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:

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Big sis | already so much in love

Big sis | already so much in love

Happy One Month!

Happy One Month!

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

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

We love Dr. Mayer!

We love Dr. Mayer!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Coach John is the best!

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

This girl loves to test herself.

This girl loves to test herself.

More rings!

Different Day. More rings!

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

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

xoxo,

Team Leatherman

Both babies at one month.

Both babies at one month.

CrossFit and Pregnant Headlines

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

Some of the recent news:

From Fit Pregnancy: Male Trainer Tries CrossFit with Fake Bump

Guerrilla Fitness Coach tries working out with a bump.

Guerrilla Fitness Coach tries working out with a bump.

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

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

This CrossFit momma is looking pretty fabulous!

This CrossFit momma is looking pretty fabulous!

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

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

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

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

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My WODs:

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

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Team Leatherman loves to hike!

Team Leatherman loves to hike!

Lots of at home workouts and walking.

Back Squat - 143#

Back Squat – 143#

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

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

#hopeforhollis

The hubs doing work

The hubs doing work

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

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

Great turnout at Chuckwalla

Great turnout at Chuckwalla!

Five Weeks Off …

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

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

Coach Luz - total bad a**

Coach Luz – total bad a**

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

WODs:

Tuesday

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Warm up: 400m row and tabata planks

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

Thursday

Tuesday

Thursday was a lot!

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

Definitely sore today!

Athlete Profile: Fi Davidson

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

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Fi killing some kettlebell swings

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

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

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

Squats!

Squats!

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

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

CrossFit Baby Ella. Isn't she a peach?

CrossFit Baby Ella. Isn’t she a peach?

More from Fi:

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

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

Planks - great core work!

Planks – great core work!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite girl WOD: FRAN

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

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

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?!

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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

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Valentine’s Day:

All you need is love ... and CrossFit.

All you need is love … and CrossFit.

Six-Week Challenge: Week 2

CrossFit is so empowering – I am so inspired by the women in my CrossFit Full Strength six-week challenge. Everyone is showing up, which on dark, cold mornings can be rough, and putting forth a great effort. It’s fun that we’re all at different levels and can learn so much from each other. I’m also loving the 3x a week commitment – it’s perfect for me and the fam right now.

To anyone who’s on the fence about CrossFit, these types of fundamental/foundational sessions are the true training grounds for anyone interested in the sport. This last week we focused on the basic movements of some of the Olympic lifts – and we were learning directly from a two-time Olympian! How cool is that?!

The lifts covered were: deadlifts, should press, push press, push jerk, and power cleans. I really love lifting and was the component of CrossFit I missed most!

CrossFit Full Strength tools to success

CrossFit Full Strength tools to success

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Week Two WODs:

Fourth WOD: 12min AMRAP – 200m run + 30m walking lunges + 10 pull ups (green band): 2 rounds + 200m run – those walking lunges made my booty ache the rest of the week!

Fifth WOD: 3 rounds: 300m row + 5 k2e (kipping) + 10 push press (65#), 2 minute rest in between rounds: 12:56 – I started with 85# push press and had to drop to 65#.

Sixth WOD: 5 rounds: 7 wall balls (10#) + 7 deadlifts (85#): 2:58 – could have obviously gone heavier with both wb and dl considering my time!

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I’m on the fence about signing up for the CrossFit Games Open – have you signed up?

If you know of a #crossfitandpregnant lady that should be featured here, please reach out!

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