- How has this pregnancy changed your training, if at all? (Andy) We’ve been extremely lucky so far, as Luisa has been crushing this pregnancy. Luisa is still coming to the gym several times a week and completing workouts (better than I can sometimes). The pregnancy is something that’s always in the back of my mind though. I’m lucky that she is taking a smart approach to the workouts and listening to her body. There are times that I’ll take a peek in her direction after I notice that she’s taking a quick break, she’ll give me a thumbs up, and I’ll know that everything’s good.
- What do you anticipate your training to look like in a couple months? (Andy) I picture the small details changing, but the overall picture remaining the same. There are several other gym members that have gone through, or are currently going through that same situation. The takeaway I have from watching others is that it just comes down to priorities. Frankly the gym will no longer be my priority. My family will. I would love to continue to come to the gym six times a week and stay later to try to work on some skills. Realistically though, the hours spent in the gym will drop. And I’m perfectly fine with that and I’m happy to make the change. I’ll make the most of the time that I do get to spend at the gym and spend the rest of my time trying to figure out this whole “dad” thing.
- What got you and Luisa into CrossFit in the beginning? (Andy) We’ve both been pretty active all of our lives . I went to a regular old gym for years and did your typical isolation exercises. Luisa liked to change up her workouts pretty often and has done a variety of different workout regimens from swimming, triathlon training, and boxing to name a few. We started training for the Cleveland half marathon a few years ago and I knew that I had to work on my endurance (knowing that I would get bored if I just ran every day). Luisa went to high school with Pete, we happened to see a post online about drop-ins to his CrossFit class, and the rest is history. We’ve both been full time members for the past three years now.
- How has CrossFit changed your perspective on fitness? (Andy) It’s certainly humbled me. Going into my very first class, I drastically overestimated my abilities. I hadn’t focused on endurance since high school sports, but still thought that I had maintained some of that capacity. Boy, was I wrong. The first several classes kicked my butt. By far the most that I had sweat in the past decade. It probably took me a while longer than it should have, but I eventually learned to slow down and not go all out in the first minute of a ten minute workout.
- What has CrossFit allowed you to do that you thought you could never? (Andy) Watching athletes snatch has always been something that has impressed me. Even though someone who is proficient at the movement almost makes it look effortless, you know that a movement that complex is incredibly difficult. I’m far from a professional athlete, but is there a better feeling in the gym than loading a barbell to the fringe of your comfort zone, having the stars align, and smoothly hitting that new one rep max on snatch? Becoming competent at snatch is not something I thought I could have achieved before starting CrossFit.
- What is your biggest victory in training? (Andy) I could go with any number of PR’s that I’ve had in the gym here. Everyone loves to lift more weight or go faster than their previous attempt. I think my biggest victory though is just being generally physically “fit”. The percentage of the population that is now considered overweight continues to rise. Sometimes I will take for granted the things that I am able to do until I look at some of the other people that are my age (that I don’t see at the gym on a regular basis). I’m not trying to compare myself to anyone else, but it is nice to keep things in perspective.
- What is your favorite part of training? (Andy) I am the epitome of a “creature of habit”. I would eat the same thing for every meal every day without complaint. That being said, I love that the programming forces me to do things that I would never do on my own. I can say with absolute certainty that I would never row a half marathon on New Year’s day by myself.
- Is there anything else you would like to share? (Andy) To anyone that’s considering CrossFit: Just give it a shot. You could be one of the many people that look forward to going to the gym all day. Or maybe you’re someone that would prefer to go for a hike, swim a few laps, play some recreational sports, or any other number of exercises. The important thing is to stay active. It feels good.
- What has been your biggest challenge with training through your pregnancy? (Luisa) 1st trimester: holding back. It was a challenge to not push too hard and listen to my body in the first trimester, especially when you are not ready to let the cat out of the bag and your friends are cheering you on to get that last rep.
2nd trimester: scaling. The easiest trimester by far, but as my belly started to grow I had to find alternative movements to scale to that still made the workouts challenging and fun.
3rd trimester: Repetitiveness. As the pregnancy has progressed there are less movements I can do safely/comfortably. Now that I’m towards the end I do quite a bit of biking and pushups, it’s hard to find enough variety to keep the workouts exciting.
- What is your advice to expectant mothers who want to train during their pregnancy? (Luisa) First, decide if it’s right for you. Do some research, understand the benefits and risks, I found the book Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James Clapp, MD to be very educational. Ultimately the decision to begin or continue a training program should be made by you, your physician, and your partner. Once you have established boundaries, work with your trainer to clarify your goals of exercising during pregnancy and the help you will need to get there. Keep in mind this is not the time to set PRs, your health and the baby’s health are of utmost importance. Listen to your body and don’t push past the limit you have set for yourself, for me it was 80-90% effort.
- What tips have helped make training easier for you during your pregnancy? (Luisa) Changing my mindset has been the most helpful. Healthy baby and mamma are what matters, if that means making a 20 min workout a 15, that’s ok. I’ve tried to find different scaling alternatives to movements I can no longer do, and sprinkled those into WODs as appropriate.
- What precautions have you taken during training for your pregnancy? (Luisa) Scaling, resting, and recovery. I stop movements if they don’t feel right or cause pain. I’ve changed many movements mid-workouts, scaling jump-ropes to air squats, strict/jumping pull ups to ring rows. Sometimes the plan I go into the workout with just doesn’t work out, and it’s ok to deviate from it. Also, I take more breaks during workouts to catch my breath or drink water. Lastly, I make sure I’m taking rest days and sleeping enough to keep up my recovery.
- What activities have you had to stop during your pregnancy? (Luisa) First thing I cut out was running due to round ligament pain, and rope climbs for fear of falling. Then came kipping, in an effort to avoid over straining my abdominals, with that went toes to bar and pullups. As my belly got bigger, burpees, box jumps, hand stand pushups and double unders were cut out. Lastly cleans and snatches with a barbell, once I started to hit myself.
- Why did you decide to train through your pregnancy? (Luisa) I actually didn’t start hard set on training through pregnancy, I figured I would play it by ear and stop if it became too difficult. As my pregnancy progressed I learned more about the benefits and I felt so good that I figured why rock the boat. Looking at the last 9 months, I’ve had an incredibly easy pregnancy, I have very few aches, my balance is pretty good, my energy level hasn’t dropped as much as I anticipated and my weight gain is exactly what it should be. I can’t help but think some of this is a result of maintaining my exercise routine. At nearly 9 months pregnant, I notice that after the gym my ankle swelling goes down and I tend to feel better (mood and energy). I hope staying active has helped me prepare for labor and helps make recovery easier.
- What is your biggest victory in training? (Luisa) Doing a freestanding handstand, even for just a couple seconds. Somehow I went my entire childhood never having done a handstand. Will I ever do a cartwheel? Time will tell
- What is your favorite part of training? (Luisa) Just staying active, if I sit around too long I just feel very sluggish. It’s also a good stress reliever, and helps me satisfy my sweet tooth while remaining at a healthy weight.
Thank you to Andy and Luisa for sharing your story! If you would like to learn more about what we do and consult with a coach about how you can get started, email Coach Pete at firstname.lastname@example.org today! Check us out on Instagram and Facebook too!