Exercise and Fertility by Aimee Raupp
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Once the COVID pandemic began I received a major increase in questions about exercise.
-What’s best for my fertility?
-How should I workout throughout my cycle?
-What’s the best workout for my immune system?
-What apps can I use to workout at home?
In this Facebook Live, I talk about how to keep your body moving, the best moves for your fertility, and how to nurture your immune system with exercise, even when staying inside. AND I tell you about my favorite home workout resources.
Here is the Full Transcription of this Video:
It says, “Three, two, one,” and now it’s telling me … Let’s see. Someone tell me if I’m live on … End live video. Okay, now it looks like I’m actually live. Beth, can you go on and check? It actually looks different now. It says 11 seconds. So I’m thinking I’m live on Facebook. I’m going to roll with it. Sorry, guys, for the delay. Appreciate your patience. I have some hot soup here with me.
I am live on my Aimee Raupp page, looks like, and let’s talk about exercise and fertility. So, for those of you who are new to me, welcome, welcome, welcome. I hope everybody is staying healthy and safe in these interesting times. And we are just continuing on, talking about important tips and tools and strategies for you to live your best life.
Again, I’m Aimee Raupp of aimeeraupp.com. I am a bestselling author. I’m a women’s health wellness expert. I help women get pregnant, but I really help women live their best lives possible, and through that, fertility thrives. So best lives possible meaning mental, emotional, physical, nutritional, spiritual health. We bring that all together. We help you amplify your life, and ultimately your fertility and your wellness and help you get pregnant faster. I also do work a lot with autoimmunity, and I help women all over the world. I coach online. I have online coaches that work under me. I have a lot of virtual programs. There’s a lot of ways I can help you achieve balanced hormones, vitality, and eventually thriving fertility. Yes.
So, today I got some notes. I want to talk about a topic that always comes up. “What kind of exercise is right for my fertility? What kind of exercise is right for my trying to conceive?” And the truth is is there’s no right answer. It changes. It changes week to week in your cycle. It changes depending on your weight. It changes depending on, I think, your age. It changes depending on quite a few different things going on. But a general rule of thumb … So we’re going to be talking in generalities, and then I’m going to have some specific recommendations depending on where you’re at. Generalities. Exercise four to five times a week, 30, max 45 minutes. Awesome. Even 20-minute workouts, I think awesome. So that’s general.
Now, depending on where you are in your cycle … So according to Chinese medicine, on the first day of your menstrual cycle, the first day of your bleeding or your heaviest bleed day, you should not do any exercise. We do not recommend any exercise whatsoever. In fact, we just want you to stay warm and cozy and rest.
Hi, Jamie. Hello. And anybody on Instagram too, just feel free to comment, and ask me questions, related to exercise and fertility please, and I can help answer them. So, day one of your cycle, or the heaviest day of your period, there should be no exercise. You should not go for a run. I have not run in half marathons that I’ve trained for because I was on my period. That’s how seriously I think it should be taken.
We give up a lot of blood with our period, and exercise can deplete that blood. So, day one, no bueno, no exercise. You rest. While you’re bleeding, on the lighter days, you can do moderate exercise, things like walking, things like light cycling, things like yoga, Pilates, even some short strength training workouts, like 20-minute workouts. That’s what you do.
And then as you lead up to ovulation, that’s when the energy is really kind of starting to move in your body. And in Chinese medicine, we say it’s the yin’s building and it’s turning to yang. And the yang energy is like when that egg explodes out of that follicle. So, that’s the time where you can do, if you need to do more high-intense workouts, if that’s something that you really like to do, around ovulation is the best time to do that. And so think like high-intensity workouts, like a Barry’s Bootcamp kind of thing, HIIT classes, H-I-I-T meaning, intense spin classes. Those are all okay during this time.
Once you hit the luteal phase, it is best … And you typically have less energy for the high-intense workouts. You burn out faster. So the goal with exercise at any point in your cycle is I want you to feel energized by it, not depleted. If you feel depleted from your workouts, you should be cutting back. So in the luteal phase, yoga, Pilates, light strength training. That’s the best. So go over it again.
Day one of your period or your heaviest day of bleeding, zero exercise. In your menstrual phase, when you are still bleeding, moderate light exercise like yoga, like Pilates, like moderate strength training, like walking, gentle bike riding. As we head towards ovulation and we’re feeling more full and energized, our sex drive is up, we’re feeling all the good, juicy stuff, do some high-intensity workouts. That’s fine. That’s when you do that. Once you hit your luteal phase, you’re back to your yoga, your Pilates, your light walking, your light cycling, your light strength training.
