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The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

The Formerly Pregnant Crossfitter: A Reflection

CrossFit, at the best of times, has a stigma of being the workout regimen for the insane, balls to the wall, would rather puke than rest individuals. Yes, it can be intense but it’s all a matter of personal choice. But the general population does not see that. Now take a woman who does CrossFit and tell her she’s pregnant.

Pregnancy, back in the day, meant a woman was to stay in bed and do nothing except grow a baby. Slowly through time, women were allowed to walk around and do the bare minimum, but don’t strain yourself, sweetheart. Fast forward through the centuries to today when everyone has a theory, insight, or, best of all, an opinion on how or if a pregnant woman can approach exercise.

What people need to understand, from what I experienced during pregnancy, is that the level of intensity a pregnant woman can work out at is dependent on that woman and her baby. That’s it. One pregnancy is not the same as the next. It never has been and never will be.

I was lucky enough to have an OBGYN who stayed active during her pregnancies and recommended I keep doing what I was doing during mine. Her only advice was to watch my heart rate and listen to my body. She recommended this not only because of her experiences but also because I had been doing CrossFit faithfully for 2 years when I got pregnant. My body was used to the intensity; I had self-awareness built up to know when to go hard or dial it back. The takeaway here is that I could keep doing CrossFit through pregnancy because it was familiar. Pregnancy is NOT a good time to start Crossfit if you’ve not done it before.

The first trimester was a learning experience.

As much as I wanted WODs to be business as usual, it became more apparent that adjustments needed to be made. During the 2019 Open, I did the workouts the best I could but found that my heart rate would get way too high to keep the baby safe. A woman’s heart rate naturally gets higher during pregnancy to accommodate the little alien and all the extra blood in the body. Weights went down slightly on all my lifts. The first three months were all about learning to play the same game but with new rules.

The second trimester is when the belly starts to form. As weird as it sounds, it’s about re-learning how to move through familiar movements. Once my bump started to show up, I had to adjust my position in my squats. All my extra weight was on the front of my body, forcing me to send the rest of my weight further into my heels. Modifications started coming into play. The beauty of CrossFit is that mods can be made without sacrificing intensity. I kept doing box jumps and double unders until they became cumbersome and uncomfortable. Then I did weighted step ups or went on the assault bike instead of using a rope. Running was almost completely replaced with rowing or biking. I always watched my heart rate and made movement choices based on what was best for me and my little girl.

Things got frustrating in the third trimester.

Burpees were long gone, most barbell movements were replaced by dumbbells, and my beloved wall balls were downsized from the Rx 14 pounds to 10. Pregnancy is psychological as well as physical, so through all the adjustments that I almost felt insulted by, I reminded myself that this was for a greater good.

My last CrossFit workout was 3 days before I went into labor.

I’m proud to say that I was able to attend Crossfit WODs at least 12 times per month each month of my third trimester. That was possible because we did it the smart way. My coach knows my mindset and knew how to communicate with me when I wanted to crush a WOD but he knew I shouldn’t. He made each workout approachable for a pregnant person without it being too simple, keeping my fragile ego intact. Looking at you, Baby Traps.

Another helpful factor was having an OB that understood my lifestyle and goals.

This, obviously, isn’t something a gym can provide as they are not doctors, but it is important to have a doctor who supports you. If my OB had said no working out during pregnancy, I would have gone insane. Working out during pregnancy is mental as much as physical. It gives you a sense of normalcy when everything else is going upside down.

The last important ingredient is to have a great support system.

Surround yourself with people who know your pregnancy and postpartum fitness goals.  My pregnancy goals were to keep from gaining a ton of preggo weight, (which I ultimately had no control over), and to stay sane through the mind-numbing, endorphins-producing “cult” of CrossFit. My postpartum goals, which will be attacked as soon as my doctor says it’s cool, are to go as hard as my body will let me and allow myself time to get back to where I was as far as performance.

It’s important to note that this is a reflection of only one pregnancy, mine. I had an incredibly easy pregnancy that allowed me to keep moving at the speed I was used to. That’s not the situation for everybody.  Some women are high-risk pregnancies and need to scale earlier or more drastically. And CrossFit allows for that. There are women who become so flexible during pregnancy that lifting the loads they are used to is dangerous. They can maintain the intensity by modifying the movement and CrossFit allows for that.

Moral of this long story:

If you know of a pregnant woman doing CrossFit, support her. She has talked with her doctors and coaches and is doing what she needs to do. She will scale as she needs to, rest as she needs to, and perform her best. Outside opinions are not necessary. In fact, applause to all the pregnant women, past, present, and future, who endured the CrossFit stigma as well as the endless opinions about safe fitness during pregnancy. You were strong before but, damn, you’re titans now.

As for myself, I can’t wait to get back and annihilate some girl WODs. Specifically Karen, Kelly, Cindy, Barbara, Helen, Annie, and Fran. Because after labor, nothing can hurt me now.

 

CrossFit Icehouse → Icehouse Fit

CrossFit Icehouse → Icehouse Fit

As you may have seen, we recently started shifting the name of our gym from CrossFit Icehouse over to Icehouse Fit.

“Why?”

We love Icehouse! We love the name, it truly feels like us! But as we have grown, we have added so many other programs to our gym such as Nutrition Coaching, Flux (Yoga + HIIT) classes, personal training, and our 6-week Challenge program to name a few.

We feel calling ourselves “CrossFit Icehouse” limits our ability to reach people. The word “CrossFit” holds quite a bit of weight in itself and tends to be intimidating. Have you ever heard, or even yourself said “CrossFit? I can’t do that!” We hear it almost daily! Even I have to admit that I also thought that was the case before I started as well.

Our tagline has always been “Building Everyday Athletes.” Our goal is to empower our clients to be better humans. We do not focus on what most people think of as CrossFit, which is competition (or what you may have seen on ESPN). We focus on the everyday person just trying to get a little healthier, feel a little better, or just keep up with their kids and/or grandkids. Icehouse’s goal is to support each of our athletes to help them feel stronger and achieve things they believe to be impossible at first.

There are so many avenues to take to start feeling better, so we have added options. Not ready to start an exercise program? Great! You can meet with our nutrition coach to get the information and support you need to make healthier choices and work towards your goals in the kitchen. Have previous injuries that you are concerned about flaring up with a new program? We have options catered to you to help you strengthen those areas to be able to start a new program, run that race, or climb that mountain! Do a lot of yoga but want to improve your strength & conditioning? Flux is a perfect fit for you! The point is fitness, health & wellness is NOT one size fits all, and neither are we.

So much more happens at Icehouse than just fitness, and we felt it important to evolve to allow that to happen, as well as open up the door to folks who may have previously been hung up on the “CrossFit” name.

Do you still offer CrossFit?

Yes! CrossFit Icehouse is still alive and well within Icehouse Fit, it is just no longer our lead brand. We even have multiple tiers or levels in every class so we can easily modify based on each person’s experience level to help them get the most out of every class. And WE TAKE CARE OF THAT FOR YOU! You do not need to come in and guess, we have highly experienced coaches whose job is to help make your class the best hour of your day! Because we believe fitness should be fun!

The Long Game and Goals

The Long Game and Goals

Welcome to week 4 of your Flux Challenge, everyone!

Congratulations on making it this far!  You’ve done some hard work not only physically but also mentally.  There have been many changes for the better in the past 4 weeks and the aim is to keep those positive changes coming.  It’s time to think about the Long Game. (more…)