Claire Coffee swears she did not purposefully time her due date to the air date of the Grimm season finale, but the synchronicity certainly worked in her favor. While fellow Grimm stars have turned to the stage in the show's offseason, Coffee is able to spend plenty of quality time with her healthy baby boy Calvin.
She may not have planned the exact date, but she certainly planned to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, filling her time between filming and the day-to-day trials of celebrity with exercise, yoga, great food, and plenty of mind/body connection. "While having to stay camera-ready [in the role of Grimm's Adalind Schade] throughout the pregnancy was early motivation for staying in shape," Coffee confesses, "I found that activity was the best remedy for most of my pregnancy-related ailments and fatigue. It became less about appearance and more about the mind/body stress reduction benefit of exercise during a time that’s as challenging mentally as it is physically."
When Coffee and husband Chris Thile (of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers fame) decided to make Portland their forever home, access to outdoor exploration and fitness opportunities were prime motivating factors. "I’ve been active in the city’s fitness scene since I got here four years ago, the variety and quality of which has proved invaluable with this pregnancy!" says Coffee. "I was four months post-op from meniscus surgery when I got pregnant, so it was easy to transition the knee injury modifications into ones that worked for pregnancy. Nailing down a safe but effective—and not boring—fitness routine that I could carry through the trimesters was crucial to my sanity."
Whenever anyone embarks on a super-fit pregnancy plan, it's vital to have support from and frequent check-ins with a team of healthcare providers. When Coffee asked her doctor if she could continue her kick-ass workout routine through her pregnancy, the MD's "only rule—aside from outlawing anything with a fall risk—was that I had to be able to carry on a conversation during the activity."
So how did she do it? "I relied on classes at Revocyle and swimming at the Southwest Community Center for cardio and kept up pilates with Dan Walton at Studio Blue during my first trimester. In the second and third tris I added regular workouts at Barre3, which very safely kept my muscles stretchy and toned. The instructors at Barre3 are all well educated on pregnancy specific concerns, which made the classes all the more efficient."
Now that Calvin is in tow, hikes in Forest Park are top of the list. "The park is walking distance from my house, making it all the more baby-friendly." And to stay fit through the new and demanding world of motherhood, Coffee is returning to the moves that kept her healthy through pregnancy, but from the privacy of her home: "Barre3 has great online workouts, and they’re all about 10 minutes each—perfect for sneaking in a set of abs during naps." Also in the works? "Finally buying and riding a bike! I can’t consider myself a local until I can safely get around town on two wheels."
Coffee and Calvin aren't the only family members making the most of the local fitness scene—when Thile isn't touring, he runs and plays "serious ping pong" with The Ambridge Table Tennis Club and coach Jeff Mason. Coffee confesses, "the fact that Portland has enough of a ping pong scene to keep a coach employed full time was a totally baffling and delightful discovery for me. This city is the best."
The Mind/Body Connection
"Yoga was a craving I started having early on," shares Coffee. "It definitely helped focus my mind, giving me confidence to rely on my instincts and ward off the barrage of information, advice, and genetic testing options that a pregnant woman is forced to consider. And the stretch was just as important as the cardio stress release while balancing the rigors of work and baby belly fatigue."
"My favorite prenatal yoga classes were both online, at yogadownload.com. I LOVE Dave Farmar’s Baptiste Power Yoga for pregnancy. It’s challenging enough to work muscles to fatigue without sacrificing belly safety. Also on Yoga Download, Liza Janda’s Balance Your Pelvis and Position Your Wombmate was especially helpful in my third trimester, when I developed some pretty intense sacroiliac joint dysfunction."
"Acupuncture was also critical in keeping my body in balance. I saw Hayley Gardner at Rain and Shine Holistic Health at least twice a month throughout the pregnancy and twice a week leading up to delivery. She works wonders! I am convinced these visits were what kept my first trimester symptoms—nausea, exhaustion, etc—to a minimum."
"Two of my most intense pregnancy cravings were fried chicken and pizza, which is what most non-pregnant Americans crave, so I don’t know if I can blame that on the baby," admits Coffee. "For fried chicken, I love Screen Door, The Parish, Besaw’s, and Mediterranean Exploration Company. My favorite pizzas are from Apizza Scholls, Ken’s, and the Genovese with fennel sausage on whole wheat crust from Pizzicato. I have been making batches and batches of paleo pancakes and almond butter choc chip cookies to space out my Nuvrei croissant obsession, because it’s all about balance, right?"
Now that Calvin has arrived and Coffee has begun to breastfeed, her doctor has advised her to consume 500 extra calories a day. "I’m trying to make sure they’re efficient calories," Coffee says. "That’s easier said than done with a newborn, since most meals involve one-handed food prep. I’m eating a lot of sandwiches and leftovers at the moment. While pregnant, the only thing I cut out was tuna, so my diet is now pretty heavy on the tuna melts. My husband and I are also trying to go out for dinners while Cal is in his sleepy and portable stage. Luce and St. Jack are our favorite spots for that."
While staying fit for the Grimm set, red carpets, and photo shoots kept Coffee motivated, she is always quick to share how pregnancy has changed her relationship with her body and mind. "It's made me so much more grateful for my body! Pregnancy has given me a much more optimistic outlook on the shape of my body and its capabilities. After making it through the excruciating marathon of child birth and seeing Cal emerge, I will never doubt my body’s strength again. It really is a freaking miracle."