A-listers such as choreographer Nkateko Maswanganye, television personality Pabi Moloi, and fitness gurus such as Rushda Moosajee and Khethiwe Mlangeni have all proven that being a mother or having a bump doesn’t have to stand in your way of getting that killer body.
Not only do these women prove you can be in amazing shape at any time or stage of your life, they also inspire many people to prioritise fitness even when it feels like there’s no time in the day to exercise.
If you are looking for an inspiration to stay in shape with partner workouts, and gym sessions anywhere, Mlangeni is the right person to get you out of bed.
We spoke to the fitness fanatic, who is on her last trimester of pregnancy to find out more about her journey and to find out how mommy-to-be can keep fit.
Who is Khethiwe Mlangeni?
I’m the co-owner of PopUpGym and a fitness enthusiast. I’m also passionate about healthy and active lifestyles. When I’m not busy with PopUpGym, my family keeps me on my toes. Hubby and I are already raising two kids - a 12-year-old daughter that is passionate about dance and an 11-year-old son that is a go-kart racer.
I also love travelling. My last two trips were to Le Mans in France last year with my husband, and before that (in 2016) it was a trip to Accra in Ghana with my girlfriends.
Is it safe to exercise while pregnant, and why is it important to keep fit during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe. It’s also important to have a good relationship with your doctor and play open cards about your lifestyle so that he is aware of your activities before he gives a go-ahead.
If you have been following a regular exercise prior to your pregnancy, you should be able to maintain that throughout your pregnancy to some degree.
Keeping fit is healthy for mom and baby. You should always listen to your body as it gives you signals when it’s time to reduce the level of exercise. My doctor said that while exercising, I should be able to speak without feeling out of breath.
What is your current exercise routine?
I’m in my last trimester and in these last few weeks my bump has grown so I have moved my exercise routine to the swimming pool. I exercise three times a week to give my body a break in between to recover.
What exercise programmes are safe for pregnant women?
There are functional exercises that you can continue during pregnancy and modifying accordingly.
Sumo Squats - A lower body strength exercise. The wide stance emphasises the muscles of the inner thigh.
Donkey Kicks - Work your core, lower back, legs and butt. Each leg lift tones all three of the butt muscles
Chair Triceps Dips - Builds strong arms for when the baby arrives. They work your triceps, biceps, shoulders and back.
Modified Hand Plank - An alternative to exercises like crunches, as long as you’re careful not to strain your back. Planks engage the deep core muscles.
How do you avoid gaining weight while pregnant?
I think we put ourselves under pressure during pregnancy to look like “so and so”. The reality is that each person’s pregnancy is a unique journey.
I’ve learnt hat hormones and cravings and funny tastes are beyond your control. For me, getting up and showing up at gym at least three times a week was an achievement especially when my bump started getting heavier. Fuelling my body with the right food also helped.
What are two things you can’t go a day without eating, currently?
I still love my boiled eggs, I eat two a day. Fresh cold fruit is something I can’t go without, I’m always stocked up on watermelon, pineapples, mango, grapes. But my naughty treat has been the Gino Ginelli vanilla flavoured Ola ice cream. I can wake up in the middle of the night just for a scoop.
What are some of the physical challenges you are experiencing?
My bump is getting heavier, that’s why I’ve turned to aqua aerobics and stopped my functional and weight training.
Any advice for women who want to get fit and healthy?
Fun is the key word. It’s important to try out a variety of exercises until you find something you like. Variety takes away the boredom. I can’t wait to run, cycle, get back to weights, and functional training after giving birth once my doctor gives me the thumbs up to resume exercising.