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.

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

Athlete Profile: Suzanne Khuninh

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Spinning. Running. CrossFitting. Suzanne Khuninh from Sioux City, Iowa is expecting another sweet babe in June. She began CrossFit in 2014 to add some diversity to her routine and gain some muscle mass. Since joining CrossFit FS, she witnessed a number of #crossfitandpregnant success stories, which inspired her to continue her routine during this pregnancy.

Her friends within the box keep her motivated, even when she has to slow down and catch her breath. Here’s more from Suzanne:

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it?: So far, I’ve been told it was OK to continue my regular workout routine. I have a high risk pregnancy, so I may have to cut down on my weights toward the end of my pregnancy. My doctor has advised me to watch how many reps I do with weights also.

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle?: When I first started CrossFit, I followed a lean meat and veggies diet. I do have a cheat meal at least once a week. I do have Gestational Diabetes with this pregnancy and I had it with two of my other pregnancies. I have to watch my carbs and sugar intake so I am on a low-carb eating plan.

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Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: The workouts are short, but at the same time, it’s enough to give me amazing energy.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I love that the WODs are short. This is good for me right now since I don’t have as much energy, and can’t do long workouts. The WODs are usually less than 20 minutes, and I get a great workout.

Favorite quote: Strong is the new skinny!

Favorite girl WOD: Cindy

Three words that describe me: Strong, happy, and healthy

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home with my kids, who are 9, 6, and 3-years-old. I am also enrolled in school full-time, and also work a full-time job. So, you can say I stay pretty busy!

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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: 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

Back at it: Week One

Seventeen days post-delivery and I’m working on establishing a routine. We’re starting slow to make sure I don’t injure myself.

My daily routine this week includes walking 1-2 miles with pooch and stroller in tow. Then I’m doing sit-ups and push ups. Both my core and arms feel strong and I’m able to knock out 50 reps of each fairly easily. My stamina is in-tact.

I haven’t made the transition to strict paleo yet, but I’m working on it. Since I’m nursing, I’m trying to stay balanced and clean (yet I have enjoyed some ice cream sandwiches in this heat!). Again, I think taking it slow is the right recipe for me.

The more we’ve learned and heard from other couples about post-partum depression and weepiness, we are both so thankful for the placenta encapsulation. I experienced some weepiness before receiving the pills and I can’t imagine weeks of that. Instead, I’m emotionally even, have energy, and feel like I’m well on my way to full recovery. Highly recommend to anyone considering or who have experienced postpartum depression with previous pregnancies.

In other news … literally news, we’ve had some awesome coverage of the blog. A few we are proud of:

There has been worldwide coverage (a bit bizarre to see my likeness next to all sorts of language) and of course the Jimmy Kimmel spoof (thanks, I guess?!). We also have a few more interviews underway.

Lea Ann Ellison – God bless her. She endured the brunt of the negative commentary with her picture this past Fall. That made our media storm much more bearable and focused on the message Chad and I want to deliver:

Woman can and should maintain their exercise regime while pregnant. It’s not a time to throw all your hard work to the wayside. It’s a chance to embrace your new body, ease your pregnancy and delivery, and set a positive example for your kids.

With this attention, I’m hoping to be able to feature more athletes who are currently CrossFitting and pregnant or who have ventured down the path before. Leave a comment if you’re interested in participating.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support!

Athlete Profile: Leslie Spector

Leslie, Meghan and their bumps

Leslie, Meghan and their bumps

When I first started writing this blog, one of the first women I reached to was my friend Leslie. We met at our current affiliate and she was more than willing to share her experience. I’m so impressed by her dedication to CrossFit, while balancing being a wife, mommy to a toddler, full-time educator, and preparing for baby #2. And you guys, she looks A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I hope I look this fit when I’m 30+ weeks into pregnancy.

Leslie: 30+ weeks and lifting strong, while looking amazing!

Leslie: 30+ weeks and lifting strong, while looking amazing!

Leslie’s story:

Leslie pre-pregnancies

Leslie pre-pregnancies

Phoenix, Ariz., native Leslie Spector began her CrossFit journey September 2010 in an effort to train for Ragnar 2011, a 200-mile team relay race and to medicate her recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, naturally (i.e. sans drugs). CrossFit, in combination with paleo eating, did the trick, shaving more than two minutes off her mile time and balancing her moods like never before.

