Athlete Profile (update): Leslie Spector

Hiking

Hiking with her babies (photo courtesy of Leslie)

A year ago, we featured Phoenix, Ariz., native Leslie Spector, who was pregnant with baby #2, and an advocate for CrossFitting while pregnant. Today, Leslie is rocking a hot bod thanks to hard work and participating in a Back Alley CrossFit paleo challenge. “I had hit a plateau with my weight loss after Sean,” said Leslie. “The paleo challenge was the nudge of motivation I needed.”

Her results speak volumes:

  • 15lbs gone forever
  • 16 inches gone forever
  • Reduced performance times by at least a minute

Leslie advises that it’s more than just the box and paleo (or any diet tweaks) to get that weight off. “If the kiddos are losing their minds and you can’t make it in, you need to have a back-up plan.” She recommends having a list of at-home WODs, DVDs, or getting outside. “Anything is better than nothing!”

Balance is a struggle for this full time working mom of two. Now having two kiddos to manage and a husband with a fire fighter’s schedule, getting into the box can be tricky, but making the commitment is key.

Double unders! (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

Double unders! (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

“My best advice is to have a solid routine and stick with it,” said Leslie. “On days when your heart is tugging more toward baby than the box, listen! Those feelings happen for a reason. I love Elizabeth Akinwale’s quote about always having inches to lose and gains to make, but our babies are only babies once. That got me through last week having two sick babies and only working out twice. I really try to be in tune with my needs. If it’s respite, I find someone else to love my babies for the hour I’m working out. If I miss my babes, but know for my own well-being my butt needs to be at the gym, they come along and I work out with the annoying interruptions because that’s better than not seeing them.”

Team WOD (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

Team WOD (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

When her kiddos do join her in the box, she leverages technology and food. For her toddler, some tablet time is key, since WOD time is some of the only time she sees technology. Her baby’s distractions shift from food, to other people, to his big sissy, to the various toys in the box. “To be honest, the awesome community at Back Alley is what gets me through if he is there,” Leslie said.

Leslie’s focus on a paleo lifestyle helped with the weight loss, but she suggests finding something that works for you and your family. “Dial in the diet, but make it realistic so it works for you instead of being destined to fail. If it’s not realistic, you’ll fail. If you fail, it’s an excuse to go off the rails. At least it is for me.” Having the support of a spouse/partner or the entire family definitely helps. For other moms considering paleo, she offers this advice, “It seems more complicated than it is. Once you know the basics, and carve out prep time, it’s easy.” She turns to Paleo Grubs for recipe inspiration. “I make a spicy chicken recipe at least once a week. I also, have bacon and steak wrapped asparagus in the weekly rotation.” YUM!

Leslie didn’t CrossFit during her first pregnancy, but was a huge advocate for it when she became pregnant with her second baby. Leslie isn’t only focused on her physical health through CrossFit; she uses it for full mind, body, and spiritual health.

Endurance training with Coach Melissa (photo courtesy of Leslie)

Endurance training with Coach Melissa (photo courtesy of Leslie)

“CrossFit is my medicine! Literally, I use it to naturally treat my bipolar disorder,” said Leslie. “Chemicals freak me out and Back Alley makes it possible for me to maintain balance without having to pop pills. If I go more than a couple days without my daily dose of BACF, it’s obvious. I love being dependent on exercise and friends…the support and friendships I have built are priceless!”

How’s that for CrossFit and pregnant success?

More on Leslie:

Biggest CrossFit challenge she’s faced: Front rack lifts, due to a nagging wrist injury that won’t go away.

Greatest CrossFit accomplishment: I can see back muscles after a super successful paleo challenge!

Favorite girl WOD: I like Fran for the challenge. My best time 4:47, but that is a light and scaled version. I did it in 5:53 a little heavier, still a bit scaled too.

Biggest value in CrossFitting while pregnant?: My mental well being and there is less work on the back-end. During my first pregnancy, I gained 70# (sans CrossFit). With number two, it was only about 26# – enough said!

Favorite mom resources? (book, blog, website, toy for baby, etc.): Friends are number one. Support group is number two. I joined one specific to Nursing. Google is another favorite. When my babies were tiny, ‘Baby Wise’ was my go to book. Now I frequently delve into ‘Love and Logic.’

