She’s ready, baby! Joanne Jeffrey is expecting a lot during the Open — including a baby.
The 31-year-old owns Driven Athletics/Huronia CrossFit with her husband, Alex, and has been doing CrossFit for almost four years. She has been to the Canada East Regional three times, finishing 10th as an individual in 2010 and as part of the Driven team that finished 11th in both 2011 and 2012.
Now 32 weeks pregnant, Jeffrey is competing again. But this time she is approaching the competition with a different mindset.
“I'm not doing the Open to qualify for Regionals. This year, I am happy to be a coach for our team and really put my focus into our athletes' success,” she says. “Beyond my own personal goals of competing, I did it to motivate the other women at our gym.”
As a coach, Jeffrey says she feels honored to be able to experience what it’s like to train while being pregnant for the first time.
“It will make me a better trainer to others down the road as I can relate and share what I have been through,” she says.
Part of this experience includes knowing how to modify certain movements, and when to put the brakes on.
”There are exercises that I have stopped doing, such as box jumps, muscle-ups, and heavy lifting,” she says, “but have been working on higher rep schemes to build strength. If something comes up that I really can’t wrap my head around, I just won't do it. It's not worth it.”
She has come up with some creative ways to stay active during her pregnancy, including how to modify the dreaded burpee.
“I set up two stacks of mats with a space in between for my belly to hang in between,” she says. “It works really well.”
Jeffrey was able to complete 90 burpees this way during Open Workout 13.1, in addition to 68 careful snatches.
Although she admits that because of her competitive nature, it can be difficult to see a score that's not reflective of her full capability, Jeffrey says she tries not to put too much pressure on herself.
“I have a great support system in my husband, Alex, and the members who constantly remind me that I'm pregnant,” she says, adding that Alex has been her “savior” throughout her entire pregnancy.
“Through all of the craziness of the last seven months, he has flawlessly made each day special for me,” she says. “From modifying my workouts to making random sushi or donut runs. For letting me take daytime naps to tying up my shoes and telling me how great I look, even though none of my pants fit. It wouldn't have been the same positive experience if he wasn't so supportive, and I am so thankful for that.”
Alex says despite his wife having to change up her training, she hasn’t really scaled back in the frequency domain. She still trains five to six days a week.
“I love the fact that Joanne is leading by example, as other great CrossFit women have,” he says. “They show us that you can still live your life while pregnant. It’s been inspiring and has made me very proud to see her doing all the she does.”
Jeffrey’s No. 1 piece of advice for expectant women who are working out is to listen to your body.
“If something doesn't feel good, switch it up for something else,” she says. “Have fun and be creative with your WODs. Set realistic goals, and if you want to take a day off, do it and feel good about it.”
As Workout 13.2 approaches, so does her due date. Shayla May Jeffrey is due on May 1.
“With two months to go, Alex and I am eager to meet our little girl,” she says. “And so is everyone at the box.”