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

Whole 30 Convenience

WHOLE 30 | Thirty days done and not ready for it to be over! We’re both feeling really good, are making strides in losing weight and inches, and are seeing better performance at CrossFit and honestly, in life.

HOWEVER …

I love my convenience foods (mostly bars) for my on-the-go days. It’s really hard for me to sit down to a breakfast (I’m a bit better at lunch). Totally get this goes against the Whole 30 mindset, but can’t beat the grab-and-go for when I’m literally grabbing and going with the kids, work, CrossFit, etc.

I was asked by Reviews.com to share their protein bar reviews. I didn’t agree with the list at all. While I honestly haven’t tried any of the bars in the list, my first impression is it’s a list of options chock full of processed, nutty, sugary options; I didn’t see this as the best resource. Reviews.com did eliminate bars that didn’t have 10G or more of protein. So they took a stand in their reviews with an emphasis on protein, and some other factors they list. I respect the stand … just not the results.

We have some of our own favorites – a few of which are Whole 30 approved – but we base our selections on total ingredients (not just protein). *None of the following content is sponsored – just my personal opinion.*

LARBARS – Gluten free * Dairy free * Soy free * Non GMO * Vegan * Kosher. I don’t feel guilty sharing with the kids and I definitely sneak ’em so I can savor all the yumminess. My favorite is cherry pie – dates, almonds, and unsweetened cherries make up this little bad boy. Sooo tasty! And extra good right out of the refrigerator. Not a ton of protein (5G), but it’s definitely filling and hits the sweet tooth cravings. Best price has been from Sprouts at $1/each.

Rx Bars – Chad bought a sample box for us at the start of our Whole 30. Touted as “No B.S.” with the ingredients listed right on the front. We didn’t have the ones with peanuts (because duh, legumes), but the others were tasty. Again a great sweet tooth and on-the-go Whole 30 option. {If you want to try one – get the MINT one – like a Thin Mint but SO MUCH BETTER!} We bought the sample pack for $25 from the website.

Our entire family favors the San Diego-based, family business of Perfect Bars. These are NOT Whole 30 approved, but most bars are paleo (again, not the peanut butter ones!). The most cost-effective way to purchase is at Costco. $20/box for 12 bars and Costco seems to have them on sale about every quarter. Sometimes Sprouts will have them on sale, too. Perfect Bars have no preservatives, so you’ll find them in the refrigerated sections. The bars range in protein – 9 to 17 grams – and I’m definitely full and energized after having one.

What’s your favorite bar to grab and go with? Have you tried any on the Reviews.com list? Share your thoughts!

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.

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

Six-Week Challenge: Week 3

We are halfway through the CrossFit Full Strength six-week challenge. I’m loving every minute of it. The time of day, the women, the coaches, and the opportunity to get back to basics has been very rewarding for me.

As I mentioned previously, the challenge comes with a nutrition component. I haven’t really focused on this part. I’m definitely drinking a lot more water – especially on the days I workout and before I head into the workouts, I have been eating a Perfect Bar. Costco recently had a great sale on them, so we stocked up! It’s the perfect amount of protein to consume before lifting.

***

Week 3 WODs:

Seventh WOD

Seventh WOD

Seventh WOD: For time, 400m row, 30 lunges, 15 ring rows, 15 thrusters (65#), 15 k2e, 400m row – 9:19

Eighth WOD: 10-1 hang power cleans (65#) + weighted sit ups (10#) – 8:00rx

Ninth WOD: 5×5 back squat – last set 100#; 3rds 400m run + 15 push ups – 12:24

***

Athlete Profile: Alessandra Wall

When I began my CrossFit journey three years ago in San Diego, there were two woman who stood out to me. Not only are they incredibly strong and agile, but they are also moms. Knowing I wanted to stand in their oly shoes someday, I watched them closely to see how they balanced fitness and family.

Today, I am excited to feature one of those women – Dr. Alessandra Wall, owner of Life in Focus Coaching. A wife of a successful anesthesiologist and co-owner of CrossFit Elysium, mother of two wildly energetic boys, small business owner, champion of Empower Charter School, CrossFitter, gardener, friend … yes, like most of us, Alessandra wears many hats. Yet, in the insanity of it all, Alessandra finds balance. It’s what she preaches and provides her clients. I know because I benefitted from her coaching after I delivered FG.

Chang Family  credit: Lot116 photography

Chang Family
credit: Lot116 photography

Alessandra finds balance in her CrossFit pursuits by managing what she eats, how much she sleeps and the time she devotes in the box. She acknowledges the recipe is more than just what happens during a WOD. It’s ultimately everything else.

While Alessandra isn’t currently CrossFitting pregnant, she is one of those women who paved the way for me to feel confident and comfortable maintaining my regime when I got pregnant. Here’s her story:

Muscle Up during a competition Credit: Karen Gallagher

Muscle Up during a competition
Credit: Karen Gallagher

A seasoned CrossFitter, Alessandra began her journey more than six years ago when a personal trainer friend invited her to participate in a Saturday community WOD conducted by a box he recently collaborated with in a neighborhood park. Alessandra was impressed with the group setting and found that it pushed her to work harder. Her competitive and enthusiastic spirit convinced her husband, Leon Chang, to join her.

