Athlete Profile: Lauren Koemans

Making gains at Chuckwalla, 12 months post delivery.

Lauren Koemans is a coach at Chuckwalla CrossFit and something I adore about her is her dedication to pregnant and post-partum mommas. As I mentioned in my previous post, Chuckwalla is hosting its second Pregnancy & Postpartum Core Connections workshop on August 26 {Register} with El Jefe CrossFit. Lauren is leading part of the workshop and has recently blogged about #CrossFitandPregnant advice.

Not only is she doing great things for mommas, she’s also a thoughtful coach who takes time and attention to make sure all her athletes are pushing their limits safely and properly.Team Leatherman is so thankful to have her in our corner!

She hails from Missoula, Montana and has been CrossFitting for four years. She and her husband Jason are also big runners, and have competed in several Ragnar Relays.

Welcome to the world, sweet boy!

They welcomed their son Kyrie in May, 2016. Here’s her story:

Why I started CrossFit: I was an athlete growing up and have always enjoy a friendly competition and challenge. When I discovered CrossFit I knew it was just what I wanted, little did I know it was everything I needed!

What did your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? He loves to see me enjoy CrossFit and running, but did need some consolation that it really was safe for the baby if I continued those activities.

Training for Two!

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant was: My goal was to maintain my fitness level and not to lose my conditioning/strength.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? My doctor(s) – I moved mid-pregnancy – didn’t have much to say beyond limiting activities with risk of contact (I wanted to go downhill skiing! She said no.) and that if I did it before pregnancy I could continue doing it.

CrossFit-themed baby shower from CrossFit 2 Serve

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? I find support in the CrossFit community around me. At first I was in Nevada at CrossFit 2 Serve and then mid-pregnancy we moved to Arizona and joined Shamrock CrossFit [now closed] (where there were two other pregnant mommas and all of us due in a five week window!). A couple months after my son was born I found Chuckwalla CrossFit. The community at Chuckwalla is especially amazing. I will never forget the members who held my newborn baby so that I could get a workout in! And of course, my husband Jason is my Number One.

Mommas of Shamrock CrossFit

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I was inspired by Lindsey Valenzeula, a CrossFit Games athlete, who was due with her first baby (also a boy!) the same day as me, and continued to CrossFit her entire pregnancy. She has since returned to CrossFit to qualify for Regionals and finished 11, at almost exactly one year postpartum. The other moms in my box always inspire me, too.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: There is a much better answer to “how to work out” during pre/postpartum than just “listen to your body” and “do what you did before.” And I learned that seeing the doctor at eight weeks postpartum and being “cleared for [any] exercise,” does not mean to jump right back to what I was doing, but to slow down and build a foundation first. I have been studying Julie Weibe (DPT), Brianna Battles (MS, CSCS, USAW), Jessie Mundell, Jennifer Campbell, and a few others who are making waves in the pre/postpartum exercise world. I have learned a strategy to take into my future pregnancy(ies) and began implementing it postpartum. The strategy is more than just modifications, and it teaches me to use my core and pelvic floor in a way that prevents, heals or minimizes any pelvic floor/core dysfunction. I have learned that the postpartum symptoms that are common – such as leaking/incontinence, diastasis (separation of abdominal muscles), painful intercourse, low back pain, etc. – are not “badges of motherhood” that have to now be lived with, but there is hope for healing AND for exercising in the way you love. As a postpartum mom, implementing the piston science strategy and managing my symptoms, I am actually becoming STRONGER than before my son!

10-11 weeks pregnant

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: At about 10/11 weeks pregnant, I ran Ragnar Las Vegas (Nov 2015). I had been signed up for the ultra (which would up have been up to 40 miles) prior to finding out I was pregnant. My husband, who would not claim to “enjoy” running, actually swapped places with me and I ran on the regular team, still covering the most miles out of the 12 legs for about 20 miles total! My joints hurt SO BAD I didn’t run much during the rest of my pregnancy. The other challenge for me was to embrace the changes in my body during pregnancy. I (think) I will be much more accepting next time around…

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? I guess you would call it “whole food eating.” Low crap/chemicals matter to me more than low carbs/calories!! While I do end up eating some processed foods, I try to eliminate them as much as possible, also watching added sugar and artificial ingredients. (Although I’m sitting here realized I had two different kinds of Goldfish today…maybe I need to revisit the limit on processed foods…) I try to incorporate fruit and/or veggies in every meal, with lots of protein and healthy fats. I drink mostly water but of course I have at least one (usually iced) coffee a day, and I do enjoy La Croix/sparkling water or iced tea. And I do love me a lot of dessert, so I do best if I don’t keep it in the house, but when I do partake in eating desserts I do it guilt-free.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Mommas are strong, fierce and determined, and pregnancy/postpartum doesn’t change that. The question isn’t “Can I do this workout/movement.” The question is “SHOULD I?”

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: CrossFit is valuable for pregnancy the same way it is valuable for life – the discipline, strength, confidence & mindset you grow as you accomplish hard things, makes you able to keep accomplishing even harder things with a positive attitude.

