Training through pregnancy may sound a little scary but at CrossFit Norwich we are here to support you no matter what. We have had several our members go through pregnancy and stay with us right up until they reach labor. CrossFit Norwich co-owner, Donna Owen, was in on her due day and achieved a strict pull-up! Strict pull-ups are a massive achievement regardless but doing this when you are nine months pregnant is incredible! Long standing member, Becca Elmy hit a 50kg strict press when she was one week away from her due day. How many girls do you know that can do that?!
The point I’m trying to make is that just because you are pregnant it doesn’t mean you have to stop training completely. It just means you need to take a little more time listening to your body and knowing what is right for the two of you. Speak to your coaches; they are all there to help you. If you feel like you can’t do an exercise I’m sure they will have something else up their sleeve, which is more appropriate. Take it easy, your goals won’t be the same anymore but that doesn’t mean you can’t move your body and feel good.
To give us a better understanding I asked Donna and Becca a few questions. Let’s see what they have got to say.
Amy: How long through your pregnancy did you continue training?
Donna: Until I was 3 days overdue! For me it was the beginning of my pregnancy that slowed me down, and I took it easy while my body adjusted to the change. Once I got on board and stopped being sick, training felt fine.
Becca: Although I originally planned to stop a month or so before my due date, I enjoyed the exercise and the social side of CrossFit so I went until a day past my due date.
Amy: Did you face any struggles in training?
Donna: I may have ‘felt’ great, but as my pregnancy progressed it was apparent that everything was getting bigger! As soon as my bump got in the way of the bar path on Olympic lifts, Paul switched out the bar for dumbbells which were as effective if not more! I really struggled to run fast or jump, so I stopped and did the things I could do and enjoyed. Every pregnancy is different; with my first baby I ran every day, this time 400m felt like a marathon!
Becca: For myself I felt great and continued training 5 days a week up until my final trimester where I struggled with fatigue and lack of motivation so I reduced my days and would attend a class 2-3 times a week instead.
Amy: How did you feel coming to the gym everyday?
Donna: This was the biggest challenge. I wish I could say I embraced it and loved every second, but I really struggled with self-confidence at first. As time went on though, I couldn’t believe the things I could achieve whilst pregnant and my confidence came back. I was so proud of my baby, and myself; the last two months of training were the most enlightening and enjoyable I’ve ever experienced!
Becca: I felt happy, when I started getting bigger and gaining excess body weight as well as a bump I felt self-conscious but CrossFit made me feel good about myself, I almost needed the endorphins.
Amy: Has your focus on training changed at all? What is important now?
Donna: What’s important now is enjoying every second that I have in the gym; because once you have babies it’s so hard to get training in. You’re tired, you don’t eat properly, and the thought of burpees makes you feel sick. However, you HAVE to do it, because it will make you happy. You will leave the gym feeling energised and ready for anything. So now my focus is on getting to the gym, having a great time and challenging myself. This makes me feel like I have my own identity and hopefully my children will be super proud of who I am.
Becca: Absolutely, what was important to me before (chasing PB’s and entering competitions) seems a distant memory, being fit and healthy and being a role model for my daughter is now more important to me.
Amy: What are your goals for the future?
Donna: I have to be careful about goal setting because once they’re set, they have to happen (hence that due date pull up!) but I would love to compete at powerlifting in the future. Right now, I’m enjoying my training so much that my goal is to keep improving at a rate that is safe so as to prevent injury (mums can’t afford to get injured!)
Becca: I would love to get back to the level of fitness I have achieved over the past 5 years but I will settle for almost!
Amy: Any tips for any soon to be mums?
Donna: Before you do anything, quickly ask yourself…
Did you do it before you were pregnant?
Do you feel like you WANT to do it?
Is there any risk of falling/injury?
Does it require you to use your core? (Sit-ups, etc.)
If you answered yes to the first two and no to the second two, consult your CFN coach and go for it! You’re in great company.
Becca: Follow your own body, just because someone else could continue training harder or longer during pregnancy, it doesn’t mean you should. It’s hard and feels like you’re regressing but it’s also great fun, I’ve never focused so much on form and breathing since I did CrossFit pregnant.
You may not be pregnant now but are thinking about starting a family one-day. Not one person will go through the same pregnancy, so it is great to chat to our members who have experienced it. Such a huge change in your body deserves a lot of dedicated time to talk and think about what you are doing.
You can see from Donna and Becca’s responses that they went through completely different experiences. So if you are unsure about something or it doesn’t feel quite right then that’s absolutely fine. Your coaches are there for you every step of your journey.