CrossFit Open WOD 14.1: Do More. Suck Less.

Do More. Suck Less

The 2014 CrossFit Open began last Thursday. This is a huge time in the CrossFit world. It is a time where we get to see what we’re made of, and to compete with CrossFitters from all over the World. If you have no idea what The Open is, click HERE.

I had planned on doing each of the WODs only one time, no re-dos. I like to treat the Open WODs as a regular competition where you only get one chance to give it your all. Wellllll, my performance last night is an exception. The odds were not in my favor – I was tired all day, most likely because I didn’t eat much and decided to lay down and woke up only 20 minutes before I was to perform the WOD, aaaaand my monthly friend was being a bitch. Whah whah. I was also doing the WOD at another gym in town, and while I was not in my element, I think the big factor there was that I didn’t have my CFSB family there for support. They’re pretty awesome. I’m not making excuses, just giving a glimpse into the state of mind I was in. I tried to shake it off and do work. Unfortunately, my body had other plans.

14.1 is as follows:
AMRAP (as many reps as possible): 10 minutes
30 Double unders
15 Power snatches @ 55lbs

Both of these skills are fairly easy for me. However, there are days where I just can’t seem to do double unders, and you guessed it, last night was one of those nights. I kept tripping on my rope and couldn’t get a consistent rhythm with my jumping. I think my nerves got me rushing and I just lost control. It got so bad to the point where I stopped a few times to laugh because it was so ridiculous and embarrassing. I was also so close to quitting since I knew that I was going to do it again. However, I couldn’t quit. I couldn’t show my athletes that I was a quitter. I managed to finish the WOD with 4 rounds + 27 reps. I was hoping to get close to 6 rounds (270). I was so disappointed, that I had to do it again.

I dreamt about double unders all night. I woke up with sore trapezius muscles, or what we at CFSB like to call “shrug pieces,” because of all the shrugging in the snatches from my first attempt. I also wore my “Do More Suck Less” shirt as motivation.

14.1 Pace Chart

Tall Guy mapped out pace times for every outcome of rounds. He’s such a nerd; I love it! It’s all about strategery! It definitely helped to give us an idea of where we were in the middle of the WOD. I was doing pretty well and was on a good pace to complete 6 rounds. However, around the 3rd or 4th round it got tough and I lost time, but I hung on. I was able to do all of my double unders unbroken for 3 of the 5 rounds because I forced myself to slow down and find a consistent rhythm. My snatches weren’t too bad, but I could’ve used my legs and hips more. The last set of double unders were pretty funny. I felt like I was on the verge of complete body failure. My arms didn’t want to move, I felt like vomiting, I felt my head spinning, and the cramps. Holy cramps! Why do I do CrossFit again?! Well, I survived, and I am pleased to say that I got 5 rounds + 17 reps for a total of 242 reps.

Now, many of my new athletes have asked why they should sign up for The Open. There are so many reasons why people should do it, but I will list my top 3 reasons, which all feed off one another.

1. Accountability. In my opinion, on average we all don’t push ourselves as hard as we should during regular workout days. It’s either after work or school, we’re tired and hungry, and we just want to get the workout in and go home and go to bed. There are also days where we just don’t want to go and instead go straight home. I know what my athletes (and myself) are capable of, and I’m not always seeing max effort. Signing up for The Open holds us accountable in that we are required to submit a score by Monday at 5pm. We have 4 days to complete the WOD after it is announced and therefore have to put the effort in and make time to do it.

2. Focus. Participation in The Open really challenges our focus. Last night my focus was shit, and therefore I had to force myself to really focus during my second attempt. For those 10 minutes of hell, you cannot let any self-doubt, any negativity enter your mind or it will take you over. Case in point, my performance last night. Calmness, focus, and drive are all that can be there. However, when we allow ourselves to really zone in, it is amazing what we can accomplish. I have two athletes who were planning on not doing 14.1 because they had never done double unders. After much coercion and pep talking, they did it. Athlete 1 ended up doing 2 full rounds (for a total of 60 double unders!) and Athlete 2 practiced them this afternoon and got 20. I’m so excited to see what athlete 2 will do tomorrow when she attempts 14.1.

