CrossFit is the new buzzword in the fitness community. It’s everywhere. Today, Nicole Crawford, AFPA-certifed pre- and post-natal fitness specialist, chats with us about how moms can get into the CrossFit game. Nicole currently teaches fitness classes to expectant moms and those in the postpartum period. She’s also the Women’s, Kids and Family Feature writer over at Breaking Muscle.
Move over, Jane Fonda. Women’s fitness has undergone a makeover, and moms are in the forefront. No more are the curve-less skinny models who can’t do a push-up. More and more, women are embracing their natural strength and proving that femininity doesn’t have to oppose mama-bear toughness.
At the forefront of many of the new trends in fitness is the CrossFit movement. Most of you have probably heard of CrossFit, but today I want to highlight the work that one woman does for moms. CrossFit Moms was founded by Andrea Nitz, who has been doing CrossFit since 2004. Andrea was kind enough to answer some questions for me about this awesome fitness movement for moms, which had a very simple beginning: moms started having babies!
“We began having clients get pregnant, and no one knew quite what to do with them, so my bosses, Jeff and Mikki Martin, suggested I get some prenatal education and start working with these women and collecting data,” Andrea says.
Andrea went on to start a website with workouts specially designed for pregnant women of all fitness levels. Unlike the traditional tendency to separate the body into several parts and work each individually (think bicep curls), CrossFit takes a much more holistic approach to fitness. As Andrea notes, this strategy provides overall physical conditioning that has a variety of applications.
“This is especially helpful for the pregnant client,” she says. “They stay strong, so they don’t have the usual aches and pains, they are very healthy, and therefore so is their baby. They are also mentally strong and have a lot of endurance, which is very useful for getting through labor, delivery and recovery. This works far better than the old school ‘rest, walk and don’t lift more than five pounds’ advice that is often still given.”
So much for 3-pound dumbbells! So what does a typical prenatal CrossFit workout include?
“I think the top three types of exercises would be squatting, weightlifting and all core-strengthening exercises (such as overhead squats, plank holds, push-ups, toes to bar and knees to elbows),” she says. “These will keep the whole body strong and prepared for labor and delivery.”
That doesn’t mean you have to be an elite athlete to do CrossFit during pregnancy.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a mom-to-be, or you already have children, and it doesn’t matter if you used to be an athlete or you’ve never been active before. CrossFit can be scaled to the needs of every individual, and you can start even if you are in the middle of your pregnancy,” Andrea says.
At the CrossFit Moms website, Andrea provides daily workouts for moms at any fitness level, which is great when you’re also dealing with morning sickness or fatigue.
What really impresses me about the CrossFit movement though is its dedication to a new generation of fitness. Andrea isn’t just educating pregnant moms; she’s also a CrossFit kids coach and an ISR (infant swimming resource) instructor.
“All of these programs work together to bring happy, healthy children into the world, and keep them safe and healthy throughout their lives,” she says.
That’s what prenatal exercise and overall health should be about. Ladies like Andrea understand that fitness during (and before!) motherhood isn’t just an individual pursuit—it affects our families and the community at large.
“I get to see all of these babies being born into a society of sickness, and know that they are all healthy and strong because their mom did CrossFit,” she says. “And if they used CrossFit Mom during their pregnancy, I played a small part in their health and fitness, and that makes me really happy.” —Nicole
Any of you mamas do CrossFit? Have any desire to take it up? —Erin