A couple caveats. I typically say 20, 30, 45-minute workouts. You’re definitely not working out for an hour. Not good for your fertility. Not good for your fertility. When you hit really kind of after that 30 to 40-minute mark, you start taxing your body. Your cortisol gets involved. You kind of go into this … not kind of. You go into this fight-or-flight situation.
A body wants to feel safe to get pregnant. Let me say that again. Your body wants to feel safe to get pregnant. That means on a fight-or-flight response, that means having enough nourishment, that means not being too skinny, that means not being too overweight. Your body wants to feel safe. It wants to feel like it has the goods.
In Chinese medicine, we see it as your ability to get pregnant is your body saying, “I have enough to give up. I have an overabundance of chi and blood that are healthily moving through my body, and I can sustain growing another life.” Some people have too much stagnation in their bodies. Some people are too deficient. It kind of just depends on your case, but so you want to think about it like that. You never want to over-exercise or push yourself to the extremes. That really cuts down on your body’s ability to get and stay pregnant. It also can be very depleting to things like estrogen.
Yeah, Jamie, “Luteal phase, I get so tired.” Exactly, so that’s perfect. Listen to your body. The one thing I do that I’m most passionate about is teaching women how to live in their body, how to listen to their body, how to understand what their body is telling them. Don’t ignore your body. Do what feels good, and with exercise, what feels energizing. There is, like with exercise, too much or too little, not a good thing. You want a nice four to five days a week of exercise, 20, 30, 45 minutes max.
Hi, Sarah. I shipped out your order myself because I don’t have my helper coming, but it was nice to send you some eye cream and I forget what else you ordered. So you want to not exercise too little, and you don’t want to exercise too much. Exercise though, regular exercise, regular, moderate to slightly intense exercise has been shown scientifically to help with ovulation. So for those of you that don’t ovulate on time, maybe have PCOS, exercise is really important for you.
Another thing to keep in mind, your basal metabolic index, your BMI. I don’t care so much about your weight. I care more about your BMI. I don’t want you too low on that BMI scale, and I don’t want you too high on that BMI scale. I want you around a 22 to a 24. That is ideal for fertility. And as women get older, we do want a little more weight on us to conceive, so a couple extra pounds we’re talking about, sometimes two pounds, sometimes five pounds. Kind of depends on the case. A little extra weight … Fat stores estrogen. You want a little extra estrogen to help things, help your egg stay juicy, help all your hormones stay balanced.
You don’t want too much weight on though too. That’s going to impact your fertility as well, and that will negatively impact ovulation, inflammation in the body. So you have to, again, adjust based on your type. If you are too thin, your BMI is closer to an 18 or even lower, 18, 19, 20, or lower, you should be doing only moderate exercise, and you should be reeling back in on the high-intensity workouts. If you have too little weight or too little body fat on you, so less than 12% body fat, over 30% body fat, ovulation’s going to be negatively impacted. Let me say that again. If you have too little body fat, under 12% or your BMI is, I’d say, under a 20, 19, 18, definitely if it’s under an 18, you got to cut back on the exercise.
And if your BMI is too high and your body fat is too high, you can do more exercise. But you probably still would do great with the dietary changes and the exercise. Moderate, regular exercise is what’s key to helping you get the weight off and keep it off because too much and too little, not good for fertility. We want you smack in the middle of that BMI range, ideally a 22, 23, 24. And then again, women in their 40s trying to conceive, I think you do better with a little extra weight on you, so even BMIs at 24, 25 because that’s going to help us keep that estrogen healthy, which is going to help us with FSH and LH.
“Are long, gentle walks okay?” Yes, long, gentle walks are okay, but not two hours. 45 minutes to an hour. That’s what I would say there. “So weight equals estrogen.” That’s a general way to say it, but estrogen is stored in fat cells, so think about it like that. It’s not the only place estrogen, but when we have too little fat, we’re usually estrogen deficient. When we have too much, we can be estrogen excess.
“During your fertility phase, is it okay if I go for runs? I work out every day. It’s hard for me not to. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for three months.” Okay, so I’m going to point out one thing. If you’ve been trying and it’s not working, you got to make some changes. You have to be open to changes. Working out every day, probably not the best for your fertility. I’m going to be honest. I would say five days, maybe six.
Oh, hi, my Liz [Tally 00:11:25]. How are you? I miss you. Running is one of those things that can really impact fertility. I recommend no more than 12 miles a week. Anything over that really depletes the blood and can negatively impact your fertility. So working out every day, if you really need to work out every day, two of those days need to be stretching slash a light restorative yoga type of exercise.
What I tend to do is I’ll do four to five days a week, sometimes more, but probably that’s probably my average. I used to definitely work out a lot more, probably went running almost every day. I cut back on that when we started trying to conceive James back when I was like 39, 40. And I still, when I do run, I keep it to about three miles. I don’t go over 12 miles a week, and I will do some high-intensity workouts.
