When I was pregnant, the things I missed most were intense CrossFit WODs and wine. In that order. 🙂
Thankfully, I was able to continue doing CrossFit throughout my entire pregnancy. However, for the safety of me and my baby, there were a handful of things I wasn’t allowed to do. One major thing was that I had to watch my intensity: I wasn’t supposed to get totally out of breath or raise my heart rate too much or get overheated. If you’re a CrossFitter, you can imagine how hard it might be to follow those rules! I constantly heard Darrick in the background, saying “slow down, babe” or “catch your breath.”
Previous to my pregnancy, I had grown to love those moments of pushing my body to its limit. I realize that can sound so cliche: pushing yourself to your limit. But if you’ve ever been there, you know there’s nothing cliche about it. It feels like you want to lay down and die; like you can’t possibly keep moving; like if you even consider stopping there’s no way in hell you’ll be able to start again.
I missed this when I was pregnant and I have had a really hard time regaining that level of intensity. Part of it is that I do a lot of workouts by myself in the garage. It’s difficult to push yourself to the same level without the encouragement and competition you get from the gym. There is a reason we WOD together. Take advantage of it!
The other part of it is just being out of the habit. When you’ve forgotten (or never experienced) the high you get after you’ve expended yourself completely, you aren’t as likely to reach for it. “So what if I take a few extra breaths here?” you think. “What’s an extra 20 seconds on my time?” Or maybe you don’t think about it at all. Maybe it’s never occurred to you to keep moving when you start to hit that wall.
Is your response to fatigue perseverance, or rest? During intense WODs, I used to always say, “Get back on it before you think you’re ready.” If you feel ready, you rested too long! (Note: this excludes strength and technique work!) I don’t think I’ll ever forget Darrick’s words to me during an Open WOD that included a ridiculous amount of burpees: “All you have to do is get to the ground.” He knew that once I hit the ground, my body would take over and complete the rep. It’s so brilliant. Nine times out of ten, our minds are what limit us, not our bodies. If you just start the movement, your body will prove to you what it’s capable of. Give it the chance to show you what it can do!
Slowly but surely, I am finding that level of intensity again, and I am so, so grateful. During a WOD last week (five rounds of deadlifts and burpees), I got a taste (for 4 minutes and 30 seconds!) of where I want to be on every WOD. On rounds two through four, I split up the burpees into two sets, giving myself exactly three breaths to recover — no more. On the last set I blasted through all 10 burpees, repeating in my head an old, familiar mantra of mine, “you’ll breathe when you’re done, you’ll breathe when you’re done…”