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

You’re a Manimal!

Earlier this summer, Manimal asked if I’d be interested in testing out some of their wrist wraps. Not going to lie, I’m a sucker for anything red, white and blue, so I happily accepted the free wraps.

So in exchange for {this} review, I got a cool package with a Manimal t-shirt, some stickers, and wrist wraps. It appears that when you place an order for wraps, you get the shirt and stickers as a bonus – pretty smart marketing!

In addition to the packaging and bonus items, I was pleasantly surprised by the sturdiness and legitimacy of the wraps. I have received other {flimsy} wraps as chum from events – and there’s no support in these. For years, I have worn my Rogue wraps for most of my lifts to provide extra support and stability.

With nursing and baby carrying, my right side, especially my right wrist and elbow are tender and tweaked {the DUDE is heavy!}; so it’s required me to modify some of my movements to the point that I’m wearing the wraps outside of Olympic lifting. And since I received the Manimal wraps arrived around the time of the pain increasing, the Manimal wraps are what I’ve been wearing.

Getting back into heavy deadlifts, thanks to Manimals!

Here’s what I think:

The Old Glory’s are providing GLORY. I have less discomfort and I’m able to increase the weight steadily and strategically. They are firm and embrace my wrists so I can endure more. Love the colors {duh} and the ability to tighten to my needed stability and support. And the big bonus of Old Glory’s is the philanthropic piece:

MANIMAL donates 20% of the proceeds from Old Glory Wrist Wraps sales to the Boys and Girls Club of America. An organization that promotes and enhances the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.

So, I might sport these outside Chuckwalla, too! Lots of baby carrying WODs these days!

So, if you’re in the market for wraps, I strongly recommend Manimal’s – particularly the Old Glory’s. Thanks for the chance to try the wraps and share my experience, Manimals!

xoxo

Cute shirt to boot!

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

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.

IMG_2503

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.

Five Weeks Off …

Five weeks off from CrossFit is five weeks too long. Finally made it back to CrossFit Full Strength this week {despite being told the ligaments in my foot needed at least 12 weeks}. I’m not running or jumping to reduce impact; it did feel really good to have a bar between my hands again.

CFFS added weightlifting classes to its early-morning line-up on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Coach Luz. As I’ve mentioned before, Coach Luz is a multi-attendee at the Olympics for weightlifting, so any opportunity to learn and train with her is only time well-spent.

Coach Luz - total bad a**

Coach Luz – total bad a**

12938202_10154125284797427_6205853378000072338_n

She’s done a really good job of pushing my comfort with doing snatches. For whatever reason in my 3+ years of CrossFit, this lift was never really an emphasis {and one I flat out avoided when I was pregnant with FG}. Even after such a short time under Luz’s guidance, the lift hold and movements are becoming second nature. Now it’s time to start increasing my weight!

WODs:

Tuesday

IMG_1776

Warm up: 400m row and tabata planks

Snatch: 55# – definitely could have added. Squat clean + split jerk: 85# again add more. Back squat: 105#.

Thursday

Tuesday

Thursday was a lot!

Snatch 65# x2
Hang power clean 90# X1 – was struggling to get my elbows up!
Front squat + back squat (1/2) 90#
Romanian Deadlift 90# (3×8)
Weighted planks 10#. 1.55 mile walk

Definitely sore today!

Six-week Challenge: Week 5

Another great week at CrossFit Full Strength!

Lots of {much needed} focus on the core. Many of the movements are great for pregnancy. Twice this week we did tabata sit-ups and planks. And Thursday, during the strength training between sets, we did oblique side bends with plates. Really feeling it all!

CFFS has placed a lot of emphasis on the power and full snatch during this challenge. This is honestly a lift that I wasn’t comfortable with prior to this challenge. I’m gaining confidence and ease every time we work on it. It’s pretty exciting considering I’ve been an on-again / off-again CrossFitter for 4+ years. That’s something I love about CrossFit, it’s an opportunity to constantly learn and improve. The sky is really the limit.

I’ve also refined my rowing ability. I was explosive out of the gate and would easily wear myself out. Coach Emily took a few minutes a few weeks and taught me how to slow down to actually gain more power and speed. It worked! Every day, we start with a 400m row and I can see and feel the difference of slowing down to gain power.

***

Monday: ran another two miles with my Frankie boy. Great way to get some extra vitamin d and exhaust our pooch!

Tuti was my workout buddy this week!

Tuti was my workout buddy this week!

Tuti is one of many mascot dogs at CrossFit Full Strength. Love that the community includes four-legged friends, too! #WODDogs are the best.

Thirteenth WOD: warm up: tabata sit ups + planks; strength: power clean + split and push jerk – 7 rounds / last round 100#; metcon: 3min AMRAP for 3 rounds / 1 minute rest in between rounds – 3 hang power clean (65#) + 5 push ups + 7 sit ups: 15 rounds + 13 reps

Day 14's WOD

Day 14’s WOD

Fourteenth WOD: warm up: med ball partner core work; strength: Started with power snatch 3×3 at 65#; then back squat 5×5 – last round was 125# / in between sets we did the oblique work using 15# plates; metcon: 21-15-9 overhead squats (35# bar) + hand release push ups + step ups: 8:02

Day 15

Day 15

Fifteenth WOD: warm up: tabata sit ups + planks then 2rds 5 pulls ups + 10 squat jumps + 15 wall balls; strength: deadlift 5×5 115# each round; metcon: mini Helen: 200m run + 21 KBS + 12 pull ups (green band): 4:07

***

Athlete profile updates: I’m in a holding pattern, waiting on news of baby arrivals + people filling out the questionnaire. If you or someone you know is interested in being profiled, please contact me. I would love to feature some more #crossfitandpregnant mommas!

Six-week Challenge: Week 4

It was a good week of workouts and weather in Phoenix! We spent a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the 80+ degree weather.

My favorite running buddy

My favorite running buddy

This handsome, furry fella and I managed a two mile run to kick off the week. I haven’t hit the pavement for a run since October and it felt great! Frankie was in heaven. Really, anytime he gets some solo time with Chad or me, he’s in heaven. He’ll always be the first “born!”

Happy Valentine's Day + Getting a jump start on St. Paddy's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day + Getting a jump start on St. Paddy’s Day!

Thursday, the hubs had an early morning and I couldn’t stand to wake this hamball to make the Thursday CFFS Challenge WOD. I had every intention to make the evening session and then LIFE. So glad I got that run in earlier in the week!

I was solo in the Friday morning class – as in no other ladies showed up – boo! Selfishly, it was nice to have some very personal attention from CrossFit Full Strength’s Olympic Weightlifting pro {She’s been the the Olympics three times!}. Can you say, badass?!

***

Tuesday morning

Tuesday morning

Tenth WOD: worked on hang power snatch (65#) for two rounds / 3 sets; metcon: 3 rounds 5 hang power snatches (55#) + 10 lunges each leg + 30 singles jumping rope + 1 minute rest between rounds: 7:29

Eleventh WOD: skipped!

Front squat. 100#

Front squat. 100#

Twelfth WOD:  snatch – full and power snatch. My equilibrium was off for the full power snatches. Stuck to 55# to work on form. Front squat – ended with 100# for 5. metcon: 21-15-9 thrusters (55#) + ring rows: 7:15

***

Valentine’s Day:

All you need is love ... and CrossFit.

All you need is love … and CrossFit.