Leon & Alessandra credit: CrossFit Elysium

Leon & Alessandra
Credit: CrossFit Elysium

Fast forward to 2010. Leon partnered with highly respected trainer Paul Estrada to open CrossFit Elysium. This opening happened a year after Alessandra and Leon welcomed their first son.

During her first pregnancy courtesy of Alessandra Wall

During her first pregnancy
Courtesy: Alessandra Wall

“During my first pregnancy I didn’t CrossFit at all,” Alessandra reflected. “I had been CrossFitting for three to four months at the time and was just too worried about the impact on my growing child. Forty pounds later, I realized avoiding CrossFit was a huge mistake.”

Starting them young in the Chang/Wall family Credit: CrossFit Elysium

Starting them young in the Chang/Wall family
Credit: CrossFit Elysium

A mistake Alessandra didn’t make twice.

Pregnancy two Courtesy: Alessandra Wall

Pregnancy two
Courtesy: Alessandra Wall

Three years later, she was pregnant with their second son. “I was better versed in CrossFit, but I also had a better understanding of my body and what it was capable of,” said Alessandra. “My plan was to move along, to keep on working out hard until my body let me know I needed to slow down.”

Early in the pregnancy, she was told her son’s umbilical cord only had one artery. An umbilical cord normally has two arteries that remove waste from the uterus and a vein that brings in clean blood. “With only one artery, I had to do stress tests twice a week and my son was just not thriving in the womb,” Alessandra said. “Uncertain of how best to approach this, I chose to keep moving, and working out, but replaced heavy and dynamic workouts with light explosive weight lifting and reduced the intensity of my metcons.”

This was effective for Alessandra and her son. They welcomed their full-spirited boy in an uneventful delivery in August 2011.

Alessandra and Stacie with their first borns. Courtesy: Stacie Beal

Alessandra and Stacie with their first born.
Courtesy: Stacie Beal

Alessandra credits the community at CrossFit Elysium for remaining active during her pregnancy, but admits she and Coach Stacie Beal were the gym’s guinea pigs. Now Elysium has coached a number of women through successful pregnancies. “Since 2011, we have had a lot of members CrossFit while pregnant,” Alessandra said. “Our advice is always the same: CrossFitting while pregnant is safe, but it is also your body, no one can tell you what you can and can’t do. You have to listen to your body, your gut and your brain on this one.”

Born in Iran and raised in France, Alessandra wholeheartedly believes that advice. Her worldly perspective provided her the reality that women around the world continue strenuous activity during pregnancies. “In the States, we treat pregnant women (and honestly most people) as though they are fragile and frail,” she reflects. “There are women all over the world who carry heavy loads, move long distances and put their bodies under strain and have happy, healthy pregnancies. The human body is designed to work hard and survive; CrossFitting in a safe environment is nothing in comparison!”

Comparing her two pregnancies. Alessandra had very different experiences. The differences led her to two truths she found during and after recovering from her second pregnancy:

  1. It’s not about what is right, but what is right for you. Expert advice, whether it be with diet, exercise or life means NOTHING if you don’t adjust it to your own needs, values and lifestyle.
  2. As humans, we continue to evolve and develop even into adulthood. Big changes, like motherhood, can precipitate huge shifts in our needs and values. It can be tough to negotiate those shifts, and the transition in roles that come with motherhood.

Experiencing her own shifts led Alessandra to create her business, Life in Focus Coaching. Today, Alessandra works with woman [and men] inside and outside the box as a lifestyle and nutrition coach.

And, speaking from experience, she’s damn good at helping people emerge directed and confident from those life shifts.

More on Alessandra:

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: I can do anything I want with my body; there is no reason to worry if I put on weight or lose strength because I have to take a break. It will take time, effort, and a bit of mental fortitude, while I negotiate the loss of skill and strength, but I can get back to a place where I feel/am strong, agile, capable and fit.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Arguing with others that I am strong and not foolish or neglectful.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? Paleo/Primal since May 2009 (I needed it to get my body back from giving birth to my first baby).

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Rest > diet > exercise. Rest has been the hardest thing to allow myself, especially as a mother and during my second pregnancy. I have done very well with diet, but that is because I understood very early on the importance of making lifestyle changes rather than reactively dieting or trying to follow “expert” advice that doesn’t meet my personal needs.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: The point of view! I love being able to see other real women’s experience in negotiating what is both an incredibly inspiring and trying time for a woman.

If you could do it all again, you would: Absolutely, except I would work out through my first pregnancy.

Favorite girl WOD: Grace, although I also have a soft spot in my heart and my very scarred tailbone for Annie.

Three words that describe me: Assertive, stubborn, and loyal

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: at work, at home working, running around doing errands and taking the kids to the playground and trying to change my world in a meaningful way

Twitter handle: @lifenfocus

Facebook profile: Life in Focus

Athlete Profile (update): Leslie Spector

Hiking

Hiking with her babies (photo courtesy of Leslie)

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

Her results speak volumes:

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

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

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

Double unders! (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

Double unders! (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

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

Team WOD (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

Team WOD (photo courtesy of Back Alley CF)

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

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

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

Endurance training with Coach Melissa (photo courtesy of Leslie)

Endurance training with Coach Melissa (photo courtesy of Leslie)

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

How’s that for CrossFit and pregnant success?

More on Leslie:

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

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

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

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

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

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