3. Mental fortitude. Anyone that does CrossFit has to have some level of mental fortitude. It is not possible to do these workouts without it. However, The Open presents another level to which you can see what you are made of. I think my absolute favorite part of The Open is seeing how far people push themselves regardless of how much blood, sweat, and tears are pouring out of their bodies. The Open is a test of fitness – not only fitness of your body, but fitness of your mind. How far can and will you go?

I am very excited to see what my athletes are going to accomplish over these next 5 weeks. It brings me so much joy to see them overcome their self-doubt and kick ass. I coach some of the greatest people I have ever met, and as such, they make me want to work harder and be better. CFSB rules!

Being Content with Mediocrity in a Community of Overachievers

Ninja-Goon

Team Ninja & the Goon

One thing I find interesting about CrossFit and the Olympics is that you are constantly reminded of your age. The majority of the commentators I’ve heard while watching the Olympics have mentioned that one’s athletic career is pretty much over once the athlete has reached their 30s. Hell, if you’re an Olympic-level gymnast, you’re done by 18 (21, if you’re lucky). With regards to CrossFit, you are constantly reminded of your age when your body just doesn’t want to move like it used to – you feel your knees and back ache often and that’s just during the warm-up! Actually, I’m pretty sure the constant reminder is when you see these damn youngins walking around with their perfect bodies not realizing (or caring) what’s coming for them in about 5-10 years. Ha! Yeah, go ahead and continue to think you can eat like that… just you wait! (Insert evil laugh here.)

When I mention “age” I am also referring to what got you to where you are at a particular age. At ages 14-16 years, I was in my prime in gymnastics – flexible, nimble, beautiful six-pack abs; at age 18, I was still pretty good and still had some of my six-pack abs; at age 19 I moved to California and basically didn’t work out until I started CrossFit at the age of 32. I also had a terrible diet. Imagine what sort of shape I would be in had I had CrossFit as soon as I finished my gymnastics career. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

Well, here I am at the ripe old age of 36, and after 4 years of CrossFit, mixed in with two major injuries (from softball), I am feeling the strongest I’ve ever been, all the while feeling my body getting older.

This past weekend, Tall Guy and I competed in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre down in Ventura hosted by West Coast Strength and Conditioning. It was a co-ed partner competition with RXd, Modified, and Masters divisions. We still have a few years before we are considered masters competitors; however, we are at the upper end of the regular divisions, which is one thing that I love and hate about CrossFit. I love that I get to compete against people much much younger than me (and it feels pretty good to beat them, too), yet at the same time it’s no wonder when they do beat me (and at times I feel like they should beat me). Some of these “kids” are just out of college having competed at D1 schools, other competitors took part in past Regionals competitions, and many are also contenders to make it to Regionals this year.

What I also love and hate about CrossFit is that there are no weight divisions. So little 130-pound me often competes with women that have easily 20+ pounds on me. Me having to push jerk 95lbs 40 times is not the same as someone that is 155lbs. I think it’s pretty cool that I can lift as much weight as women that are bigger than me, but at the same time it sucks because they have a distinct advantage.

Many of the competitors this past Saturday looked like they were in their early to mid-20s with some that looked around my age. Many of the women in my division had beautifully muscular and toned bodies to the point where I would find myself staring at them. They sure are fascinating specimens of the female body! Dayam.

During the competition, while I was out of breath, trying not to vomit, and my body hurting, I looked around and saw these young competitors just plowing through the WODs and all I could think was, “This isn’t fair, I got like 10 years on these bitches! This isn’t fair, I’m lifting half of my body weight here and they’re not!” Yeah, I know I need to work on my mental game; however, this perceived “unfairness” pushed me to work harder, to not give up, and to also appreciate my effort and placing in the competition. Not only was I one of the smallest competitors in my division, I had the tallest partner – one I had to carry twice for the distance of 60 feet each time in the middle of a WOD. So, yes, I’m gonna say that I had to work a little bit harder than others. I’m not writing this to complain, but to merely breakdown how interesting, shitty, fair and unfair CrossFit is and that’s why I love it.