Modifications you’d like to share with others: What is better than a modification is the strategy of alignment (ribs over hips, butt untucked), piston breathing (managing IAP by engaging your pelvic floor and core to be coordinated with your breath) and lack of symptoms. That strategy allows you to determine if an exercise is appropriate for you at the phase you’re in. If you can’t maintain the strategy or if you experience symptoms, then the best way to modify is to bring things back to center, closer to your core, with smaller movements. Gravity (prone positions like plank or push-ups) traditional ab work, and high impact activities (running, jumping) increase the chance of not being able to maintain the strategy, so pay extra attention to those types of movements.

Lessons learned: I have become so passionate about making sure all moms get the information they deserve about pre/postpartum exercise because it is something most medical/fitness professionals DON’T talk about (often because they aren’t trained in it.) A mother’s body is AMAZING, just to carry, grow, labor and deliver and sustain the life of a tiny human. The changes her body goes through to accomplish such an incredible feat are mind blowing. I want each momma to have the support they need to slow down, embrace the process, and exercise in a way that is healing and restoring instead of damaging.

Some of the Chuckwalla CrossFit mommas

If you could do it all again, you would: I have learned so much about pre/postpartum exercise. I am excited to be armed with better information during my next pregnancy, so that I actually know what my body is telling me! I will be more intentional in my exercise, especially with higher risk movements. I also want to embrace my body more for the amazing feat it is accomplishing, and take more photos during my next pregnancy.

Favorite quote: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3

Favorite girl WOD: Nancy is my favorite girl WOD because I enjoy running and OH squats are a good challenge.

Three words that describe me: I couldn’t decide, so I asked my husband: “Tough, thorough, beautiful.”

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: If I’m not at home with my busy little one-year-old, I’m probably at a coffee shop or Target.

Kyrie. Year one in the books.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Lauren! Join her August 26 at the workshop or contact her at Chuckwalla CrossFit.

xoxo

Chuckwalla’s CrossFit Momma Program

One of the reasons I/we love Chuckwalla CrossFit so much is its focus on family – FREE childcare, community events that are tailored to families (swim parties, bounce houses, gluten free goodies, moms groups) … need I say more!?

Most recently, Coach Lauren has developed a pregnancy and postpartum exercise program, focused on supporting mommas through all phases of motherhood and maintaining a strong core.

The next workshop is Saturday, August 26. I encourage YOU to join the conversation and register for the event! Here are ALL the details:

WHEN: Saturday August 26 from 11am – 4pm (with 30 minute lunch break)

WHERE: El Jefe CrossFit (8110 W Union Hills Dr, Suite 250, Glendale)

*Taco truck on site, lunch available for purchase*

WHO:

  • Any woman who has had a baby (postpartum is forever!), is pregnant, or thinks she might have a baby someday (core & pelvic floor strength starts now!)
  • Any fitness or health professional (i.e. health advocates, physical therapists, medical staff, fitness professionals, coaches, or instructors) who work with women
  • Anyone experiencing core & pelvic floor dysfunction (leaking/incontinence, diastasis, painful intercourse, low back/hip pain, etc.) because it’s not just a pregnancy or postpartum problem

COST: $70 ($55 for Chuckwalla Members with code MEMBER)

REGISTER NOW and share with mom’s you love!

WHY: There is a lack of guidance out there about pre/peri/postpartum exercise strategies and a lack of awareness about the core and pelvic floor relationship, causes & signs of dysfunction, and treatment/healing options. Leaking urine during exercise (or any other time), painful intercouse, pelvic/back/hip pain, diastasis (separated abs) and other postpartum issues get written off as “badges of motherhood,” but we want moms to know there is hope! These postpartum
issues might be common but they do NOT need to be normal and are NOT something moms have to live with. Moms deserve to do the exercise they love in a way that prevents, heals, or minimizes core and pelvic floor dysfunction. Even if a mom doesn’t lift weight or have dedicated exercise, she is lifting and moving all day long. Her movement should leave her strong from the inside out, not be enhancing or creating her dysfunction.

Join us to learn the key components of finding strength from the inside out and then how to apply these strategies to daily living and your choice of fitness, whether that is pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy or returning to exercise postpartum. Learn strategies to help prevent, minimize, or heal diastasis recti and pelvic health concerns such as painful intercourse, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Discover the optimal nutritional needs for supporting pregnancy, breastfeeding and beyond. All women deserve to feel healthy and strong, especially moms.

Objectives:
– Understand the anatomy & relationship of the core (including pelvic floor & diaphragm)
– Understand the changes to the core & body during pregnancy, labor & postpartum
– Understand the signs & symptoms of core & pelvic floor dysfunction (especially incontinence, diastasis, & pelvic organ prolapse)
– Understand that there is treatment and healing for core & pelvic floor dysfunction
– Have an exercise strategy for pre/peri/postpartum based on breathing, alignment & mindset, which will minimize or heal core &
pelvic floor dysfunction
– Practice alignment, umbrella breathing & piston science strategy (core, breath & pelvic floor connection)
– Practice applying the strategy to (your favorite form of) exercise through discussion & hands on teaching of the squat, deadlift & pull-ups
– Know how to determine if an exercise/movement is “safe” for your body during pre/postpartum, how to modify, and how to progress volume/load/intensity
– Learn (and practice!) how to lift & carry the baby and perform activities of daily living with optimal alignment and breathing
– Learn how to properly fuel your body for a healthy and strong pre/peri/postpartum season
– Take home a folder of the presentations and handouts so all of the material is accessible
– Have local contacts for pelvic floor physical therapy, exercise guidance and nutrition coaching

PRESENTED BY
:
* Breann Fox, mom to one, PT, DPT, PRPC, physical therapist specializing in pelvic & visceral health. Former D1 collegiate soccer player.

