1RM Overhead Squat
5 Rounds for time of: (12 min cap)
5 Handstand push-ups
10 Sumo-deadlift high-pulls (95/65 or 40% of 1RM)
Post – 40 Back extensions
CrossFit and Pregnancy
One thing about pregnancy that I didn’t anticipate was the feeling of total loss of control over my body. I’d been into fitness and sports for so long that I thought I had a pretty good handle on what type of food/activity inputs it took to maintain or drop weight, add strength, etc. But once you take that dive, you have to adjust your old equations (and standards), or throw them out altogether.
I didn’t make this adjustment elegantly. If you are the type of person who lives to push herself to the limit in everything we do at the box, or if you’ve been worried about what pregnancy will do to your body, you’re probably going to struggle. Here are a few tips for what you can do early on to ease the transition.
Know the basics. You’ve got to watch your exertion level. At some point, you won’t want to be doing any exercise on your back, going into handstands, jumping, stuff like that. I used a heart rate monitor because I was so accustomed to pushing myself that I just didn’t have a level head once in the throes of a WOD. The monitor kept me honest. I figured out where I needed to take breaks during a workout to keep my heart rate from going too high. Kettle bell swings and pull-ups became issues for me, which was frustrating because muscle fatigue never had a chance to kick in. Max or very heavy lifts (even safer ones like press) will also cause a major spike that you might not think about because you recover so quickly. “Most” people shouldn’t need a heart rate monitor. You can follow some softer guidelines like staying conversational during metcons and keeping weights at a level where you don’t need to grunt to do the lift. It’s generally accepted today that you just avoid working to exhaustion and that you listen to your body for signals to slow down. Well, as a CrossFitter, you’ve probably learned to COMPLETELY IGNORE those signals! I didn’t recognize them until somewhere in the ninth month. So if you need a monitor or some other way to help keep yourself in check, go for it.
Get support from your CFC family. I was lucky to have my wonderful husband Dave at most workouts with me. He probably saved my body a lot of trauma. “Why are you doing that much weight?! We talked about this; you’re not doing Olympic lifts over 40# anymore.” As much as we work against ourselves when we CrossFit, we still thrive on peer pressure. If you’re feeling good, it can be really hard to work at an appropriate level when the other gals around you are loading up their bars. But we are a community here. Read the workout early and determine your weights ahead of time. Then let a couple others in the class know your goal for the exercise and any potential pitfalls you’re trying to avoid. Just like your form may regress late in a workout, you may “forget” that you’re prego mid-WOD and need to be reminded of your goals. For example, I was trying not to go below parallel in squats, but I needed to be reminded of this big time mid-Karen.
Consider your new objectives to be goals, not limitations. Don’t think negatively of all the things you can’t do. Think about what it’s going to take to hit these new targets. It’s like anything else we do here, work on the standards, work on your mental game. I got to the point where if at the end of the WOD I’d done everything to standard and kept my average heart rate at my goal without any big spikes, that felt as good as any finish to any WOD pre-pregnancy.
Let the coaches know. Whenever you’re comfortable, but I’d lean to the early side. Rudy was absolutely amazing during my pregnancy. (Thank you Rudy!) He knew the basics of pre-natal exercise inside out and joined Dave in the enforcer role. He also kept me doing the things I disliked, like running, until it was necessary to stop. He and several other coaches gave great modifications that allowed me to enjoy CrossFitting religiously through 41 weeks of pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor. Admittedly, I walked out of my first pre-natal appointment shrugging off the one statement my doctor gave about working out during pregnancy: “It’s a good idea to continue your exercise program, just don’t let your heart rate get over 140.” Yeah right. She obviously didn’t have a clue about CrossFit. As true as that was, she still had a wide body of research behind her and a lot of experience with pregnant women. I created a mental post-it for something else she told me, “Pregnancy is a natural state for the female body.” That can be difficult to imagine looking at yourself in the mirror at 36 weeks, but it’s certainly true. Don’t fight with your body for eight months (and beyond, another blog post to come). Accept that natural state and embrace the challenges that it presents.
Remember the ultimate goal. Healthy baby, safe pregnancy. At Bryce’s suggestion, I reached out to Annie Sakamoto of CrossFit fame (and veteran of I believe three CrossFit pregnancies) for some pointers. She really put it into perspective that I would have so many more years ahead of me to CrossFit. The state of being pregnant, while natural, is transitory and not permanent. You can put your longer-term CrossFit goals on hold for six months, a year, whatever it takes to get to that healthy baby. Meanwhile, don’t push yourself to the point of causing some damage to your own body that may not be so easily reversible. Hernias, especially in the area “down there” can happen if you’re trying to throw around an inappropriate amount of weight. The extra weight you’re already carrying by virtue of the baby and increased fluid volume alone can create enough pressure to make some unpleasant injuries more likely. It may be hard to internalize when you’re the pregnant one, but you will have many years down the road to CrossFit. You only have this time right now to take care of yourself and the baby. Live in that moment.