Tall Guy and I had 3 goals going into this competition: 1) Don’t get injured; 2) Don’t get divorced; 3) Don’t get last place. I am pleased to say that we succeeded in all 3 goals. We ended up placing 31st out of 46 teams, he didn’t crush me during the partner carries, and we are still married. Not bad for some old farts.

The competition WODs for the RXd division were:

WOD #1
10 min time cap:
21-15-9
Deadlift (245#/155#)
Box jump (30”/24”)

Our time: 9:16 (20th place)

WOD#2
22 min cap (partners split the reps)
200 Double unders
Partner Carry 60 ft (girl carry guy)
120 Sandbag Shouldered Squats (80#/60#)
Partner Carry 60 ft (guy carry girl)
80 Shoulder to overhead (135#/95#)
Partner Carry 60 ft (girl carry guy)
40 DB Snatches alternating hands (55#/30#)
Partner Carry 60 ft. (guy carry girl)
200 Double unders

Our time: 21:51 (34th place)

Floater:
For calories: 3 min Airdyne + 3 min rower (switch during 1min transition)

Our score: 198 (32nd place)

What’s Your Motivation?

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My day started with me feeling gross and exhausted. I had a fight with myself whilst laying in bed – one part of me saying, “get your ass up! You’re running late!” the other part of me saying, “it’s okay. You work hard, you need the rest.” Who am I kidding? That is me EVERY morning when the darn “ripples” alarm goes off on my iPhone.

Because I was feeling crappy, I defaulted to my food-based comfort and was adamant about going to Starbucks (even though I was late) and getting a sugar-free vanilla latte and a tomato and cheese croissant. They didn’t have the tomato and cheese (gasp!), so I opted for the spinach and cheese (meh). I also forgot my lunch (again), so I purchased a turkey and havarti sandwich along with my healthy breakfast. As I was walking back to my car, I felt bad about myself because this is not what I had in mind with cleaner and healthier eating. To add to my crappy state of mind, I threw in some Cheez-It at lunch.

So what does this have to do with motivation, you say? A lot. I’m not saying this is healthy, but I have a habit of making myself feel like shit before I step it up and take control. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as crappy as I thought I would after eating all the bread items. However, it was enough to do the job.

I was debating going to CrossFit because I was so exhausted and felt gross, but I forced myself to go. After I parked, I wasn’t quite ready to get out because I needed to mentally get in the zone before stepping into the gym to see my friends and to do work. I decided to check Facebook (which I don’t usually do before the gym, surprisingly) and saw that my friend Alexis (aka Fancy Pants!) shared a new blog post entitled “The Root of Suffering is Attachment” with the post starting off with “…attachment to things, feelings, people, ideas, expectations…” Oh, the expectations. This really resonated with me. The expectations I set for myself are often too high, which in all honesty is why I am currently exhausted. I reminded myself to “simmer down” and that I am doing okay. I am not perfect. I am doing the best I can. I walked into the gym, and did quite well with my workout. I left starving for protein and veggies and in a good mood.

So what’s my motivation? My motivation is the people I care for. Even though I may be their coach and am the one who is supposed to do all of the motivating, all of the athletes that I coach inspire me; however, my friends Alexis, Susan, Maira (aka Bon Bon), Janyce (aka Black Widow), and Allison in particular are my motivation. They all have their own strengths that push me to be a better person, athlete and coach. Being around them make me happy. My friends that pursue their dreams also motivate me. They may fail, but they keep on pursuing because they believe in their talent and abilities. People like Lakeisha Shurn motivate me. I may not know her personally, but her story and the determination and effort she put into losing weight inspires me. People that actually do the work rather than doing a lot of talking motivate me. We can all “talk the talk,” but not everyone can actually walk.

On a superficial level, my other motivation is this purple sports bra:

xfitsportsbra

I saw this sports bra a while ago, but didn’t purchase it for some reason. I haven’t been able to find it in my size since then. Janyce knew that I’ve been wanting it and bought it for me when she saw it in my size a couple weeks ago (she’s so rad!). My goal is to comfortably wear this without a shirt over it. Sometimes during a workout I get super hot and want to rip my shirt off, but I am not comfortable enough with my midsection to do so. I know I’m not fat, but I’m squishy and it’s uncomfortable and funny looking. I love my shoulders, arms, legs and booty, but my stomach? Not so much. It may not look squishy to you, but it’s because I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it. I wore my bathing suit once last year, and never took my tank top off because I was too ashamed of my squishy midsection. Silly, I know.

