Shannon Miller is going for baby gold. Literally. The most decorated American gymnast in history, Shannon and her husband, John, are expecting their most precious medal, a son, on Halloween! Shannon, who is a Co-Chair of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness in Florida, spoke exclusively with Celebrity Parents about babies, gymnastics and having a healthy pregnancy.
Shannon, you’re currently expecting your first baby. How has the pregnancy been?
I feel great now, but the first several months were rough. I had morning sickness, afternoon sickness and night sickness for the first 5 ½ months. After that, it was great. I’ve definitely gotten my energy back!
It was that same energy, I’m sure, that got you 7 Olympic medals and nine world medals! How did you get into gymnastics?
I was five years-old. I had never seen the Olympics, but my sister was doing it and I wanted to be just like my big sis!
And then 16 medals later…
Yeah, I got a little addicted!
Are you officially retired now?
Yes, I am way into retirement. I retired after the 1996 Olympics. I was 19 at the time. And after that, I finished college, went to law school and then on to work in commentary and broadcasting.
What do you have going on now?
Right now is a very exciting time. Not only because I’m pregnant for the first time – and everything that goes along with that – but I also have a new project. I have created pre- and post-natal health and fitness DVD’s.
The videos are fun, and they help to remind women to have a fit pregnancy. I’ve done a lot of research and spoken to many women. It’s amazing how little reliable information is out there about having a fit pregnancy.
What could someone expect from the DVD’s?
I wanted each DVD to be a full body workout. There’s a five minute warm up, and a five minute cool down. It’s based on core exercises – strengthening and toning, but not crunches, though – ranging from lunges and squats to arm work. The arm work is especially important so you can carry that little bundle of joy plus a 300 lb. stroller!
Did you find any difference in your pregnant body after having done exercise?
I find that it’s magnified. During pregnancy, you have so much fatigue, and no one prepares you for that. Sometimes it was tough to start exercising, but once I did, I felt energized. After I finish a 20 minute workout, I feel like I am standing taller! I feel better about my body, and after I have the baby, it will help me through the delivery. After I have the baby, my body will bounce back more quickly. And from an emotional and psychological perspective, it will help me a lot.
Let’s talk a bit about your foundation.
I started the Shannon Miller Foundation about 1 ½ years ago. The Foundation is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity. The issue is so complex, but my focus is on the fitness and nutrition aspect of it. I want people to learn about keeping and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and understanding that fitness can be fun!
A big event that we do is a kids’ marathon. We held the first one in May 2009. It was a blast; the kids run an actual marathon! Over a 3 month period, they run 25 miles. Then on the race day, they run the last 1.2 miles. When they cross the finish line, they get a medal. It’s a lot of fun for the kids; they feel like they have accomplished something.
The medal part is definitely an ode to you.
[laughs] That’s true. Hey, who doesn’t like a gold medal?
Now, when are you due?
I’m due on October 31st. It’s a cool birthday, but I don’t want every party to be a costume party! They’ve changed my due date a couple of times, so we’ll see when I actually deliver.
Is the nursery ready?
Yes, it’s finished! I wanted something soothing and sweet. It’s a lot of yellow, cream and ivory, with darker wood furniture. We brought in leather furniture, too, to make the room more boyish. We didn’t want to go with a particular animal theme until we knew what the baby likes!
What are your plans for the future?
There are so many great projects going on, from the videos, to launching a fitness website, to writing four books! And the baby is coming soon, too. It’s been fun because I’ve been home to enjoy all this. It’s definitely an exciting time for us.