India Paulino has the most wins in IFBB bikini competition history and has won the Arnold Classic three times. This highly accomplished, former police officer’s greatest achievement, however, was the birth of her son. Join BPI Sports as we sit down with India to find out how pregnancy affected her fitness journey.

BPI: When did you first find out that you were pregnant?

INDIA: I found out I was pregnant April tenth. Which was right after I finished competing in three back-to-back shows. I would have never expected it because I was so lean.

BPI: What was your next step as far as adjusting and your fitness life?

INDIA: Immediately, my first thoughts when it came to fitness were, “What can I eat?” and “What can’t I eat?” If you want to have a healthy pregnancy, you are going to have to make certain changes. Food is one of them. And you know, as a competitor for eight years, I ate healthy, but I also kind of stuck to specific types of food. But then when I became pregnant, I was eating all different things. I wanted to be able to get what I needed not just for my body but also for the baby. I was never a fan of vegetables… or taking pills… but I took my vitamins and ate my vegetables because that’s what the baby needed.

BPI: What was your appetite like?

INDIA: My appetite was up and down. Sometimes I’d be like really hungry and other times I didn’t have an appetite. That’s when the vitamins became really important. I was getting the most important things my body needed. So sometimes I could get away with eating healthy snacks if I couldn’t down a whole meal.

BPI: What was your approach to training during pregnancy?

INDIA: I said to myself, “Training will always be there — there will only be nine months of this— listen to your body.” I didn’t train a lot my first trimester because the fatigue was so bad. When I did train, the intensity was much lower. I kept the reps down. I used lighter weight. I did exercises that felt good. I didn’t do anything new that I hadn’t tried before and if anything felt weird, I stopped. It was more listening to my body than pushing myself trying to accomplish a fitness goal. It wasn’t about a fitness goal any more, it was about being as healthy as I can because I am having a baby.

BPI: Did you use supplements?

INDIA: When I didn’t have an appetite, protein shakes were my “go to” because they were quick. I was getting protein, I was getting calories and I didn’t have to try and gag shoving food down.

BPI: Tell us about Brand New Body?

INDIA: I had so many pregnant women reaching out to me on social media, it was overwhelming. I became obsessed with pregnancy and wanted to create a program that would help these women and me as well. So I created this program called Brand New Body. It’s an eight-week program for moms and women who have been afraid or intimidated by the gym or other workout plans. We follow the same training program, same cardio, different macros of course, and we do it together. So basically we are like each other’s online training partners. Every day I’m going to post an exercise variation, suggestion or something motivational. So that’s how I’m going to lose the pounds that I have left to lose.

BPI: Do you have any other advice you want to give a mom in a similar situation?

INDIA: Do not stress out. Not everybody has the same pregnancy. Don’t be so hard on yourself and don’t forget the most important thing is that you’re carrying a baby. You can always get back to fitness when you’re done. It definitely helps to do little things. Like you don’t have to always go to the gym, you can do things at home, you can take a walk, there’s a bunch of different things that you can do to stay active. So don’t stress yourself out because that affects the baby.
To find out more about India Paulino, check out her bio on our athlete’s page.