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Compare training during pregnancy to training prior to pregnancy.

My training during pregnancy stayed pretty consistent with the training I was doing prior. I’ve been lifting and doing Crossfit for a long time and am very comfortable with all the weightlifting movements. I listened to my body and continued to lift moderately heavy up until I gave birth. I did not increase weight, but made sure that I was still relatively challenged.

As someone with training CrossFit during pregnancy fresh in your mind, what advice would you give to other women training throughout their pregnancy?

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Women are so incredibly intuitive; your body puts your mind in place when it comes to knowing what to do and not to do. Although your Doctor and coach can provide advice, it’s up to you to trust yourself and know what is best for you and your baby.

What did your diet look like during your pregnancy? Were you more ‘strict’ during those 9 months or was it more difficult to eat clean during pregnancy?

I was definitely not as strict! Prior to being pregnant I ate a paleo diet for the most part. Eating a strict paleo diet during pregnancy wasn’t realistic for me, however, I implemented all the foundations of a paleo diet to make sure I was getting all the proper nutrients I needed to perform and develop a baby. Fortunately I did not suffer from morning sickness, however, a lot of the (healthy) food I would eat before just did not sound as appealing during my first trimester. I incorporated more carbohydrates and allowed more freedom for calorie intake. I felt that I needed more due to the amount of energy it would take to still get a quality workout and maintain my normal day to day activities; again, it’s all about listening to your body and its demands. 

Did you utilize anyone for body work and/or alternative therapies during pregnancy (chiropractic, massage therapy, acupuncture, etc.)?

During the last few weeks of my pregnancy I had massage, chiropractic work done to make sure my pelvis was in proper alignment and acupuncture to help induce labor. I wanted to make sure my body was in an optimal place. I had so much anxiety about being a mom that it was helpful to go into labor being somewhat relaxed and confident.

What was your favorite workout during pregnancy?

My “pregnancy squat set” was 5×5 back squats at 155lbs up until 37 weeks. After that, I knew and felt that I needed to lessen the weight. I did that set every week until it didn’t feel right or as easy. Otherwise, I maintained doing pull ups and box jumps every week up until 40 weeks.  My body and training was able to adapt to the growing belly. For me, these exercises still felt safe and natural as long as I went slow and focused on quality, never quantity.

Much of training CrossFit involves a lifestyle both in and out of the gym. How much would you say a lifestyle that supports vigorous exercise, strong community ties, and a priority in nutrition played a role in the success of your pregnancy?

I had a great support unit- my whole family and many of my friends are involved in Crossfit and weightlifting, so fortunately I was surrounded by positive feedback, and very minimal negative comments toward any activity I did. My support unit knew how important it was for me to continue this lifestyle while being pregnant; they saw how much it helped me physically but most of all, mentally and emotionally. It’s hard for a woman to watch her body change so dramatically, so being able to maintain some form of normalcy is so key to having a positive outlook on pregnancy and self-image. It’s a confidence booster to be 40 weeks pregnant knowing that you can lift more and are more active than a majority of the population, nevertheless the pregnant population. I feel like I’ve been able to set a good example of what IS possible, rather than what ISN’T possible during pregnancy. I wanted to send a strong message and I’m happy so many people were apart of witnessing my journey. 

It seems like that which helps athlete’s in a workout, for example, would also help a woman in pregnancy. From focusing on the task at hand, to trusting the process and fighting through to the end. In what ways, if any, was giving birth like the mental game that plays out in a WOD?

My birth was the opposite of what I had planned for and was expecting. I had been prepared for natural childbirth…no drugs and very minimal medical intervention. I did not feel scared going into labor, I trusted in my body and in my Doctor and felt confident that a woman’s body is fully capable of knowing how to give birth.  After over 24 hours of natural labor, intervention was needed for the health and safety of me and my baby. I ended up with an emergency c section. My Doctor could not believe how long my body physically lasted with the intensity and duration of the contractions I had and for the kind of complications I had unfortunately experienced. It was a complete battle- I’ve never experienced anything more physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting! I know for a fact that the only way I was able to endure that birth experience and recover relatively quickly was because of the physical and mental strength I’ve acquired by being an athlete.

Describe your pregnancy and birth.

To be honest, I did not enjoy being pregnant, however, I enjoyed what I was able to do while being pregnant. I embraced the role by continuing to do everything I did prior to being pregnant- working out, training my clients, coaching D1 water polo, traveling every weekend for 3 months and completing my Master’s Degree. A woman’s body is designed to carry a baby and I wanted to take full advantage of representing what it means to be a strong and confident pregnant woman. My birth, as mentioned, did not go as I would have wished. However, I know that my 7 week old baby and I are healthy and strong and that I did everything I could to bring him into the world safely. I blogged about my birth story and I encourage all women, pregnant or not, to read it. As much as I wanted a natural birth, I’ve been humbled and am entirely grateful for a team of Doctors and nurses who are trained to intervene when absolutely necessary. Here’s the link… http://fortitudobattles.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-greatest-and-most-traumatic-day-of.html

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WORKOUT

5 x 5 Back squats

AMRAP 3 minutes

10 KB Swing (or one arm swings; 35#)

10 Step ups

-Rest 3 minutes-

AMRAP 3 minutes

5 Pull ups or Ring rows

15 Air squats (to the ball if needed)