Athlete Profile: Andrea Signor

Meet Andrea Signor. Andrea is a recovering journalist, momma of two, Olympic weightlifter and founder of mamalifts.com. Andrea reached out to me as she was launching mamalifts. Like me when I first started out, I found there was very little research, which led me to documenting my own experiences. Andrea’s doing the same – primarily centered around Olympic lifting, but she did CrossFit for two years before she focused.

That focus is paying off – she competed in her first Oly competition just FOUR months after delivering baby #2. Talk about inspiring! Andrea’s always been active and loves to be outdoors. Living in Colorado makes it easy to rock climb, snowboard, and hike. And Andrea takes advantage, like most Coloradans.

A proud member of CrossFit Castle Rock Barbell Club, Andrea finds she’s feeling better than she did after her first mostly due to her tribe at the barbell club and lifting with other women — some of whom have had kids and some who haven’t. “Working out at the gym is “me” time and it’s nice to have a few hours a week where it’s just about me feeling good and not having to worry about anything else.”

Also doesn’t hurt that her husband also has her back. He is more enlightened than most and realizes not all women are created equal – so to tell all not to lift more than 10 pounds – is actually silly.

We agree. More from Andrea:

A funnier anecdote: When I told my (male) lifting coach that I was pregnant with my first child, he told me that I should continue lifting and not use my pregnancy as an excuse to not exercise. I believe his exact quote was, “Do you think when Running Deer got knocked up the tribe stopped migrating with the buffalo? No. So you shouldn’t stop training.”

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: My goal was always to maintain strength and stay as healthy as possible. One thing I struggled with in both pregnancies was knowing the line between pushing myself and overdoing it. I think more often than not I went too easy, but I was working out by myself at a rec center and didn’t have a program or a support system to help guide my workouts. (My former coach was in Michigan and we had moved to Colorado during my first pregnancy).

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? Ugh. The nurses at my doctor’s office advised me to not lift more than 10 pounds and when I said I was lifting regularly they told me I could lift 25 pounds. To be honest, I just politely nodded and didn’t disclose what I was doing for workouts.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I love hearing other women’s stories of working out through their pregnancies. I have a good friend who is currently pregnant with her second child and she’s a yoga instructor. I have another friend who just competed in a power-lifting competition at 14 weeks. I knew women who climbed until they were seven months pregnant. Becoming a parent is such a jarring experience and I think moms especially struggle with wanting to go back to feeling like their old selves and embracing this new role. I think staying active and passionate with a sport is key to helping bridge that divide.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: Your body is capable of so much and when you’re working out and carrying a child you are so much more in tune with your body.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Knowing when I should push more. I think I often played it safe and I probably sacrificed some strength as a result.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? Not really. We cook 90% of our meals at home. We mostly eat meat and vegetables out of convenience; but I never denied myself if I wanted carbs or dessert — it just had to be homemade. So I totally ate cookies and brownies, but because it was kind of pain to bake everything from scratch, it wasn’t super often.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: I always loved feeling my babies go wild after my workouts. I think I lulled them to sleep while I worked out and about 30 minutes after I stopped they would just have a dance party. That was a cool feeling.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: It lets you retain a piece of  your old self when so much is changing and out of your control.

Deep squats at 34 weeks pregnant

Modifications you’d like to share with others: Widen your squat stance as your belly grows to adjust for a shifting center of gravity

Lessons learned: There’s a huge community of CrossFitters and lifters who are going through similar experiences. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these groups for support or advice. I wish I would have done this instead of kind of existing in my own bubble for so long.

If you could do it all again, you would: Come up with a programming plan and adjust as necessary instead of “seeing how I feel” when I get to the gym.

Favorite quote: The days are long, but the years are short.

Favorite girl WOD: I don’t remember these, but my favorite lifts are squats and deadlifts – my bread and butter

Three words that describe me: Stubborn, spunky, determined

Postpartum

How was your delivery? Both of my deliveries were textbook. My water broke at 37 weeks and 2 days (for both girls), I labored without drugs (I have scoliosis and wanted to avoid an epidural at all costs), and pushed for about 10 minutes and they were out. My first was born in Frisco, Colorado, at an elevation of 9,000+ feet and, despite being on the earlier side, she didn’t need oxygen (about 50% of babies who are born up there do).

Anything noteworthy your first six weeks? I was cleared to workout with my first two weeks after giving birth. I was cleared at six weeks with my second, although I began doing easy workouts (walking, Turkish get-ups, light squats) sooner.

Are you back to working out? How’s it going? Yes! This recovery has been so much better than my first. I think a lot has to do with hormones, but I’m way more motivated to be at the gym this time around and I’m training for my first Olympic lifting competition, which will take place June 17 (at almost 5 months post-partum).