Mainly, I really love my Peloton spin classes, so I’ll do a couple of those a month, usually right around ovulation. In my follicular phase and in my luteal phase, I tend to do more strength training, yoga, Pilates. So a couple of my favorite, favorite, since we’re all at home … And I’ve been working out at home for the last couple of years because since we moved out of the city, we just … I belong to a gym but my husband really uses it for tennis and I kind of just go once in a while with him on the weekends. But right now, we’re not going to the gym, obviously.
So anyway, I have a spin bike that I bought off of Amazon and I have the Peloton app. I’ve been using that for years. I use it for their spin classes, their yoga, their strength training, their stretch classes. They now have some dance classes. They’re super fun. Peloton is also doing 90 days free for anyone. So you don’t need the Peloton bike. You can get the app for free for 90 days and just do their yoga and their strength training classes. I do their strength and I love it. I just do body weight strength training classes, the 20 to 30-minute ones. They are amazing. I did one yesterday, and I’m so sore. Kicked my butt. 20 minutes. Great workout, not high intensity.
So that’s what I tend to do. Another website that I just love for women trying to conceive, prenatal, postnatal, strong mama, is bodylove-Pilates.com, bodylove-Pilates.com. Amazing Pilates instructor who I was … I’ve never actually personally met her, but I was introduced to her work through a client of mine, and she’s in Australia now. She was in New York. She moved back to Australia, so she moved her programming online. And she has prenatal, postnatal, and strong mama workouts. They’re amazing. Some of them are only like 10, 12 minutes long. Again, you can do a seven-day free trial on her website. So I would head over there and try that out.
Another awesome online workout site is Melissa Wood Health, MelissaWoodHealth.com. “What are the exercise moves in HIIT you would suggest avoid during trying to conceive?” So around ovulation, you can do these high-intensity workouts. But I’m talking about like if everybody knows what Barry’s Bootcamp is or CrossFit, those type of things where it’s these high … They’re called HIIT classes so you would know what it is based on the name of the class, but that you’re getting your heart rate … These explosive heart rate increases are not ideal for fertility because they just typically tax the adrenals, which then puts your body into this fight-or-flight mode. And again, two times a week doing something like that, even if in your luteal phase, not the worst. You could probably keep those in.
What we see it as from a Chinese medicine perspective is if we’re losing too many fluids, if we’re sweating too much, we really dehydrate ourselves. And the dehydration really impacts the egg quality. Sorry. Let me repeat that. The dehydration really impacts the egg quality, so I don’t want women losing too many fluids. That’s the biggest thing for me. So I don’t like those hot yogas. No bueno. Way too hot, losing way too much fluids. I don’t like you sitting in saunas for too long. 10 minutes max in a sauna, maybe 15 at a lower temperature. We don’t want you sweating too much. And the high intensity is that your heart rate’s getting too high, creating too much internal heat, and it’s basically a signal to the body that it’s not safe to conceive.
Now it does depend. Again, everybody’s body is different and everybody’s fitness level is different. So I think you want to look at overall, if you’ve been trying to conceive and it’s not working and your workouts are every day and fairly intense, you should definitely change that. If you’ve not been working out and you’re not conceiving, you should probably introduce some workouts.
If your BMI is too high, you should be working out regularly, even if it’s gentle movement. But regular workouts, we want to get that BMI into that 22 to 25 range. That’s really the sweet spot for fertility. So you guys can go online, use one of the BMI calculators, figure out what your BMI is, and that’s where your sweet spot is for fertility. Sure, really thin women get pregnant and women that their BMI … Wait. I don’t want to say thin. Lower BMIs, higher BMIs, people get pregnant, of course. But you guys are coming to me for advice from someone who’s been doing this for a long time, and I just want to tell you that what I see clinically is that sweet spot of that BMI 22 to 25 is where conception seems to happen and successful conception.
“Is it okay if I go for runs?” Okay. I answered that question. Let me see if there’s more questions over here. I actually like this new setup on Facebook. “Will you talk about diet too? I’m having a hard time being home normally.” Okay. We’ll do that probably in another talk, not today, Jamie. “Thanks for your advice. It really helps.” Oh, “You know the diet stuff. Go back to the books, the course materials you’ve had. You know this. Own your power.” Okay. Go, Beth.
“Is it safe to work out after a miscarriage?” I think absolutely, again, keeping in mind the bleeding. If you’re bleeding heavily, please take it easy on the workouts. You really need to give your body time to rest and recover, especially when it’s giving up blood. So again, day one of your period or your heavy days in your cycle, I say, “No exercise.” That’s a Chinese medicine rule. No exercise. Do not run more than 12 miles a week. That’s very depleting to the blood, which if your blood is deficient, it’s going to be hard to get pregnant.