So there you have it, whether you wanted it or not. Haha! I commend you for making it through all of my rambling about my mundane day. So my question to you is, what motivates you? What keeps you going?

Peace Out, 2013, and a Big Sexy Hello to 2014!

My favorite part of a new year is the overall feeling of hope and positiveness (that was for you, Meadows) from the majority of the population. Goals are being set, people let go of the past, and are determined to bring happiness into their lives. We reflect on our lives and the events that occurred over the past year, and we try our best to learn from mistakes and move on.

Well, 2013 was full of ups and downs for this little ninja. It was a such a great year for so many of my friends, but for me it was extremely challenging. I am definitely pleased that 2013 is a thing of the past, and am very much looking forward to what 2014 has to offer.

Overall, my favorite highlights of the year are the new friends I’ve made, the friends that I’ve gotten closer to, the new personal records (PRs) I’ve achieved at the gym, and the greater community that now exists at CrossFit Santa Barbara. However, I think my favorite part are the gains that all of the athletes at the gym have made. It delights me to see the boost in confidence of the athletes that I coach, how excited they are to come to the gym, how they overcome the challenges that are set before them, and how grateful they are. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people. I am also extremely grateful to Coach T for allowing me to be a part of his gym and to be one of his coaches.

In addition, being a mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been life changing. I think most people that go into volunteer work do it to change the lives of others, not expecting anything in return. However, I have learned so much about myself while mentoring my Little, Jimena. It brings so much joy to me to hear her say things like, “You’re the best big sister ever!,” “You’re all mine?!,” “See, I always have fun and am so happy when I’m with you.” It also kills me when she looks at me and says, “You aren’t going anywhere, right?” Things like that shows me just how important my job is as a mentor; how important it is for children to have a strong role model, which pushes me to be a better person, not just for her, but for me and everyone around me.

Even though last year was a bit challenging, looking at my list of highlights reminds me it wasn’t all so bad. Other highlights from 2013 include:

January:
*Gaining the mobility back in my shoulder and being able to raise my arm over my head.
*Avoiding shoulder surgery.
*One full month of being soda free!
*Start of better eating and food prepping.

Related blog posts:
How Ninja Got Her ROM Back
Food Preppin’, Soda-Free Ninja
“You just may come out of this smelling like roses.”

ROM Frontx3-5Jan2013

February:
*Not killing Tall Guy (hey, that’s a highlight, right?)

March:
*Competing in the CF Open and doing way better than I thought.

Related blog post:
If at first you don’t succeed…

Ninja 13.2 Press(Photo credit: Rose Joost)

April:
*Completing the CrossFit Open without injury or pain!
*Competing in my first USPA powerlifting competition and obtaining CA state and American records in the sub-master division/132lb weight class (my American record has since been beat).
*Seeing Jurassic Park in 3D with Tall Guy.
*Returning to softball and not getting injured!

Related blog posts:
Better Than Expected: My 2013 CrossFit Open Experience
Lifting Heavy Things and Putting Them Back Down

Ninja Deadlift State Record

May:
*Cindy & KB’s wedding and gettin’ cray cray with the Josh & Cortney
*Mother’s Day at Chalk Hill with the Foleys and Grammy Eunice (this was the last time we saw Eunice, so it was extra special).

Related blog post:
Learning to Find Hope through Death

Grammy on Moms Day

June:
*Competing in my first local CrossFit competition at CrossFit Ventura
*Mini-moon #2 to Palm Desert
*Marie & Robert’s wedding
*Becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and meeting Jimena. She would forever change my life.

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July:
*Spending the 4th with friends on a boat!
*Movies at the Courthouse
*Seeing Chanel the “corpse flower” bloom at UCSB and smelling her nasty scent.
*Attending my first figure competition to cheer on Karena. Go Team K-Bunny!
*Mandy and Josh’s visit

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August:
* Partying it up at Fiesta with the MasterBatters, where the term “Getting Fiesta drunk” was born.
*Saying goodbye to George, my trusty Honda Civic, and saying hello to my new Honda CR-V, Blurpie.
*Mini-moon #3 to Disneyland.
*My bestie Mandy’s engagement.

