I hope to make interviews with strong women a regular feature on Muscles on a Lady. If you’d like to be interviewed, let me know in the comments! To kick off the interview series, I talked with my older sister, Laura. My questions are in bold.
Hello darling sister! You are more than 8 months pregnant and you lift heavy things! How heavy is the weight you are overhead squatting in this picture?
A CrossFit friend took those pictures during a 5RM OHS wod. I have 78# on the bar in the picture which is as much as I lifted that day.
What are some of the ways you’ve modified your workouts in the past 9 months, and why did you modify?
During the first trimester I didn’t modify much at all. I was feeling pretty sick for a while so I was forced to skip my workouts some days and work out at a lower intensity on other days. My midwife was not concerned about my level of activity but warned me about getting overheated or dehydrated. It wasn’t very hot during my first trimester so I wasn’t too worried about overheating but I did drink way more water during wods than I used to. I did the 2013 Open during my first trimester and didn’t need to modify at all – I just wished I wasn’t so sick!
During the second trimester I read that I should start scaling. I was feeling great and hadn’t gained enough weight to really impact my balance so I didn’t modify much at first. Part way through my second trimester I started making modifications based off how I was feeling. One day my body told me that rope-climbs and handstands were not really the best idea so I stopped doing them. I also started stepping down after box jumps to reduce impact and eventually started doing step-ups. When lifting, I avoided any grunty-intense efforts. I was told not to lie on by back so I substituted toes to bar in any wods with situps. Some people talk about keeping your intensity at a place where you can carry out a conversation when working out. My body is used to pushing hard so I made up my own rule. I decided to keep my intensity at a place where I never needed to sit or lie down after a wod. For the most part I was still able to RX most wods during my second trimester.
My third trimester started in July when it was starting to get pretty hot out. I fought the heat by drinking a lot of water and by working out with a cold, wet cloth around my neck. I also took breaks during some wods to wet my head to cool off. I am pretty big and moving slower now so I approach each wod differently. Some days I feel great and get an awesome wod in and other days I just go through the movements. I continue to workout at least 4 times/week because I think it is good for my health, good preparation for labor and because the people at my gym make me happy. One thing I have noticed in my third trimester is that I haven’t lost very much strength. I think carrying around all this extra weight is even making me stronger in some areas!
You’re a strong athlete and as your sister, I can say that you are very competitive. If I imagine being pregnant and having to slow down, I know that I would be really sad being beat by people that I know I could easily beat, sans-fetus. Is it sometimes hard on your competitive nature to have to slow down?
Good question Lis! This has been very hard for me. I am super competitive and love to PR. This is embarrassing to admit but I cried after a bunch of wods earlier on when I felt like I had to hold myself back from doing well. (Can I blame my hormones?) One I got bigger this was not such a big problem. These days I don’t feel very competitive but I do like to think about my “comeback” 🙂
A cool thing about your gym (Rocket Crossfit) is that there are a whole bunch of pregnant Crossfitters right now. How do you think training while pregnant has been different for you, given all your pregnant Crossfit friends, compared to somebody who is the only pregnant woman at her gym?
It has been SO great to have so many pregnant women at our gym. Our trainers are now all experts at xfit for pregnant women and have no problem modifying wods for us when needed. The entire gym has been very supportive of all of us and still view us as equal athletes. It turns out people love cheering for pregnant women and I love hearing people yell things like “your baby loves burpees” and “your baby will have muscle ups from birth!”
There are lots of outdated ideas about what pregnant women can’t or shouldn’t do. What are some dumb things that people have said to you when they see you working out?
This is a tricky question. No one wants to do anything to hurt their baby. I really think people need to talk to their healthcare provider about their exercise and make a plan that works for them. It is a personal decision which is why it is so annoying when a random person tells you what you can and cannot do!
Earlier on I had people ask me when I was going to stop and if it was actually safe to be doing what I was doing. Although these are just simple questions they imply that I was maybe doing something harmful to my baby. I have also had people tell me that weight training is not safe for pregnant women. I think everyone that knows me has figured out that I am not stopping so I don’t get many comments now. Most comments I got were coming from people who don’t work out at all. For these people the thought of doing pulls up while not pregnant is crazy so they simply cannot believe a pregnant woman could/should be doing them!
Jeremiah (Laura’s husband) got you a shirt that says “lifting for two” which is about the best gift a husband can give his pregnant wife, if you ask me. Do you have anything cute or lovey-dovey to say about him?
Jeremiah got the me the shirt as a surprise during the time in my pregnancy when I was feeling chubby rather than pregnant. I had started wearing baggy shirts to workouts rather than my usual gear and he wanted me to embrace my belly! (Thanks Jeremiah!) Overall he has been super encouraging for the past nine months. He still views me as being very capable and pushes me to safe level during each wod. He also loves to brag about his pregnant wife beating people (which is awesome to hear when you have gained 30lbs are are not feeling the best about your body!)
I think it will be very cool for your daughter to eventually see pictures and videos of you doing cool stuff while pregnant. You’ve been filming yourself doing max pull-ups every few months (while wearing the aforementioned “lifting for two” shirt). I guess this one isn’t a question, but I just want you to know that I think you are VERY COOOOOOL. Also I love you. Anyway, Do you have any advice for other pregnant Crossfitters out there?
Thanks Lis! Our baby will definitely be a CrossFit baby and I am excited to raise her around so many strong women. My advice for other pregnant Crossfitters is to find a care-provider that supports your decision to be active, have lots of conversations with your trainers about what you can and can’t do and listen to your body (it will talk to you at some point!). If you are like me and CrossFit is something that makes you happy, don’t give it up!
Thanks for doing this interview, Lo! I can’t wait to meet your baby! Kiss kiss!
You’re welcome Lis. This baby wants to meet you too! xoxoxo