* Sarah Backus, DPT, physical therapist specializing in pelvic health; interested in core & pelvic floor stability in the female athlete. Avid CrossFit & PowerLifting athlete.

* Lauren Koemans, mom to one, CF-L1, ACSM CPT & Chuckwalla CrossFit coach; passionate about connecting moms with the support they need & helping women find strength & confidence through exercise. Loves running & CrossFit.

* Ashley Nowe, of Get Mom Strong, a mom and certified nutrition health coach specializing in helping moms regain their strength through nutrition, healthy living & functional exercise

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!

Introducing the Newest Team Member

Nothing beats July 4th in the Midwest

Nothing beats July 4th in the Midwest. Lake DeNeveu, 2014.

Our favorite place to celebrate Independence Day is in Wisconsin. The weather is perfect, the beer is cold, and the family and friends are in abundance. We’ve been spoiled spending many a July 4th at the lake where I grew up vacationing with family.

This year, we celebrated in the second best place ….

LABOR and DELIVERY!

Smiling between contractions

Smiling between contractions

We joyfully welcomed bebe #2 in the early morning hours of July 3. A little firecracker from conception … it’s just fitting his arrival landed the celebratory weekend! Hard to believe he’s already a month old and we can’t imagine life without him. Meet Micah James:

IMG_2675

Big sis | already so much in love

Big sis | already so much in love

Happy One Month!

Happy One Month!

Micah was late and his delivery was fairly quick, just like his big sister. My labor started in the afternoon with contractions that quickly progressed. We were admitted into the hospital at 10:30 p.m. and that epidural couldn’t come fast enough!

Special shout-out to our OBGYN team. Not only did the same doctor deliver both our babies (unheard of in our practice), but, once he was multiple days late, they also worked with us to make sure we had a holiday-weekend delivery, which is exactly what we wanted.

We love Dr. Mayer!

We love Dr. Mayer!

I did manage a CrossFit workout on Saturday, July 2 at Chuckwalla CrossFit. It was a good one with lots of jumping, running, and lifting. I think Coach John’s programming did the trick – THANKS JOHN!

And, don’t hate me for saying this, but my recovery has been simple. I’ve been up and about … doing my mom/consultant thing. And last week, I started some at-home conditioning; nothing crazy, even simple push-ups are making me sore.

We’re so thankful to the CrossFit communities of CrossFit Full Strength and Chuckwalla CrossFit in Phoenix. While I was nowhere near as dedicated or setting PRs like I did the first go-around, it felt amazing to lift some weights when I could.

Coach Luz coaching me through one of the CrossFit Open WODs at Full Strength.

Coach Luz coaching me through one of the CrossFit Open WODs at Full Strength. March, 2016.

As I’ve recently written, working out at Full Strength with Coach Luz, a two-time Olympic contender, has been inspiring and educating. I’ve been able to focus on improving the mechanics of my lifts – especially the snatch (which I was never comfortable with prior to pregnancies!) – instead of focusing on setting PRs. While setting PRs can give you a natural high, there’s also so much to be said for working through the details of complicated lifts and the feeling of success that comes with nailing it.

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Coach John is the best!

Coach John Hazdovac is the best … even if his WOD didn’t get my water to break during the WOD! ha!

This girl loves to test herself.

This girl loves to test herself.

More rings!

Different Day. More rings!

The few Saturdays before our delivery, we spent at Chuckwalla as a family. Chad and I worked out and FG played in the supervised kiddo area. It was awesome to do that together. We’re so appreciative to the Hazdovac family for making it work for us!!!

So, not our typical July 4th and subsequent weeks, but full of fireworks all the same. Welcome to the team, Micah. We love you so much already!

xoxo,

Team Leatherman

Both babies at one month.

Both babies at one month.

Athlete Profile | Jenni Stockwell Woelke

So, this profile is super special for me to write. Within the last year, I learned one of my high school friends was also CrossFitting during her second pregnancy. Hard to believe, but I’ve known her for 20 years!! She’s been a rock star during her pregnancy and being consistent in the gym. I’m so proud of her!

Meet Jenni Stockwell Woelke.

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Husband to fellow CrossFitter Steve Woelke.

Momma to Duncan (4), and the newest Woelke, the gorgeous Delaney, who entered this world June 22.

Member at CrossFit Barbell Battalion.

Tennessean. Ohio State Buckeyes fan. Nurse.