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September:
*Susan & Mike’s wedding and Tall Guy officiating it.
*Corralling a huge group of CFSB’ers to participate in the CALM fundraiser competition at CrossFit Pacific Coast and placing 5th.

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October:
*Birthday party at Sky High Sports trampoline park!
*Cindy’s baby shower.

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November:
*Marko surprising me at work with a visit. Totes made me cry I was so happy to see him!
*Delicious Thanksgiving dinner with friends.
*Birth of Chloe, the daughter of my other bestie, Clara.

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December:
*My friend Kari aka “Viva” surprising me at work with a cute note.
*Birth of Jesse Keenan aka “Baby Thor,” Cindy and KB’s little man.
*First CrossFit partner competition with Janyce at CrossFit FAST and placing 4th. Stupid wall balls.
*CrossFit Santa Barbara Christmas party
*Christmas with the family and seeing my nephew
*One year of being soda free!
*Jimena’s Christmas card

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card from Jimena

I look forward to another year with this guy!

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Here’s to a kickass 2014!!!

What does Ninja eat?

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(Black Widow and I at the WODseries partner competition on December 8, 2013)

A few friends have asked me over the past few weeks what I eat, as well as for the recipe for the meatloaf I made. Never in my life did I ever think that I would be sharing a recipe! I am not one to cook, but have been dabbling and trying to do it more often. But before I continue, I would like to share some exciting news…

Today is my 1-year anniversary of being soda-free from my favorite sodas!!! WOOT! I say “from my favorite sodas” because I haven’t been completely soda-free. The only soda I allowed myself to have was ginger ale when I wasn’t feeling well, and I’ve had a total of 4 over the past year. Pretty good considering I had a mad addiction to the corn syrup-filled goodness that is soda. I still crave my beloved Diet Coke (especially with Captain Morgan!), but I try to distract myself when I get those cravings. I still glare at Tall Guy, though, when he drinks a giant Coke or gets a Coke Slurpee. RUDE!

Now back to food. Last week I had a competition and I wanted to make sure that I was feeling well for it. My diet has been a bit dirty over the past few months and I wanted to clean it up and do a bit of detoxing. So I decided that I would cut out sugar (natural sugars were fine), dairy, and bread. It was tough, but I did it for a full week… and I lost 6 lbs! I wasn’t trying to lose weight; I just wanted to clean out my insides. I felt great and the bloating went away. Below is a list of what I ate during the week, and pretty much what I generally eat, except when I decide to throw in some sandwiches and cheese and crackers into the mix (bad Ninja!):

Breakfast: 3 hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs, 2-3 pieces of bacon, avocado

Lunch: spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, apples, chicken, avocado, drizzled with oil & vinegar; lentil soup if I’m needing a little something else; leftover chicken or steak with rice and/or broccoli and/or green beans

Dinner: Chicken or steak with rice and/or broccoli and/or green beans, and corn if I’m feeling a little frisky

Snack: bananas and/or almonds (but I wish I was eating Cheez Its!)

Nothing too exciting or too fancy. Ain’t nobody got time for that with our schedules, so we make do with the time that we have.

A couple of recipes I’d like to share are as follows…

Meatloaf (gluten-free, Paleo-friendly)

I combined a couple of recipes that I found online and tailored them to my liking. Both recipes said to bake at 350° and cook for 40 min, but I would probably cook it a little higher for a tad longer.

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs of ground beef
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 large egg
Sprinkle salt and pepper to your liking

Mix in a bowl, then add the ground beef and mash with your (clean!) hands. Yum. Mold into a loaf pan. I sprayed the loaf pan with coconut oil instead of the other baking sprays. Instead of using ketchup (even though I wanted to) I spread tomato paste on the top and then layered bacon across. However, I think the next time I will chop up the bacon and throw it into the mix. It didn’t get as crispy as I hoped, so we had to throw the meatloaf in the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Lentil Dip Delight (vegetarian-friendly)

I had this “dip” at a BBQ a few months ago and it was so delightful that I had to ask for the recipe, and come to find out, it’s totes easy to make! It involves 3 ingredients all pre-made from Trader Joe’s. When I have time, I plan on trying to make it from scratch because of the added sugar in the bruschetta, but for now the pre-made stuff will suffice (because it’s BOMB!).

