So last Tuesday (September 8) was a big day in the life of both of the two babes: Hilary went back to school after the summer off (I know, I know – NO sympathy for the teacher life) and Jess went back to CrossFit for the first time since becoming Mom to Corbin and Dawson – that’s right folks – only one month and 4 days post-delivery (but we already knew she was a rockstar).
To mark the occasion, we’re doing something we haven’t done in a while: co-authoring a
post! I (Hilary) will tackle the first part of the post, which is tips for fitting CrossFit into a jampacked life, and Jess will share with us what it’s been like to be back at the gym as a new mom.
So, to start things off, it’s safe to say I like CrossFit A LOT. In addition to classes, I also have my own lifting program (strength and skills) I work on 4 days a week, so I spend a lot of time at the gym. But it’s not the only thing I do. There’s church and the commitments that go with it (playing cello, events, community dinners, small group), my two nieces who live just around the corner (and their parents) who I like to see/babysit for free on occasion, trying to maintain some sort of a social life, keeping Jess fed so she can feed those two boys of hers (trust me, it’s almost a full time job ;)), oh, yeah, and that full time job thing I have.
So I may not have kids of my own to chase around but, suffice it to say, I’m not bored. The gym could easily take a back seat without prioritizing, planning, and organization. But somehow I manage to make it happen. Top Tips:
Lay out your clothes. Whether that means the night before if you’re an early morning gym goer, or packing up your gym bag in your car before you go to work so you can hit the gym on the way home (I do both), get yourself organized ahead of time. If your gear is ready to go, that’s one excuse you no longer have for not making it.
Plan your meals. Food is a HUGE part of the equation to any avid CrossFitter. Try to WOD or lift on an empty stomach and you’ll end up seriously hangry. I cook a lot on the weekends (see this post for more) so I can quickly throw together suppers and pack a healthy lunch when I’m home late from the gym. I try to go into each week with some form of protein, carb and veggies prepped so I can easily mix and match. I also like to make my own homemade protein bars that I cut into mini portions for a pre-6 AM WOD or to eat on my way from work if I’m headed to the gym in the afternoon. (Follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to check out some recipes).
Be on top of breakfast too. I try to have healthy muffins made in the freezer, as well as slices of my go-to recipe for baked oatmeal (also on Pinterest). Or there’s Jess’s great oatmeal post, an my ode to oats has some oat-standing (sorry, I had to) ideas too. If you’ve got even 5 minutes at night, you can cut up some fruit, take out a muffin, or put some yogurt in a container. A few extra steps ahead of time help streamline your morning in a big way, which sets you up for success when it comes to making healthy choices to fuel your day, and your workouts.
Remember why you do this. This is just to say that when you’re busy, on the go, and involved in different things, it’s easy for the gym to just feel like “one more thing you have to do.” Always remember the why. Remember how you feel after a workout. Remember that this is something you do for YOU. Sure, it takes extra effort and planning. But I wouldn’t trade CrossFit for the world. The value to my physical and mental health is immeasurable. Plus, I find that all that extra organization required to fit in gym time helps me stay on top of all the different things I’m trying to juggle.
Hey, it’s Jess. As mentioned, this past week I pulled up my socks and went back to Alchemy Crossfit. Back to the barbell… this time with two babes of my own. After spending the past two months basically indoors with very little activity (other than that whole ‘birth’ thing), I feel more than ready to get back to the gym.
Postpartum my cardio is shot, my abs are stretched beyond belief, my arms resemble noodles and I just generally feel ‘slow’. Since getting home with the boys I’ve been trying to get active again by going for walks, hikes, squatting, handstand holds against my walnut tree in the backyard, grocery shopping (a newfound WOD if twins are in tow). The other day my husband walked in the bathroom to find me naked on the floor doing pushups… it was clear it was time to go back.
I’m a goal oriented person. Always have been. It was important to me that I set clear boundaries and realistic objectives. After all, I am still technically healing from childbirth and want to stay safe and make smart choices that make me stronger, not set me back. So, the first objective for me was to clearly define what, when, and how I should approach workouts. I decided to mainly focus on three basic movements that I felt would enable me to regain a good base as I eased back into a routine: Handstands, Pullups and Rowing. Handstands because my core is basically non-existent and I want to regain all my stabilizer muscles that I’ve lost. Handstands will enable me to ease back into overhead lifts once I feel strong again. Pullups because I have so little upper body strength. I am focusing on strict pullups, deadhangs and other slow and deliberate accessory work. Rowing is an awesome low impact movement that will really help my cardio. With endless variations on full body intensity, and power output I truly believe that rowing is one of the best movements to focus on in Crossfit.
So I’ve just finished Day Two of my return. How was it? Oh I can barely hold a handstand for 30 seconds, my hands are raw from the bar, my wrists are burning and my arms feel a bit stiff, but on the whole it feels pretty darn awesome. Yes, it’s hard to look at the barbell and only see 10’s on either side, and it’s hard to remember how effortless strict pullups or pushups used to feel. When I feel down, I remind myself of what I am capable of and how lucky I am to have had my twins. I realize that it won’t come back quickly, and that it’s going to take a lot of work and dedication. But I’m always up for a challenge, and nothing worth having comes easy.