Jenni started CrossFit just after Duncan turned one and she and her husband have gone full-force, participating in competitions and making their health a priority with very busy schedules to balance. I’ve so enjoyed watching her CrossFit experience unfold, especially during her pregnancy and I love that she is willing to share her story.

Jenni’s story:

Steve & Jenni

Steve & Jenni

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? Steve and I CrossFit together, we competed right before conceived so he is very supportive of my goal to stay active all the way through. Of course he makes sure to remind me to be careful and modify movements and pace, he knows I can be stubborn.

Why I started CrossFit: To try a different style of fitness. We had been running and doing hot yoga, but wanted to do weight training without the expense of personal trainers. They started a ‘functional fitness’ with our Gold’s membership that was included and we loved it right away! That is how we came to train under Alex O’Bryan, our CFBB head coach, before he branched out and started his own affiliate.

Other exercise practices: Does keeping up with my four-year-old boy count? {YES!} I still run, but not as frequently or as much distance, and I love yoga.

Big lift!

Big lift!

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: To attend classes three times per week, which with our schedules is a reasonable goal. After setting that initial goal, I added on to participate in The Open, scaled and modified, of course.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? She said just listen to my body, I will know what to avoid by how I feel.

Bump buddies

Bump buddies

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? It is great to get feedback from the other members of our box and social media friends and family. I really don’t feel like what I am doing is that awesome since I feel slower and more sore than usual, but I am fulfilled to know I am making a healthy choice to be active while pregnant. When people tell me they are in awe of what I’m doing or inspired by it, I just tell them that is why I love CrossFit; everything can be scaled and modified to where you are at on that day with your body and abilities, just show up and do the work!

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? Other awesome CrossFit pregnant women like my friend Emily who is just two weeks ahead of me in her pregnancy, and gave birth to her little girl Cora a few weeks ago! And the women profiled on crossfitandpregnant.com! Anyone who takes the step to make a healthier lifestyle for themselves and goes outside their comfort zone, or attempts what others say is impossible or difficult.

Tire flips

Tire flips

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: To BREATHE along with reps and to pace myself. That just being there and moving is really and honestly OK. That my body is amazing! For a few magical weeks I could jump rope again so I did. I set a small PR on my deadlift. I completed a very modified Murph on Memorial Day at 37 weeks pregnant and enjoyed every minute of sharing in that HERO WOD with the members of my box.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Recently my husband and I both changed work schedules, I now work night shift as a nurse in critical care and trying to sleep, take care of our son, and make it to the gym can be exhausting. In terms of workouts the biggest challenge is stamina, and movements just making the modifications to not be on my back, not kip or pull too much on my belly, and getting around the bump with the barbell for lifting.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? Try to be as clean in my eating as we can, but we are never 100% any particular diet in my house. Just focusing on nutritious and budget-conscious. Baby girl loves sweets and potatoes, so I indulge.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: We love Advocare products, and since I learned that I can have VO2 bars pre-workout that has really helped me from being breathless!

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant:  Even though I have gained weight in more areas than just my belly, I feel stronger and more aligned. With my first pregnancy I felt like I got swayback but this time I feel like my posture and range of motion is a little better.

Modifications you’d like to share with others: Box push-ups are still really challenging and give you full range of motion.

Lessons learned: Listen to your body, it is capable of more than you think!

If you could do it all again, you would: Still CrossFit!

Favorite quote: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

Favorite girl WOD: Grace

Three words that describe me: Determined, patient, happy

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Running around town with my son or cooking for my family

Delivery and Post Partum. Where is Jenni now?

Delivery-day WOD

Delivery-day WOD

Sweet Delaney was born June 22. Jenni did well and has been enjoying time at home with both her kiddos.

Successful delivery!

Successful delivery!

“So far I haven’t done much CrossFit, just a few body movement workouts when I can, since I am adjusting to having both kiddos and Steve is working a new schedule. I am anxious to get cleared by my doc for weightlifting next week and for Duncan to go back to school so I have time to do it! I have some goals to get working on-body weight clean and unassisted pull-ups.”

Snuggling

Snuggling

You’ll get there, Jenni! Thanks for sharing your story.

Athlete Profile: Lindsay Demboski

Demboski Baby Announcement

Demboski Baby Announcement

Momma to Peyton (4) with little girl Sofia on the way (due in November), and wife to John, Lindsay Demboski has been CrossFitting for three and half years. Her favorite part of CrossFit has been involving Peyton in her workouts and the positive energy that surrounds the CrossFit community. It’s something they can do together and as a family. Being pregnant hasn’t stopped her; she finds the boost of energy after a WOD helps get her through the day and fends off typical pregnancy ailments.

She is another example of why continuing your health and exercise routine during pregnancy is important.

Lindsay’s story:

16 weeks along and lifting

16 weeks along and lifting

 

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? My husband, John, is a CrossFitter, too, and supports me 100%.  He is a doctor and is a strong supporter of CrossFitting while pregnant.

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com?  I actually googled “CrossFit and pregnancy” looking for articles on the topic.

