ABOUT

Hi, I’m Carli!

I am a mom of one (soon to be two!) and fitness enthusiast living in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, surrounded by majestic mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

For the past six years, I have been doing some fairly intense physical training, including CrossFit, trail running, mountain snowshoeing, yacht racing, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and training for a military pentathlon.  I have also been following the Paleo Diet to various degrees (sometimes modified; sometimes very strictly) for three years.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I scoured the internet for information about diet, exercise and pregnancy.  The recommendations I found simply did not jive with the Paleo/CrossFit ideology that had been working so well to keep me fit, healthy and happy.  I decided to dig deeper, and in doing so, I found that many conventional pregnancy guidelines are based on myth, not fact, and that most women experiencing a normal “low-risk” pregnancy can safely continue to be very physically active for as long as they are comfortable.

I decided to start a blog to document my pregnancy and parenting journey, in order to inspire other parents who may be considering bucking conventional wisdom in favour of following their instincts.  This blog highlights my successes, challenges and experiences, and investigates some of the more specious pregnancy and post-partum diet and exercise recommendations.

It is my sincere hope that you find this blog informative, inspiring, and even entertaining.  If you ever have questions about the topics I discuss, feel free to post in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them, or to direct you to more appropriate resources.

39 responses to “ABOUT

  1. Hello!

    I too am newly pregnant (8 weeks) and I CrossFit 3 x a week. When I am not CrossFitting, I run or hike 6 miles a week.

    I’m also eating Paleo, except for heavy, organic cream in my decaf coffee.

    My nausea hasn’t been too bad this trimester. Mostly, I feel like I’m on the verge of getting the flu. It usually happens in the morning when I get up.

    Anyway, I wanted to know your experiences with being pregnant and CrossFitting. I found your blog when I was searching Google and I was interested in learning more.

    Thanks for your time.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best,

    DS

    • Hi,

      So far, I have been managing to keep up with my CrossFit training — even now, at 28 weeks. A lot of it, in my opinion, simply comes down to listening to your body and understanding and accepting that every day will be different. Pregnancy is definitely not a time to strive for personal bests, but if you’ve been very active leading up to your pregnancy and your pregnancy is proceeding as expected, you’ll probably find you can do a lot more than most people would ever imagine.

      Earlier in my pregnancy, I found that I was exhausted and often had trouble making it to the gym. During the second trimester, my workout routine basically returned to what it was pre-pregnancy, but with a little bit less weight and intensity. Now, in the third trimester, I will probably have to slow down and take more rest days between training sessions, but l basically just go with how I feel on a day to day basis.

      If you look on the righthand side of the home page, there is a category for exercise and CrossFit. Clicking on that will send you to all of my exercise-related posts, which I hope you will find useful.

      Best of luck to you!
      C.

  2. Hey there. You are a rockstar and an inspiration!

    Right now, I’m in the midst of my first trimester. I’ve found that doing the WODs, even when I don’t feel that great, has really helped with things like morning sickness. I’m also sticking to the Paleo diet, which I feel has helped as well.

    Based on the research I can find as well as personal experiences of other CrossFitting moms to be, I’ve started to scale my workouts. I’ve capped my lifts at 65 lbs, for now. I want to stay active, but this is no time for PRs. I’m making a whole new person from scratch and that’s a workout in itself.

    Good luck to you. It sounds like you’ve been doing great during your pregnancy. I’m sure being a Mom will be smooth sailing for you.

    DS

    • Thank you for the kind words! :)

      You’ll probably find that you don’t need to scale your WODs or weights too much in the first trimester, unless you’re feeling particularly exhausted or lousy on a given day. But definitely scale the intensity. This is not a time to be pushing yourself to the point of puking or coughing up a lung. Don’t watch the clock if you don’t feel like it, take breaks if you need to catch your breath, and drink lots of water before, during and after.

      I think my best advice would be to not subject yourself to any arbitrary limitations; rather, just go with the flow and treat every day like a new day. Some days will be awesome, and other days will suck. I’ve had days where I have had to shorten a workout by as much as half, and other days much later in the pregnancy where I completed a beast of a workout that I’d have never imagined a pregnant woman could do. Sometimes I have sworn, “This will be the last time I do real… (push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, etc.),” only to find myself feeling so strong and fit the next day that I can’t fathom the idea of scaling them.

