How This 17-Weeks-Pregnant SoulCycle Instructor Makes It Through 13 Classes a Week

Photograph courtesy Natalia Millan.

In case you didn’t already feel bad enough about skipping your workout today, I’d like to introduce you to Natalia Millan. A SoulCycle instructor at DC’s West End and Mount Vernon locations, Millan teaches six days a week, at least twice a day—often more. Oh, and she’s 17 weeks pregnant.

Making it through one session of high-energy indoor cycling would be enough to do one person in, much less two—much less while, you know, growing another human. But Millan has built up her endurance over several years with SoulCycle. Millan first started with the trendy studio as a student, riding for four years before she started teaching the classes herself.

“I was a rider for four years before becoming an instructor and I would double and sometimes even triple, so by the time I started teaching I had already built some of the stamina required to teach more than class as day,” says Millan.

While Millan says there have been weeks she’s taught 20 classes per week, she’s scaled it back for her pregnancy to 12 to 14, because she’s more tired than usual. She’s modified the classes a well—she only teaches about half of the classes on the bike, while the rest she instructs standing in front of the class.

Millan says that when she discussed continuing to teach while pregnant with her doctor, they were all for it.

“My doctor is all about me working out, as long as I keep my heart rate low, I don’t get too hot, and as long as I feel good,” says Millan. “The first few months I lost my stamina, so I have had to modify the way I teach. I could not keep up with my own class, let alone teach on the bike more than once a day.”

One benefit that Millan has found of continuing to cycle is that it helped with her nausea early in her pregnancy, and she says she always feels better after class, even if she didn’t feel like exercising prior to it. Additionally, as her pregnancy has made her more aware of her own body, she’s been more aware of rider form in general.

To keep up with all the calories she’s torching through in classes, Natalia also met with a nutritionist early in her pregnancy. While she tries to avoid all the food groups that pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat and eat small meals prior to and following class, her diet has been more affected by nausea than anything else.

“I would like to tell you I have been eating all the fruit and vegetables, but honestly I have been eating like a five-year-old,” says Millan. “All the bread and all the cereal! My only saving grace are smoothies that I pack with fruit and veggies.”

Like with all things health and fitness, Millan recognizes that balance is everything.

“I think a balance of working out once a day has been great, but also sleeping when I feel I need it and eating when I am hungry,” says Millan. “Really listening to my body has been more important than ever!”

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.