journey

Confessions of a CrossFit Mama

Specifically for our 2 pregnant athletes, Danielle & Rose! You ladies have been amazing to watch as you progress through pregnancy, adjust your workouts as needed and even continue to PR some lifts!

Reminder: we will have The Baby WOD this Saturday beginning at 9:30am! Experience what it's like to clean around a round med ball belly and add 20# of weight to your pull ups. 

  
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Coach Coco is guest blogging today to share with you her journeys becoming a mom who CrossFits instead of a CrossFitter who moms. For those of you who haven't met Coco, she was one of our original coaches, first doing boot camp then joining the other side (CrossFit) feel in love with it, got her L1 and became one of our regular morning coaches until she got pregnant. Pregnancy brought on extreme morning sickness so she put coaching on hold and focused on her FT job, teaching little minds. We only had her for a short time through the summer until her husband's career took her to Ohio but she comes back often and always stops in for at least 1 WOD.

It’s been almost a year since I completed the most epic AMRAPP (As Many Rounds As Possible of Pushing) of my life.  My beautiful baby boy is approaching 11-months and as the new year begins, I have spent some time looking back at my CrossFit Mama journey.  It has been full of good, bad and ugly. 

For the benefit of other CrossFit moms, moms-to-be, or anyone who wants to better empathize with those individuals in your community box, here is my story:

I can tell you that coming back to CrossFit after having a baby has been one of the hardest, most humbling experiences of my life.   BUT it has also been the most rewarding, healthy and healing journeys I’ve had.  CrossFit with a kiddo changes everything.  Everything. 

Before Titan, CrossFit was my life.  Many of you know what I’m talking about.  It almost becomes an obsession.  I would wake up in the morning focused on when I could get my WOD in for the day.  I would go back and forth trying to decide whether I liked morning or afternoon WODS better.  This was seriously my thought process - “If I go in the morning, I probably won’t be able to push as hard and won’t have any idea of what a respectable finishing time is because I’ll be one of the first ones to try it.  Plus if I do it early, I won’t have the rest of the day to look forward to it.  But if I wait until the afternoon, I may be too tired and won’t be able to push as hard and I’ll be stressing all day worrying that something might come up and I won’t be able to make it to the box.”  Like I said, obsessed. 

And I was uber competitive, in a dumb way.  I mean, I was good, but by no means an competitive, professional CrossFitter but I acted like I was the cat’s meow.  It’s actually embarrassing now that I think back on it.  

When I found out I was pregnant my first thoughts were, “Awesome.  Wait, what about CrossFit?!”  I had made some big gains that year and felt the sky was the limit.  But now I had another human being in side of me.  I knew I couldn’t keep working out in the way that I had and if I’m completely honest with you, it wasn’t just because I wanted to protect my baby.  I mean, of course I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize the health or safety of my sweet growing bundle, but I also knew I was really competitive.  I knew I would struggle pulling back the reins during a WOD, especially when everyone around me was pushing their limits. 

I felt it would be depressing to feel my progress decline in comparison to everyone else.  Wow, that’s embarrassing to admit out loud.  Welp, I promised to give you the good, the bad and the ugly of it, folks.  I also didn’t feel that doing just 12 minutes of moderate intensity would be enough for me.  For this reason, I decided my best bet would be to create my own program of 45-60 minute moderate intensity strength and cardio at home.  That way there would be no judging eyes and I could push myself however hard I felt safe.  (A quick note on this - can we just all acknowledge what a crappy mom-judging culture we have?!). 

I so admire those women who can CrossFit through pregnancy, but I just couldn’t do it in a healthy way.  I am hopeful that next time around I will be at a better place mentally and physically to do this.  We’ll see…  Anyway, that became my new norm until Ti was born.  

I remember the day six weeks post delivery when I got the okay to start exercising again.  I drove straight to the box from the clinic. Oh, it felt SOOO good to be back in that haven. 

But it quickly became evident to me that I had lost A LOT more strength then I had realized.  Pull ups were gone.  Weight that used to feel light was now impossible to lift.  Not to mention all the new noises and other things that were occurring with HSPUs and double-unders (see, I told you it would get ugly).  I was so discouraged and honestly considered whether it was worth trying to get back into it.  I was humiliated.  Although everyone knew I had just had a baby, I still wondered whether they were thinking snide comments about me in their heads (we were, Coco, we were so excited to have you back!).  I was so humbled by it all.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to devote all my time and energy to CrossFit anymore.  Finding time to make it to the box five days a week would be a struggle now that I was working full-time and had a baby.  I would have to be okay with no longer being one of the better athletes in the gym and give up my ego.  When I decided to do that, it was like a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders (no pun intended).  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel pressure to perform at the top level.  I could just enjoy the community and do my best and stop comparing myself to everyone else.  And rather than focusing on how much strength I had lost, I got to relive each moment of accomplishment when I hit another milestone!  I got to experience that first strict pull ups, first Rx WOD all over again!  