Why I started CrossFit:  I started CrossFit because I was not fulfilled with my workouts at a traditional gym and triathlon training. I did not feel like I was getting stronger and felt like I needed a new challenge in life with regards to fitness. I’m a triathlete, but replaced my triathlon training with CrossFit and my times have gotten drastically better. CrossFit also gives me the energy to keep up with my son’s t-ball league; I’m the team’s coach!

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:  I’m trying to maintain my overall health and fitness for me and my baby. I want a smooth pregnancy and delivery; CrossFit has been the successful reason thus far.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?  My doctor encouraged me to continue to do what I was doing before and listen to my body. She has a handful of pregnant women she sees who maintained CrossFit while pregnant and had very healthy pregnancies and deliveries.  She did advise me to watch my heart rate (with a monitor) and be able to keep a conversation during workouts. I was told that along the way there would be movements I would need to scale and have done so. I found a great poster at a box I dropped into one day that gave a list of movements to stop doing based on CrossFit level and trimester/weeks that has really helped.

Great resource!

Great resource!

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support?  My husband John, my mom, and fellow CrossFitters at my box.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned:  To listen to my body while not listening to the naysayers, who think I should stop.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: The naysayers, which include CrossFitters. They tell me I should not be lifting heavy or working out as hard while pregnant. I can listen to my body and with my doctor’s support, I have learned everyone will have an opinion, but I have to follow my instincts and what is best for me and my baby. In terms of working out, the biggest challenge is keeping my heart rate in check. It goes up quickly and because I am competitive, I have to force myself to look at my monitor and stop when I get out of breath. Before being pregnant, I would push through the pain and exhaustion so it has been challenging to make myself slow down.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?  Our family is about 75% paleo. We definitely have our cheat meals, but try to make healthy choices majority of the time. We just love our pizza nights and ice cream. {And don’t we all!}

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered:  I actually have more energy following WODs. On days I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I would workout and feel like I had a boost of energy when I needed it most. I am also strategically using this time to work on skills like perfecting my strict muscle ups and pistols.

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What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: The health benefits during pregnancy. I have energy, haven’t been sick, feel very strong, and have gained a healthy amount of weight.

Modifications you’d like to share with others:  Box jumps are the one thing that has bothered me early on, so I don’t do them. I substitute with step-ups instead. As my pregnancy progressed, I have eliminated various movements based on how far along I am (double unders, sit ups, HSPU, etc.). Otherwise, I have been able to do almost all workouts RX my first trimester and majority of my second.

Step ups in place of box jumps

Step ups in place of box jumps

Favorite quote: “One of the greatest moments in life is realizing that two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did.”

Favorite girl WOD: Grace (love me some clean and jerks!)

Three words that describe me: competitive, dedicated, social butterfly

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Spending time with my husband and son. We love to do anything outdoors together. And I spend a lot of time taking and watching my son’s various sporting activities (tennis, swimming, karate, baseball).

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Thanks for sharing your story, Lindsay!

CrossFit and Pregnant Headlines

Lots of #crossfitandpregnant news circulating. Love the continued coverage this topic gets. I believe the more attention {positive and negative}, the more women will feel confident to continue their exercise while pregnant and eventually normalize it. Healthy mommas = healthy babies!

Some of the recent news:

From Fit Pregnancy: Male Trainer Tries CrossFit with Fake Bump

Guerrilla Fitness Coach tries working out with a bump.

Guerrilla Fitness Coach tries working out with a bump.

Falae was surprised by how much the bump changed his ability to power through the workout.” Pretty funny – of course the bump changes a woman’s ability to power through … and sometimes find equilibrium when lifting … and keep the bar close to your body … But kudos to Coach Falae for giving it a try!

From Fox News Insider: Fitness Instructor Gets Flak for Intense Workouts While Nine Months Pregnant

This CrossFit momma is looking pretty fabulous!

This CrossFit momma is looking pretty fabulous!

Despite having approval from her medical team, Coach Emily Breeze Ross Watson, from the CrossFit MidAtlantic Region, is getting criticized for her workouts late in her third trimester. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?!

From Fox 13 News: This Utah Mom Did CrossFit Until the Day Before She Delivered Leveraging those crazy pregnancy hormones, CrossFitter Chrisi Hammer is setting some personal records. Again, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?!

From News Channel 3: Mom Still Does CrossFit While Pregnant Women in Virginia Beach continue to find support from their affiliate to CrossFit during pregnancy. {Support makes all the difference!}

So happy for these mommas to continue to make strides in their fitness and pregnancies. Cheers to healthy and {hopefully} easy deliveries because of their dedication.

***

My WODs:

Mother’s Day Hike with the family. 2.5 miles in some pretty high temps. Despite the heat, everyone had a ball!

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Team Leatherman loves to hike!

Team Leatherman loves to hike!

Lots of at home workouts and walking.

Back Squat - 143#

Back Squat – 143#

Thursday at CrossFit Full Strength // Feels great to be getting back into my normal strength range!