      Initially, I had a lot of worries about raising my heart rate too high, overheating or causing physical harm to the baby, but through my research, I have come to realize that we and our growing babies are much more strong and resilient than we are given credit for. If it still feels good, do it :)

  3. Hi! I saw your comment on our blog and I’m really interested in your experience. If you have time for a quick phone call to recap your Spartan experience and your commitment to training while pregnant, I’d like to write a story about you on the blog. Send me an email!
    Best
    Beth

  4. Hi C, you make an interesting point about not scaling the weights too much … yet!

    And you’re right about treating each day like a new one, I noticed that I’m still able to keep up with the WODs. But, I’m going much slower. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself (what can I say, I’m competitive).

    I do notice though, that my body slows me down quicker. But, I guess that’s the human body for you. It will tell you when you can go harder, or when you need to scale back and rest.

    Since I’m only starting on this whole prego thing, I’ve just tried to enjoy each day. I know I’m not going to be doing any PRs at this point. But, doing all this stuff makes me feel 110% better. I forget about the morning sickness for awhile!

  5. Hi C, been meaning to ask, how has your diet been during your pregnancy? Have you been able to stick to the Paleo diet?

  6. The first trimester was tough for that, as it encompassed the holidays, a big move (I think we ate out at every meal for at least a week straight!) and me being enrolled in a course with some fast and furious deadlines. Plus I had a few food aversions – mostly to broccoli and other dark green vegetables, but also to a much lesser degree meat and proteins – so I found myself having to make up for those calories with a lot more non-Paleo foods.

    Since then, we have been much more on track, but there have definitely been some cheat meals and snacks here and there. I would say we are about 80% Paleo. We prepare exclusively Paleo foods at home, but we’re pretty relaxed when we eat out.

    I have also made the decision to add Greek yoghurt, the occasional bit of local organic milk and more fruit to my diet, in order to add some calcium and extra calories. We normally don’t eat dairy (except grass-fed butter), so I consider this to be a slight deviation.

  7. I am currently having an aversion to all foods. Just the smell of food is disgusting to me. I basically have to force myself to eat at this point.

    I’ve been really nauseous this week. Although I’ve been able to keep things down, I wake up queasy and the feeling comes and goes throughout the day.

    Luckily, when I am craving any types of food, I’m craving meat and vegetables. Right now, dairy, sweets and grains are just revolting to me.

    I guess that’s good me for, as I am trying to stick with this whole Paleo diet thing!

    • You’re lucky to be craving the good stuff and revolted by the bad stuff! It seems that most pregnant Paleo adherents have the opposite cravings and aversions, and they end up feeling guilty about all the crap they have to eat during the first trimester.

      Hopefully you’ll start to feel better in a few weeks. I think that the steadier you can keep your insulin levels, the better you will feel in general, and the fewer cravings you will have. At least, that has been my experience thus far.

      • Yes, I totally agree about the insulin levels. I was at a party a couple of weeks ago and had a small sliver of pecan pie. All the sugar made the nausea worse.

        If I do feel queasy, which it seems is a daily occurence these days, I make sure I get up and keep busy. It keeps my mind off of how lousy I feel.

        Yesterday, I managed to do a WOD, even though I was feeling horrible in the car. We had to do some overhead squats and I managed to do 68 lbs.

        Not bad for a pregnant lady and someone who was only doing 30 lbs. of overhead squats last year!

        If I haven’t mentioned this lately, thanks again for all of the kind words and great advice!

  8. You are such an inspiration! I’m now 11 weeks. I’ve been CrossFitting intensely since January. I have my good and bad days, but I’m still pushing through the workouts and lifting heavy weights (most people think I’m crazy!) I’ve tried to stick to a Primal diet (my diet of choice) so far, although I’ve fallen off more than usual. I think I’m craving sugar and bread to get some energy back, although mentally I know it’s not the case. I’ve also been doing some (slight) PRs, but nothing that’s felt like too much of a stretch. How do you handle people who question your level of physical fitness? While my midwife is fine with the fact that I exercise intensely, most people in my life (like my family) are not.