So in your follicular phase, you can do your yoga, your Pilates, your strength training, light movements. As you head into … moderate, sorry. Light moderate workouts. As you head into your ovulation, that’s when you can do your higher intense workouts. When you’re in your luteal phase, again, same as follicular. Light moderate workouts, yoga, Pilates, strength training.
My favorite places that I go to for my workouts, MelissaWoodHealth.com, bodylove-Pilates.com, and then Peloton. Everybody should check out Peloton. They’re doing 90 days free right now for everybody. The app is amazing. You do not need the bike. You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars. I bought a really good spin bike on Amazon for a couple hundred bucks, have it down in the basement. And like I said, I do their strength, I do their yoga, I do their stretching. They have meditation. They have these fun dance classes now. We did some the other day.
All right, guys. Let me just see. So I think I covered everything. Oh, and if you are dealing with amenorrhea, meaning you don’t have a cycle, you really want to watch the exercise, especially if you don’t have a cycle because your body fat’s too low. You got to really eat a lot of good-quality fats, get that body fat back up. So you want to manage the exercise and manage the sweating. You really want to keep it to a minimum. So you are the person that should just be doing light walks every day.
And now we’re all home. We’re all stuck at home. Do some fun dance classes. Have some fun. We did a dance party last night in the house. It was a blast. Can I post my spin bike? I sure can. Let me see if I can pull it up right now. I’ll tell you the one I bought. Let’s see if it comes up. I think there’s the word sun in it. Sprint bike. Let’s see. Yes, Sunny Health and Fitness, 49 pound, chromed … No, this one. Yeah, the 299. Sunny Health and Fitness is the brand. “Do you sell it?” Oh, “Do you sell it or recommend a good progesterone cream?” I like over-the-counter Progest-Avail by Designs for Health.
But there’s a couple of really good spin bikes on here all in the two to three hundred dollar range. I believe mine is the Sunny Health one. No, I know it is. Let’s see. Sunny Health. Tell you right now. Yeah, so I bought pro indoor cycling bike by Sunny Health. When did I buy it? Oh my God. November 10th, 2016. So I’ve had that for four years. $299. That’s what I paid for it. Okay. And I love it. It’s great.
And then I use the … You put the app on one of your … your Kindle or your readers or your iPad or your laptop, and it’s a phenomenal workout. And then do their yoga, their strength. They’re such great workouts. You can segment by time or by what kind of workout you want. And then also definitely check out … If you are pregnant or about to be pregnant, check out bodylove-Pilates, Melissa Wood Health. They also both have great prenatal and postnatal classes. And I love bodylove-Pilates because she has the strong mama classes too, and some of those are only 12 minutes long. They’re great. So that has a free trial. Melissa Wood Health probably has a free trial as well. So I would go there as well and check out all of them and see which ones you like. And that’s that.
So okay. So let’s see. Any last questions around this topic, guys? “I used to follow a jogging program that would get you to the point where you can jog 30 minutes, a mix of jogging, walking bit by bit. [Asma 00:00:22:01], that works too. Light jogs are great. Thank you. Thanks. You guys are so great. And also, I do have a workout for you guys too. I created a yoga class that you guys can access for free, and let me just get you the link. If you head over to aimeeraupp.com/yogaforAI, so it’s a yoga for autoimmunity, it’s a great workout. I did it in conjunction with a friend yoga instructor, Karon Shovers, who’s a very certified yoga lady. She’s amazing. So if you head over to aimeeraupp.com/yogaforAI, you can get access for free to our yoga class as well.
So thank you guys, and I will see you all next week. I’m going to go do a workout myself right now before my 1:30 interview. Sending you all love. Everybody stays healthy, stay safe, stay sane, keep moving, take care of you, okay? Take care. Love you guys. End the live video. Let’s see.
End of Transcription
Aimee Raupp is a licensed herbalist, natural fertility expert and acupuncturist in NYC, offering natural fertility treatment, care & coaching solutions to women who want to get pregnant! Get pregnant fast with natural fertility care, Aimee’s online fertility shop & coaching solutions. Aimee Raupp has helped hundreds of women to get pregnant naturally! Aimee and her team are experts in Chinese Medicine, Massage & Eastern Nutrition! Get pregnant naturally, achieve optimal health & vitality, take control of your health! Aimee is excited to work with you at one of the Aimee Raupp Wellness Centers NYC. Aimee’s Fertility Coaching Program is a personal guidance along your fertility journey. If you are trying to get pregnant naturally, this program is for you! Aimee Raupp offers holistic, wellness and natural fertility books. Learn how to enhance your fertility and get pregnant naturally with Aimee’s cookbooks and diet guides!
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