When we first opened our doors and people knew little of what WE are actually up to inside our CrossFit gym (no thanks to CrossFit videos on youtube for that) we found we had to explain a lot why we do things a certain way. The concept of “high intensity” freaked a lot of people out, and for some reason people in the general public would (and probably still do) tend to assume that when you are in a CrossFit gym you are trying to destroy yourself for glory, using giant weights recklessly, and throwing up immediately afterwards all while people yell at you. Thank god that perception is changing.
So needless to say, when some of our CrossFitters started getting pregnant it was sometimes hard for those around them (family and friends, and even others in the gym sometimes) to appreciate that a) that’s not what the gym is really like, and b) the concept of fitness training through pregnancy has been vastly broadened in the medical and fitness communities in the last several years. We have now had 9 women (who were already training with us) train through their pregnancies since we opened our doors almost 3 years ago. I remember in the beginning there was a general sense of awe as Krista and Lesley continued to do pullups and hang power cleans. Every now and again someone would quietly ask me “should they be doing that?”. We used our training knowledge about movement patterns and muscle engagement, our knowledge about pregnancy and physiology, our local MDs as support (I can’t believe how supportive they have been), our CrossFitting MD/mom friend from Ottawa, and the extensive online community surrounding CrossFitmom.com, to work with those first few women right to the end of their pregnancies. After all, it is just scaling CrossFit for a specific population. One of my favourite things that Glassman said is that “people’s fitness needs vary in degree, not kind”.
We have also learned a lot from the women’s feedback, and over time training the preggos has become routine, relatively simple and really amazing to watch. It’s funny to me now how people hardly bat an eye when someone 5 or 6 months pregnant does the wod Rx’d and beats half the class. Nobody has asked “should they be doing that?” in a very long time and instead I hear “I finally beat so and so on a wod!”. My response is: “You’re really going to brag about that??…they are 7 month pregnant!” 😉
There is no guarantee that CrossFitting pregnant is going to give you an easy fast delivery, a perfect baby, or a perfect recovery… but I’ll tell ya, the feedback we get consistently, especially with the moms that come back to train as soon as they feel like doing a little moving, is that the pregnancy just wasn’t that bad, the labour is just one giant wod for time, the babies tend to sleep well, and the mom’s feel pretty darn good not long after giving birth. I personally think that some of them look healthier than ever.
The reason that I’m thinking about all of this today is that it has become so normal to have giant bellies around the gym that I start to forget how amazing these women are as role models. About 10 days ago Nicola emailed us and said that she was starting to feel pretty tired and was sad that it might almost be time to take a break from CrossFit…. though she wasn’t sure if it was pregnancy that was making her tired, or the 4 solid days of renovations etc over the weekend that made her feel fatigued. My recommendation was to not stress about it, take it day by day; and the day she just didn’t feel like coming into the gym, she didn’t have to. So yesterday her due date came and went (I must say I have learned to ignore the due date completely… I have yet to see it be THE DAY). Nicola and Sean came to the gym and Nicola did her thing…. you know…. just move a little bit…
You’re a tough cookie Nicola, just like the other 8 pregnant women before you. I’m posting this blog so that you can be a role model to more people than just those in our gym 🙂