Pregnancy & CrossFit: Amy Babiak, Jen Balentine and Emily Onofrio

CrossFit can be challenging for many people, but, CrossFit while being pregnant is a whole new beast. Amy, Jen and Emily have all continued to CrossFit during their pregnancy but have approached being in the gym a little differently. Read about how these three ladies continue to workout, how they modify workouts and some tips they do to keep them on track as best as possible.

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Q(Amy): What are some things you have been doing in relation to CrossFit and becoming pregnant? Did you automatically scale workouts or did you listen to your body based on how movements felt? 

A: Navigating my first pregnancy while continuing to do CrossFit has definitely been an interesting adventure that, if I’m being completely honest, can at times be incredibly frustrating. Having been a CrossFitter for 6 years now, I’ve learned to listen to my body but being pregnant has taken it to a whole new level! I had a minor issue early on and was forced to rest for almost 6 weeks until it resolved itself, which of course resulted in losing a lot. However, when I was cleared, I modified, scaled and slowly worked movements back in one at a time based on how I was feeling and eventually felt pretty good! 

Q(Jen): This is your second baby but your first baby while doing CrossFit, how has this pregnancy differed from your first in relation to exercise? 

A: My first pregnancy I went to a globo gym so I just did whatever and by six months in, I stopped working out entirely (I wasn’t motivated at all). This pregnancy I have stayed either lifting or doing CrossFit 5 days/week and I’m 100% driven by our amazing DelVal community!

Q(Emily): How has your pregnancy journey been in the gym? Were there certain movements you stayed away from more so than others? 

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A: Since this is my first pregnancy I had no idea what to expect. No one tells you that your lungs disappear right away amongst other things. I always thought everything was just harder because of weight. Not what’s happening internally. I will say my experience is way better here at DelVal then I think it would be if I belonged to a different type of gym. Having a routine class time and friends that hold you accountable is a very important part of CrossFit for me. I need that, more now than ever!! As soon as I saw the positive on the pregnancy test I retired box jumps. Paranoid! Step ups for this Momma!

Q(Amy): What movements have been more challenging as you progress in your pregnancy? Are there any movements that you miss doing that you are unable to do?

A: Running any distance has become super uncomfortable, so I’ve cut that out completely at this point...not mad about it. Rowing for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable as well so the Echo bike has become my best friend. I can’t believe I’m about to type this but I kinda miss burpees; I can’t explain why, but squat thrusts are annoying. I’ve had to start elevating my push ups, as the abdominal pressure with that specifically doesn’t feel good. Most of all though, I miss deadlifting heavy, which, if you know me you know that’s like a knife to my heart (lol)! I’ve had low back issues in the past and with all the changes my body is going through, it’s not worth taking any risks. In the end though, I’m just happy to move any how, any way I can.

Q(Jen): During this pregnancy did you have any specific fitness goals you wanted to stick to? How has your nutrition been?

A: My goal was to make it until the end of my pregnancy still working out and as close to my previous routine prior to getting pregnant- 6days/week. I wanted to keep working out for as long as I could while keeping up with as much of my strength and endurance as possible. My nutrition has actually been really good and so much better than my first pregnancy. I have allowed myself to have the pizza and cupcakes but in moderation because I know whatever I put on is up to me to take off after the baby!

Q(Emily): You’re an early bird class member, how has becoming pregnant impacted trying to wake up early? Has it impacted the amount of classes you attend weekly? Do you get morning sickness which prevents you from coming? 

A: I LOVE my Earlybird’s!! I was pretty sick my entire first trimester and a small portion of my second. So for a while I felt like I was barely there. That totally sucked! After 16 weeks, I started feeling normal again and since then I try to get to the gym four days a week and I’m okay with that!

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Q(Amy): You, Jen and Emily all completed the Murph workout together this past memorial day, what was that like? How did you break up the workout?

A: I had the best time working out with Em and Jen and was very grateful to have two bad ass ladies working by my side that know exactly how I was feeling. We modified movements and scaled the run, but we kept each other moving at a consistent pace the entire time and got a great workout in. Jen and Em ran a few laps around the building while I biked and then we all ended up doing 10 rds of work! Fun times!

