Crossfit while Pregnant

I always assumed I’d keep doing Crossfit up until week 39. It wasn’t until my RE told me that I would have to stop lifting entirely that I even considered an alternative. Mostly, I just ignored him because at that point I didn’t think we would ever get there.

Then I got the BFP and within the week I was down the rabbit hole of researching exercise and pregnancy. Did you know that pregnant ladies should only walk and do yoga? Only not yoga, because you can easily overstretch, so mostly just walking. Only not walking, because you can easily overheat, so maybe you should just sit pretty on that couch. Only don’t sit pretty, because then you’ll get gestational diabetes, so maybe you should lift. Only don’t lift, because weights are scary and you don’t know what you’re doing, so maybe just take the stairs at work. Only don’t take the stairs, because then your heart rate might go above 140bpm, so just take the elevator –

Jesus Mary and Joseph. I was ready to go run a marathon out of spite after reading all the conflicting sources out there, and I hate distance running. Thankfully, I was able to chill my heels, take a breath, and look again after a few days, which is when I realized that most of the advice for only walking/yogaing is based off of research from the 80’s and 90’s, and more recent research is a whole lot more accommodating. And simple.

In fact it boils down to two basic rules:

1) Listen to your body and

2) Don’t push yourself.

There are some sub-rules, like don’t train for and run a marathon (phew, dodged that bullet), avoid high impact and contact sports (no rugby), and drink a shit ton of water. Yes, your body is flooded with relaxin and your ligaments are getting all smooshy, but mostly this just means don’t try to max out your squats and, again, listen.

So after briefly worrying I’d be barred from Crossfit and lifting, I became even more convinced to continue. Granted, with some small changes that will become bigger changes over time. From week 5, I could already feel my ability to push hard waning. Now at week 7, I’m the slowest in the class, hitting a wall really quickly and having to simply take more breaks and work at a lower intensity. I actually tried to push through this (because I’m smart) and was rewarded with a small mouthful of barf. Okay then, body, I hear you loud and clear.

Honestly, that’s the hardest part for me, the mental game of listening. Crossfit teaches you how to push through the I can’t signals your body is throwing at you and finish strong. But now I really need to listen to those signals and be okay with finishing last. I was really proud that I was one of the ones who could do 95% of the workouts as prescribed (as they were written, ie not scaled down) and still finish strong. Now everything is scaled and I’m still finishing last and it’s… it’s hard.

It definitely helps now that all of my coaches know. I should have told them as soon as I started feeling my endurance wane, but I didn’t want to jynx it. But it’s very important – I absolutely do not need encouragement to go faster or push harder and I don’t need them batting an eye when I’m lifting far less than usual.

I’m also looking forward to when I have a visible excuse for being the slowest, although I hear 2nd trimester is when your energy and endurance pick back up again.

Aand of course I can’t wait to wear something like this:

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2 Comments

Filed under gaybies, pregnancy, simply informative

2 responses to “Crossfit while Pregnant

  1. The mental game is the WORST. I really struggled through the first trimester, wondering if I was doing enough, too much, etc. Now that I’m in my second trimester, I’ve hit a comfortable place where I know how far to push, and it’s probably not QUITE far enough, but I leave feeling relatively satisfied. My crossfit gym has birthed 22 babies, so I had a lot of advice, including some from Games athletes. During my first tri, I didn’t break any of my own records (on purpose), I dropped most weights by about 10%, and I made sure I could speak a full sentence at any time. It was HARD dropping so much intensity. During second tri, I’ve dropped 20-25% off my normal weights, and I’ve started modifying many movements. No more situps (planks instead), no more rope climbing, no more kipping pull-ups (strict only), and a few times I had to row instead of run due to round ligament pain. I’m getting close to needing to modify burpees to go down to boxes or parallettes, because it’s starting to get uncomfortable to repeatedly hit the floor on my stomach. I also lost handstand push-ups this week, due to my increased weight, and THAT was humbling. You CAN crossfit throughout, you just need to be smart. Let me know if you ever want to talk about modifying any movements or when to switch! Oh, and one more thing, I drink WAY more water throughout every workout, both because I crave it, and because it gives me a 10-20 second breather.

    • I know! It’s really hard to stay slow enough to be able to speak a full sentence, but I notice that even afterwards it makes a big difference in how I feel. Push just enough = feel awesome. Push too hard = oh god I’m going to throw up.
      I am 900% looking forward to dropping burpees. Right now they’re in every workout and I just want to die. Well, not literally, but they take a lot more out of me than they used to. Right now I’ve dropped my weights by probably the same 10%, am not trying to break any PRs, and am subbing out the high-impact things, like double unders and box jumps.
      I think I’m pretty solid on when to sub/modify most movements, but I’ll def ask if I have any questions. My box has only had a handful of pregnant ladies, so while they’re not completely ignorant, I do feel like I have to teach them a few things. 🙂

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