The OPEN

games.crossfit.com

games.crossfit.com

I officially registered for the 2016 CrossFit Games Open and got this cool badge to prove it. I’m wanting to make a comeback in my CrossFit journey … and hoping I survive.

Join me!

Registration is $20. You can sign up with an affiliate or video yourself doing the WODs at home. And there are all levels of performance: Teen, Master, Veteran, Rookie, Military, Six-in-Row (aka badass!), SCALED, First Responder.

The Open is a fun time to see where you stack up. Yes, you can absolutely get crazy competitive and shoot for Regionals. But the vast majority of us sign up for the camaraderie, the commitment, the fun. Looking forward to pushing myself on the competition floor with my fellow CrossFit Full Strength friends starting February 25.

Six-Week Challenge: Week 3

We are halfway through the CrossFit Full Strength six-week challenge. I’m loving every minute of it. The time of day, the women, the coaches, and the opportunity to get back to basics has been very rewarding for me.

As I mentioned previously, the challenge comes with a nutrition component. I haven’t really focused on this part. I’m definitely drinking a lot more water – especially on the days I workout and before I head into the workouts, I have been eating a Perfect Bar. Costco recently had a great sale on them, so we stocked up! It’s the perfect amount of protein to consume before lifting.

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Week 3 WODs:

Seventh WOD

Seventh WOD

Seventh WOD: For time, 400m row, 30 lunges, 15 ring rows, 15 thrusters (65#), 15 k2e, 400m row – 9:19

Eighth WOD: 10-1 hang power cleans (65#) + weighted sit ups (10#) – 8:00rx

Ninth WOD: 5×5 back squat – last set 100#; 3rds 400m run + 15 push ups – 12:24

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Athlete Profile: Suzanne Khuninh

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Spinning. Running. CrossFitting. Suzanne Khuninh from Sioux City, Iowa is expecting another sweet babe in June. She began CrossFit in 2014 to add some diversity to her routine and gain some muscle mass. Since joining CrossFit FS, she witnessed a number of #crossfitandpregnant success stories, which inspired her to continue her routine during this pregnancy.

Her friends within the box keep her motivated, even when she has to slow down and catch her breath. Here’s more from Suzanne:

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?: So far, I’ve been told it was OK to continue my regular workout routine. I have a high risk pregnancy, so I may have to cut down on my weights toward the end of my pregnancy. My doctor has advised me to watch how many reps I do with weights also.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?: When I first started CrossFit, I followed a lean meat and veggies diet. I do have a cheat meal at least once a week. I do have Gestational Diabetes with this pregnancy and I had it with two of my other pregnancies. I have to watch my carbs and sugar intake so I am on a low-carb eating plan.

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Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: The workouts are short, but at the same time, it’s enough to give me amazing energy.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I love that the WODs are short. This is good for me right now since I don’t have as much energy, and can’t do long workouts. The WODs are usually less than 20 minutes, and I get a great workout.

Favorite quote: Strong is the new skinny!

Favorite girl WOD: Cindy

Three words that describe me: Strong, happy, and healthy

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home with my kids, who are 9, 6, and 3-years-old. I am also enrolled in school full-time, and also work a full-time job. So, you can say I stay pretty busy!

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Athlete Profile: Julie Shepard

RedTail CrossFit in Prescott, Ariz., is home to Julie Shephard, another #crossfitandpregnant rock star. Sweet Julie delivered her second baby in October and I was remiss in writing this profile on her in a timely fashion!

View More: http://molliecostleyphotography.pass.us/babyboyshepherd

Momma to Charlotte and now, sweet Joseph, and wife to Steven, she has been CrossFitting at RedTail for three years. During that time, Julie has endured some difficult pregnancies and a knee surgery. Her CrossFit career started thanks to good old family peer pressure – and with the support of her husband – nothing better than family to get you to focus on health! Because of some of her struggles to get pregnant, Julie didn’t CrossFit during her pregnancy with Charlotte, but she and Steven are proud of her ability this go-around. So are we!

Julie’s story really is remarkable – and she’s quite open with her struggles. She is another shining example of why I continue this blog (even with a long writing hiatus!). Thank you loyal followers for continue to support me and all the #crossfitandpregnant mommas out there!

shepherd party of 4

Julie’s story:

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? My husband, Steven, is a CrossFitter too and thinks it is awesome.  He actually texted me out of nowhere while he was at work to tell me how proud of me he is for still going consistently and for doing so well. {What a guy!!}

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com?  I actually googled “CrossFit and pregnancy” because I had read an article on Facebook about a woman pregnant with twins. She posted a picture of her lifting a barbell weighing 65# and was getting TONS of criticism for it.  I was thought, “what?? I just back squatted 115# that day!” So I was curious if there was any information out there for me.  And also, at the time, my little guy had a growth spurt and I was really starting to feel ‘pregnant’.

