Thursday, August 13, 2015

9 Month Training Plan: Creating a Human

Most of you can guess where I have been over the past few months. There isn't a whole lot to write about as you watch your fitness steadily decline for 9 months. Regardless, I thought it would be nice to share some pearls of wisdom to those who may be going through the same thing or considering it. (Especially given the void of information out there for pregnant athletes as well as the plethora of  pregnancy myths)

Despite a small hurdle in the 8th month, a combination of endurance training and CrossFit kept both the baby and I more healthy. More specifically, my blood pressure stayed within normal limits, I had no incidence of low back pain (even with a history of a pelvic fracture/ORIF), no lower extremity swelling build up, proper weight gain, and pretty good energy levels throughout.

Overall, I continued to swim, bike, and run until about 8 months preggo. Around 8 months/32weeks preggo, I strained my achilles pretty bad to the point where I could barely walk. My weekly track workout did me in as I awoke one morning with a swollen achilles and inability to bear weight on the affected leg. Combine that with a little ligamentous pregnancy laxity + being on my feet all day at work+ history prior calf injury = mobility nightmare and rookie mistake.....

In the end, I took almost a whole week off with no working out, added a heel lift, and did some Graston to my calf/achilles. I was able to walk normal about 2-3 days later. The whole incident gave me a little bit of a scare as I know professionally what happens if you tear your achilles. (usually it necessitates immediate surgery otherwise the achilles will shorten) I put running, swimming, jumping on hold for a good 3-4 weeks.

With no running/swimming from 32 weeks-36 weeks, I shifted my focus even more to strictly CrossFit. As my achilles mended, I spent a lot of time air dyne spinning, squatting, ski-rowing, and regular rowing for cardio. I also was able to do my usual CrossFit WODs pain free.

Besides my physical fitness, at 39 weeks pregnant my weight gain topped off at around 20 lbs and was all localized to the right areas (my belly)! My nutrition had not changed much- I mostly avoided processed sugar, gluten, and obviously adhered to the normal pregnancy restrictions. There may have been more splurges here and there but I simply listened to my body's needs. My progress was closely monitored by my physician who recommended that I workout until close to the end of the 3rd trimester.

To all my fellow female athletes who are pregnant, considering becoming pregnant, or simply afraid because of all of the bad info out there... I'm sharing a few things:

1. My 1st-3rd Trimester Training
2. Pregnancy Fitness Goals
3. Pictures from my Journey
4. Baby Benefits from Exercise

1st-3rd Trimester Training:

1st Trimester
  • Swimming-2000-3000 meter workouts 
  • Biking-1-2 hours (trainer/outside) 
  • Running-1-2 hours tops
  • CrossFit-2x a week 
  • Ab/Transversus Abdominus(TA) Isometrics/Glute Strength 2-3x a week
  • Weekly Volume- 6-12 hours exercise
  •  Total Weight gain-2 lbs
2nd Trimester
  • Swimming-1500-2500 meter workouts 
  • Biking-1-2 hours (some outside/trainer)
  • Running-Kept running workouts 3-5 miles. (At the end of the second trimester, I started having severe round ligament pain and resorted to mostly shorter distance running and running only on soft surfaces (beach/track/trail)). 
  • CrossFit 2-4x a week. As my ability to SBR diminished, I transitioned to more METCON style workouts. At this time, I lightened up my squats, deadlifts, and general lifting weights to about about 65%-75% of my norm. I discontinued hand stands/inverted work. For toes to bar, I stuck to knees to elbows ONLY. I was still able to perform kipping pull-ups, but shifted focus to mostly ring rows because of ligamentous laxity. 
  • Ab/TA/Glute strength-2-3x a week
  • Weekly volume-6-10 hours
  • Total Weight gain-10 lbs
3rd Trimester
  • Swimming-1500-2000 meter workouts (held swimming temporarily during achilles injury)
  • Biking-No more trainer @ 7months as belly was in the way. After D/C bike trainer work I resorted to Air Dyne work with occasional tabatas. 
  • Running- short and interval based on soft surfaces ONLY. (held running from 32-36 weeks secondary to injury)
  • CrossFit-5x a week. I dropped my weights to 50-65% for most Olympic lifts. I rarely did movements where my belly impeded the bar pathway (snatches). Instead, I opted for single arm dumbbell snatches. I still jumped rope, but DC-ed double under secondary to achilles. Burpees were executed from a box or plates. I substituted ring rows for pull-ups and occasionally did box jumps onto plates. 
  • Ab/TA/Glute strength 1-2x a week 
  • Weekly Volume 6-8 hours
  • Total Weight gain-20lbs (38-39 weeks) 

My Fitness Goals

#1. Maintain health pregnancy : Check
2. Finish CrossFit Open Scaled Division: Check (first CF open ever @ 5months preggo)
3. Keep weight gain under 25-30 lbs while maintaining healthy pregancy: Check
4. Finish Donna Half Marathon: Check 1:47 (4 months preggo)
5. Finish Gate River Run in top 10%Women: Check (4.5 months preggo)
6. Maintain good core, postural, and glue strength to prevent low back pain: Check

The Transformation:

 17 weeks 
18 weeks
 19 weeks

20 weeks 
21 weeks 
 22 weeks
23 weeks 


 24 weeks 
25 weeks 
 26 weeks 

27 weeks 


28 weeks 
30 weeks 
31 weeks

 32 weeks
 33 weeks 
34 weeks 

35 weeks


36 weeks
37 weeks 
38 weeks
39 weeks 

Baby Benefits of Exercise

While exercise helped me stay physically in shape, more importantly:
1. Maverick was born super healthy.
2. Both Maverick and I were D/C-ed from the hospital a day early secondary to good health and quick ability to bounce back after birth.
3. I avoided HBP, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia (All of which can cause premature birth).
4. Maverick will hopefully someday have a higher IQ secondary to improved oxygenation while in utero and has a increased likelihood of being an athlete someday (compared to babies of mothers who did not work out during pregnancy according to some studies).
5. Maverick was born with an extremely healthy heart and lungs secondary to again improved oxygenation again from my exercising.

I could keep going but you get the picture :)

The reward of this 9 month training plan:

Maverick Steel Austin 

Feel free to contact me with questions! There are more myths than factual information out there. As for references, the books that further helped guide my journey were:
The Better Baby Book
Primal Mom
Pregnant Athlete

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