CrossFit and Pregnancy
Anyone who knows me, would probably tell you that the thing I dislike the most is working out. I do it for the simple fact that I have to. One of the hardest things about already being blessed with thickness, is that when the babies start coming, so does the extra thick. Many people would tell me after my first pregnancy that it took nine months to get there, don’t be too hard on yourself. But I couldn’t stand that. I had a friend who had a baby shortly after me and I’m not going to lie, I was so damn jealous when she was able to hop into her pre-pregnancy jeans without even lifting a finger. That wasn’t the deck of cards I was dealt though. If I was going to lose the baby weight, I had to do it the old fashioned way, workout.
I set myself out on a journey to figure out the right formula, the right moves, the right distance to run, all to lose a few pounds. Six months after I had my first child I still had a solid thirty pounds to lose to get me back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and to fit into those coveted jeans that made my butt look so good. It started to become an obsession with me… How do I lose the weight!?
My sister-in-law said to me around this time of my life something profound. She looked at me during one of my jealous questions when I was asking her how she is so skinny and so fit and how it isn’t fair and she has had three babies; she looked at me and said very matter-of-fact, “Katie, I didn’t get this way because it came easy to me. I had to work so hard and tirelessly, and have to make good decisions with eating every single day and chose the right portions and chose the right drinks.” She told me that it is a daily struggle for her. I may have laughed out loud at her, because to me, she is the epitome of beautiful. She has the perfect body, and I thought, how do you even know what weight struggles are. I even asked that question out loud. I think it offended her too. But she was sincere in her answer; she told me, “You have to find your balance. You can’t just wish the weight away. Working out isn’t enough, you have to eat right too.” Then she dropped a big bomb on me… She told me that I have to choose the right kind of workouts. She told me that my running everyday was harder on my body and that it was going to get me nowhere. She wasn’t discrediting cardio by any means, she just knew of something better.
What? What could possibly be better and more effective than cardio? Everyone knows that if you want to lose a bunch of weight, then you put on heavy sweaters in the blazing sun and go for a run. Duh! Cardio is the answer. Nope. She introduced me to a new workout. She brought me the gym she worked out in, a Crossfit gym. My initial reaction was that Crossfit was just a bunch of meat heads and I wasn’t going to lift in the Olympics or do any competitions, so it was pointless. But, I had tried so many Jane Fonda workouts, and Insanity with Shaun T, and Zumba, and you name it, I thought, what the heck, may as well, right?
Not only did I start to lose weight in the Crossfit gym, I also started to gain a new sense of self. I still didn’t like working out, but I realized that most people don’t while they are doing it. I started to feel like I was a part of something. A community worth going and putting effort into. I became friends with many people who were just like me. Young, trying to lose weight, trying to get fit. It became contagious. I wanted more. I wanted to be around the people that were investing in me. Working out in a group as you are all going through the same grueling workout, you form a bond that is very unique. Often times when I would get to my class and if someone was missing from class I would hope they were okay, and maybe even send them a message to check on them. I stopped caring as much about my body and started caring about the community.
Then, the strangest thing happened. It was literally nine months after I had my first baby, I decided to try on those coveted jeans again, just for fun. I knew I hadn’t gotten to my pre-pregnancy weight, but people kept telling me how good I looked and how much weight it looked like I had lost, so I slid those babies up and they perfectly kissed my entire booty and thighs! I had done it. I was actually thinner than I was before pregnancy. I was still not to the weight, but I had more muscle. There is nothing more addicting than the feeling of success. I even took a butt selfie and put it on Facebook because I was so proud of myself. Mind you, I don’t normally take selfies, let alone, butt selfies. But I was so damn proud of myself. I would have never found that level of success and confidence had it not been for Crossfit Cornerstone. They helped me find a person inside that could do Olympic style weightlifting, and find my sweat to be beautiful make-up.
Then, something else happened. I got pregnant again. Are you surprised? I looked so good in those jeans. Actually, I had made an agreement with myself that we would start trying for our second child after I got to my happy place and I could fit into those jeans. I remember when I realized I was pregnant too. I was in the middle of a pretty easy workout for the day, more weights than cardio, and I thought for sure I was going to pass out from exhaustion or throw up my entire lunch. I went into the next pregnancy with a different mindset though. I wanted to work hard during pregnancy so I could get the weight off easier after the baby came. I kept coming to the gym, diligently, day in and day out.
Without going into too much of an ugly birth story, (I’ll save that for another day) I will say that my second child’s birth was much better than my first. During my first pregnancy I didn’t workout much. I did the occasional jog but wasn’t fit. I gained over fifty pounds. I then ended up having to have a C-section after being induced a week past my due date. Not saying my weight or exercise had anything to do with it, but compared to my second child, it leaves me wondering. I was told by the doctor’s during my second pregnancy that I could have another C-Section or I could try to do a VBAC , however, they would only allow me to VBAC if I went into labor on my own and I couldn’t be induced. I hoped and prayed that all my working out would pay off and that I would just have my water break during a workout or something. Actually, as a matter of fact, I remember doing the Murph workout on Memorial Day thinking that it was so miserable being pregnant and working out that I would have given almost anything to go into labor instead of finishing the workout. No such luck that day though. I finally decided to schedule an induction, which also meant that I would probably have to have another C-Section. But this baby had other plans. I remember, it was a Friday morning. The WOD was Fran. But this baby wanted nothing to do with the workout. She wanted to come. It was a day before my scheduled induction. The contractions started coming and my husband took me to the hospital. A few hours later, my second baby was born via VBAC. I had found more success. I labored comfortably, I had the strength and endurance to get through it. I had not allowed myself to get out of control with weight on the second pregnancy either. I only gained 25 total pounds, that is half of what I had gained on my first. I stayed steady in the Crossfit gym, and I can honestly say I do believe that it is because of all my hard work that I was able to successfully VBAC. Most VBACs end up in a C-Section, but not mine. I was fit.
Fast-forward the clock, I am now four months post-partum. I have been in the gym most days since the birth of my second. I am about twelve pounds away from that pre-pregnancy weight. I haven’t’ tried on those jeans yet, but I know the time is coming. I am going to get back in them again. I am determined. I’m already fitting into clothes that I wouldn’t have had any business thinking about after my first child. But the most important thing about all of it, is that I know I can do it. I didn’t know that before. But it is so true. I’m just your average mom. I hate working out. I do it because I want to be in shape. But I have found a bigger purpose. I have found that when you are in the sweat puddle with others, it is so much easier to survive it, and that you feel so much more capable, because your friends are there cheering you on your way to your own definition of success. I am more beautiful today because I believe it, than I have ever been. What’s more, when my daughters look at their mom, they will see a mom with confidence and a mom who knows she is beautiful. A lesson worth teaching any young girl growing up in this world.