Why I started CrossFit:  I started CrossFit, well, mainly out of peer ‘family’ pressure. Both my sisters and one of my brothers had started when our first box opened in Prescott. I had just been running A LOT…five miles a day, five days a week.  I was put off wanting to start because I had it in my mind that I just needed cardio.

I have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and suffer with hypothyroidism, which is why I had a hard time getting pregnant the first time. I ended up having my thyroid removed in 2007 because I had a nodule the size of a golf ball growing on it. Up until then, I had always been super thin and always physically minded.  But once that darn thyroid was removed, weight gain came, along with other crappy symptoms.  Losing weight and having hypothyroidism is like trying to breathe under water.  So I ran.  I ran a lot.

After recovering from a breast reduction in 2012, which was a medical necessity for my spine, I finally gave in to CrossFit…and fell in love.  Shortly after starting CrossFit, I had a really bad accident climbing the military wall. My right knee snapped in half when I went to step up to the wall. I ended up with a torn meniscus, completely torn ACL and a partially torn MCL and a fractured femur. Needless to say, I was out of commission for a long while, June to November 2012.  It was during that time that my husband and I began trying for a baby.

Flash forward to March of 2013, I got pregnant! I quit CrossFit because of fear for losing the baby.  My mother and sister both struggled with infertility and I was just plain scared. After Charlotte was born in December 2013, I went back to CrossFit in March of 2014 and have not stopped since.  I have not been able to perform 100% since then, I have also suffered with a bulging disc in my lumbar vertebrae due to the terrible positioning of Charlotte in my belly (I had a c-section, her shoulder was stuck under my rib).  But that didn’t stop me.  I did what I could.  When I finally found a doctor who could help, I had an MRI and began spinal decompression. He told me that if it weren’t for my ‘huge’ para-spinal muscles (that I got from CrossFit) holding my spine in place, the disc would have ruptured.

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:  This is a big one! I did not CrossFit while pregnant with Charlotte out of fear.  But this pregnancy came all by itself…well with the help of my husband…after only one month of trying.  No medication, no nothing.  So, this time I wasn’t scared.

With Charlotte, I gained 30#, most of which came in the last month and was all water.  After two weeks of having her, I was back down to my normal 150#.  So I got a little ‘cocky’ and started eating whatever I wanted during those six weeks of recovery.  Since it was winter, I wasn’t able to go on walks because it was too cold outside. I got pretty dang chubby.

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Like I said before, losing weight with hypothyroidism is like trying to breathe under water. With running, CrossFit, a clean diet, visits to my endocrinologist and a lot of bloodwork and medication adjustment, it took about a year to lose the ‘cocky’ weight I had gained. Literally to the WEEK that I found out I was pregnant again. So my goal is to be the complete opposite with this pregnancy. Healthy eating, exercise, and routine with hopes I can go right back in to it after the six weeks of recovery from my scheduled c-section.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?  My doctor is awesome.  She is the tiniest little lady. She told me to keep doing what I was doing, but to listen to my body. I have done just that. During my second trimester, we did maxes, and although I knew that I could physically do more, I didn’t feel good about adding weight.  She thinks it’s awesome, despite the fact that I lost weight at the beginning from not lifting as much and losing muscle mass. As of today, I am back to my ‘pre-pregnancy’ weight.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support?  I find support from the people that come to my class. I go to RedTails’ 3:30 p.m. class, which is after nap time…both Charlotte’s and my nap.  It’s usually the same group of ladies…yes…ladies…they call it lady hour.  Occasionally, a guy or two shows up! But the group really cheers me on. They encourage me and compliment me on the fact that I am still working at it and it makes me feel really good about myself.  Also, RedTail Coaches Tony Burris, Janine Pereira, and Brandon Rollins support me tons.  And of course, my husband Steven.

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CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration?  My inspiration comes from two places; my daughter and myself.  My daughter because I love seeing her watching me while I work out; I really hope she understands that it is a good thing and a part of life to work hard for something.  And of course, I love seeing her imitate the things she sees me do!

