CrossFit & Pregnancy
So, I’ve almost reached the end of my pregnancy. The homestretch. Roughly four weeks to go, and I am ready to give an eviction notice. But, I made it – I’ve continued CrossFit the entire time, and have learned some great lessons along the way. I have had my share of critics and skeptics, those that are genuinely concerned for my well-being (Mom!) and those that thought I was performing some horrible act on my unborn child. But, what I now know and what I have learned during the last eight months is that their skepticism is really based around their lack of information regarding CrossFit and pregnancy.
When I became pregnant there was never a question in my mind if I was going to continue to coach and train at CFTC, it was just a matter of how long I could maintain and when I would have to start scaling my workouts. I was determined to continue and to make it to the end as a coach and an athlete. One of the most common questions people ask me is how long I am going to continue CrossFit. My answer is always “until I go into labor” (just hopefully not mid-WOD!). At one point, CFTC had 11 pregnant members, and I watched as every one of them approached CrossFit differently moving forward. What is most important is that they proceeded with their CrossFit regimen in the way that they felt was best for them and their pregnancy, and I was determined to be around to support, provide information, and to encourage them to maintain a fit and healthy pregnancy at CFTC.
I did not CrossFit with my first two pregnancies, and strongly believe that CrossFitting during my third has benefited me on multiple levels. I’ve gained less weight through continued exercise (56 vs. 30 lbs!), have a strong support system at CFTC, can better control my diet, and have a lot more energy.
Exercise is beneficial for the pregnant body (please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program – had to get that in there!), and what I love about CrossFit is that you can scale or change any movement to meet your needs (pregnant or not). While I was a runner with my first babies and eventually came to a point where I just quit with the discomfort, CrossFit has allowed me to continue by substituting moves in the programming for more comfort and safety. So, I can still WOD with my peers, my moves just may look a little different to meet my needs. CrossFit also provides variety in the workouts, changing the movements on a daily basis, allowing me to stay interested and willing to trudge on, even on my most tired days.
Additionally (and I believe most importantly), CrossFit provides a sense of community as well as a support system. At CFTC I have a group of people that know me on a personal level, and I them. They walk in the door with their own personal battles and triumphs. They are willing to share their highs and lows and we build each other up, cheer each other on, and encourage each other to do more than we sometimes think is possible. Honestly, some days they help me maintain my sanity. Even at my most tired, I get up and go in. Maybe I can only do part of the workout, but I leave feeling energized, mentally and physically, just by being around my CrossFit family.
Another great benefit of CrossFitting while pregnant has been my ability to better control my diet. I love to eat. I REALLY love to eat. And when I first started CrossFit, I made some major life changes, including a diet overhaul – eating healthy can still taste good! CrossFit has helped me maintain a better diet throughout this pregnancy with a much better ability to curb cravings and eat healthier than my previous pregnancies. I find so many women use the fact that they are pregnant as an excuse to eat unhealthy (as I did with my first two), but CrossFit helped me take a different approach this pregnancy. I feel more energetic with an overall satisfaction (and less guilt) with what I have eaten.
In all honesty, I feel apprehensive about what the road to recovery will look like for me after I give birth. I know I have to be patient with healing and rebuilding my strength, but I am also concerned with losing the support system that I have at CFTC while I am away. So, I will keep y’all updated and let you know what post-partum recovery and CrossFit looks like for me and CFTC.
For more specific information regarding CrossFit movements and suggested scaling for pregnancy, please follow the links below: