I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who were and still are very active and who incorporated fitness, sports and outdoor activities into our family lives growing up. I’m sure I would have found my own way to loving exercise however their strong example and encouragement to partake in anything physical definitely steered me towards an active adult life by default. I’m also lucky enough to have met a like minded partner who introduced me to CrossFit! And now as parents ourselves, it’s no surprise that our 1yr old has watched many CrossFit sessions, he is known by everyone at our box and is already an active, capable young boy himself.
As he sits back in his pram and watches sweaty bodies swinging kettlebells, pulling up over bars, jumping onto boxes and high fiving each other before collapsing on the ground, I can’t help but wonder what he makes of it all. I’m sure his weekly exposure to CrossFit is instilling the same ‘exercise is a part of life’ mantra that I’ve been raised by and I’m only too pleased about that.
My own personal mantra is that ‘there is nothing more important than your health’ and CrossFit, because it works on all types of fitness; strength, cardio, power, flexibility, endurance, anaerobic capacity etc has been great for maintenance and improvements in areas that my running alone did not cover. The fitness aspect is just one side of CrossFit’s positive health implications, as the CrossFit community and coaches, I have found, are also a great resource for nutrition information and advice; proper nutrition and consistent training going hand in hand.
Another health element and one that, as a new Mum, I probably appreciate the most, is the positive effect that CrossFit sessions have on my mental outlook. As well as cranking the flow of endorphins after a 10 minute workout, being part of a friendly community that all lift, train, WOD and chatter together on a regular basis. It feels equally as good (to me) as hitting the dance floor with a group of friends all night. Just without the boozey messiness and with a sense of accomplishment afterwards! It’s a full hour to myself (amongst adults!) that allows me to direct my focus purely on what’s happening in the workout and know that when I have finished, I can return to my family feeling more balanced and recharged, something my son & partner can only benefit from!
In the early days, before our little boy was conceived, my goal was to get my body to optimal health. Being in my mid 30’s (which I can no longer claim as I turn 38yrs next week) and knowing that age, as a potential factor in falling pregnant, was not something I could control, I worked on the things that were in my control; keeping fit, eating well (in particular reducing sugar, caffeine & alcohol) and managing stress levels through avoiding known triggers and maximising my favourite stress relief measures, CrossFit being one of them. This was to give my partner and I the best chance of conceiving.
Some might find it laughable, especially fellow mums, that I liken CrossFit to labour but there are certainly some elements of pushing yourself through ‘pain’ barriers, digging deep and going into the ‘zone’, all for an end goal of finishing and with the best result your body could manage. I personally couldn’t imagine turning up to the hospital without having some kind of training background and experiencing what was a 47.5hr birthing process! But obviously lots of women do this and with more obstacles!
All birthing experiences are vastly different however be it through luck, amazing midwives and perhaps some mental conditioning to ‘digging deep’ and going into that familiar ‘zone’ with positive ‘I can do this’ self-talk and pushing myself to new limits…very new limits, I was able to stick to my natural & drug-free birth plan (RX style)! So CrossFit training, as laughable as it may read to some, had an even bigger positive training outcome for me. I also acknowledge my amazing partner who cheered me on through contractions (aka reps), as all CrossFitters do when their fellow WODders are challenged, needing encouragement and/or doing a great job! And like after any epic workout, the feeling of elation and achievement was immensely powerful and rewarding!!! I was in awe of what the body can achieve physically and mentally.
Now when I’m at the box, I look around at fellow CrossFitters and think how amazing it is to be around people who are pushing their bodies to their own new levels. Some nailing new skills, some mastering techniques, some getting faster and for some the goal is just to turn up! But all are kicking their own personal stride and are either tapped into the knowledge that their bodies can do more than what they think possible or they’re allowing coaches to assist them out of their comfort zones when they need pushing, or both! It’s a great bunch of motivating and inspiring people to be around!
So lastly, if my son can also learn the importance of taking care of his health and seeks this through living a healthy, balanced lifestyle with optimal nutrition and through keeping active, I will stay one content and proud Mummy. My training goals have shifted somewhat since becoming a Mum and one of them now is to have the strength and endurance to play, be involved and keep up with him as he becomes heavier, stronger, faster and more interactive!! And CrossFit is a key element in my being able to this, both physically and mentally!
Thank you, Crossfit U for being such a positive part of my journey into motherhood!