Any advice you want to share? Do not beat yourself up if the desire to return to the gym isn’t there. I phoned it in for months after my first was born and it wasn’t until I was done breastfeeding that my hormones leveled out and I felt a true desire to get back to it.

Be sure to follow mamalifts:

 

 

 

Thanks for sharing your story, Andrea! xoxo

Shout Out to All the DADS!

#CrossFitandPregnant wouldn’t exist without the dads (because duh, biology). So on this Father’s Day, we wanted to recognize the guys behind the barbells. Some of our athletes had their partner/hubs share what it was like to watch their lady, CrossFit while pregnant, go through birth and triumph post partum. Here’s what they had to share –

Dr. Leon Chang

Leon and I go back to my original days of CrossFit. He was part owner of CrossFit Elysium {now CrossFit 858 – Uptown} and is married to Dr. Alessandra Wall. They have two sons, Luca (8) and Rhys (5).

What was it like watching your spouse/partner CrossFit while pregnant? Inspiring. Doing “metcons” was always incredibly painful for me- I can’t imagine doing them with a gravid uterus just sucking blood flow and oxygen that your muscles desperately need! In addition, bodyweight movements have always been one of my strengths, and watching Alessandra’s gymnastics ability rapidly take a hit due to the pregnancies would have been more of a ego-blow than I could bear.

Leon & Alessandra

Since my spouse/partner CrossFitted while pregnant, I’ve learned: the human body is an amazing piece of machinery. Sure, women can and should take their foot off the gas pedal a bit during pregnancy, and will have to modify movements. But that doesn’t mean all movement has to stop altogether, and some degree of intensity can still be tolerated.

Advice you’d like to share with other new #crossfitandpregnant dads: As long as the facility and/or coach understands the demands of pregnancy and can scale work outs appropriately, there’s nothing you need to worry about. Just get out of the way, let the mom do her thing and be supportive! Oh, and don’t cry if she continues to crush you in the WODs.

Any advice you want to share? As a former coach, I’d advise pregnant women to just enjoy the journey. Yes, you will lose some capacity but you can gain it back rapidly. Don’t worry about “losing your muscle up” or anything like that- all of those challenges will still be there. Just recognize that you’ll have to scale, you won’t be “as fit” as you were pre-pregnancy, but you’ll get it back! Jason Koemans

Jason has only recently come into our lives and his wife Lauren’s profile is in my queue (stay tuned – Lauren is one of the awesome coaches at Chuckwalla CrossFit).

Three words that describe your spouse/partner: tough, persistent & beautiful

How do you support your spouse/partner in “getting her body back”? By allowing her time to recover before we have another baby 😉 Talking positively about her body and supporting her in the exercise she desires.

Advice you’d like to share with other new #crossfitandpregnant dads: A pregnant woman can feel her limits, don’t push her farther than she should go.

Chad Leatherman

Big shout to the Poppa of #TeamLeatherman – CHAD. “Watching Meghan during our first pregnancy was nerve racking and equally inspiring. I loved how bad-ass she was (is). We received a lot of recognition and kudos from other athletes. And any time Meghan PR’d, which was often during her pregnancy with Florie, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh, hell yeah!'”

His advice to other dads: don’t be scared, be involved. Encourage baby momma to listen to her body and scale accordingly.

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to these three encouraging men and for all the Dads who stand beside their parenthood partners. Wishing you a year of active and healthy fatherhood!

xoxo

 

 

MORE

Feeling the Love!                  Welcome to MORE: The Retreat

As #parentpreneurs, it’s easy and natural to want MORE. More time, more energy, more peace, more chances to slow down and soak in the moment.

We got just that and MORE this weekend at MORE: The Retreat. Held at the Dove Mountain Ritz Carlton, the retreat is the brainchild of Amber and Kai Anderson, who wanted to create a space for entrepreneurial parents who need time to strategize and enjoy their families.

We spent the weekend with several families savoring MORE. It was the perfect way for us to celebrate our wedding anniversary and spend good time with the bebes. Our weekend was filled with hiking, pool time, work time, nap time, delicious food and new friends seeking the same in life. 💜 We often get swept up in the running around, staring at our phones, glazing over in front of the tv. But this weekend, we actually relaxed and rejuvenated. We spent time talking about the big picture and resetting our goals. We played and played and played with our littles. The important stuff for marriage, for work, for parenting, for self-care.

If this sounds like something you’re down for, do yourself a favor and follow @newmoreco. And then save the date for August 18 for the #milkbeerwine happy hour to get started on your adventure for MORE. Tickets for #milkbeerwine available here.