Saying I find inspiration in me seems super arrogant, but it is not meant to be.  A lot of people criticize CrossFit because it is so intense.  I tell them that anything can be scaled.  I remind them that I had a bulging disk and had knee surgery, and it didn’t stop me from trying.  I say, if I can do it, anyone can.  I am even trying to talk my 64-year-old father, who just had his second knee replaced to start, once he is cleared from physical therapy.  So I figured that I should put my money where my mouth is….why should pregnant stop me from something that I love?  I feel such a sense of accomplishment when I finish something.  A lot of times, the trainers tell me to cut the reps in half if I want to, but I don’t. I just take my time and that makes me feel validated.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned:  Consistency.  Having an 18-month-old and an awful first trimester (was in the ER for a day from extreme dehydration), every day is something new. Even when I felt like complete death, I still made it a point to get up and go to CrossFit and make it part of my day. That mindset made it a routine! I think that is important in all aspects of life.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced:  My expanding belly, the lack of decent maternity exercise clothing, and running with sore boobs.  {Sore/nursing boobs = the worst! Am I right?!}

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?  Before this pregnancy, I tried gluten free to help with my hypothyroidism, but it didn’t make much of a difference.  I did my best to eliminate processed foods as well.  I am a sucker for fruit and vegetables. I stopped drinking soda, too.  But once the morning sickness hit me, I was advised to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it (which was not much and not often). Now, I am just back to normal.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered:  You can sleep when you’re dead. Get up and work, make the best of the exhaustion.

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What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: Being aware of my body. I find it incredible to push your body to see what it is capable of, but with limits.

Modifications you’d like to share with others:  Ball slams are a fabulous replacement of burpees.  Elevated pushups. Oh, and this one isn’t just for pregnancy, but cleans from a high hang, a bit lower than the hips.  It helps you HAVE to drop under the bar in to a squat more. {Excellent tips!!}

Favorite quote:  Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.

Favorite girl WOD: Grace

Three words that describe me: I let my hubs pick:  motivated, determined, passionate

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home or with my mom! Weekends are with the husband.

View More: http://molliecostleyphotography.pass.us/joseph

Delivery and Post-partum. Where is Julie now?

Julie CrossFitted until 37 weeks, when she had to stop for her scheduled c-section (docs in Prescott don’t perform v-backs).  She was scheduled for the birth on October 23. She developed an umbilical hernia that was getting pretty painful and her doctor said she would fix it during the c-section. Contractions started two weeks before the c-section. “I had some other things going on, so I figured I should just try to wait it out, so another doctor wouldn’t have to do my c-section and NOT fix my hernia which would have resulted in another surgery and recovery,” Julie said. “I didn’t want that.”

She made it to October 23 and it was completely different than her first delivery. “I threw up from the spinal which didn’t happen with Charlotte,” said Julie. “I could feel and move my feet by noon, my c-section was at 7:30 a.m. I was up walking laps in the hospital by 3 p.m. that day, but that night was awful. My husband went home to stay with Charlotte, so I was on my own. I was looking forward to the alone time with my baby and to sleep some. I was hooked up to all sorts of things and couldn’t get out of bed without a nurse. There was some emergency birth that night and all the nurses were occupied – to the point where my IV beeped for more than 10 minutes before I had to call someone to fix it. AWFUL. I got zero sleep and every time Joseph woke up, I had to MacGyver a way to get him out of his bassinet.”

Thanks to the grace of a compassionate nurse, and because of Julie’s health, strength, and mobility, Julie was permitted to go home. “I’m pretty sure I can thank CrossFit for that,” said Julie.

She took the traditional six weeks to recovery, but like most of us, was anxious to return. The first week of December, she started back and took it easy, “partially because I was told to, but mostly because I felt I had zero strength.” Most recently, RedTail was working on one-rep maxes for a number of lifts. Julie PR’d on power cleans at 120#, 85# strict press, 75# snatch, and she got to do Grace again, not Rx, but still 75# at 4:57. “I’ll take that at being back from having a baby via c-section and a hernia repair in only a month and a half!”

“I am glad to be back. I love my sweet little baby more than anything. We just found out that he has problems hearing this past week. We aren’t sure how severe or why, we are going to do some more testing, and today was my first day back since finding out.  I broke down crying talking to my friends about it.  I am so thankful for the support I have at RedTail. There were times during my pregnancy that I wanted to quit (not CrossFit, but life).  The RedTail community and mentality of CrossFit truly was my lifeline, and it seems that it will continue to be that for me.”

