WARNING! Extremely LONG POST!
So obviously it’s been a few months. Ok. It’s been a long time. But I swear I have a good reason 😛 I’m almost 6 months pregnant 😀 !!
With pregnancy comes a lot of changes but I’m happy to say some things, like going to the gym, have not changed. The WODs and my abilities have been ever changing and modifying but I am still going 3 times a week and coaching once at CFHS and once in my home garage gym.
Things I’ve noticed through pregnancy – There isn’t much of any guidance for how to Crossfit while pregnant nor much guidance for nutrition. Pregnancy becomes this untouchable legal liability for businesses that I feel like everyone is afraid to tell pregnant women what they are still capable of. All I can find is that you should still exercise EXTREMELY lightly and you should still eat healthy. WELL! Let me tell you what I’ve been experiencing.
- Just because you become pregnant doesn’t mean you suddenly become incapable of doing anything. Yeah you need to seriously listen to your body, but to just quit life and lift no more than 10# (I was literally told not to lift more than that) is unrealistic and stupid.
- Eating Healthy is important. I 100% agree. But you try eating healthy when just the thought of chicken disgusts you and in order to eat vegetables you have to practically force feed yourself. It just isn’t happening.
So let me just give you my perspective of the past 5 months and then I’ll speak about what I would like to do differently next time (if there is one):
- If you were already active – don’t quit! Continue to do whatever you were doing and make realistic changes. For example, if you were doing jujitsu – stop grappling or falling/being thrown. If you were rock climbing – stop lead climbing and stick to top rope (assuming the harness doesn’t bother you). And if you were doing crossfit don’t stop crossfitting or lifting but instead start really paying attention to how you feel and if you think maybe you should rest or go lighter- REST! and strip weight!
- You can adapt almost every sport / activity you already do to adapt to your ever changing body and needs. Your body and the baby will let you know when you need to stop doing an exercise. No one needed to tell me to stop doing pull ups – I simply got too heavy to do them. No one told me to stop doing rope climbs – the common sense of pulling my big belly up 15′ told me that was stupid. So give yourself some credit.
- Obviously there are some things you actually do need to stop doing. Like sit ups, bench, really heavy lifting (like trying to get a PR) and going inverted. If you already have been feeling dizzy or unbalanced in the 1st trimester, don’t think it’ll magically go away. One day I was just leaning back on a workout bench while holding some rings, let my head go all the way back and when I sat up was SO dizzy! That was my sign going upside down, regardless of strength, was probably a bad idea. And if it’s hot outside and you start to feel just TOO hot, stop and get your HR back down and cool off. Overheating is a serious concern for pregnant women so don’t take that lightly.
- The biggest advice I can give is LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Seriously. I know. it’s not a real “how do I crossfit while pregnant” answer but it’s 100% true. If something feels weird/off/wrong or like you’re close to straining something – STOP! Immediately. Now is not the time to call yourself a wuss and push through the pain.
- Force yourself to go to the gym at least 3 times a week. MOVE YOUR BODY! Granted I have the luxury of working in a very comfortable place – my house – so having to wear office clothes and be “on” for 9 hours on top of 1st trimester exhaustion wasn’t a big issue for me – if it were I’m not sure how much gym time I would’ve gotten – so I could rally and get to the gym. But at the minimum find something to do to keep moving and keep strong and healthy and happy while pregnant if you aren’t on bed rest and your dr hasn’t forbidden you from anything. But like I said in #4, listen to your body. Sometimes you really do need sleep more than you need a workout.
- Food. Ugh food. I have been battling food this whole pregnancy it seems. My taste buds keep changing and the cravings / increased appetite is a REAL thing. For now, my 1 and only strategy has been if my body doesn’t cringe at the thought of a healthy item, I go for it and get it in before it tries to convince me how not healthy food would be better. Yes, I’m sneaking in veggies and fresh fruit and other healthy foods as if I’m a toddler. And yes, it’s tough to do. Now that I’m almost into my 3rd trimester I feel like I’m slowly becoming more balanced but I’m far from where I was and how I ate before I got pregnant. I just keep telling myself those healthy foods will be there once the baby is born and I can dive head first into them without fear of weird aversions then.