  • Back squat: 143# x1 … not a PR, but getting back into that range – finally!
  • Romanian Deadlift: 143# x4
  • Push Press: 93# x5 My PR is 110# x3, so not too far off.
#hopeforhollis

#hopeforhollis

The hubs doing work

The hubs doing work

Saturday was a Valley-wide WOD #hopeforHollis. Hollis is a young boy here in Phoenix, who is battling a rare brain cancer. A WOD was established and all proceeds went to benefit the family. Chad’s been WODing at Chuckwalla CrossFit, so we went there Saturday morning.

So inspiring to see athletes sweating really hard to honor and help such a young kiddo. It’s truly what CrossFit does best! If you want to support the family, there’s a GoFundMe account established.

Great turnout at Chuckwalla

Great turnout at Chuckwalla!

Featured on Mum In Real Life (MIRL)

While the foot / ligament tears have kept me out of the box and tied to low-impact at-home workouts, it’s also given me a chance to write my Top 10 list of healthy pregnancy/post-partum tips for a new Brit-based website, Mum in Real Life (MIRL).

Here are my tips:

10. Drink lots of water – even more than recommended – especially when you’re working out. Your body needs it. Your baby needs it. You need it. If you’re bored with water, add citrus, herbs, and cucumber – change it up to keep it interesting.

9. Use pregnancy as an opportunity to nourish your body, not an excuse to eat junk. While obviously the cravings need to be indulged, balance-balance-balance, especially in the second and third trimester. I love making a smoothie for breakfast or lunch and pack it full of veggies, fruit, yogurt and a “chaser” (flax seed, chia, hemp seeds, etc.).

8. Strengthen your legs; they’ll thank you on those late nights when you’re up walking the house trying to get your newborn to sleep. But really, squats, lunges, walking, rowing, jogging, dancing with your partner – keep your legs moving. It helps with circulation, reduces swelling, and just feels good.

7. Keep your core strong. While most women are advised to stop sit ups in the second trimester, you can transition to v-sits, planks, kettlebells workouts, or Pilates movements. You’ll thank yourself later for spending at least 10 minutes a day strengthening your core.

For the rest of my tips and more good info from MIRL, read full article: http://www.m-irl.com/fitness/meet-mum-broke-weight-lifting-record-last-day-pregnancy/

What would you add to my list?

Athlete Profile: Fi Davidson

Hailing from across the pond, in London, is CrossFitandPregnant momma Fi Davidson. Two years into her CrossFit career, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ella, this February after a grueling 40+ hours of labor (and two extra weeks of pregnancy!). Fi, like most of us who have headed down the #crossfitandpregnant path, credit CrossFit to getting her through – mentally, emotionally, and of course, physically.

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Fi killing some kettlebell swings

“I wanted to keep fit throughout pregnancy as I believed that it would help me to be prepared for labour and help to keep the baby healthy,” Fi said. “I also didn’t want to give up one of my favourite hobbies for nine months and lose the gains that I had worked so hard to achieve.”

Fi is a member at CrossFit Tooting in London and maintained her dedication thanks to the many other mums. “All of the members and the coaches at CrossFit Tooting have been a huge support,” explained Fi. “They have a dedicated post-natal group who I have worked out with some of the time during pregnancy and they have offered amazing support to me.”

What an incredible service to its female members – way to go, CrossFit Tooting!

Squats!

Squats!

Fi credits CrossFit for giving her the opportunity to maintain her identity while preparing for Ella’s arrival {something I can definitely relate to!}. “{CrossFit} also really helped me manage some of the psychological and emotional changes that happen during pregnancy,” Fi shares. “It also made me feel like I was actively keeping myself healthy and happy ahead of the arrival of my first child.”

That you were, Fi! So proud of your work, dedication, and we send you joyous blessings as you adjust to life with sweet Ella.

CrossFit Baby Ella. Isn't she a peach?

CrossFit Baby Ella. Isn’t she a peach?

More from Fi:

Why I started CrossFit: I was trying out new exercise options (including KPop dancing) in Cambodia and stumbled across a boot camp class that was being run in a car parking lot. The trainer then set up the first CrossFit affiliate gym in Cambodia. I signed up for their first ever on-ramp course and got hooked on CrossFit from that point. Since then I have trained on an ongoing basis. I love that CrossFit focuses on build strength and fitness (not being skinny) and technical skills. I relocated to London in August 2015. I reached out to some possible boxes and found that CrossFit Tooting had a specialist post-natal recovery programme. I had an initial free trial and chat with one of the owners Danielle Ren’e Gaskell who has experience of training women throughout their pregnancy and gave me a lot of encouragement and confidence to continue training.

Number of years CrossFitting: I started out working out in a car parking lot with Corbett Hix for six months and then started formal CrossFit training when he opened the doors of CrossFit Amatak {Cambodia’s first CrossFit affiliate!} in the summer of 2014.

Planks - great core work!

Planks – great core work!

Other exercise practices: During pregnancy I have done yoga or Pilates in combination with CrossFit. I also go for walks frequently. Pre-pregnancy, I also cycled and ran.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?: The doctors and midwives that I met during pregnancy have been supportive of me continuing to train. The advice has consistently been that if it is something that I did before pregnancy it was OK to continue during pregnancy, but to be sure to listen to my body and to tailor the workouts. The focus of all advice was not of any risk to the baby, but a potential risk to myself as my body changed throughout pregnancy.

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com?: I was a bit nervous about continuing to train throughout pregnancy so I did a lot of online research and found crossfitandpregnant.com – it really helped to encourage me that training throughout pregnancy could be done. {So happy to hear!}

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: It’s really important to find the balance between pushing myself and keeping my fitness up and listening to my new limitations. There have been numerous times that I have had to stop mid-workout or just miss workouts to rest (especially during the first trimester – the coaches at CrossFit Amatak really helped during this stage) and I have been gradually scaling down my routine on an ongoing basis during the pregnancy. It has also been really important to listen to the advice of my coaches and to trust their knowledge and experience. I’ve also learned that it’s possible to keep training throughout pregnancy – I never thought that I would be able to back-squat at 39.5 weeks!!

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Accepting that I need to scale back and accept some of the new limitations of my body. There have also been a lot of times when rest has been more important than going to do another workout. Constantly revisiting my own expectations of myself has been really key to managing the pregnancy against the fitness regime.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?: I am a seafood eating vegetarian. I eat healthily, but don’t follow any particular diet or regime.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: It’s even more important to eat and drink carefully when working out. I have made sure that I drink a lot of water and have healthy snacks available for after workouts.

Modifications you’d like to share with others: During the last weeks of pregnancy I did a lot more squatting and lunging that normal. I found that it helped ease some of the pelvic discomfort I was experience.

If you could do it all again, you would: do it the same – ask coaches for a lot of advice and keep adjusting the workouts

Favorite girl WOD: FRAN

Three words that describe me: happy, open, determined (others say stubborn!)

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: hanging out with friends.

Athlete Profile: Alex Amodeo

While I’m embarrassed by my delay in sharing some of these fabulous stories, the silver lining is I am now able to share their delivery and post-partum stories. There is so much joy in virtually meeting the sweet babies of #crossfitandpregnant mommas. Alex Amodeo is one of the patient moms who reached out to me last fall and is now finally getting to share her story.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada Alex Amodeo native has been CrossFitting for four plus years. Similar to me, Alex began her CrossFit pursuits through running. She didn’t consider herself an athlete growing up, but when her mom started training for a half marathon and Alex saw her killing it, she thought, “why not me?”

As many of us who run know, it can come with a number of injuries and setbacks. Alex’s experience was no different. “My running muscles and cardio were great but the muscles around those muscles were terrible and I constantly had to take time off,” Alex said. “I realized I needed to do some sort of cross training and my massage therapist at the time had joined CrossFit Kingston and made it sound like a lot of (sweaty, terribly painful) fun. So I talked a friend into it and we joined.”

Since taking the plunge, she considers herself a “Recovering Runner.” “CrossFit is enough for me right now and I love it so much more. Best part: I haven’t injured myself once since joining!”

And that includes CrossFitting during two pregnancies. She welcomed baby #2 in August to join her husband, Matt, and her daughter Bailey (23 months).

Here’s what Alex has to share:

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:

To keep showing up and doing what I can until I can’t anymore. By the end of my last pregnancy, I had often joked that I was going to the gym to “see my friends and move around a bit.” And if that’s all it is, I’m fine with it. I love my gym, I love exercising and I love my CFK family. I’ll do as much as I can for as long as I can and keep myself healthy for my baby.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?

My doctor is awesome. I’ve never used the “CrossFit” word with her, but she’s very supportive about continuing with whatever I was doing before I was pregnant. I’ve mentioned weightlifting and even done a hollow rock in the office (“Is this cool?!”) and she’s just like “As long as you feel good, go for it.”

My last pregnancy I was a little stricter with myself in terms of what I thought I should and should not do while I was pregnant. I stopped anything that put me on my back after 12 weeks, stopped box jumps right away (I was afraid of falling), dropped my weights pretty significantly, etc. This time I feel more confident in my body and what I can do. I, believe it or not, got a whole lot stronger in the short time between these pregnancies (I was PR’ing every single lift!) and I just feel so much better going into this pregnancy. Sites like {crossfitandpregnant.com} are ones I use for inspiration – people who pay attention to their bodies more than the “shoulds” (obviously within reason).

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support?

My coaches, Andrew & Kate are fantastic. They help me modify and hold me accountable to come regularly. Plus I think having gone through all this before has left us all a little calmer about the situation. J

Everyone at the gym is amazingly supportive as well. I feel the love even when I’m no t pregnant and when I am it’s so nice to have such a great group of people rally to support me and my baby. The other mothers at the gym, even if they didn’t exercise during their own pregnancies, are such a great source of support because they get it.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration?

Honestly, I don’t feel like I need to be “inspired” to continue CrossFitting while I’m pregnant. It’s just something I did before and will continue to do. I love looking at websites like yours to see that other people are doing – “She hit a PR in her third trimester! Maybe I can too!” or “She stopped rope climbs so maybe it’s okay if I don’t do them anymore.”

