MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Marine Corps Base Quantico requires pregnant Marines to complete a Combat Fitness Test and a Physical Fitness Test within six months after their six weeks of postpartum convalescent leave regardless of the time of year.
Fitness trainers at Barber Physical Activity Center offer training sessions tailored for pregnant and postpartum active duty and reserve service members, family members, retirees, Department of Defense civilians and contractors.
Once a year Marines are tested in their combat and physical fitness capabilities to ensure they are up to Marine Corps standards.
“I think the No. 1 reason to come see us is for expectant mothers to not throw in the towel when they’re pregnant especially with Marine Corps standards,” said Laura King, the registered dietician for Semper Fit Health Promotion at Barber Physical Activity Center. “It’s possible to be in Marine Corps standards within six months, but you need someone helping you with healthy weight gain.”
The trainers can help maintain pre-pregnancy fitness during a time when some may think physical activity can do harm to them, but they don’t recommend doing new exercises.
“The level of physical activity woman do before they conceive can be carried forward with relative intensity throughout their entire pregnancy,” said Brian Hancock, the lead trainer and fitness events coordinator at BPAC.
Nutrition plays a big role during pregnancy too. Anyone who sees a fitness trainer is recommended to see the dietician as well.
“If you can’t exercise while you’re pregnant you can still watch your weight by watching what you eat,” said King.
Pregnant woman and woman within three months postpartum need medical clearance from their doctor before beginning a training regimen with a fitness trainer. After being cleared by your doctor, a micro-fitness assessment is conducted to determine physical capabilities.
The micro-fit assessment includes testing aerobics fitness, strength and flexibility, as well as checking blood pressure, resting heart rate and body fat percentage, said Hancock.
Workouts and nutrition progress is documented as well as attendance. Some units allow Marines to attend fitness sessions in place of unit physical training. Workouts can be reevaluated every three months and nutrition goals are reviewed monthly.
Melanie Ellis, a fitness trainer at BPAC, said that a pregnant woman could start as soon as they want, and workouts will be conducted with slight modifications. A woman would have to wait six weeks after giving birth to continue exercising unless they are cleared by their doctor. She said the ultimate goal of a trainer is to not need a trainer.
Costs vary between service members, family members, retirees, DoD civilians and contractors. For information on starting a plan with a fitness trainer or dietician, call 703-784-2672 or visit the trainers desk on the second floor of BPAC.