Blogging is not something I have ever done nor is it something that I thought I would even try. I was suggested to write a blog as if you are talking and catching up over coffee. That seemed easy as I do this quite often now being on maternity leave.
So, grab a cup sit down and let’s try this online coffee catch up!
I’ve been taking my return to CrossFit pretty damn cautiously. After having a baby 6 weeks ago I was mentally ready to get back into it straight away. Physically I had been out of the game for just over 20 weeks. I was still rope climbing and doing things like toes to bar at 18 weeks but the belly was starting to really show and my core was quickly disappearing so this was the beginning of modifying everything back appropriately so I could still exercise. Though I worked out and coached right up until 39 weeks, mentally the challenge wasn’t there because physically I slowly couldn’t do movements, lift heavy or run for too long. Even demonstrating movements because difficult lucky for me through the gym members understood and those that needed the extra help would come to me individually and we would work through it together. It was definitely challenging me mentally to not be able to do the physical things that everyone else could do, I wasn’t sick or injured I was pregnant. Exercising wasn’t just about me anymore I had to be careful for the both of us.
After my last WOD at 39 weeks, I thought I’d take some rest and wait for baby to come due the following week. Well, he didn’t come when I had planned and with every day that passed it literally felt like a year. Time has never moved by so slowly in my entire life. I honestly felt like I had aged a couple of years in those 2 weeks of waiting. When of course he did decide to make his appearance I immediately felt free and I was excited that I could not potentially satisfy my mental health. My brain was telling me I could just get back into it, my body was telling me a completely different story. I knew that I had to take it easy – 3 babies do not give you a 6 pack that’s for sure. With my second baby, I crossfitted to 32 weeks and went back when he was 11 days old. That first day there were 30kg snatches programmed. I was excited I love snatches and 30kgs is not much for me. I set my bar up, pulled it off the ground and dropped it from my hips. WOW, It felt like I had tried lifting a tonne off the floor and those 30kg felt near impossible. I dropped the weight down and continued to do so until I just had a bar. Still, this was a struggle for me. I cried when I got home. I was stronger pregnant than I was postpartum. I am prepared this time, I know that everything is going to feel heavy and what I could do pregnant I won’t be able to do for a while. I knew that it would take some time and not to be hard on myself. I still decided to come back to the gym after 13 days.
One of the best feelings was walking through those gym doors without everyone staring at me to see if I had popped. I nearly ran through garage door I was so excited but breastfeeding boobies really don’t let you do that. I managed a workout with calorie biking, lunges, bicep curls and some pelvic floor exercises.
The last 4 weeks I have specifically avoided all core targeted exercises until I can actually assess the state of my abdominal muscles. The female body is pretty remarkable, but a pregnancy takes its toll on the body and it doesn’t just bounce back to original strength straight away. I have gradually felt like I can do more but it has been a struggle to lighten the load. I literally had no core strength; I couldn’t do a push-up, pullup, burpee, or literally get off the floor. This to me just reiterates the importance of core strength. No core = no chance of a pull-up or push up and I am a testament to that.
Fast-forward to now, 6 weeks since giving birth and I am just starting to gain control over my abdominal muscles from the deep transverse muscles to the more superficial rectus abdominals. I can actually sit up out of bed without having to roll to the side to prop myself up, I can do a full push up though I haven’t tried doing multiple ones and I am able to do strict pull-ups with a band just to take the pressure of my stomach. I’m seeing the physiotherapist at the end of the month who will be able to tell me the state of my abdominal muscles and tissue. She’s going to be looking for something called diastasis recti or more commonly abdominal separation. This is something I wasn’t aware of after having my second baby and I jumped into exercise too hard and too fast. I wasn’t aware that doing exercise while the body was still healing and while the abs were still coming back together could actually worsen this condition (if you have it) and cause herniation.
This time around I am prepared for the fact that this could happen to me, naturally, just from being pregnant. Not every pregnant woman will have this condition and some women can get it straight after their first pregnancy. Best way to avoid it? Don’t get pregnant…ha! This is the main reason for me to allow my body to gradually ease into everything again. My brain does enjoy teasing me making me think that I can still do butterfly pull-ups, 70kg cleans and 400m runs but the reality is my body physically can’t and I’ve realised that’s ok.
Likely we offer very gentle mums and bubs class which allows females to get back into fitness. Although exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do while adjusting to life as a mum, it does have benefits.
- Boost your mood by increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals (endorphins) in your brain.
- Help you to lose weight and regain your pre-baby figure if you eat sensibly.
- Protect you from aches and pains.
- Give you more energy, if you are feeling tired.
- Improve your strength and stamina, which will make looking after your newborn easier.
Here is info about our mums and bubs (dads are welcome too) classes: https://wofcrossfit.co.nz/mums-bubs/
How’s that coffee of yours? Anyway, it was good catching up but I have to gap it now. Things to do and people to see. You know how it is – time can pass by very quickly with these chats. I’ll let you know how the appointment goes at the end of the month. Good chatting, catch you up next month!