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!
Advertisements

Athlete Profile: Allie Lauritson

Allie is CrossFit 1080's designated photographer, so she's rarely in front of the camera. Isn't she darling!?

Allie is CrossFit 1080’s designated photographer, so she’s rarely in front of the camera. Isn’t she darling!?

Sweet Allie Lauritson reached out to me in June, eager and excited with her first pregnancy. She welcomed her handsome baby in January and is grateful to her CrossFit routine – her midwives reaffirmed that her mobility and strength helped her labor.

This St. Paul, Minn., native is another “recovering runner” and CrossFits with her husband at CrossFit 1080. Allie is exactly why I love doing these profiles. She’s excited to be a new mom and her enthusiasm to continue to keep herself strong and healthy is contagious – even in writing. Here’s her story:

What does your spouse/partner think of you CrossFitting during pregnancy? He loves that we’re able to continue working out together. However, we’re both doing a lot of research on safe ways to continue CrossFitting. He’s pretty protective of me and this little baby, but we both understand that strong women have the best chance at healthy pregnancies, births, and babies. Bring on that Metcon!

How did you find CrossFitandpregnant.com? My CrossFit coach and co-owner of our gym, Emily Hendricks, just delivered her first baby in May. She can’t stop talking about CrossFitandpregnant.com and what a great resource it is! She worked out with us (in moderation) until delivery.

Why I started CrossFit: I considered myself a seasoned runner but not “hard core” enough to join a CrossFit gym. After all, I was working out every day and in decent shape. What could I possibly gain from CrossFit? Now, after being a member at 1080 for almost a year, I could make a list of 100 things I am gaining.

I realized my fitness pre-CrossFit was very one dimensional with weaknesses I didn’t even know I had (apparently there is something called an upper body? Who knew?). There is so much more my body can do than hit the pavement, and 1080 ignited the passion once again for FUN workouts. Instead of running by myself with only my iTunes library to keep me trucking along, I now have supportive coaches and a team of athletes with similar goals that challenge and push me to be better. Every Day.

In all honesty, I felt very intimidated joining the Components Program (for beginners) at CrossFit 1080. I assumed every CrossFit athlete would be doing bicep curls…while doing squats…while doing cartwheels. I couldn’t have been more off base. There are athletes from all levels of fitness as well as age and even some with agility issues. CrossFit is for everyone that wants to be healthier. It’s as simple as that.

Other exercise practices: I continue to run on occasion, but since our gym incorporates running into its summer warm ups and Metcons, I usually kill two birds with one stone. BUT sometimes the weather is just too nice to skip out on a long run around the lakes of Minnesota.

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is: Show up. Show up. Show up. Even when I’m not feeling the best, being around likeminded athletes and working on mobility is better than staying home on the couch! Fortunately, I haven’t had much morning sickness, so I’ve been able to participate like usual. I’d also like to learn as much as possible to be a resource to other new moms interested in continuing exercise into their pregnancies.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?: Not to lift over 20 pounds. What a joke.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? My gym (as well as probably any CF gym) is full of the most supportive friends. Early on in my pregnancy they were all too observant! Ha! They kept pushing me to lift more and go harder without knowing I was trying to take it a bit easier. I love that about them! Now that they know they’re just there for encouragement in any way they can be. It’s like a little family.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I love watching pregnant women in testimonial videos on YouTube. Those get me all riled up! And obviously the athlete profiles on CrossFitandpgregnant.com are beyond inspirational.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: To listen to my body!! When I got that piece of advice from my coach, everything else fell into place. Feeling great? Lift! Something doesn’t feel right? Modify or rest. No one can communicate that with you except yourself.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: To find the fine line of working but not too hard. To feel awesome and confident modifying movements and not feeling like I’m half-a**ing the workouts. I’m super competitive and not pushing my body has been the most challenging thing so far.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? I identify the most with Paleo, but many of my meals are

Whole30 approved. Things have changed a bit with my first trimester (I HATE sweet potatoes, chicken, peppers, and hot veggies now for some reason) which has been a bit frustrating for my nutrition goals. For now, I’m okay eating a frozen pizza if that’s the only thing I can stand to swallow. However, I still try to stay as gluten and dairy free as possible.

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: This is a time to maintain my fitness, not excel. I won’t be going for any new PRs, and I’ll be maxing at about 80%, but that’s OK! The goal is to keep moving and stay healthy. My competitive nature surfaces only during board games now.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I don’t have to change my interests or identity when becoming pregnant. Life doesn’t need to come to a halt! I can continue doing what I love and what feels great without putting everything on hold simply because I’m carrying a child. People need to lighten up a bit!

