Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! We know it can be hard at times to get the workout in, but many of you show up and kill it and we stand in awe of you!
In honor of all the current and future moms out there we wanted to share a post about being a new mom in CrossFit. We found this great article from Inside The Affiliate all about expectant and new moms doing CrossFit.
At CrossFit Knoxville we encourage all moms at any stage to come in and workout. We will modify a few things, and you’ll learn a lot about things that are going on under the hood to affect your endurance and strength, but it can lead to an overall healthier and happier pregnancy.
Other than the article from Inside The Affiliate, we reached out to several moms in the CFK Community for some of their stories and advice for expectant mothers doing CrossFit. The following are a couple responses we received back. If you have a pregnancy and CrossFit story you want to share, we’re happy to hear it! This will be a periodically updated article, so fill free to e-mail Coach Scott to get your story added!
Somer and Evie Chyz
I did Crossfit all through my second pregnancy. I had been with Crossfit Knoxville for about 3 and a half years and when I found out I was pregnant felt excited to continue. In fact, I got into Crossfit in the first place because I had such a difficult time regaining my fitness level after my first baby. My first pregnancy was nearly 6 years ago and kept very active during it, doing the traditional gym thing of cardio and weights. That said, I worked pretty hard at it and the day before I went into labor with my first I was doing heavy (for me) squats. This time around, I did a Red Friday workout the day before I delivered and felt amazing doing it. In fact, all my Crossfit workouts during pregnancy felt wonderful. Granted, I had to incorporate certain modifications (see below) and I certainly wasn’t achieving PRs, but I felt strong and healthy the whole 40 weeks and I know that I have Crossfit to thank for it.
I, fortunately, had a very easy pregnancy. I didn’t have morning sickness and never really experienced the common first trimester fatigue. The result was that I didn’t have to modify my training at all until about week 18-ish. My first modification was subbing kick backs for burpees. I was showing by then and didn’t feel comfortable dropping onto my stomach. Shortly thereafter I started doing step ups in place of box jumps. I could still physically do box jumps, but I began to get pretty frightened about what would happen if I missed a jump. Around 26 or 27 weeks is when I cut out all ab-based movement save planks for fear of separating my abdominal muscles (which happened with my first pregnancy), and began subbing dumbbell cleans and snatches for the barbell. I greatly missed using the barbell but got a lot of value out of the dumbbells. I will never underestimate dumbbell cleans and snatches again! Dumbbell movements made it painfully obvious how asymmetrical I am; the right side of my upper body is definitely stronger than the left. All in all, during a workout I just listened to my body. If something hurt (and I mean actual pain rather than ordinary exercise based discomfort) then I wouldn’t do it. Fortunately, those occasions were few and far between.
Where I feel that Crossfit helped the most is with the post partum period. Sleep deprivation aside, I feel great! After my first baby I was horribly weak, particularly in my core. I could barely sit up and felt like the upper and lower halves of my body weren’t connected. I am happy to report that this hasn’t been an issue at all this time around. While my core certainly needs work, I have way more strength in it than I expected- even at a day or two post partum. There is no doubt in my mind that this strength is because of Crossfit. I am now 3 weeks post partum. I’ve done some light workouts here at home and am very much looking forward to getting back into regular WODs. I know I’ll need to ease back into it and not go too fast, but I think that will actually be fun. It will be like beginning Crossfit all over again, when every new move yielded a PR.
I definitely agree with everything in the article. It’s said all the time, but definitely listening to your body is the best advice you can give. Every day, every workout and every movement is different. Some days I would feel fine doing certain work outs and other days my body wasn’t up to it. I think that it is really important for pregnant women to not compare themselves to other pregnant women in the gym or even to past pregnancies. Everyone is different and every pregnancy is different. The biggest mistake I made was comparing myself to friends from my old gym I knew that were pregnant. I expected to be able to do the same things they could and I ended up pulling a muscle which caused me to have to stop working out all together from week 20 to week 24. It was hard for me to listen to my body then, but resting all together was what I had to do for that time. Here is my personal experience throughout each trimester:
In the first trimester I didn’t really modify my training much except for my cardio really slowed down. Especially in the first few weeks, breathing becomes difficult. So my body naturally slowed me down. I didn’t scale weights yet but I wasn’t maxing out anything either. I was still able to do burpees because I wasn’t showing yet, and really didn’t have to modify any movements.
In the second trimester, I got my energy back. For a few weeks I felt more like myself and actually picked up the pace a little in my work outs. But because I felt good, I wasn’t thinking about how much my body was changing. It’s easy to forget that your ligaments are stretching and relaxing so I ended up pulling something at 20 weeks attempting a strict muscle up. This caused me to have to rest for a month. When I came back I was much more aware of my body. I gave up the barbell and burpees once I started to show and I started decreasing weight.
In the third trimester i had to start modifying workouts and movements. The closer I got to my due date, a lot of things felt awkward. My balance was off and it was easy for me to hurt myself. One day I pulled something in my groin just from going into a squat too quickly. It was hard not to get frustrated and to remind myself of the changes my body was going through. Near the very end of my pregnancy I just came in to move. At this point just walking the stairs felt like a work out so I didn’t need to do much. A lot of the times I didn’t join in on the warm up because it would be too much. I think it’s important for the coaches to recognize when the warm up is longer/more difficult and suggest an alternative if they have a woman further along in their pregnancy.
Listening to your body daily is the best thing you can do when working out while pregnant! I will let you know my experience when I get back in the gym. Childbirth is hard on the body, so I’m sure it will be a challenge haha.