Disclosure: we are often asked about the best ways to stay in shape during pregnancy, as well as the best ways to lose that dreaded baby weight. CrossFit Roux has generously sponsored this post to offer insight into their programs.
Being “CrossFit” During Pregnancy and Beyond
Throughout my life, I’ve always considered myself to be relatively physically fit. I played soccer in high school, and I ran the occasional 5K race, but I never cared for the traditional gym scene. I never knew what to do, and I never saw results from my own routine. I tried other things like boot camps or home video programs, but I always dreaded working out and usually came up with an excuse not to. Then, 4 years ago, I discovered CrossFit. My husband and I had heard a lot about it, so we decided to take a free class at the local gym. Little did I know my world would be changed forever.
At First I Was Intimidated
I remember my first day in the fundamentals class and feeling intimidated by the girls in the more advanced class doing unassisted pull ups and lifting barbells that never in my dreams did I think I could manage. My husband immediately loved it, so I stuck to it. The learning curve to CrossFit was a little steep. Not only did I have to learn the lingo – “WOD,” “AMRAP,” “EMOM” – but I had to remember the difference between all the lifts. I had to ask things like, “now, what does a push jerk look like again?” for months! Something I noticed right away, though, was the sense of community that I felt while I was at the gym. People knew me by name almost immediately and always cheered me on if they could tell that I was struggling with a workout or a new skill. I started to drink the Kool-Aid, and I genuinely looked forward to going at least 3 times a week. I began seeing improvements in the new skills that I was acquiring, and I noticed a huge transformation in my body. My image of a beautiful women’s body shifted, and strong became my new skinny. CrossFit changed my mind about what my body was capable of, and I was constantly surprising myself with what I could accomplish. I went from a girl who had zero upper body strength to doing unassisted pull ups and climbing 15 foot ropes with no problem!
CrossFit During Pregnancy
In December of 2012, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I knew I wanted to continue with my CrossFit regimen as much as possible, and I was glad my doctor was on board. He said that since I was already used to it, it was fine as long as I was listening to my body. I remember how hard it was to take it easy at first. In my first trimester, I did something that I had never done before: I quit in the middle of a workout because I felt nauseated and light headed. But, I listened to what my body needed me to do, and I felt good about that. Of course, I modified a lot of things, and I was generally the last one in the class to finish, but I usually felt much better after getting a little sweaty. My perspective changed, and I put my competitive agenda aside and just focused on keeping my body in shape for what would be the most enduring workout of my life: labor!
I decided mid-way through my pregnancy that I wanted to try to have an unmedicated birth. At 33 weeks pregnant, I switched hospitals and care providers to give me the best chance at having the experience that I envisioned. My midwives were also supportive of CrossFit, and they were impressed when I showed them pictures of me front squatting 65lbs with my big belly between my knees. I was lucky to remain very healthy throughout my pregnancy. My biggest complaint was the heat (since I was due in August), but I was able to keep working out until the very end. August came and went, and I had to be induced 2 weeks past my due date. I checked into the hospital on Sunday, September 8th at 7:00pm, and I started feeling contractions later that night. 26 hours later, my 8lb 14oz baby boy arrived via an unmedicated water birth. Remember when I said that CrossFit had changed my mind about what my body was capable of? I never once doubted that I could do it. I had an amazing support system around me while I labored, but I also know that keeping my body fit had a lot to do with my ability to be successful with my birth plan.
I started working out again six weeks after my son was born. I tried to cut myself some slack, and I started out slow, but I remember being frustrated with the fact that I was having a hard time with things that came so easily to me before. My trainers were patient with me and the other gym members encouraged me, every day. I noticed that on days I made it to the gym, I had more energy during the day to care for my little one despite the sleepless nights. Gradually, I saw improvements and my muscles decided to come out from hiding! 6 months have now passed, and while I’m still not the same size I used to be, I feel great and I’m back to my old self in terms of strength and endurance. If you’re interested in joining a community of people who will cheer you on as you achieve the best fitness of your life, I can’t say enough about CrossFit.
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Emily grew up in Peachtree City, Georgia. She received a degree in vocal performance from LSU where she met her future husband, Bradley. Emily and Bradley moved to New Orleans and got married nearly 6 years ago. Since then, she went back to school at UNO and is now working as a CPA for a large public accounting firm. In May of 2013, she and her husband opened CrossFit Roux, and they realized a long-time dream of growing the CrossFit community of Greater New Orleans. Her passions include theater, traveling, food and family. Emily still sings and has performed with the New Orleans Symphony Chorus, the New Orleans Opera, and she is a regular cantor at St. Francis of Assisi Church. She and her husband welcomed their first son, Brennan Luke, in September of 2013. The family lives with their black lab, Chicory, in Lakeview.