PART 1: Training For Two
(Written in 2015)
In a little under a month, I will officially become a mother. In the meantime, I am CrossfitMNL’s resident pregnant coach. “What! Pregnancy and CrossFit??” you say. Some people would think of these two as oil and water, and in fact I have been met with mixed reviews about my current (for lack of a better term) condition. “Coach nakakaloka ka!” Or “Coach your baby is getting squashed! Or my personal favorite- “Coach are you sure you are pregnant??” In our society, once a woman finds out she is pregnant, she immediately turns into Humpty Dumpty and must sit on a wall for nine months. While we do pretty much look like Humpty Dumpty at the end of it, we don’t have to be afraid of breaking into a million pieces if we get off that wall. So, when I got pregnant I decided to continue doing CrossFit (scaled down of course) not only to benefit me and my baby, but to show other women that CrossFit during pregnancy can be done.
Although being preggers gives us a hall pass for eating as much as we like and sleeping all day, keeping fit and healthy keeps most of the symptoms at bay. Barely any morning sickness, no bloating and controlled weight gain (which is great for being able to wear our CF clothes well into third trimester!) Its also great for baby- as exercise keeps our blood pressure controlled and keeps us away from pregnancy complications like preeclampsia. Exercise also keeps our resting heart rate lower and more healthy, which allows for more blood to be efficiently pumped into baby’s little system. Also babies born to fit moms are calmer and have been shown to sleep through the night earlier (totally looking forward to that!) Ok- so CrossFit didn’t help with all the symptoms, I still woke up in the middle of the night wanting to eat hotdogs and I still cried over pretty much everything, but we can’t win em all I guess!
“Coach you are so strong, I want to be like you.” “Coach, peg kita when I get pregnant” I also get these comments and these are the ones that make my day. At the end of it, all I want is to empower women, help them understand and believe that we are stronger than we think, and that we can do what is best for our bodies, and for our children. Mother knows best, after all.
PART 2: One Year Later- My Road to Recovery
A year ago I had written a blog about how important it is to keep fit during pregnancy. I was just about to give birth to my daughter and I had no idea at the time what an absolutely life changing experience it would be. As I wrote that last blog, I was thinking I would have my baby, rest a bit and get back to what my life- or my fitness- had always been.
I had been training right up to the day before I gave birth- which I think was what got me through my 21 hour (most of it without painkillers) labor AMRAP. Spoiler alert for those of you who don’t have kids yet- it was the most exhausting and painful thing I had ever gone through in my life (walang sinabi ang 16.5) and in the end I had to undergo a C-section due to some complications. In hindsight, i don’t think I would have survived that ordeal if I didn’t have my fitness to back me up. At any rate, I now have a beautiful baby girl and I was pretty sure I would be on my feet and back to normal in no time… And then my doctor tells me- wait 3 months before you do any exercise. 3 whole months! I was thinking, ” wow ang tagal!” But then I had been injured before, this was not the first time I’d had to stop training for a while. I’ll recover fast, just like before, I thought.
Cut to three months later, my incision had healed and I had my doctor’s go ahead to return to CrossFit. Yay! I got into my nanos and made my way to the box, super excited. Coach Frank and I had programmed a simple gymnastics workout to start with, just some air squats and hollows and pushups- easy stuff I could do in my sleep. But wait- I couldn’t even do a hollow! Or even a few pushups! It was so frustrating! I felt like Samson with all his hair cut off- i knew I could do it, but my body just would not let me. It was like I was someone else- my fitness was my identity and without it I felt lost. I had to start from absolute scratch… And that I did, inching my way back to fitness, one air squat, sit up, one pull up progression more every time. It was a slow process, since I was also exhausted all the time from caring for a new baby. But I was determined to regain my fitness, my self-worth and everything I used to be. Slowly, over 8 months I eventually got my groove back, as well as my skills and almost all of my strength. Proof that, if you really want to get back what you lost, all you need is a little bit of determination and a whole lot of hard work. Plus getting my fitness back up has really equipped me for all the hours spent picking up toys from the ground, running after my daughter and being able to juggle chores plus a 20lb baby on one arm! Functional fitness after all!