Secrets e-manual, look forward to getting some exciting bonuses.

Roll & Stretch e-manual for busy moms

Back to the gym - 4 weeks of fat loss strength training

Enjoy the benefits of training and live a full and happy life after pregnancy!

Fit Mommy Secrets FAQ

Some of you weren't sure if Fit Mommy Secrets is right for you.
Here are the most popular questions I have been getting by email and on Facebook, and their answers.

Are these exercises that you do with your baby?

No, the Fit Mommy Secrets includes only exercises you do on your own. While I have written numerous programs for training with your baby, that is something your baby might be or not be in the mood for. I wanted you to have a recovery program that you can do easily, anywhere and anytime.

I want to go back to the gym, how can I use the manual there?

It's easy to adapt Fit Mommy Secrets to your warm up. Choose Phase I exercises for your warm up and then continue with your regular work out plan. As you get stronger, move to Phase II and III to choose exercises for warm up.

My sister is still pregnant. Are these exercises good for her?

While a lot of these exercises can be done during pregnancy, the Fit Mommy Secrets program is designed for successful recovery. She can check out the prenatal workouts I designed for the Women's Health Big Book of Exercises. Meanwhile, have your sister read the Fit Mommy Manual so you know what to expect after birth.

The only time I have to train is in the afternoon when my mother in-law is helping me. I know it is best to train in the morning, but I can't do it then. What should I do?

There is no best time for training. Just do your exercise when you can and don't worry about it!

I really want to lose weight fast. Is this a weight loss workout?

Weight loss will happen because you will follow the eating program in the nutrition section of the manual. It's easy to follow, and combined with the exercises, you will experience steady fat loss. Please take it easy and do not rush weight loss after pregnancy, as your body is still recovering and the demands of nursing are huge.

The Prenatal Workout inside the greatest book of the year

Maybe today will be the last day that your workout is a run to the bookstore, because this book will give you so many ideas for training, you will feel like you will never need another book.

What's awesome about this book?

It was put together by Adam Campbell, a man who knows the fitness world better than anyone else. He knows what works and knows how to get you to do it.

The world's top trainers worked hard to create individualized programs for any training need, so you never worry about the next phase of your training.

You will find workouts that will address every phase of your life, whether you are going to have a baby, or getting ready for a competition, or needing to lose a few pounds for a wedding party.

You will never again wonder how to progress from one version of an exercise to the next. The exercise variations and progressions in this book will open your eyes to a world of possibilities.

You will have the artistic enjoyment of looking at state of the art photography, and get inspired with the beauty of fitness.

Well, last but not least, you will read the workouts that I specifically created for you, moms to be. Prenatal training is not for the unprepared, but if you are prepared, then you will enjoy your new changing body every minute of the day and be ready to deliver safe! You will be in shape to enjoy your newborn and properly take care of her.

With the holidays just around the corner, this makes a perfect last minute gift for anyone in your family who may be looking to lose weight, get stronger bones, or just loves to read about fitness. This is one that should be on every healthy and smart woman's bookshelf!


Or jog to your closest bookstore :)