    • Thank you for the kind words :) It’s great to hear that you’re still toughing out CrossFit workouts and lifting heavy weights! If you listen to your body, you will absolutely know if or when you need to scale things back. Sometimes you’ll need to take it easy for a few workouts in a row, and then suddenly you’ll have a workout (or several days or weeks) where you feel just fine to ramp the intensity back to your previous levels. The diet part can be a little bit tougher, especially in the early months where food aversions might get in the way of all of your best intentions. I’ve definitely eaten a lot more carbohydrate (and junk food) during pregnancy, but I do the best I can, and really, by focusing on eating *mostly* paleo/primal, remember that you’re doing a heck of a lot better than most people, even if you have transgressions from time to time :)

      When questioned about the type or intensity of exercise I do during pregnancy, I try to explain that while what I am doing might seem to be “dangerous” or “too hard” to somebody who is not accustomed to such intense training, it is really a scaled down version of what I was doing before I became pregnant. I also reassure them that I take care to pace myself, take breaks and drink lots of water. I’ve learned, however, that some people have their pre-conceived but completely unfounded notions about what is unsafe during pregnancy (lifting heavy weights… gasp!), and sometimes it’s just easier to accept their unsolicited advice with a nod and smile, and carry on than to try and convince them otherwise. Sometimes I will simply tell people in general terms that I “go to the gym” or “exercise,” but take care to avoid sharing the fact that I dead lift more than one and a half times my bodyweight.

  9. Hi! I just found your blog today after a very emotional conversation with my husband: he’s ready to have babies and I’m scared out of my wits thinking how I’ll potentially lose all what I’ve trained for so far.
    I want to tell you that I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes, so happy to have found this and with hope renewed. I don’t have to stop doing what I love! I don’t have to be one of those ‘I gave up what I love to have kids’ stories! It can be done and you are the confirmation of this. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU.

  10. Carli,
    Thank you for your blog! I found it a few months ago and have been reading about your journey of eating Paleo, staying active, and preparing for the new addition to your life. At five weeks pregnant, your blog and lifestyle are inspiring and keep me moving through the stomach turning WODs. Thank you for being a role model as my husband and I prepare for the biggest journey of our lives.

    Best,
    K

  11. Hello! I just came upon your blog when searching ways to be healthy during pregnancy. I just found out I am pregnant 4 weeks along and I want to know if it’s okay to start CrossFit? I already eat Paleo and love it!! But I haven’t been exercising at all really. What are your thoughts on this? My doctor says that I can’t start exercising now that I am pregnant becuase I didn’t exercise before getting pregnant. I just wonder if it is true. I have tried CrossFit and loved it but it was a little pricey for the monthly membership but I figure that as long as it is okay to start doing it again, it will be worth it for the health of my body and baby…. Thank you so much for your input. I know you’re a busy mom!! Congrats on all your success!

  12. I’m so glad to find your site! I have been working out my whole life, and for the past few years doing HIIT/crossfit type workouts with jump rope intervals. After spinning, running, aerobics, step, tae bo, weight training, I find now I get the best results and fitness.
    When I found out I was pregnant, I continued my workout regimen, and as always accommodated for any pregnancy related discomfort. I find most advice geared toward pregnant women really unhelpful since they assume you’re really inactive and are just guessing most of the time.
    I was approached by a well meaning woman at the gym last week warning me about jumping rope. She said she was a physician and that the placenta was a delicate organ, blah, blah, blah…I asked, “how is jumping different than running?” and got no answer. Especially since I do interval jumping (20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest).
    I am in perfect health and have been given the go ahead from my midwife to do everything I did before pg and of course listen to my body. I know I have to slow down at times when I didn’t before, but at 28 weeks I still feel up for most anything.
    I’m so sick of all this BS geared toward pregnant women. When can we get some real advice?
    Thanks for your blog!