“Unfortunately, I suffered a hip flexor injury during the race, earning me three months of physical therapy and rehab,” said Leslie. “Shortly after this I became pregnant, exercising very moderately. Despite being healthy and active, my body decided it needed a reset and after only a few weeks, I miscarried.”

Following the devastating loss, Leslie suffered some depression (understandably!) and self-medicated with “laziness in combination with deliciously gross food.” She became pregnant again almost immediately and was terrified of everything this time. The result? A sedentary pregnancy and a total of 70 lbs gained.

Leslie & Sophie

Leslie & Sophie

After an emotional roller coaster of a pregnancy (she chose to go without medication for her bipolar disorder) and the somewhat traumatic birth of her daughter, she was determined to get healthy again. And Leslie wasn’t merely focused on her physical health; she wanted the full mind, body, spirit health. After walking, then running, then a round of Insanity, she craved more and found Back Alley CrossFit, a Central Phoenix Box, in October 2012. She was able to shed those 70 pounds with CrossFitting Rx, until pregnancy #2 happened.

Now, at the end of her second pregnancy, Leslie has maintained her CrossFit and paleo lifestyle, feeling better than ever and more relaxed for baby Spector #2 to arrive.

30+ weeks pregnant

30+ weeks pregnant

More on Leslie:

Other exercise practices:  When I am not CrossFitting I love to hike, run, and do yoga.

My goal in CrossFitting while pregnant is:  My first pregnancy was less than healthy and resulted in major weight gain and crazy mood fluctuations. My goal this time around is to continue to CrossFit since it is truly my medication. My goal is not only to make healthy weight gains, but to also maintain a healthy mental balance.

What exercise advice did your doctor provide you? Did you follow it? I love my doctor! He is very liberal as far as doctors are concerned.  He seems to follow the latest research and keeps his recommendations up to date. I have been totally honest with him about how active I am and he fully supportive. At my very first visit this pregnancy he began rooting me on as far as exercise and CrossFit goes. He has continued to be supportive even through my own fears when things feel off. His best advice has been to listen to my body and I do it every minute of every day and especially in the box!

CrossFit and pregnant: Leslie

CrossFit and pregnant: Leslie

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find support? I have a friend who CrossFitted through her pregnancy and she was the first call I made. She sent me to CrossFit Mom and there was lots of great information there. I also lean on my own coaches, CrossFit buddies, and of course the amazing, Dr. Harris.

CrossFit and pregnant, where do you find inspiration? I work out with some amazingly fit women. I find inspiration every time I step foot into Back Alley. I know the more I do while pregnant and the more consistent I am the faster I will be able to catch back up to everyone else I am ogling during my slow, paced WODS now.

Since doing CrossFit while pregnant, I’ve learned: That exercise of any kind is even more mental than I thought prior to doing it pregnant. There are times when body can do way more than mind will let it and there are times when mind wants to keep pushing through and my body is screaming slow down. When I can control the mental side of CrossFit, I find the most success.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Hands down, my biggest challenge has been slowing down and scaling back. I am competitive by nature and strive to always beat my own best. Being pregnant, the recommendation from around the CrossFit world and the mainstream is to slow down. The easiest way to do this is the “talk test.” I should be able to maintain a conversation throughout the WOD.This is not a time for getting better or pushing toward PRs, but rather a time to maintain. It has taken great mental dedication to follow this recommendation, I mean, when is the last time you could carry on a conversation during a WOD?!

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? As far as eating during pregnancy my goal is balance. Nothing has been eliminated, but we definitely lean towards a paleo-ish diet…with ice cream. We definitely indulge in ice cream!

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Just show up!  You can scale and modify any WOD to make it work for your ever-changing body. Throw expectations out the window and listen to your body.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I have proven to myself with this pregnancy that no matter how much exercise and diet balance I maintain, my body will gain weight to support my pregnancy. However, CrossFitting while pregnant has given me energy and mental balance, which in my situation is far more priceless than hot preggie bod.

Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  Ghandi

Favorite girl WOD: Honestly, none stood out and I had to look them all up to pick a fave. Kelly is fun one; I like when running is incorporated.

Three words that describe me: Dedicated, neurotic, fun

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home with the fam!  They are my world!!!

The bump, getting pumped!

The bump, getting pumped!

If you have a CrossFit and pregnant story to share, email meghan@backalleycrossfit.com.