Pregnant Athlete Journal, Week 16: My Chat with Bryan Kest

I’ve resisted doing yoga because classes here in LA seem too competitive, but now I’ve got a personal invite from Bryan Kest to come try out his class – he says it’s perfect for the pregnant ladies.

My belly is popping out now as I’m officially at four months. I wore a festive, clingy outfit on New Year’s Eve and it’s the first time people squealed, “Oh my God! Look at your baby bump!” before putting their hand on my stomach. I guess pregnant chicks get used to being felt up constantly. I suppose that’s not a bad thing.

I still feel pretty good teaching my strength training, boot camp and spin classes, although I’m definitely backing off my intensity quite a bit. I’m trying to be more aware of asking clients to rack their own weights instead of just automatically doing it for them, too. I know I should find a less intense and more relaxing form of exercise that I might enjoy. Of course, yoga would be the obvious choice but I’ve resisted it for a while because the classes I’ve been to in Los Angeles seem too competitive and clique-y and I get bored doing workouts by myself at home.

Ironically, this week I had the pleasure of chatting with Bryan Kest – the famous yogi in Santa Monica that swears like a sailor but is totally charming about it. (Pictured to the right.) I found out we’re both from the Midwest and grew up eating the Standard American Diet of McDonald’s and other crap food – and felt perfectly healthy doing it for years. And we both came to the realization after trying vegetarianism that it wasn’t for us. And we’ve both adopted a similar philosophy about eating organic, locally sourced food that includes meat, a little dairy, fruits and veggies – along with deviation from time to time.

Kest says he’s a big fan of The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain and that it’s philosophy knocked him on his ass when he first read it. For example, for years we’ve all heard we should eat brown rice instead of white, right? Well, he says paleo philosophy argues that white rice is actually easier to digest and the hull of brown rice causes an inflammatory response even though the fiber is supposed to be good for us. And he felt gassy and bloated while eating grasses (like wheat and corn) for years until switching to the paleo diet. I never really noticed belly bloat from eating wheat until just a few years ago but now I’m totally aware of my body’s negative response. (Perhaps it’s just something that catches up with you after a while?)

Kest says he doesn’t crave sugar any more, however, and I wish I could say the same. Although, let’s face it – he’s not pregnant, so I think I win that argument. He did, however, convince me to give his power yoga classes a try and said many of his members went to class until the full term of their pregnancy. I hope I like the vibe there, but if my conversation with Kest is any indication, then I’m sure I’ll feel right at home. I’ll keep you posted on my yoga experience.

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