Modifications you’d like to share with others: Besides turning down my intensity and lifting 20% less, I haven’t had to modify yet.

Lessons learned: Trust your coaches. The cost of a box is so much more than a gym membership. You are actually paying to be a part of a team with a real coach and real athletes that all genuinely CARE about this stuff. The coaches modify the workout for those who can’t do the intense version (that’s me now!), without making us feel like we’re doing a “lesser” workout.

Favorite quote: Be stronger than your excuses – CrossFit 1080 motto

Favorite hero/girl WOD: I really liked Murph. If not Murph then Kelly!

Three words that describe me: Quirky, Stubborn, and Always ready to celebrate

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: Playing board games, snacking at any local Farmers Market, swimming, and crushing piñatas. (I’m half Mexican and my family destroys at LOT of Piñatas.)

Allie's handsome CrossFit babe!

Allie’s handsome CrossFit babe!

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.

Pregnancy: Week 12

YAY! Second trimester has officially started. We had a doctor appointment early in the week and heard the heartbeat. We both swooned. It was a crazy experience to hear that rapid pitter-patter coming from inside me.

Because we had such a successful appointment, we started sharing our news with more family and friends. We’ve enjoyed sharing our joy and hearing everyone’s reaction; however, nothing beats telling people in person or via FaceTime. With sharing our news, we’ve also received some great advice. There are some days I’m feeling lost … most specifically with attire. In addition to my boobs being huge and uncomfortable, my waist is expanding. Luckily, most of my pants still fit and I have a few pairs from my fat days tucked away that I can use.

I did ask the hubs after our appointment if I was being too nonchalant about our pregnancy. I felt like the doctor expected us to ask more questions or have more to say. The hubs said, “I feel like you’re approaching this like you did planning our wedding; you’re focused on things that you can control and that are important to you and aren’t worried about the things outside our control.” Excellent point.

I’ve had so many friends and family trail blaze this pregnancy chapter in life and I’ve learned a lot from them. Because of everything I’ve seen and heard:

  • I know we want a hospital birth;
  • I’m not opposed to drugs;
  • I want to avoid a c-section, if possible;
  • I would love to breastfeed, if it works out;
  • I am confident in my husband’s ability to coach me through labor;
  • I don’t want a cast of thousands in the delivery room (let’s be honest, just the hubs);
  • I want to transition the pooch comfortably so he loves and protects the baby instead of feeling replaced;
  • I want to be healthy and continue my workout regime.

I honestly believe the final bullet – the fact that we are typically paleo and CrossFit 3-4x a week allowed us easy conception and first trimester. I’ve been in touch with some amazing women who either CrossFitted during their pregnancy or are currently CrossFitting and pregnant. I can’t wait to share their stories with you. I’ll reveal a bit more about myself in the coming week (still need to broach some job hurdles) and then will start sharing the stories of others. Thanks for staying tuned!

Week Twelve WODS: So stoked I made it back to the box three times this week. In previous weeks, we were traveling and I had such extreme exhaustion, I really struggled. However, I have realized my exhaustion isn’t as extreme when I workout. Go figure!

Oct. 14 Warm up

Strength/skill: Push Press 3×5 Made it to 90# (about 80% of my PR)

Metcon: For time: 150 push ups; every fail or break, do 40 double unders or 120 singles – 20:21 I SUCK at double unders, so 720 singles it was! Average heart rate: 155 (surprised my coach it was lower than my normal days).

Oct. 15 Warm up

Strength/skill: Clean & Jerk 2×5 95# (about 15 pounds less than my pr)

Metcon: Two rounds for time – 40 russian kbs (1.5/1 pood), 30 box jumps (24’/20′), 20 hspu – 9:23. I do step ups instead of jumps on the box. Heart rate: 168

Oct. 17 Warm up

Metcon: Partner WOD for time – 40 snatches (135/95), 400m run, 40 muscle ups (3 ring dips + 3 pull ups = 1 mu), 800m run. Alternate reps with partner for snatches and muscle ups; run together. We did 65# on snatches and did the modified muscle ups (that took a lot of time!). Time: 39:51. Heart rate: 165

Food: Cooking during the week was easy and paleo focused. I did our favorite short rib recipe, spaghetti squash with meat sauce and a shepard’s pie. Lots of leftovers, which always makes the hubs happy. Thursday night I craved Boston Market’s sides (SO random considering I haven’t had Boston Market in 15+ years), so I went carb crazy with the cornbread, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and mac n’ cheese; chicken, too! It was so tasty!