Ginny Hong: The Fit [New] Mama
The way Ginny Hong managed her pregnancy from a health perspective left me in complete AWE. As a good friend of hers, I would see her going to the gym regularly up until her DELIVERY DATE! She was also so mindful of her diet and so well-informed, it literally left me speechless (and that's really hard to do!). I have so many women who follow me that are mothers, or expecting mothers, and I think Ginny is an absolute inspiration on how to balance it all while keeping health as your primary focus. If you are looking to start a family, or are currently pregnant, this is the read for you!
Q: What is your age?
Q: What was your pre pregnancy weight?
A: 130 lbs- I kept this weight (+/- 3 lbs) for about past 10 years
Q: What was your highest pregnancy weight?
A: 150 lbs
Q: What was your post pregnancy weight after 3 months?
A: 135 lbs
On the left, Ginny is 33 weeks pregnant. On the right, Ginny was 3 months post delivery. Total Weight Gain during pregnancy was 20lbs
Q: Could you share with our readers a little about yourself?
A: I'm Canadian Korean currently living in Hong Kong. My husband's work brought us here from Toronto a little more than 3 years ago. I gave up my job and had to say many tearful goodbyes to my dear friends and family to follow my then fiancé to Hong Kong for our future together. That was one of the most brave and daring things I've ever done in my life. I can't say the transition was easy but slowly I got settled here with a new job (that's where I met Tameika!) and got married to my dream man in Bali. Soon after our wedding, I quit my job (this is a long story to tell but basically I was too stressed at work mainly from the tough work environment/culture in Asia) to give myself a break and travel with my husband as much as possible before having a baby and possibly starting a side job in fitness industry. I've always loved exercising and have been exercising regularly for the past 15 years. I try to stay healthy and fit with regular exercises and smart food choices. During my time off, I completed a training course to become a fitness instructor and was planning on teaching classes but that had to go on hold due to a foot injury. So I spent time just training on my own and travelling a lot! I gotta say that is one of the perks of living in Hong Kong. Its so easy to travel to neighbouring countries due to short flights and inexpensive travel costs. Then, 6 months into this new lifestyle, I got pregnant. It wasn't a surprise but it did happen earlier than we thought it would. So my plan on completing my yoga instructor course and getting any opportunities to start a new job were put on hold. Fast forward 9 months, we gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Kaden, who is 4 months old now. We are learning to be better parents each day and enjoying every moment watching our son grow up. It is such a special privilege to become a mother and experience that special bond with your baby. My heart is full of love and I can't imagine my life without my lovely family.
Q: How has being healthy helped with your entire pregnancy experience?
A: Thankfully, I had an wonderful pregnancy experience and I truly believe it was due to years of staying fit and healthy. This helped me to have a super easy pregnancy with no morning sickness, no weird food cravings, no aches/pains, no swelling and not much weight gain. I gained just under 20 lbs, which was the minimum recommended weight gain for my BMI, and Kaden's birth weight was 6 lbs 7 oz. I didn't feel heavy at all during my pregnancy and had almost no aches/pains. I know that was because of the strong muscles I continued to maintain which helped to support the belly weight. With the exceptions of the first couple of months of pregnancy, I felt almost no difference in energy levels until the day of going into labour.
Q: What was your workout regiment pre-pregnancy vs. during your pregnancy. What was the same, what were the differences?
A: There was not much of difference in my workout regimen between my pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy. I usually combine training on my own and attend group exercise classes at the nearby gym. When I train on my own, I do 30 min cardio exercises and 30-40 min weight training always followed by 10 min of stretching. This did not change much during my pregnancy, except, that I couldn't really run for my cardio and I lifted slightly lower weights (80% of pre-pregnancy). I enjoy going to different group exercise classes such as pilates, yoga, martial arts inspired cardio class, and circuit training class. There were some workouts I had to cut out of my routine. I had to cut out hot yoga from the beginning due to the hot temperature and I stopped attending the martial arts inspired cardio class due to the amount of kicking (which I couldn't do after entering my 2nd trimester with a bigger bump). Lastly, I cut circuit-training classes because the high impact exercises are not good for your loosened joints and fast-paced exercise movements can be dangerous during pregnancy. Even with yoga and pilates, I had to modify as my belly grew. I made sure I consulted the instructor as soon as I found out that I was pregnant to see which movements were to be avoided during pregnancy. What surprised me the most was the way my energy levels were not really impacted during pregnancy except in the beginning of first trimester. I felt "normal" and sometimes forgot that I was even pregnant. Once the belly started growing, of course, people consistently reminded me that I should take it easy but my response to them was: "Thank you for your consideration, but I know my body and I feel fine doing what I'm doing. I will stop if something doesn't feel right." I even had a regular 60 min workout the day before I went into labour. I had no symptoms of labour coming until the day of!
