Stacie Venagro is 31 weeks into her first pregnancy. But where you’d expect to see nothing but a bulging belly, the soon-to-be mom is sporting some unbelievable ab definition.
Her six pack makes total sense when you hear that Venagro, 31, was the 2014 Miss Fitness Universe and is a three-time (!) World Fitness Champion. The bodybuilder and figure competitor has been documenting her pregnancy, as well as her workouts (and seriously cute gym tank style) on her Instagram, where she has a crowd of followers cheering her on. The only critical comments she’s received so far have come from her family, she said in an interview with the blog mom.me.
“My husband thinks I need to eat more. He’ll bring me home dark chocolate or peanut butter balls and say, ‘You can eat it; you can afford it.’ And I can, and I do, but I do it in moderation,” Venagro said. “My friends and people in the fitness world have been extremely supportive. They know that I’m embracing this pregnancy. I’m embracing my body’s changes.”
Just because she hasn’t adopted the eat-for-two attitude doesn’t mean she isn’t practicing perfectly healthy nutrition and exercise for both herself and her baby. Venagro, who owns a fitness studio in Cranston, Rhode Island, consulted her physician about her weight training and diet and got a stamp of approval.
“My doctor told me all I needed was an extra 200 calories per day,” she said. “I wanted to make sure they were clean calories. I take in either a bigger breakfast or lunch and a smaller dinner.” Her go-to snacks and meals include protein shakes blended with frozen berries, chia seeds, flax seed, coconut oil, and powdered peanut butter, and egg whites with Ezekiel toast and spinach. Her stay-healthy trick: eating sensible portions, she told mom.me.
When it comes to lifting heavy weights, Venagro isn’t pushing her limits. “My doctor said as long as I wasn’t straining, it was fine to continue lifting weights. So I haven’t gone higher than the weight I’d already been lifting to avoid straining,” she said. “For example, when I got pregnant, I was lifting 15 pounds with biceps curls. So I’m staying at that; I’m not trying to go up.”
She also hasn’t given up abdominal exercises, though she’s taken a break from moves that put her on her back, like sit-ups and crunches. “I no longer do core stuff on my back because I’m in the third trimester, so I’m doing more ab things while sitting in a chair or with my back against the wall.”
Venagro’s advice to other expecting mamas: Listen to your doctor, and your body, and nobody else. “Don’t let someone else’s negativity ruin your day or even stress you out during your own pregnancy. One person may gain 15 pounds and the next may gain 100 pounds; everyone is different,” she said. “You can only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.”