Ingredients:

1 package of pre-cooked lentils (found near the small packages of veggies in the refrigerated section)
1 tub of Bruschetta (found near the salsas in the refrigerated section)
1 tub of Feta cheese (found near the other cheeses, duh)

Throw in a bowl, mix it up, and voila! Lentil dip delight! This can be eaten with pita crackers or chips, but I also highly recommend putting it on top of chicken breast. Holy moly it is fantastic!

Well fancy that! I just Googled the Trader Joe’s bruschetta to find a picture to add and I found a picture with ALL of the ingredients! Looks like another short, Asian lady loves this stuff too!

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(Pic via The Fresh Find)

That’s all that I have for now. After the competition, I indulged with a giant burrito with lots of cheese and sour cream, as well as a Hawaiian pizza with garlic parmesan bites from Dominos (not at the same time – oh my, that would be painful!). To answer your question, yes, I feel awful, but it was worth it. Now back to cleaner eating… until Christmas dinner!

Happy holidays friends!

Attitude Adjustment

I’ve been wanting to write on my blog for quite a while now, but have passed because I’ve been in such a shitty head space. I want my blog to be a positive space for me to talk about life experiences, not a place where I word vomit complaints. As I type this, I’m not sure how this particular blog post will end up as there is so much I want to say and so much that I can’t. I’m trying to keep it positive, yet that is where my main problem arises: the act of thinking with positive affirmation.

I’m generally a pretty positive person, always trying to look on the bright side of every shitty situation and be grateful for what I have. Unfortunately, that is what has caused me to arrive at Shittyland. There are two main things that I’m dealing with right now – one that I have no control over, and the other that I do. Over the past year I have told myself over and over again when I’m feeling poopy that I should be grateful for my family, my home, my job, my friends, blah blah blah… Basically saying:

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Yes, I am extremely grateful for all that, but I should not have to sacrifice how I am truly feeling just because I have what appears to be a good life. There will most likely always be someone worse off than me, but I shouldn’t disregard what I’m feeling because of that. And I didn’t realize I was doing this until a few months ago when I had an emotional breakdown. I had been so successful at pushing all of my frustrations, confusion, hurt, sadness and anger to the back burner that my top finally blew. All too often I had been doing this:

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Then I see shit like this:

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I get it. Holding in our true emotions allows us to appear strong. Does it really, though? There comes a point when you just can’t hold those feelings in anymore. How about we turn it around and say, “A strong person isn’t afraid to show his or her true feelings.”

So often we are told to keep our feelings to ourselves, or to not show weakness. Why is expressing our worries and concerns a bad thing? Nobody is perfect and everyone has their own problems, so why are we trained to make everyone think that we have to be perfect or appear to have a perfect life? Honestly, I get a bit uncomfortable when I see or am around someone so well-put together and who always appears so happy. Like, they never fluctuate on the happiness/appearance spectrum. They are constantly at HAPPY! and their outfits and appearance are SPOT ON. It makes me wonder, “What is going on in there?” Humans are full of so many emotions, that I just can’t comprehend that someone can always be on like that. Meh, maybe it’s just the skeptic in me. Who knows? Now, I would rather not be around someone who is constantly grouchy and always complaining, but I do enjoy being around people that are REAL. People that don’t have to put on a show with their words or their clothes.

What about the integrity of our actions and behavior? Perhaps that’s for another blog post.

I have a lot that I’m working on, mainly not letting people’s words and stupidity get to me. I’m in need of an attitude adjustment. It’s not easy, but I’m working on it.

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Women are not weak. Pregnancy is not a disability.

Last week, CrossFit posted a picture of a pregnant woman performing an overhead squat on its Facebook page and apparently it got many people’s panties in a bunch.

