Athlete Profile: Leslie Spector

Leslie, Meghan and their bumps

Leslie, Meghan and their bumps

When I first started writing this blog, one of the first women I reached to was my friend Leslie. We met at our current affiliate and she was more than willing to share her experience. I’m so impressed by her dedication to CrossFit, while balancing being a wife, mommy to a toddler, full-time educator, and preparing for baby #2. And you guys, she looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I hope I look this fit when I’m 30+ weeks into pregnancy.

Leslie: 30+ weeks and lifting strong, while looking amazing!

Leslie: 30+ weeks and lifting strong, while looking amazing!

Leslie’s story:

Leslie pre-pregnancies

Leslie pre-pregnancies

Phoenix, Ariz., native Leslie Spector began her CrossFit journey September 2010 in an effort to train for Ragnar 2011, a 200-mile team relay race and to medicate her recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, naturally (i.e. sans drugs). CrossFit, in combination with paleo eating, did the trick, shaving more than two minutes off her mile time and balancing her moods like never before.

“Unfortunately, I suffered a hip flexor injury during the race, earning me three months of physical therapy and rehab,” said Leslie. “Shortly after this I became pregnant, exercising very moderately. Despite being healthy and active, my body decided it needed a reset and after only a few weeks, I miscarried.”

Following the devastating loss, Leslie suffered some depression (understandably!) and self-medicated with “laziness in combination with deliciously gross food.” She became pregnant again almost immediately and was terrified of everything this time. The result? A sedentary pregnancy and a total of 70 lbs gained.

Leslie & Sophie

Leslie & Sophie

After an emotional roller coaster of a pregnancy (she chose to go without medication for her bipolar disorder) and the somewhat traumatic birth of her daughter, she was determined to get healthy again. And Leslie wasn’t merely focused on her physical health; she wanted the full mind, body, spirit health. After walking, then running, then a round of Insanity, she craved more and found Back Alley CrossFit, a Central Phoenix Box, in October 2012. She was able to shed those 70 pounds with CrossFitting Rx, until pregnancy #2 happened.

Now, at the end of her second pregnancy, Leslie has maintained her CrossFit and paleo lifestyle, feeling better than ever and more relaxed for baby Spector #2 to arrive.

30+ weeks pregnant

30+ weeks pregnant

More on Leslie:

Other exercise practices:  When I am not CrossFitting I love to hike, run, and do yoga.

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:  My first pregnancy was less than healthy and resulted in major weight gain and crazy mood fluctuations. My goal this time around is to continue to CrossFit since it is truly my medication. My goal is not only to make healthy weight gains, but to also maintain a healthy mental balance.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? I love my doctor! He is very liberal as far as doctors are concerned.  He seems to follow the latest research and keeps his recommendations up to date. I have been totally honest with him about how active I am and he fully supportive. At my very first visit this pregnancy he began rooting me on as far as exercise and CrossFit goes. He has continued to be supportive even through my own fears when things feel off. His best advice has been to listen to my body and I do it every minute of every day and especially in the box!

CrossFit and pregnant: Leslie

CrossFit and pregnant: Leslie

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? I have a friend who CrossFitted through her pregnancy and she was the first call I made. She sent me to CrossFit Mom and there was lots of great information there. I also lean on my own coaches, CrossFit buddies, and of course the amazing, Dr. Harris.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I work out with some amazingly fit women. I find inspiration every time I step foot into Back Alley. I know the more I do while pregnant and the more consistent I am the faster I will be able to catch back up to everyone else I am ogling during my slow, paced WODS now.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: That exercise of any kind is even more mental than I thought prior to doing it pregnant. There are times when body can do way more than mind will let it and there are times when mind wants to keep pushing through and my body is screaming slow down. When I can control the mental side of CrossFit, I find the most success.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Hands down, my biggest challenge has been slowing down and scaling back. I am competitive by nature and strive to always beat my own best. Being pregnant, the recommendation from around the CrossFit world and the mainstream is to slow down. The easiest way to do this is the “talk test.” I should be able to maintain a conversation throughout the WOD.This is not a time for getting better or pushing toward PRs, but rather a time to maintain. It has taken great mental dedication to follow this recommendation, I mean, when is the last time you could carry on a conversation during a WOD?!

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? As far as eating during pregnancy my goal is balance. Nothing has been eliminated, but we definitely lean towards a paleo-ish diet…with ice cream. We definitely indulge in ice cream!

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Just show up!  You can scale and modify any WOD to make it work for your ever-changing body. Throw expectations out the window and listen to your body.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I have proven to myself with this pregnancy that no matter how much exercise and diet balance I maintain, my body will gain weight to support my pregnancy. However, CrossFitting while pregnant has given me energy and mental balance, which in my situation is far more priceless than hot preggie bod.

Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Ghandi

Favorite girl WOD: Honestly, none stood out and I had to look them all up to pick a fave. Kelly is fun one; I like when running is incorporated.

Three words that describe me: Dedicated, neurotic, fun

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home with the fam!  They are my world!!!

The bump, getting pumped!

The bump, getting pumped!

If you have a CrossFit and pregnant story to share, email

3 thoughts on “Athlete Profile: Leslie Spector

  1. Lea-Ann Ellison birthed a healthy baby – DUH – CrossFit & Pregnant

  2. Athlete Profile (update): Leslie Spector – CrossFit & Pregnant

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