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned:

People are easily impressed. J I get so many pats on the back and “Well done, Alex! I can’t believe you’re doing this!” and it’s kind of embarrassing. My go-to response is “It looks more impressive than it is.” As far as I’m concerned, I’m basically just doing the same as I’ve always done, though I appreciate every well wish.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced:

Not sure if this counts, but getting back to the gym after Bailey was born was very, very hard both physically and mentally. I had a pretty terrible delivery with her (all that stuff about staying active and having an easier labour/delivery is great if it works for you, but not a guarantee!) and recovery was a long, long process. I was 12 weeks PP before I was cleared for exercise.

Those 12 weeks I was off were LONG.  And I’m not going to lie – I had a couple pretty down days. Everything with the baby was great and she was perfect and I was so thankful. The adjustment to motherhood went fine for me (sleep deprivation and all!) but the adjustment to being away from the gym? HARD. There were days where I’d see the WOD come up online or a friend post that they’d hit another PR and just become so incensed. I was jealous and I pitied myself – I wanted to be that person in the gym. I didn’t care if I wasn’t going to PR I just wanted to be able to do a damn burpee!

It was hard having worked out my whole pregnancy and then having that routine and fitness taken away from me. This is actually something I haven’t read much about and I wish I could know others’ experience with it. Most of what you read online is “I kept WODing until the day before I had my baby and was back in the gym 3 weeks later!” or similar. That’s not always the case and there’s nothing wrong with taking that time to heal. You have to respect your body and what your body went through. It’s hard, but I really feel as though the more respect you have in giving you body time to heal the better you’ll be after. I 100% believe that my fitness helped me heal so well from the delivery.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?

I eat when I’m hungry and try to keep it as good-for-me as possible, but I’m not saying no to those salt and vinegar chips.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered:

I think the biggest tip I could give someone is to just keep showing up and doing what you can. Try not to get frustrated when seemingly easy things get difficult and focus on the fact that you’re there and still working as hard as you can/is safe for baby. Also: look at this time as an opportunity to lift with new members at the gym or people who don’t generally lift as much as you do. New friends are fun!

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?:

I just feel so much better when I go. In the first trimester I wasn’t feeling so hot but the nausea always seemed to disappear once I started moving at the gym. CF helps make you feel better physically and mentally – which are a couple of things you can really need while growing a person.

Modifications you’d like to share with others:

There are so many great resources out there and your coaches are sure to have great advice and give you modifications for movements. I followed crossfitmom.com to the letter last time and this time I’m more feeling it out for myself but they have great ideas for substitutions. Everybody is going to be different. And when in doubt: push press and row.

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy?

Matt is incredibly supportive.   He’s my biggest fan and even though he’s not a CrossFitter himself (he prefers to cycle), he trusts that I will do what is best for me and our baby. Every time I leave the house for the gym he says “Have fun! Be strong! Be safe!”

How did you find crossfitandpregnant.com?

I was just googling “CrossFit and Pregnancy” and you came up! I wanted to read up on some stories of other women, see what kind of workouts/modifications they were doing.

Lessons learned:

Just show up. Don’t look at the WOD ahead of time and try to figure out if you can or can’t do it – just show up and do what you can and modify the rest. The hardest part sometimes is just getting to the gym, once you’re there let the

I’ve also learned (even though everyone says it) that no two pregnancies are the same. And just because you’ve done it before, doesn’t mean it’s going to be as easy the next time around.

If you could do it all again, you would:

I kind of am doing it all over again!

Favorite Olympic Lift:

Hang snatch all the way!

Three words that describe me:

Friendly, energetic and genuine

When I’m not in the box, you can find me:

Out and about with Bailey, drinking stupid amounts of tea or napping.

Delivery and Post Partum. Where is Alex now?

The sweet Amodeo Family of Four!

The sweet Amodeo Family of Four!

Her delivery was a breeze (comparatively speaking) and she felt much, much better after.  Because her son came so quickly, she was able to get up and shower a couple hours after he was born!  Amazing.  “I was able to return to the gym after the standard six weeks and though progress has seemed slow, it’s actually come along quite nicely,” Alex says. “I’m just shy of six months post-partum now and I’m lifting as much as I was before I got pregnant with Marshall. I’m feeling stronger and more like me these days though my cardio is still quite sluggish. I swear I was purple after a recent weekend workout!”

In early November, she was diagnosed with gallstones and has really modified her diet as a result.  Terrified of another “attack,” she’s eliminated “bad” fats and is limiting fats in general, which has helped in shedding the baby weight. She gained 40# during pregnancy and during her first go-around she gained 60#. “The weight loss is my silver lining in this health scare,” says Alex. “But I miss chips so very much.”

Adjusting to life with two has been a challenge (especially with a fussier baby) and trying to find time to get to the gym has required a lot of trial and error but she’s making it work. “I was going twice a week up to January and now I’m back to three days a week, which is great.  Matt {Husband} is so supportive and willing to do anything to make sure I get my workouts in.” We love those supportive partners!!

Fussy or not, isn't this the sweetest face?!

Fussy or not, isn’t this the sweetest face?!

Congratulations Alex and Matt on another beautiful baby and successful transition back to CrossFit. We’re so proud of you! xo