Thank you for MORE, Amber & Kai!

xoxo, Team Leatherman

Team Leatherman || Doing MORE {I just love seeing my Littles holding hands!}

Athlete Profile | Olivia Leblond

French-born Olivia Leblond has been CrossFitting for two years gave birth to her first born in February. A self designated ninja in the making, Olivia was supported by her spouse to CrossFit during her pregnancy. It was her daily social outing. Olivia and her husband are currently living in Singapore, where pregnancy advice is “by the book,” meaning you’re not allowed to lift anything nor let your heart rate go too high. She tried to explain what she was doing but her doctor just dismissed her. “In that sense, I did take a risk,” Olivia said. “But I only did because it was a low risk pregnancy. Had it been any different, I would have taken down the training intensity a lot.”

More from Olivia

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com? The day I found out about the pregnancy, my first google search was “CrossFit pregnant”. Though, I’m still rather new to CrossFit, I had been educating myself extensively to become a (good) coach at the time. So I just didn’t want to throw all that away.
Why I started CrossFit: Because I did the usual aerobics. Then the Insanity videos. And then I was desperate to find something tougher. It may be a coincidence that a box opened in my city at the time.
Other exercise practices: if I had the time, I’d do gymnastics. And if I wasn’t so lazy, I’d run but I always make excuses.
My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: I wanted to maintain my strength and avoid all the usual pains and aches you hear of. Oh and I wanted to prove to the world that CrossFit can be adapted to EVERYONE. In the future, I’d love to help women before/during/after pregnancy; so I’m my own Guinea pig.
CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? In the community, the other athletes at the box, the strangers on Instagram, from my husband and my distance coach in the U.S.
CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I’ve been going to New Hampshire every year for the past 18 years. Two years ago, I visited a box – White Mountain CrossFit – and as I sat there watching a class, this amazing 7-8 months pregnant woman was doing pull ups better than anyone else. That day I said, if I’m ever preggers, I want to be like her! Oh and her coach is now my coach too!
Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: that your body is pretty intelligent and you can trust it. I’ve learned that you can be super strong when pregnant. I felt amazing at the gym. I’ve also learned that working out stopped the morning sickness.
Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: it’s a mental challenge – specifically not being able to do certain movements anymore. As the pregnancy advanced, I had to stop abs, then pistols, then box jumps. And I felt very heavy the last few weeks. The muscle definition went away as well.
Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? I’ve kept my diet more or less the same as before. I’ve always eaten clean-ish. I do love candy every once in a while. Quantity wise, it’s been rather normal portions. I have kept on taking protein as usual. I just made sure the products I was ingesting were as natural as possible.
Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Don’t listen to the haters, but listen to your body. It’s amazing how the body knows if something is wrong. Some movements were OK the first months and all of a sudden, it felt wrong, so I stopped.
What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: the fact that in the box, even pregnant, you’re still an “athlete.” You’re part of something that’s not about the baby but about yourself. It’s nice for a change. The only difference in the box is your status from “one of the athlete” to “badass mom.”
Modifications you’d like to share with others: it’s not really modifications, it’s more about accessory work. I did loads to support the heavier body and the birth strains. Just bank on the accessory work! I wasn’t following the normal classes. I’m lucky to have a coach in the U.S. sending me a daily program and he looooves accessory work!
Lessons learned: time your pregnancy so you’re not completely out for The {CrossFit Games} Open – haha! I missed it all this year. ☹
If you could do it all again, you would: do the exact same!
Favorite quote: “Push it like you’re giving birth” that’s what I yell at people nowadays.
Favorite girl WOD: Annie. Simple and efficient.
Three words that describe me: mad, resilient, upright
When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At starbucks or sleeping
***
Thanks for sharing your story, Olivia! Enjoy your sweet baby!

Turn It Up

10 months in to parenting two has caused me to be … quiet on here, but we clap our hands everyday!

Handclap is one of our favorite jams – great for dancing in the kitchen during dinner prep, or in the car shuffling from here to there. Everyone gets down!

Parenthood comes with a lot of hand clapping for all the “momma, watch me’s” and “poppa, looks!” we get from a highly active three-year-old. And at 10 months, our bebe is just getting this skill down pat.

CrossFit has a bunch of clapping and high-fiving, too. You’re seeing it during the Regionals competition today and in boxes around the world.

I’d like to do a bit of hand clapping for my team and co-captain on this crazy journey. We’re 20 days into our first round of Whole 30 and we (finally, embarrassingly) did our first CrossFit WOD in 10 months at Chuckwalla. Well, scratch that, the hubs did some killer workouts at our affiliate in Boulder, CrossFit Beat, so he’s a head of my curve.

