Workout of the Day



It was a question I heard with uncomfortable frequency from people after announcing my pregnancy: “You’re not still doing CrossFit, are you?” It came with other variations: “You shouldn’t be lifting that!” and “You should just take it easy.”

It’s almost a cliche to say that pregnancy comes with an incredible amount of uncertainty and conflicting advice. Of course, it’s all well-intentioned, but for many women, myself included, it’s a time where you have never felt more unsure of yourself, and the stakes have never been higher.

On the question of exercise, while pregnant, most people have an opinion. And because the potential health of an unborn child is at stake, those opinions are expressed in the strongest terms. This post is not meant to tell anyone what they should be doing--we get enough of that already. I’d like to simply offer my experience and perspective, now that I’ve been through the tangled web.

First things first: it is now widely accepted and recommended by healthcare professionals that pregnant women exercise regularly throughout their pregnancy. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but if your pregnancy is generally healthy, exercise is most likely going to help keep it that way.

My personal reaction to the question about CrossFit was to roll my eyes in exasperation. Of course, I was still going to go to my CrossFit classes. The question wasn’t really about exercise while pregnant, anyway. It was really about the feelings many people have about CrossFit--basically, they view it as scary, intense, and only for people who are a little crazy.

We’ve discussed before on this blog that CrossFit is for everyone, and that its focus on quality, functional movements means that any workout can be scaled for any level of fitness, whether you are first starting out, injured, a former professional athlete, or anything in between. That includes pregnancy and postpartum.

When people asked me about CrossFit and pregnancy, they were really wondering about those gnarly workouts involving inhuman amounts of pullups, sprinting, or heavy power cleans. They were wondering about intensity, which is a much more relevant question.

A question to which the answer is: of course I did not continue to train at the same level of absolute intensity that I had before pregnancy. But there’s a lot of middle ground between pre-pregnancy training goals and simply doing nothing. I navigated that space with a couple of guidelines:

  1. I did my research. Training while pregnant does require a different set of goals and intentions. As your baby grows, you will have to modify certain movements. These modifications actually help you recover later on and can even fill in gaps in your training, but it can be hard to know where and when and how to do this. I sought out resources that focused on empowering women to make their own decisions and drew upon both evidence and years of experience in their recommendations. But rather than listening to any single source, I made sure to gather ideas from many different places and use what felt right for me.

  1. I worked with coaches and healthcare providers who helped me set appropriate training goals. Doing my own research helped me find people who could support me in my efforts. I made sure to have open and frank conversations with my healthcare provider and was selective about making sure I worked with a team who aligned with my intentions. This doesn’t mean I only picked people who agreed with me, but rather, people who would have conversations and support me with information and guidance, rather than prescriptions.

  1. Most of all, I listened to my body. This doesn’t mean that I discounted the advice of others, but I let my own instincts guide what felt right. I trusted the fact that humans have been giving birth for a long, long time, and that our bodies are designed to do it well. I accepted a new set of training goals and shifted my mindset to embrace this brief chapter in my life, but I also made training a priority, even on days when I was feeling lazy. On days when I felt tired, I modified my intensity and focused on simply moving well. On days where I felt energized, I celebrated the fact that my body could be so incredible. I developed a relationship of trust with myself, and it’s one of the most important lessons I have ever learned.

So: do you do CrossFit while pregnant? Consider this: the act of labor is an intense physical experience that requires endurance, strength, and the ability to connect mentally, emotionally, and spiritually with your body. Furthermore, the demands of parenthood are highly physical. Go ahead and try to convince me that wrestling a bulky carseat into the back of a sedan wouldn’t be a bit easier if you had done some odd object work, or getting up off the floor with a baby doesn’t mirror a Turkish getup.

The most sustainable training goals mirror what life demands of you. Trust that you are capable--both of training and of making your own decisions about what that training looks like.

See you out there. #developyourself







05302020 - WOD

  • With a continuously running 20 minute clock, for total reps, complete:

    • Min 0-4: - Max 1 ¼ squats

    • Min 4-8: - Max alternating unilateral deficit push-ups

    • Min 8-12: - Max human pull-overs

    • Min 12-16: - Max plank extension walks

    • Min 16-20: - Max 1 ¼ squats

  • For quality:

    • 100 lying reverse flyes

  • For quality:

    • Accumulate 3 minutes in a reverse plank