Written by Sarah Palmer (CFHE Member; July 2015 onwards)
My CrossFit Pregnancy
I started training at CrossFit Hawk Eye in June 2015. Prior to this my exercise background had been based around dance (my passion), and in a concerted effort to ‘lose weight’ I had tried everything from yoga to boxercise to step aerobics, all with few results. I’d start off ok, challenged, full of energy but after the initial surge of enthusiasm had worn off I got tired of the lack of interaction with the trainers and never felt that I was being pushed. Back then, I measured success in pounds lost and sweat, but some days I didn’t even get out of breath. Then, I found CrossFit and loved it!
I remember walking into Hawkeye that first day with my best friend Tracie, and being so nervous, looking around at the equipment and thinking that I couldn’t do this, dancers didn’t lift weights! I thought I would be the worst in the class, lagging behind and with exercise induced asthma I was certainly going to struggle with everything that was thrown at me, but it wasn’t like that. After a chat with the coaches, and a hug from Katy, I soon found out that everything could be scaled to suit the individual and that you work at your own pace so that everyone can achieve. For the first time, I felt positive when I exercised, I stopped thinking about weight loss and started thinking about weight gain – how much I could put on the bar! I also found out; I could run! I still have lots to learn on the lifting front but the running and rowing came more naturally and I started to love it. As the weeks passed by I got faster and fitter and my asthma was completely controlled for the first time in years. I had made so many new friends and was enjoying the social side of CrossFit Hawk Eye just as much as the training and then, I got pregnant…
Now, don’t get me wrong, this was the best news ever! My much wanted third baby was on the way and after the initial excitement had subsided my thoughts turned to how disappointed I would be to give up training when I’d come so far. That was when my coach (and now close friend) Emma stepped in straight away and said, ‘You don’t have to stop.’ She said this with conviction and insight because she’d been there. Emma trained throughout her own pregnancy, challenged herself daily and never used pregnancy as an excuse to take a backseat. We are so lucky to have such an inspirational and motivating coach in Emma and for her, and apparently now for me, it was an ‘I can’ attitude all the way. And so it began.
Training whilst being pregnant is different, it would be untrue to say nothing changes. You are responsible for the life of a tiny person which cannot be considered flippantly, it is a huge responsibility to have and rightly changes your mindset from your pre-pregnancy training days, but it can be done.
It would be fair to say I started off tentatively, I told the coaches my new situation and did my research, then with each achievement; each deadlift, every run completed in time and every partner that I didn’t let down my confidence grew. Training in pregnancy I learnt is not only possible, but for me it was hugely beneficial throughout for both my mind and body. I was lucky to have the comparison of my previous two pregnancies as a marker and I can honestly say that by far this was the easiest pregnancy of the three and at the age of 38 years old I never thought that would be the case.
What Hawk Eye offers in the way of training and coaching is unique, from the very start Andrew, Emma, Joe and Rick tailored my sessions to suit me and to ensure that I always felt comfortable and confident in every WOD I undertook. I can’t thank them enough for the care and attention they paid to me during those 9 months and for keeping me and my baby safe.
I stopped training at 8 1/2 months, I had continued further then I ever imagined I would. I know that I only lasted that long because of the constant support and encouragement not only from the coaches but from the members as well. There can be a lot of negativity surrounding pregnancy and exercise but I only ever felt encouragement and positivity from the members at Hawk Eye. I don’t think people realised how much that meant to me at the time, so now is my chance to say thank you to all of you that spurred me on and helped me lift those (really heavy) boxes! It is so appreciated.
Jacob James arrived into the world 12 days late and in 40 minutes. Labour for time! He was a healthy 9lb 4oz and is perfect, very strong and with some serious thighs going on, but I don’t think anyone was surprised about that!
The whole 9 month experience has taught me a valuable lesson; that I am capable of much more than I ever thought. Like Emma said at the beginning, ‘I can do this’ and I did. Now, I look back and think if I could do all that whilst I was pregnant. I wonder what I can do now I’ve had the baby. I can’t wait to find out.