Wellness Embodied Blog

CrossFit is a one of a kind sport. It certainly isn’t for everyone, but hey, what is? You wouldn’t catch me at a yoga class! CrossFit is one of those sports that attracts high energy, competitive, very enthusiastic athletes. Once you start to see improvements in your skills, physical appearance and strength, you truly can become addicted. Did you know, CrossFit has been around for over 20 years now!? It started in one gym (owned by Greg Glassman) in California in 2000 and now has over 12,000 affiliated gyms worldwide.

The problem with CrossFit is that sometimes athletes forget to rest and recover. Sometimes they prefer to push through an injury or pain than submit to taking it easy. Sometimes the coaching cues don’t quite hit home for each individual and the VERY important thing your coach is trying to tell you, is totally lost in translation. And sometimes women who are pregnant or postpartum, aren’t fully informed about appropriate modifications for their safety.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been a CrossFitter for almost a decade now, including through my pregnancy and postpartum journey. I fully believe that most women are more than capable of continuing their training **to some degree** throughout their motherhood. Did I train for the final 4 weeks before I gave birth? Heavens no, I was exhausted. Did I train for the first 6 weeks after my c-section? Heavens no, I could hardly get up from the couch without feeling like my tummy was ripping open. And did I make mistakes along the way of re-introducing my training? Absolutely, but that puts me in a better position to help my clients now.

For each individual, the road to recovery and training will be different. I know SO many women who had a breezy transition back into getting off the couch AND lifting weights, even AFTER a c-section. I remember seeing a video of my friend out pushing the pram two days after a vaginal birth, when I was about 4-6 weeks postpartum, and just thinking, “what the hell is wrong with me!?,” as I struggled to roll over in bed. Or another friend (who was far less active than me – key to this story) who had ZERO abdominal separation, while I walked away with a 6cm separation, which STILL holds me back from a lot of exercises. Comparison is the thief of joy, right?

Now, being on the slower scale of recovery has better enabled me to help patients that come to me with postpartum woes. I totally understand the crying and the frustration and the feeling of time moving too slowly. But I also understand that your body is telling you something, by the way it refuses to heal. For me, for example, my abdominal separation is a product of my pressure management, my posture and my exercise selection throughout my late pregnancy and postpartum journey. Just like most other CrossFitters, I’d be damned if I had to scale EVERYTHING. Just like most other CrossFitters, I loved my sport too much and I refused to modify heavily when I should have.

Since all this, I have completed extensive further education in the pregnancy and postpartum exercise field, because I know I did some things wrong. It has taught me so much about how multifactorial the body’s repair journey is postpartum. If you have the slightest imperfection in your mechanics, posture, or movement… TRUST… it will come out in the wash during your pregnancy or postpartum journey. So, we need to be educated and equipped to deal with each issue as it arises.

With CrossFitters who are pregnant or postpartum, we can see issues arise such as incontinence or weak pelvic floors, abdominal separation, prolapse, hip and pubic pain, shoulder pain and poor overhead mobility, as well as a weak core and general loss of fitness and strength.

There is a huge gap in what women are offered during pregnancy and postpartum, in regards to return to exercise, particularly of the high intensity type. Now, after all this, I love helping women get back to their sport and their lives with a feeling of confidence. I want them to walk into the gym and know exactly where they’re at physically and what they will be able to do one day soon. I want to build their own knowledge on how things SHOULD and SHOULD NOT feel. I want to empower them to be fit and strong again, with the support of a safe and progressive program.

If you need guidance and support in your pregnancy and postpartum journey, please book in with me (Kate Jeremy – Accredited Cairns Exercise Physiologist) or one of our Cairns physiotherapists for an assessment and plan to get you back to your best.

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