CF Mom

(Picture from CrossFit’s Facebook page. Photographer: Nick Stern)

I saw the picture and “Liked” it because I thought it was empowering and inspiring. I hope that when I become pregnant I am still able to continue with my CrossFit workouts. Unfortunately, many people disapproved of what this picture depicted (a strong woman) and the ignorance came pouring out. It led to many news outlets posting articles online where more ignorant comments emerged:

Yahoo: Should Pregnant Women Be Weightlifting?

Metro: Pregnant weightlifter just two weeks away from giving birth provokes online storm

CNN: How much is too much exercise when you’re pregnant?

What upset me about these comments is that people view pregnancy as a disability. Apparently, pregnant women aren’t supposed to be active. They’re supposed to sit at home and do nothing, except perhaps to cook, clean and tend to other children.

Women are not weak. Pregnancy is not a disability.

To me, this picture depicted strength and dedication. This woman made the decision to focus on her health and that of her unborn child. She is not going to succumb to a sedentary life just because she is pregnant.

What these commenters fail to recognize is that this woman discussed her exercise regimen with her physician (a regimen that she has been doing for 2.5 years). They fail to recognize that she exercised during her two previous pregnancies and her children turned out just fine. They fail to recognize that what she does with her body is none of their goddamn business. Now, if her lifting weights while pregnant directly affected their life, then perhaps they could argue that she should stop. But it doesn’t. Now, if this woman decides not to vaccinate her children, then yes, I would have something to say about that because it directly affects our society. But that is a whole other conversation.

What people also don’t realize is that CrossFit is based on functional movements – movements that we do in everyday life. For example, picking up a basket of laundry = deadlift; picking up your child into your arms = clean; putting a box on a shelf above your head = shoulder press. How is training these types of functional movements detrimental to our health? There is another picture of this woman lifting a 35-pound kettlebell. She also states, “The most I lifted while pregnant is 65″ (Yahoo). So you are telling me that she is not supposed to lift her existing children? I see pregnant moms toting their children all the time and no one says anything about that. But put the name “CrossFit” on something and “Watch out! Irresponsible fitness is happening!”

CF Mom2(Picture from Metro. Photographer: Nick Stern)

One of my friends and current athlete with whom I coach is about 7 months pregnant. Prior to her pregnancy, she worked out 4-5 times per week and was capable of lifting a lot of weight with high intensity. As soon as she became pregnant, she scaled back her workouts – frequency, weight, and intensity. She modifies all of the movements that would put her baby in harms way: instead of doing sit-ups, she hangs from the pull-up bar and does knee lifts; running has become difficult so she uses the rower; instead of doing the traditional stance in a deadlift, she stands in the sumo position, which is a wider stance allowing room for her growing belly.

I had a visitor at our gym a few months ago who was 6 months pregnant and has been doing CrossFit for 6 years. The workout consisted of “goblet” squats (air squats with while holding a kettlebell against your chest) and burpees. She could have easily used a 53 pound+ kettlebell but she opted for 35 pounds and didn’t squat below her knees. Instead of doing the push-up in her burpee she just went into a plank hold.

These women are highly aware of their bodies and their abilities. How dare people say they are putting their unborn child in danger when that is their number one priority? What would be detrimental is if these women stopped doing CrossFit and became sedentary. CrossFit is what they do; it is who they are. This is what their body is used to doing.

I have another friend who is about 4 or 5 months pregnant and recently started CrossFit because she wants to feel and be strong for her growing baby. Will she be going all out with intensity and weights or doing as much as the more experienced CrossFitters? No. She just wants to gain some muscle so that she won’t have to struggle when her baby gets bigger. Her husband is also an avid CrossFitter of many years and a CF Level 1 trainer. She is in good hands.

Now, I’m not saying that all who do CrossFit are responsible and that all who have taken the CF Level 1 certification course should be coaching. There are many people who have no business coaching. This goes for ALL sports and activities as well. But this woman obviously knows what she is doing – she is healthy, and is taking the proper precautions. She was excited about her fitness, her abilities, and her pregnancy, and wanted to share that with the CrossFit community. Let’s not scorn a woman who wants to share happiness with others.

Our bodies are meant to be active; we are not built for a sedentary lifestyle. It’s obvious that obesity is an epidemic that needs to be resolved. Rather than attacking those who are proactive with their health, let’s celebrate them in hopes that we will encourage those who aren’t.