MightyFIT Spotlight on Virginia Kinkel: Prenatal Nutrition & Fitness
By: Christine Bean
Meet Virginia Kinkel, one of our Team MightyFIT ambassadors, owner of Bodymass Gym, and soon-to-be mom! Learn about her prenatal nutrition and fitness routine, how she is setting herself up for a successful postpartum, and how MightyMeals fits into every stage of her life.
How has pregnancy been for you?
Virginia: I have been pretty fortunate compared to a lot of people I know. I haven’t had any crazy food aversions or horrible symptoms. I am due at the end of November, so I am in my third trimester now. I have been certified as a prenatal fitness trainer for the past five years, helping women through their prenatal and postpartum fitness, so I have had a front-row seat to pregnancy prior to my own pregnancy! I follow a lot of prenatal trainers, OB’s and PT’s, so I felt pretty prepared for what to expect. I started a group called Bodymass Baby Mama’s right when the pandemic hit for my female clients who had just been cleared to work out after having their babies. We met on Zoom on Saturday mornings, and a lot of what we focused on was pelvic floor health, diastasis recti and core floor strength. It was great for them to have an hour to themselves while their partner watched the baby! When you become a mom, your life becomes your baby, so having an hour each week to talk with other women who are going through the exact same thing as you helps big time. When I became pregnant in February 2021, I already had this community around me and had been a fly on the wall during their conversations. So I felt a bit more prepared for the big life change coming my way.
How has your fitness routine changed throughout pregnancy?
Virginia: When I first found out I was pregnant, my first symptom was that I just generally did not feel great. I didn’t change what I was doing in terms of eating or working out, but during the first trimester it was pure survival mode in terms of fitness. I made going to the gym part of my routine; sometimes it just was me sitting on a mat stretching for 30 minutes if I felt exhausted that day. But, it was more-so about it being a habit because I didn’t want to lose fitness as a priority in my life. I scaled my workouts way back when I wasn’t feeling great. I still went to the gym five times a week, but did about 50% effort, lighter weights and less reps. I still walked, and I always close the rings on my Apple Watch no matter what! During the second trimester, my energy was better and I started to feel my body physically changing, so I put a more cognizant effort on making sure my form was spot-on and I was staying controlled with my movements. I went lighter on the strength training so I would have better form and technique because my ligaments were looser, and I knew I wouldn’t want them to get out of whack as my body was changing. One day, I posted a video on Instagram of myself doing pull-ups and I said “my goal is to keep doing these throughout my pregnancy.” Carrie Pagliano, an Arlington, VA, physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor PT, messaged me asking if I could take a video of the pull-ups from the front so she could see my abs and breathing pattern. She noticed that there was a lot of coning in my abdomen, which means lots of pressure pushing through, and believe it or not, that is what causes diastasis recti. Very few women regret working out during pregnancy, but some do regret doing too much because of diastasis recti. Carrie recommended creating modifications to reduce the pressure on the abdomen. It made me check my ego a little bit and remind myself that my goal down the line is to be able to continue to compete and I don’t want to mess that up. So now I do fitness five times per week, walking, closing rings, training others, and setting myself up for the best possible postpartum and future.
How did your diet change during pregnancy?
Virginia: Prior to getting pregnant, I was working with a competition prep coach. I knew that getting pregnant may not be super quick and easy, but I didn’t want to put my life on hold. I had a specific macro meal plan and my goal was to build muscle. I tracked my food in a fitness tracker, and when I found out I was pregnant at 5 weeks, I tried to keep up with the macro breakdown for the first week or two. After that, I didn’t have the willpower! I wanted to eat the foods that made me feel better; I moved away from tracking what I was eating, but still maintained complex carbs, lean proteins, and veggies. Veggies were less appealing during the first trimester, so I ate more fruit. I didn’t have any aversions to meat, so it was protein, fruit, and complex carbs during the first trimester. Tons of water, too! As I was transitioning out of the first trimester and into the second, I felt back to “normal” and started eating more veggies. I wanted to make sure I had enough micronutrients in my food, but definitely did more veggies, proteins, and complex carbs. I eat pretty similarly to my norm now; veggies, lean protein, complex carbs, but if I want ice cream, I have ice cream, and if I’m out to dinner I order whatever looks good to me. When I am in competition mode, I weigh-out my food so I can track it in my app tracker. When I am not prepping (or when I’m pregnant!) I can eat the pre-prepped meals that get me excited.
What do you love most about MightyMeals?
Virginia: I love that MightyMeals can fit my lifestyle. When I am in competition mode and weighing foods, I can order the bulk selections, and during pregnancy I can order the pre-packaged meals. It will be really nice postpartum to have MightyMeals readily available, because I can only imagine how much busier my life will become! With MightyMeals, I know that no matter what I am ordering good-quality, nutrient-dense foods. I can maintain portion control, I don’t have to plan or prep, and everything is delivered right to my door. The quality is top-notch. It takes one huge thing off of my plate, and I can’t even imagine how much easier it will make my postpartum experience!
What is your go-to MightyMeals order?
Virginia: For bulk selections, I always order chicken breast and buffalo chicken for my proteins, sweet potatoes for carbs, and green beans for veggies. My favorite pre-packaged meals are all of the Fajita Bowls, the Turkey Bolognese Spaghetti Squash, and the Caribbean Jerk Salmon.
Growing up as a competitive gymnast in Central Massachusetts, Virginia’s passion for fitness began at an early age, and eventually led to a BS degree in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland. It was during her freshman year of college when she began her now 15-year career in fitness. In 2016, she & Kris (her husband) decided to combine all they’ve learned and opened Bodymass Gym with a foundation in small group fitness, nutrition, advanced exercise physiology using DEXA & RMR testing, and systematic programming. Virginia brings energy, passion, and hands-on coaching to all her clients, which range from competitive athletes, postpartum women, and lifestyle clients focusing on body composition. Currently Virginia is pregnant with her & Kris’ first child, a little girl due on Thanksgiving. Throughout her pregnancy, Virginia has continued to stay active through strength training, walking, prenatal pilates, being in the gym on a daily basis, and playing with her pups Flex & Franco. Her goal post-partum is to return to the National Physique Committee stage as a nationally qualified Bikini Competitor.
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