Returning to CrossFit
Shortly after I got pregnant, I realized that I did NOT feel like going to any kind of workout, let alone CrossFit which is still, even 2 years later since I first started, the hardest workouts I know (well, maybe that at BODYATTACK — it just keeps getting harder!) I told the owner of my box that I needed to freeze my membership until I was feeling better and he was very accommodating. Now that my membership freeze has ended and I’m feeling a ton better than I was in June & July, I reactivated my membership and am going to try to go 2-3x per week. I read up on what modifications need to be made for CrossFit during pregnancy and found an awesome resource at CrossFit Mom. They even post daily WODs for beginner, intermediate and advanced CrossFit women who are in various stages of pregnancy.
One of the resources on the site shows the benefits of regular exercise for pregnant women including easier labor and quicker recovery. Sign me up!
Once upon a time I was on the box leaderboard for Fight Gone Bad!
The reality of returning to CrossFit is that even though CrossFit prides itself on being a program that will make you fit across all dimensions, pregnancy is not the time to focus on making gains, setting PRs, mastering muscle-ups and crushing your Fran time. It’s a time to focus on keeping your body healthy, keeping your core strong (I mean low back and pelvic floor mainly) and mitigating a loss of fitness.
Even though I had read a lot of resources online about exercise and pregnancy, before I started back, I asked my doctor at our last appointment what I could do when it came to working out. She said: Do what you have been doing, for as long as it feels good. Don’t allow yourself to get breathless, because if you’re not getting oxygen, baby’s not getting oxygen. So that’s been my M.O. and here’s what I’m planning to do:
Disclaimer: For all readers, please consult your physician for personalized exercise recommendations, especially during pregnancy. I am speaking only as to what works for me and this is not meant to be a list that is suitable for all persons.
Exercises that are OK for me:
Squats: Air squats, back squats, overhead squats, front squats
Shoulders: Strict shoulder press, push press and maybe jerks but I think I’ll stop those sooner than later
Snatches: Single arm dumbbell snatches
Kettlebells: Kettlebell swings, kettlebell single-arm cleans
Exercises that I need to modify:
Box jumps – Swap for step-ups
Push-ups – I’m thinking maybe do pushups on low rings as my belly grows? Sort of TRX style?
Cleans – As my belly grows, I’ll swap them out for dumbbells or kettlebells
Snatches – Same as cleans
Burpees – Swap for Squat Thrusts (not coming all the way to the floor and no jump)
Running – This will only last for so long, then I’ll switch to rowing.
Things I’m not even going to attempt – (I’ll probably swap those exercises out for something else altogether):
Rope climbs – These can be modified in 1st and early 2nd trimester to be rope pull-ups from the ground, but I’m thinking late 2nd and 3rd trimester is out
Sit-ups: Abmat, GHD, wallball situps
Bench press – No lying flat on my back after 2nd trimester
Muscle-ups (Ha! I didn’t even have those pre-pregnancy)
Pistol Squats – I’m not great at these to begin with so, with my center of balance being thrown off, I’m going to pass on these.
I started off back at CrossFit today with the 31 Heroes WOD.
The WOD as prescribed is:
In Teams of 2:
AMRAP 31 minutes (As Many Reps As Possible)
8 Thrusters (155/105#)
6 Rope Climbs (15 ft. ascent)
11 Box Jumps (30/24″)
*Teams of two, one buddy runs 400m with 45/25# plate
My partner and I did:
8 Thrusters 45#
6 Modified Rope climbs (I did floor rope pull ups)
11 Box Jumps 20″ (I did step ups)
400m Run carrying 10# or 15# plate
We made it through 10 rounds and I felt really, really, really great. On my first or second run (jog? I was pretty slow), I thought to myself just how fantastic I was feeling! It felt so good to feel good enough to be back at it. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
I’m smart enough to admit that the next 5-6 months are not going to be like usual. I won’t be setting PRs, I won’t be making the box leaderboard and I will be scaling a LOT. But I’m committed to staying fit, keeping my baby healthy and doing as much as feels good on that particular day. I’m not above mailing it in and sleeping or going for a walk when it just doesn’t feel right.