"I even had a regular 60 min workout the day before I went into labour. I had no symptoms of labour coming until the day of."
Q: What was your diet like pre-pregnancy vs. during your pregnancy. What was the same, what were the differences?
A: I didn't have a special diet pre-pregnancy. I enjoy food so I tend to eat what I want to eat but am conscious of making smart choices and try my best to eat clean. If I eat out, I try to substitute for healthier options but if that's not possible, I don't sweat it. I enjoy having deserts occasionally but the key is taking everything in moderation. During my pregnancy, I tried my best to avoid food that was not recommended for pregnant women. One of the hardest things for me during pregnancy was not being able to eat sushi and drink my regular coffee. Instead, I took sushi with cooked fish and drank decaf coffee. My food intake didn't increase much during pregnancy. I didn't starve myself but I also didn't over eat just because I was pregnant. I ate my regular portion of food and started including a healthy snack (such as greek yogurt, granola, fruit bowl, oatmeal, nuts) in between the meals if I felt hungry. I wasn't going to fall into the misconception of "eating for two" because you really are not eating for two. Babies don't require nearly as many calories as most think. You only need about an extra 300-500 calories a day in the later stages of pregnancy. I also never had the crazy food cravings you hear about; maybe it was because I subconsciously decided to not give into those cravings. Mind over matter! All the weight I was experiencing was going to the baby and I closely monitored with my doctor to make sure the baby was healthy. I made sure the baby was putting on healthy weight but also was mindful of not having a big baby as I wanted to have successful vaginal birth. If you have healthy eating habits pre-pregnancy, it is going to be easier to keep those healthy habits during your pregnancy rather than trying to suddenly eat healthy after you become pregnant. Just be conscious of what you are putting into your body and choose the cleaner and healthier option whenever you can.
Q: At what point after birth did you feel like the old you again?
A: I would say after 2 months. I lost about 70% of my pregnancy weight just 5 days after giving birth. Since most of the weight I gained was all baby, the weight came off really quickly.
I did have a vaginal birth and had a small tear so that took about 4 weeks to heal. Once that healed, I started with light exercises such as walking and stretching. The reason why I said 2 months is because that is how long it took for me to get used to my baby's feeding schedule, breastfeeding, and the 24hr-all day mommy duties. I did hear people talking about how hard breastfeeding is but oh boy, you don't really know how hard it is until you go through it. It took me about 8 weeks to feel comfortable with breastfeeding and to feel somewhat natural doing it. Once I got the hang of that and had established Kaden's feeding and sleeping schedules, I started feeling like myself again and felt confident enough to venture out to have "me time" which included regular workouts.
Q:Do you feel your healthy lifestyle played a big role during delivery? If so, how?
A: I certainly do believe my healthy lifestyle and fit physique helped me to have an easier delivery with minimal side effects and a fast recovery. Having strong core muscles and lower body muscles certainly helps to shorten the pushing time and therefore, allows you to have a quicker recovery time with less muscle/tissue damage. Also, you have enough energy from being active and fit to enable you to go through the long hours of labour and still have strength to push at the end. Of course I was tired after giving birth, but it didn't exhaust my body hence, I was able to recover quickly with some rest.
Q: What advice would you give to women who are currently trying to have a baby and want health to be their focus?
A: Eat healthy and don't start binge eating just because you are pregnant. Eating for two is a misconception. Do your research and talk to your doctor to find out what your healthy range of weight to be gained is for your BMI (body mass index). Educate yourself on healthy options of meals and snacks for required extra calories.
If you don't regularly exercise, start now! Having strong muscles will help you to carry the baby without many aches and pains. It will also give you energy throughout your pregnancy to stay active and feel better about yourself. Don't give up your exercises if you already have your regular workouts. Of course depending on how your pregnancy is going and how you feel, you may not be able to do the same exercises as you used to. Find ways to stay active and look for alternatives if you can't keep up your regular exercise regime. Talk to your doctor and fitness instructor/personal trainer for more suitable options and modifications. Healthy mama, healthy baby!