    • You’re very welcome! It’s nice to hear from someone else who is successfully continuing a fairly high-intensity fitness regimen during pregnancy. I think being fit made for an extremely easy pregnancy with relatively few discomforts. I didn’t have any of the typical lower back problems, and even my pelvic area was pretty comfortable right up until the very end when I was overdue. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy! :)

  13. Celebrity moms enlist services of dietitians and fitness experts to help them strip that fat. They do that simply because they have major commercial interests to safeguard, you know movie deals and product endorsements. Celebrity moms lose the weight faster than most average women to sustain their looks for commercial reasons. They’re not a good example upon which to base your own postpartum weight loss goals.

  14. I have been reading your blog since you started it and I really enjoy it! It is so informative and helpful I agree with everything you have posted! I have a 3 month old boy and after finally catching up on your posts I read the sleep training one and we are going to start tomorrow with trying to get rid of his soother.. he is addicted to it so it should be interesting! As well as trying some of the other techniques that you discussed. He sleeps consistently in 3 hour cycles at night. Keep writing can’t wait to see what you post next! Thanks again
    Tracy

    • Thanks, Tracy! :)

      Good for you for starting sleep training so early! In retrospect, while I don’t think we would have necessarily achieved 12-hour nights at the age of three months, we probably could have had a lot longer stretches of sleep than we did. Beware that babies’ sleep patterns change around four months, so even if you sleep train now, you might still have some regression at that time… or who knows, maybe you won’t.

        • I would love to – I just have to figure out how to add links to the blogs I read/recommend. I used to have a nice little list on the sidebar and for some reason it disappeared when I reformatted the blog and changed the theme.

  15. I can’t say how excited I am that I have found your blog. While brushing my teeth last night I looked up ‘Paleo safe for pregnancy’ and your blog was first thing on the search. I have not started the Paleo diet yet but after my birthday my husband and I are starting it.

    Two years ago we decided we were going to eat healthier and work out. I have dropped from a size 14 to a size 4 and I couldn’t be happier. But I am ready for a better diet as I do have IBS and it is getting harder to lose weight now. I may be smaller but I want to trim the fat. After 30 days of Paleo is when we will start trying for a baby. I couldn’t be more excited. Anyway I am excited to read more with the links to the posts that you have done.

    Is there a good Paleo cookbook? I keep thinking of meals I want to make and remembering that no grains or dairy is part of the diet.

    • I think you will find that Paleo does wonderful things for your IBS. It’s also been known anecdotally to increase fertility, so watch out! ;)

      Here are the Paleo cookbooks we use and love:

      1. Everyday Paleo (Sarah Fragoso) – fast and easy, family-friendly meals
      2. Well-Fed (Melissa Joulwan) – great recipes and strategies for food planning/prep
      3. Make It Paleo (Staley/Mason) – this one is good for people who *love* to cook, great recipes but more labour intensive than the other two books. I would say this leans more towards “Primal” than “Paleo” – lots of “Paleo-ified” desserts and such.
      4. Primal Blueprint Cookbook (Mark Sisson) – another one for people who love to cook, lots of interesting recipes, but many of them more elaborate than the first two books.

  16. Hi Carli, I’ve been reading your blog since getting pregnant with my third baby this year, having been an avid Paleo eating Crossfitter for year before getting pregnant. I love your blog because you’re so down to earth and real!!!

    I’m 26 weeks along and embarassed to admit that I’ve allowed myself to use pregnancy as an excuse to justify my poor eating habits that consist of a lot of muffins, burgers, fries, and ice cream. This has resulted in a large weight gain so far (26 lbs already!) and my feeling low on energy, still often nauseous, irritable with poor self-image due to the large weight gain. Although the majority of our meals at home are Paleo, I have begun to bake a lot of sugary snacks and we have begun to eat out 5-7 times per week. (wow, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I wrote it all out!!)

    I feel like its absolutely time to grow a pair, figuratively speaking, of course ;), and do what’s best for my baby and I. I will include some non-Paleo items such as Greek yogurt and one coffee a day, but I know I can do better than the sorry diet I have right now.

    Can you give me any advice on what it was that helped you to stay on track and not use pregnancy as an excuse for a poor diet? How did you manage the day to day “cravings”?

    Some insight from someone who has been successful where I have failed would be appreciated!

    BTW, my husband is currently in beautiful Vancouver for the Tough Mudder race!!!!

    • Hi Rosa,

      Sorry I took so long to respond to you, and thank you for the kind words!

      Trust me, you are not the first Paleo eating woman to go off the rails during pregnancy, nor will you be the last. All you can do is make the decision to go forward with better habits and greater resolve, and not feel guilty about what has already transpired and cannot be changed. The first couple of weeks, as you know, are always the most difficult — the withdrawal period — but if you can get through that and start feeling better, you will begin to start appreciating delicious real foods again. I think that even this late in pregnancy, you’ll see a significant enough change in your appearance to help keep you motivated.

      The biggest problem with junk food is that it is truly addictive, both physically and mentally. The cravings are very real, and the only way to break them is to go cold turkey.

      You can do it!!

      P.S. Hope your husband enjoyed the Tough Mudder. I’d like to do it next year :)

  17. Hi Carli,

    I found your site when my husband and I first starting planning on when to have a baby. It changed my perspective on everything. I was really pretty nervous about being pregnant and able to continue living the way I love living. With a lot of the information I found online – my options looked bleak. Then I found your site. I was so glad to read that you continued training and eating paleo through your pregnancy. Your site made me more comfortable with the idea of getting pregnant and I am really glad I found it.
    Nice job to you.

  18. I found your blog over a year ago and have been following since the little one was just a belly bump…thank you so much for everything. You’re an inspiration to all of us who want to toss the Gerber Baby out the window and not binge on Taco Bell just so we can gain 60 pounds while pregnant. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    (I don’t even have kids yet! I just love your blog…sorry for just making this weird…)

    • You’re very welcome! And don’t worry, it’s not weird. I used to read pregnancy/parenting blogs long before Oliver was even a thought ;)

      I just checked out your amazing blog. We are totally going to use it as a recipe resource!

      On an entirely different note, since I see that we both have exceptional taste in blog themes ;), do you know how to change what part of the photo WordPress uses for the preview? There’s some pretty weird cropping going on on my blog, and I haven’t been able to figure out how to display the best part of the photo, instead of just a random section.

  19. Hi there!! This is so awesome!! I’m 7 weeks pregnant and have been paleo/primal for about a year now. I started it after suffering for years with severe IBS. I spent 5 days in hospital due to severe infammatory colitis, for which they could find no cause…. Hmm. Doctors told me to eat low fat, white carb diet. NO way!! Started reading about Paleo and fell in love. Barely had a single issue since. Just like you, I’m not perfect, and I fall off the wagon and when I do, I pay for it with digestive issues. I do intense HIIT/Plyo workouts similar to crossfit, but more body weight moves and a lot of high heart rate moves. I love it!! My biggest fear when I found out I was pregnant was, what was I going to do to work out?? Everything I read says being active is good, but they all say “Active” as going for a walk, light jogging, yoga. Nothing as intense as I’m used to doing. So glad to see I don’t have to stop!!! Woohoo!!! Although I can see burpees getting a little awkward with a belly :) Anyway, good stuff, and thanks for putting it out there. This info is surely not widely known by the pregnant community. I’m just waiting for the awkward looks from the other peopel in my bootcamp and speed and agility classes when I have a nice baby bump!!

    • Thanks, Liz :)

      Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m sure you and your belly will rock the bootcamp classes. Always remember to listen to your body. Be proud of what you’re doing, but not too proud to slow down if you feel that you need to :)

      All the best!

  20. I found your blog through Facebook and I’m already hooked! I am 32 and have a 14 mo son (born in Sept 2011) so very close in age to your son. During pregnancy I did P90X, went hiking, backpacking, canoeing, camping and everything else that I would normally do until I was about to pop. We have already taken our son camping, biking, hiking and backpacking with plans for a canoe trip this March. It’s SO important to get our little ones out early and teach them healthy eating. Although sometimes my DS eats better than we do on some days, my husband and I should follow his lead more often! I look forward to following you!

    • Thank you – I look forward to reading more of your comments and hearing about your experiences raising a child of the same age :)

      P.S. Sometimes Oliver eats better than we do, too ;)

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