by Camzin Martin
This topic came about from a trainer meeting where we were talking about funny squatting bails and I shared (one of) mine.
I was about 3 months post partum and trying to be sensible about my return to fitness. I had continued with CrossFit for all nine months, completing my final workout the day I went into labor. I had remained fit, all things considered, and so I expected that I would be able to ramp back up fairly quickly and regain my former glory.
To which end I was box squatting. As you may know, women’s bodies go through a lot of changes during pregnancy and birth, so to re-wire proper mechanics we had decided that today I would do a box squat to twenty inches with fifty five percent of my one rep max, and I would do that three times. So I warm up, and I steadily increase the load on the bar until I’m at my first working set. I sit back and down on the box, and I can’t stand it up.
I start to panic a little bit. You can’t safely bail a box squat because the bar would hit the box. I’m in a class setting and don’t want to embarrass myself. I didn’t think to get a spotter because I was confident I could do A SINGLE SQUAT at 55% so there’s no one paying attention to me to help me. I try to stand up again and don’t budge. So as any recently pregnant woman might do, I begin to cry. The cry turns into a soft sob, at which time my dear husband spots me in distress and saves me from an eternal box squat, and helps me re-rack the bar. So I turn to him, with tears streaming down my face,
“I think I’m going to quit CrossFit. I’ll never be good at this again!”
Fortunately he talked me off the ledge and I’ve been training ever since, and I’m pleased to say that I’m better than I’ve ever been...but the first six to nine months of training after pregnancy were some of the hardest mentally of my entire athletic career. Most days I didn’t want to go. Everything felt like I was climbing the same stupid mountain over and over only to wake up at the bottom again the next day.
Training so hard to just get closer to being as good as I USED to be was frankly, demoralizing. Add in the fatigue and stress of being a new parent and I was a miserable sight for much of that time. But this is what kept me going, and what may help you in your return from pregnancy/time off/injury/life.
I would not have made it another day if it weren’t for people in my life who lent an ear, as well as counsel. The people who made me understand it was ok to acknowledge that this was hard, and uncomfortable, and often unpleasant, but also that I wasn’t the kind of person who quit in the face of that. They helped me remember that the process is greater than the outcome.
Knowing that this time would pass was very helpful, add in that if I let this time pass without working toward a goal I would only regret it later. In a month, or two, or ten, if you would have wished you had never quit, then it’s worth sticking it out, because the suck does not last forever.
Health and fitness crafted a new path for my life, one with greater life-expectancy, improved quality of life, more energy, better self-image, and more control over my life in general. Remembering that whatever lull I’m in is far better than where I was before I started and that I’m unwilling to let this be the end point of my journey. I may be climbing the same mountain again, but from the top at least I’ll be able to chart my next course.
In conclusion, life happens and we all have stumbling blocks or set backs that keep us from being where we want to be, but stick it out. I’ve never heard anyone who regretted that.