Felt good to be sweating with others and just grinding away on an intense WOD. So, thanks Coach John, for making today a doozie! Good way to segue back.

Quick W30 takeaways:

  • Never thought I could drink black coffee, but here I am … enjoying it!
  • So much good food, but hard not having some convenience items to leverage with littles at home and a crunchy schedule. Fortunately, I’m used to meal planning and food prepping. I imagine this is very overwhelming for someone just beginning.
  • Sugar is in EVERYTHING. It’s honestly disgusting and gross to realize. It’s no wonder we’re all addicted. It’s almost impossible to get away from.
  • The non-scale victories (NSV): clear head, more energy, less bloat, less aches and pains, less hangriness.

Can’t wait to see the results now that CrossFit is back into our routine.

<Hand Claps!>

**I’ve had several pregnant mommas reach out to me during my blog writing hiatus. I apologize for not getting back to you – this has been mom guilt x200 for me. I would love to feature you, so if you’re still interested, drop me a note!**

2017. Already February?!

untitled-copy

Our friends at Chuckwalla CrossFit have been posting some funny CrossFit | Valentine themed memes on Instagram this month. Couple that with the excitement around the CrossFit Games and some recent #crossfitandpregnant scaling articles from CrossFit had led me to move my health and wellness off the backburner. Here are the articles:

I don’t know what it is, but I hit a slump with both babies in the 5-7 month postpartum range and end up packing on pounds again. It’s super annoying. Notably, it has been the holidays for both babies at this point, but regardless, it is frustrating to see the scale go up and down. I do love my body – it’s strong enough to bring two healthy, happy bebes into this world and feed them. BUT, I do miss wearing the gorgeous clothes in my closet!

Nothing like getting out the measuring tape to get your booty in gear, which is exactly what I did this morning. Despite my utter exhaustion and still battling flu symptoms from last week, I did a cardio workout today at home. Felt good to sweat, but I have a LONG way to go before I get back to a box. My endurance is shot.

To stay focused, the hubs and I are going to start training for some runs again. It’s something we loved doing together pre-babies and I miss that time and sensation of completing something together. And it’s perfect running weather in Phoenix right now, so we just have to pack the bebes in the stroller and ago. My second focus is fitting into a particular dress for a big work event at the end of March. Nothing like a killer dress to motivate!

Any tips from other mommas on what to do to stay energized, focused, and active?

xoxo

22 Kill Challenge

The VA released a startling stat in 2013:

22 veterans are killed by suicide every day.

Let that sink in. Twenty-two EVERY DAY.

That stat launched the #22KILL movement – an effort to educate the public, and show financial, physical, mental, emotional support for our veterans battling thoughts of suicide. Part of the current awareness is a Facebook campaign nominating people to do 22 push-ups a day for 22 days.

#22Kill

#22Kill

Thanks to one of my Booz Allen Hamilton mentors, Heather Williams Walker, I’m doing 22 push-ups a day for 22 days to raise awareness of the tragic loss of combat veterans due to suicide. I am honored to be nominated and think of the struggles our heroes face on and off the battlefield with every push-up.

I started this challenge on Sunday, Sept. 25 and I’ve been capturing videos along the way.

For my first set of nominations, I’m asking my fellow fit-mommas to join the challenge. Ladies, I hope you’ll accept this challenge and add ~two minutes to your daily routines to think about our service women and men who feel they have no other options.

  1. Jessica Taylor, lifesaver who got me into 21-Day Fix
  2. Kelly Darrell, wife of a Naval Captain and former co-lead of Leash Your Fitness in San Diego
  3. Colleen Rooney White, CrossFitter and wife of a police officer
  4. Leslie Spector, CrossFitter and wife of a firefighter
  5. Stacy Alcala, CrossFitter and recently experienced the USMC Bootcamp

The rules are simple:
* Once nominated, your 22 days start the following day.
* Every day, record yourself doing 22 push-ups. Try your best to reach 22. If that means doing assisted (from your knees) push-ups or you have to stop and take a break that’s fine but try to get them all done in one video.
* Every day you must nominate a different person. Try to choose people you think will want to do this and/or have the ability to do it.
* And finally, have fun with this. This is a simple and fun way to get the word out about an important matter. These brave men and women put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and yet, sadly, so many veterans feel suicide is the only option.

If you want to do more than push-ups, take direct action.
Click one of the links below to make a donation and to learn more about what you can do to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their communities through physical and social activity.
http://mosheroes.org/
http://www.teamrwb.org/
https://www.22kill.com