- Mentally dealing with weight gain. I have never been a small, petite, skinny woman. Ever. And basically all of my life I have struggled with my weight and been on Weight Watchers or tried different things to be healthy, etc. I exercise to lose weight. Now I also exercise because I Like it and I have fun – but bottom line, it’s to lose weight if I’m being 100% honest. Seeing the scale reach numbers I NEVER in my life wanted to see and not being able to fit into my clothes and seeing my body just get bigger and bigger so rapidly has been HARD! I have days when I body shame myself a bit and forget not all of this weight is truly me or weight that I’m never going to get rid of. I tend to forget I’m doing the right things and I’m just fine and that my body is doing an amazing thing – making another human. I tend to feel left out – a lot – being the only pregnant one in most of my social circles. Including the gym since that’s really my only hobby in life. I got temporarily kicked out of Weight Watchers and told I wasn’t even allowed to set foot in there until I had the baby which further isolated me from friends. I can’t workout with my friends the way we used to and actually be competitive. Sometimes I just feel completely isolated and add on that this perpetual huge feeling and some days it’s REALLY hard to cope with. I am FOREVER grateful I am pregnant! We have wanted this miracle for a LONG time so I am in no way upset I’m pregnant or upset about the side effects of pregnancy or complaining, it’s just at times hard to deal with mentally more than physically. SO the best thing I’ve come up with is to rally with other new moms who you can turn to for advice. They are your best resource and will always 100% help you know you aren’t alone and everything you’re doing is fine and right and that you aren’t the size of the GoodYear blimp no matter how you’re feeling that day 🙂
Now that I’ve covered my experiences thus far I wanna touch on things I would like to do differently:
- Making a nutrition plan of attack with someone who has RECENTLY (i.e. past few years not past 20 years) been pregnant and can understand the hurdles of pregnancy. It might be a nutritionist, it might just be a friend who was pregnant and managed to not gain as much weight – hard to really say who that best resource will be for me, but I now know I need to reach out much much sooner to force in those veggies sooner.
- Make a workout plan of attack and continue to learn how to program for the pregnant woman. This is going to take still some work and trial and error – but I’m sure now that I have almost 1 full pregnancy under my belt, I can learn from this and refine skills for the next time.
- Surround myself with a bigger community of Moms. I always thought things wouldn’t change if I got pregnant. That life and my friendships would remain the same. But the truth of the matter is, it does change. A lot. And in a big way. Friendships don’t necessarily go away but I have noticed some of the invitations to events have slowed and how planning outings that are pregnant friendly are just a lot harder to organize. A baby is a big life change so it’s natural other aspects of your life are going to change, too. Change is tough. But it’s always good.
- Embrace it. Take it all in. Enjoy it. This isn’t something I necessarily feel I am not doing, but rather a reminder to continue to embrace life and pregnancy and how exciting of a time this is for not just me, but my whole family.
- Learn how to adapt. I have been forced to adapt while pregnant and sometimes it feels like it’s against my will – but if I just remember to have a better attitude, adapting my WODs, friendships, etc won’t be so tough.
- LISTEN to compliments and BELIEVE them! I have struggled a bit with this. Many times people have told me I look great or people at the gym have made comments admiring my perseverance to just keep working out and showing up. And sadly I have dismissed a lot of them as ‘just being nice’ and not believed them when I really should have. So take my advice and BELIEVE people when they say you look great while pregnant! Even if they’re lying – who cares? Let them make your day/week/month/trimester. It’ll go a long way, trust me 🙂
There you have it. My tips about crossfitting while pregnant 😛 I still have 4 months to go and I’d like to document the WODs I do and how I adapt them as I enter the 3rd Trimester for personal reference and for anyone else who feels lost at the gym. Just please remember pregnancy brain is a real thing so give me a little slack if I’m not diligent with blogging 🙂
See ya next time 🙂