Pic with new Char faceView More: http://molliecostleyphotography.pass.us/joseph

We are so proud of you Julie! She clearly has the strength and tenacity to face anything. Her family and the RedTail family are lucky to have YOU. xo

Six-Week Challenge: Week 2

CrossFit is so empowering – I am so inspired by the women in my CrossFit Full Strength six-week challenge. Everyone is showing up, which on dark, cold mornings can be rough, and putting forth a great effort. It’s fun that we’re all at different levels and can learn so much from each other. I’m also loving the 3x a week commitment – it’s perfect for me and the fam right now.

To anyone who’s on the fence about CrossFit, these types of fundamental/foundational sessions are the true training grounds for anyone interested in the sport. This last week we focused on the basic movements of some of the Olympic lifts – and we were learning directly from a two-time Olympian! How cool is that?!

The lifts covered were: deadlifts, should press, push press, push jerk, and power cleans. I really love lifting and was the component of CrossFit I missed most!

CrossFit Full Strength tools to success

CrossFit Full Strength tools to success

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Week Two WODs:

Fourth WOD: 12min AMRAP – 200m run + 30m walking lunges + 10 pull ups (green band): 2 rounds + 200m run – those walking lunges made my booty ache the rest of the week!

Fifth WOD: 3 rounds: 300m row + 5 k2e (kipping) + 10 push press (65#), 2 minute rest in between rounds: 12:56 – I started with 85# push press and had to drop to 65#.

Sixth WOD: 5 rounds: 7 wall balls (10#) + 7 deadlifts (85#): 2:58 – could have obviously gone heavier with both wb and dl considering my time!

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I’m on the fence about signing up for the CrossFit Games Open – have you signed up?

If you know of a #crossfitandpregnant lady that should be featured here, please reach out!

Hitting the reset button

After a long break from CrossFit {and blogging!}, I reentered the box last week. While I’m struggling to sit down after three intense days, I’m thrilled to be back.

Team Leatherman at Thanksgiving, 2015

Team Leatherman at Thanksgiving, 2015

While I wasn’t CrossFitting, I did manage to get back to my happy weight. It took 16 months and I finally managed to shed that weight thanks to the 21-Fix program. The combination of at-home workouts (that were actually breath-taking) with the easy-to-follow nutrition guidelines were exactly what I needed to get my body back. {I didn’t do the shakes – just portion control and the 30-minute WODs.} It was also nice to do something different and that fit into my schedule.

But I did miss CrossFit!

Check out CFFS!

Check out CFFS!

To get back to CrossFit, I recently signed up for CrossFit Full Strength‘s all-women six week challenge. CrossFit Full Strength is one of the oldest affiliates in Phoenix and it recently expanded into a new space. Everyone I’ve met is friendly, approachable and supportive. And the coaches are killer; they have a combined 30+ certs. Exactly what you should expect when joining a CrossFit affiliate!

The six week challenge is a collection of women at ALL fitness levels and includes an information-packed paleo challenge. Four time Regional competitor and owner of CrossFit Full Strength Gayle Shalloo-Davenport understands that many women don’t love working out with men – especially in such a perceived competitive environment. She’s found the groups provide the perfect foundation for CrossFit. The box also offers all-men challenges, too.

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CrossFit Full Strength

CrossFit Full Strength

First Week of WODs:

Baseline – 500m row, 40 air squats, 30 sit ups, 20 push ups, 10 pull ups (I used the green band): 7:08

Second WOD – 10 to 1 deadlifts (85#) + pike burpees: 7:29

Third WOD – 3 rounds 250m row, 10 thrusters (55#), 2 min. rest in between rounds: 12:45

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On another note, I have a number of athlete profiles in the pipeline. Stay tuned! Thanks again for your continued following and sharing.

xo

Athlete Profile: Allie Lauritson

Allie is CrossFit 1080's designated photographer, so she's rarely in front of the camera. Isn't she darling!?

Allie is CrossFit 1080’s designated photographer, so she’s rarely in front of the camera. Isn’t she darling!?

Sweet Allie Lauritson reached out to me in June, eager and excited with her first pregnancy. She welcomed her handsome baby in January and is grateful to her CrossFit routine – her midwives reaffirmed that her mobility and strength helped her labor.

This St. Paul, Minn., native is another “recovering runner” and CrossFits with her husband at CrossFit 1080. Allie is exactly why I love doing these profiles. She’s excited to be a new mom and her enthusiasm to continue to keep herself strong and healthy is contagious – even in writing. Here’s her story:

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? He loves that we’re able to continue working out together. However, we’re both doing a lot of research on safe ways to continue CrossFitting. He’s pretty protective of me and this little baby, but we both understand that strong women have the best chance at healthy pregnancies, births, and babies. Bring on that Metcon!

How did you find CrossFitandpregnant.com? My CrossFit coach and co-owner of our gym, Emily Hendricks, just delivered her first baby in May. She can’t stop talking about CrossFitandpregnant.com and what a great resource it is! She worked out with us (in moderation) until delivery.

Why I started CrossFit: I considered myself a seasoned runner but not “hard core” enough to join a CrossFit gym. After all, I was working out every day and in decent shape. What could I possibly gain from CrossFit? Now, after being a member at 1080 for almost a year, I could make a list of 100 things I am gaining.

I realized my fitness pre-CrossFit was very one dimensional with weaknesses I didn’t even know I had (apparently there is something called an upper body? Who knew?). There is so much more my body can do than hit the pavement, and 1080 ignited the passion once again for FUN workouts. Instead of running by myself with only my iTunes library to keep me trucking along, I now have supportive coaches and a team of athletes with similar goals that challenge and push me to be better. Every Day.

In all honesty, I felt very intimidated joining the Components Program (for beginners) at CrossFit 1080. I assumed every CrossFit athlete would be doing bicep curls…while doing squats…while doing cartwheels. I couldn’t have been more off base. There are athletes from all levels of fitness as well as age and even some with agility issues. CrossFit is for everyone that wants to be healthier. It’s as simple as that.

Other exercise practices: I continue to run on occasion, but since our gym incorporates running into its summer warm ups and Metcons, I usually kill two birds with one stone. BUT sometimes the weather is just too nice to skip out on a long run around the lakes of Minnesota.

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: Show up. Show up. Show up. Even when I’m not feeling the best, being around likeminded athletes and working on mobility is better than staying home on the couch! Fortunately, I haven’t had much morning sickness, so I’ve been able to participate like usual. I’d also like to learn as much as possible to be a resource to other new moms interested in continuing exercise into their pregnancies.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?: Not to lift over 20 pounds. What a joke.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? My gym (as well as probably any CF gym) is full of the most supportive friends. Early on in my pregnancy they were all too observant! Ha! They kept pushing me to lift more and go harder without knowing I was trying to take it a bit easier. I love that about them! Now that they know they’re just there for encouragement in any way they can be. It’s like a little family.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I love watching pregnant women in testimonial videos on YouTube. Those get me all riled up! And obviously the athlete profiles on CrossFitandpgregnant.com are beyond inspirational.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: To listen to my body!! When I got that piece of advice from my coach, everything else fell into place. Feeling great? Lift! Something doesn’t feel right? Modify or rest. No one can communicate that with you except yourself.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: To find the fine line of working but not too hard. To feel awesome and confident modifying movements and not feeling like I’m half-a**ing the workouts. I’m super competitive and not pushing my body has been the most challenging thing so far.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? I identify the most with Paleo, but many of my meals are

Whole30 approved. Things have changed a bit with my first trimester (I HATE sweet potatoes, chicken, peppers, and hot veggies now for some reason) which has been a bit frustrating for my nutrition goals. For now, I’m okay eating a frozen pizza if that’s the only thing I can stand to swallow. However, I still try to stay as gluten and dairy free as possible.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: This is a time to maintain my fitness, not excel. I won’t be going for any new PRs, and I’ll be maxing at about 80%, but that’s OK! The goal is to keep moving and stay healthy. My competitive nature surfaces only during board games now.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I don’t have to change my interests or identity when becoming pregnant. Life doesn’t need to come to a halt! I can continue doing what I love and what feels great without putting everything on hold simply because I’m carrying a child. People need to lighten up a bit!

Modifications you’d like to share with others: Besides turning down my intensity and lifting 20% less, I haven’t had to modify yet.

Lessons learned: Trust your coaches. The cost of a box is so much more than a gym membership. You are actually paying to be a part of a team with a real coach and real athletes that all genuinely CARE about this stuff. The coaches modify the workout for those who can’t do the intense version (that’s me now!), without making us feel like we’re doing a “lesser” workout.

Favorite quote: Be stronger than your excuses – CrossFit 1080 motto

Favorite hero/girl WOD: I really liked Murph. If not Murph then Kelly!

Three words that describe me: Quirky, Stubborn, and Always ready to celebrate

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Playing board games, snacking at any local Farmers Market, swimming, and crushing piñatas. (I’m half Mexican and my family destroys at LOT of Piñatas.)

Allie's handsome CrossFit babe!

Allie’s handsome CrossFit babe!