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The Globe and Mail

Hazel Mae works out for her baby – and herself

Hazel Mae does a light workout of walking on a treadmill and lifting free weights while she is eight months pregnant at the Rogers Campus in Toronto, Aug. 08, 2012.

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Hazel Mae, TV personality

Over eight months, Hazel Mae, host of the 6 o'clock edition of Sportsnet Connected, conditioned her body for pregnancy by following a low-impact routine for cardiovascular health and muscle maintenance.

"Being active seems to have made pregnancy in my 40s wonderfully smooth," says Ms. Mae, who was born in Tagbilaran City, Philippines, and had anchored shows on the Major League Baseball Network in Boston before making Toronto her home last year. "I feel beautiful, fresh and I can take on the world."

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Even so, as the excitement of loving a new family member approaches, fetal and uterus development continues. Our expert offers nutrition advice and a key exercise targeting the deepest layers of Ms. Mae's abdominals that may aid in delivery. It will also help the muscle that will endure stretching during labour to rebound.

My goal

Exercise is good for the healthy development of the baby and for me.

My workout

Along with my doctor, my husband, Kevin Barker (a former major league baseball player who last played for the Cincinnati Reds), oversees the routine.

In my first and into the middle of my second trimester, I was exercising usually before work at a gym in our area four times a week. I was doing 45 minutes of treadmill, walking briskly on an incline. I followed that with biceps curls, triceps extensions and shoulder presses with five-pound dumbbells.

Now, in the third trimester, I've weaned myself off the treadmill and go outside for 20-minute walks. It's harder to get out of bed. I force myself to stay active because I've been reading and other maternity sites that support getting off the couch.

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My lifestyle

It's not a typical 9-to-5 job – that was helpful when in the early stages of pregnancy I had some morning sickness and I could stay in bed until noon. I'm at work for 1 and, after we film a Pacific show, I'm done at 9. My work involves travel. I'm always on the go covering the Blue Jays, so I'm not home for dinner at 6.

I haven't fallen for the myth that pregnant women can eat twice as much food. I've been having small portions of well-balanced meals with veggies, fruit, dairy and protein.

I'm a creature of habit, so breakfast is a whole-wheat English muffin with two scrambled eggs, cheese, blueberry yogurt and water.

Lunch is grilled chicken breast and a leafy salad with vinaigrette dressing, a fruit cup and water.

Snacks are trail mix with lots of almonds.

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Dinner is fried chicken with corn, steamed broccoli, and half a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream to take care of that craving.

My temptation

French fries and I love KFC – I love the "dirty birdie!" I told my husband, "As soon as this baby is out, I would like to be met in the hospital recovery room with a bucket of KFC."

My original motivation

Looking good on TV and living a healthy lifestyle. I want to be around for years.

My anthem

Rihanna's Where Have You Been?

My challenge

The closer I get to delivery, it's tougher to be mobile. My feet are swollen, my belly's larger and I need to muster energy to move because I get short of breath.

The critique

Strengthen pelvic muscles

"Hazel could get a core workout by doing Kegels, an exercise that strengthens pelvic floor muscles pubococcygeals, or PCs – helpful when delivering a baby," says Sammie Kennedy, founder of Femme Fitale and a CanFitPro-certified prenatal fitness expert. Ms. Kennedy instructs Ms. Mae to hold a squat position with her back bracing a medicine ball against a wall; next, contract pelvic muscles for five seconds; then relax for 10 seconds; complete three sets of 10 reps a day.

Two prenatal nutrition tips

"The baby needs calcium, so I recommend Hazel add dark leafy greens … to her chicken. And tossing hemp hearts into her yogurt is an easy way for Hazel to get essential fatty acids, " says Ms. Kennedy.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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