Q(Jen): When you worked with Amy and Emily in completing Murph, was it comforting to work with other ladies who can relate to how you’re feeling/ moving? 

A: Best decision ever! I feel so fortunate to not only have others pregnant at the same time but so many women who have been pregnant at the gym before me. Best motivation ever!

Q(Emily): When you completed Murph, did you plan on partnering with Amy and Jen or was it coincidental? What is it like to workout with other ladies that have a better understanding of how move/ how you might be feeling? 

A: I have never done Murph pre pregnancy. I know, I know, crazy! I have to thank Jen and Amy for letting me join them! I honestly wasn’t going to do it! As soon as Jen asked me to partner up I knew she would be relentless about it. As I said before, I need that and I’m really glad she made me do it! It was great to be able to work at a consistent pace with two other ladies, motivating each other, honor a hero and get that sweat in! 

Q(Amy): Were there any things about your pregnancy that surprised you? (I.e you could still do pull ups, thrusters, ect) and were there things that went away quicker than you expected

A: This kid stole my lungs IMMEDIATELY!!! I was around 8 weeks when I participated in Amatuer Hour in Febuary and it was as if I’d never worked out in my life (lol)! I certainly didn’t expect that being that early on in my pregnancy. All forms of squats still feel great and dubs are still pretty decent. I am most surprised though that I still have some pull ups and even a few toes to bar, but they are starting to fade.

Q(Jen):Coach Justin was doing your programming before you got pregnant, have you stuck to his programming or have you moved toward your own modified workouts? How many times do you still CrossFit weekly? 

A: Coach Justin has been doing my programming since last summer and we just stopped at the end of May. He has been so patient with me and as I got further along in my pregnancy he continued to listen to my concerns, moderate my workouts but always still challenged me. I’m still mimicking a lot of the programming he did for me and can’t wait until I’m cleared to return so we can start up again! I have been doing CrossFit 2-3 days/week and strength training 2-3 days/week. I love having the variety! 

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Q(Emily): What movements have been more challenging as you progress in your pregnancy? Are there any movements that you miss doing that you are unable to do? Is there anything that has surprised you so far during your pregnancy? 

A: I personally think every movement is more challenging, haha! I’m not a super advanced CrossFitter but I do pride myself on being decent at handstand push-ups, burpees and pistols. All of which I can no longer do (wah). I can’t wait to be able to get back to those movements after the baby comes so I can throw some shade at my hubby again!

Q(Amy): What are some tips you would give to other ladies in the gym who might be in your shoes someday? What are some tips you’d give them about the changes they will experience as well as how to balance in their exercise? 

A: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!! Accept that there will be many changes and you will have to modify and scale the sh**t out of most workouts, even changing them completely and IT’S OK. I have a conversation with myself almost every day reminding myself to not be so hard on myself, that I’m doing the best I can to stay active and strong for myself and the munchkin. Stay consistent, rest when you need, keep your nutrition dialed in as best you can with treats in moderation. Just like normal, you need to fuel your body properly to feel your best!

Q(Jen): What are some tips you would give to other ladies in the gym who might be in your shoes someday? What are some tips you’d give them about the changes they will experience as well as how to balance in their exercise? 

A: Show up, put in the work, safely challenge yourself still but also give yourself a break when you are tired. Easier said than done personally but rest is just as important as exercise when you are pregnant. Also, don’t let your diet go just because you are pregnant. Definitely treat yourself at times but if I’ve learned one thing from coach Jacki- it’s that you can’t have great outputs if you are giving your body poor inputs and that is even more so true during pregnancy. Also remember pregnancy changes your body and your mind so don’t make plans to come back to your same routine as soon as you are cleared to exercise, just go with the flow. Someone please remind me of that in a month or so! 

Q(Emily): What are some tips you would give to other ladies in the gym who might be in your shoes someday? What are some tips you’d give them about the changes they will experience as well as how to balance in their exercise? 
A: My advice would be to just show up as much as you can. But, that’s my advice for the gym in general. Of course, listen to your body and your doctor. You’re going to have to modify movements and sometimes entirely change your workout that day but you feel so much better knowing you hauled your pregnant ass in there and got in a workout that day!