How much time did you take off after your pregnancy before you got back to CF?: I took the recommended six weeks and then I went really slow. CrossFitting while pregnant was much easier than after baby.

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Six Months

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Six months of motherhood. I blinked and we’re already at the half-year point. I have no idea how that happened. In honor of those six months, I would like to expose some of my truths:

I was slovenly all summer. It’s no secret: I’m not a desert heat kinda gal. I hibernate like it’s nobody’s business. So the extra 20 (yes, 20!) pounds have stuck around at six months. All those statements about nursing and losing the weight? Lies. Pre-pregnancy clothes have yet to fit (can I get an AMEN for yoga pants?). I’m awkwardly wide. Spanx don’t do shit. This is probably my greatest struggle with pregnancy and motherhood. I miss my wardrobe and the body I worked so hard for prior to baby.

Monkey Swings at Back Alley CrossFit

Monkey Swings at Back Alley CrossFit

CrossFit definitely helps, but I have been at a weight-loss plateau for quite some time. Have I CrossFitted five days a week? No. But it’s more than just working out. Recently, I started keeping a food journal. The minute I put what I consumed on paper, I shredded some inches and pounds (no lie). Through my week of food journaling, Coach Melissa helped me realize my sugar addiction and is currently helping me get my blood sugar back in check. Melissa has me eating so much, which seems counter-intuitive, but I am also not crashing or experiencing extreme starvation post-nursing. Huge wins – mentally, emotionally, and physically!

iPhones let you take selfies!

iPhones let you take selfies!

My iPhone and social media saved me from the long stretches of boredom and isolation and kept me engaged during the early days of hours-upon-hours of nursing. Sometimes I feel guilty about this (Should I be talking, singing, praying to her? How can I be more present? Will she be addicted to technology at a young age from seeing me like this?). But to my fellow online mommas, thank you for being there; for responding at crazy hours. It’s nice knowing there’s a village out there googling the same crazy questions, posting hilarious parenthood articles, and sharing pics of the cutie-patooties.

Courtesy of ecardforum

Courtesy of ecardforum

And when I wasn’t scrolling through my phone, TV was my best friend. I watched every season of Lost. I started Pretty Little Liars (terrible, but addicting). Chad and I watched The Office and Friday Night Lights (this was the second time we’ve watched every episode). People, that’s four series consumed from May to August. My word, that’s a lot of TV! But in the dead of summer (aka 116 degrees), there’s not much else to do with a newborn, but hole away in the air conditioning.

For the first five months, Florie refused to sleep during the day. Until we bought a swing for nap time. Yes, judge away; my child naps in the swing. But there are days (like today) where she fights a nap, even in the swing, (and wins). She just doesn’t want to miss anything. My Type-A personality struggles with the reality that I get little accomplished everyday. It’s one I’m overcoming as she becomes more independent, but those early days were hard! And I thank God everyday that she has slept through the night from a very young age.

The pendulum of emotions and weird things your body does postpartum sucks. There’s no better word. I’m tired of the hair loss, the irritability, the feelings of starvation that follow long periods of nursing (see point above; no wonder I can’t lose the extra 20 pounds), the brain fog…

Then there’s the challenge of balancing my professional self with my new role as a momma. This isn’t easy for me. My friend, and subsequently my life coach, Dr. Alessandra Wall, of Life in Focus, has helped me in this time of re-definition. We’re working on a variety of things, but, most importantly, she’s definitely my voice of reason when I’m battling the “how do I do it?” questions.

My friend Margie’s very honest blog about her first year as a mom has been a point of salvation. She suffered a rough first year with her first-born and was brave enough to share her truths with the world. I applaud her for bucking the norm and for making me feel OK with some of my own challenges. And let me tell you, she’s on baby #2, kicking ass and taking names, all while running her own business. Major props!

I wouldn’t change any of this if it meant I didn’t have my sweet, strong, fierce Little Miss. Life with her is so much brighter and better. I’m fascinated by her daily developments – what’s instinctive and what she’s picking up from us. I’ve loved getting us involved in all the fun (FREE!) activities around town. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to deepen some friendships with other (new) mommas. And I’m so thankful for my supportive, patient husband, who has risen to his fatherhood duties without hesitation. For that, I’m truly thankful and lucky.

What are your truths? Where did you turn on bad days? Any wise sages have advice for new moms?