Now, I’d love to insert here a before and after picture to show how incredible the fight back has been, but I have to be real with y’all - your eyes would be drawn to the stretchies and a big hole that used to be my cute belly piercing.  Ain’t nobody want to see that.  Give them a little time to fade and shrink and then we might give that a go.  

I am finally free to enjoy CrossFit as it was meant to be.  Rather than being my life, it enhances my life.  If I can’t get to the box for a WOD, it doesn’t ruin my day.  If I have to cut a WOD short because Titan needs me, I can walk away and be fine with it.  There are times when I feel my former obsession creeping up, but I can usually quickly squelch it when I realize how much richer my life is now.  I’d give 20 pounds off of my squat for Titan’s smile any day.  Although I haven’t gotten all of my former PR’s back, I am getting ever closer and I believe 2017 will bring even better PR’s and accomplishments than ever.  And if not, I’ll be okay with that.  CrossFit is amaze-balls.  But being a mom is even better.  

 

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Change Takes Time

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It's a new year, which means, we have many new faces coming into the gym hoping that this year is the year for them to improve their health and fitness, to stick to something and to finally get healthy. 

Last week, we set goals in the box, specific to our performance, and wrote them down on the goal boards for everyone to see. Those goals will not be met overnight, it's going to take a lot of hard work and being consistent each week, even when the goal seems so far away. 

For both the newbie and the current athlete, we want to remind you: Change takes time. 

As coaches, we often get asked and hear, "what do you eat?" "how do you train?" "I wish I could lift as heavy as you." "It looks so easy for you."

Here's the answers: We train like you. We started with a band for pull ups or doing half rep strict pull ups (not knowing these weren't actually pull ups), we started with an empty bar. We struggled along with progressions for HSPU and Muscle Ups (and still may be working on these, years later), Each of us eats a bit differently but we've found, by trial and error, what works for us and what doesn't.  We didn't get this way over the course of a few months or even a year. It's been years in the making. And we're still working just as hard. We are not done. You're never done.

In the 2007 photo above, I was in, what I thought, was the best shape of my life. Every bride's goal is to look good for their wedding because 'the photos last forever'. I weighed 119# in that photo, I ran hours a day and I used 8# dumbbells and couldn't do a single chest to ground push up. 

I started CrossFit in 2011, still running marathons and weighing between 119-121#. I wanted to lose 10# to be a faster runner. Why? That's what all the marathon books told me to do, so I began watching my portions. I lost .2# in 4 months and I also began feeling pain in my hip when I ran. So much that I had to drop out of the 2010 Chicago marathon 16 miles into the race. I had never, in all my years of running, dropped out of a race. I began searching for a solution. The answer was simple: lift weights, get muscles and eat food.

In the 2017 photo, I see nearly 6 years worth of hard work. Every single one of those muscles I worked for. I am strong. I am healthy. You can't fake muscles, you can't fake strength. I don't see what others see, until I look back at photos from before CrossFit. In 2007, my forearm is bigger than my bicep, I wore extra small tops. Today, my biceps (are big) and are proportioned to my forearm, I have traps, and I have wings in the form of lats. I often can't fit into shirts with buttons, I've cut elastic out in dresses because my obliques are bigger and now need a larger size in lulu tops because my shoulders and arms continue to grow.  I can deadlift 265#, back squat 210# and do 25 pull ups unbroken. I weigh 138#. Today, I know I'm in the best shape of my life- for today. It's exciting because if I keep this up, I can continue to say that I am in the best shape of my life each year I get older.

It's an exciting time here in the box, we have so many athletes hitting their 1 year CrossFit mark, they may be a bit discouraged because they "can't do x yet" (fill this in with pull ups, clean 125#, a handstand push up, or double unders).

Keep working! Keep showing up. Your progress and efforts are not meaningless. It's a journey. A long, beautiful journey.  You work for each milestone, you don't get any of them given to you.

To the new athletes just coming into group classes: Every sore muscle, every hard workout, every full effort put into your hour here, it's building a foundation. For some, the foundation takes a long time to build, but it's worth it. Promise.

 

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