“The process of competing and getting to there is super stressful for me. But there is nothing that can… there are not a lot of things that can replace it. I feel like I would be okay with not competing because I have my son, but I’m not ready to hang that up. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I love the feeling that I get when I compete, and I don’t think I’m done competing yet. I don’t think I’m physically done competing or mentally. If something were to happen that I couldn’t compete, I would be okay with it, but I’m not ready to let it go in the sense that I want our son to see me, and I want him to see all the other women competing, too. I mean that would be a dream come true for him to see me just once at the Games.” – Lindsey Valenzuela
Lindsey Valenzuela has been an athlete all her life and played collegiate volleyball at California Lutheran University. During that time, she began Olympic Weightlifting to train for volleyball and quickly fell in love with the barbell. After her collegiate career was over, she began competing in Olympic Weightlifting and then found CrossFit. She has since become a seasoned CrossFit Games athlete, competing in 4 CrossFit Games, finishing as high as 2nd place in 2013 and most recently finishing in 7th place in 2015. She also represented Team USA in the CrossFit Invitational in Berlin in 2013. Lindsey has coached at several affiliates in Southern California and in August of 2015 fulfilled her dream to open her own affiliate, Autumo CrossFit, with her business partner and former NFL player James Townsend.
In 2016, Lindsey discovered she was pregnant and took the year away from competition. What followed was a difficult pregnancy, during which Lindsey developed pre-eclampsia, gained 90 pounds, spent 2 months on bed rest due to complications, and had a C-section delivery. Following the birth of her now nearly 2 year-old son, Arsenio, Jr., Lindsey slowly returned to training, focusing on healing her core and pelvic floor. With time and patience, she gradually built volume and intensity, ultimately returning to competition and placing an impressive 11th at the California Regional in 2017, less than one year after giving birth. With another year of training and recovery under her belt, Lindsey is poised to make another run at the CrossFit Games in 2018.
Lindsey and I sat down after week one of the 2018 CrossFit Open to chat about her approach to training during and after her pregnancy, how her life has changed since starting a family, why it’s important to her to return to competition, and what she hopes other coaches and pregnant athletes can learn from her experiences.
In this episode we discuss:
- How she went into pregnancy with an injury, and how that impacted her training
- How Lindsey changed her training based on how her body felt as her pregnancy progressed
- What it felt like to set her ego aside and not push her limits
- How Lindsey enlisted the help of specialist Bri Battles to ensure her training was safe
- What her training looked like while training with Bri
- The medical and emotional challenges Lindsey dealt with during her pregnancy
- What Lindsey’s postpartum recovery process looked like
- Memorable milestones along Lindsey’s postpartum recovery
- Why it is important to Lindsey to return to competition
- Lessons and advice Lindsey shares with coaches and pregnant athletes
- The importance of preparing for postpartum before a woman is in the postpartum phase
- Resources Lindsey recommends to learn more about training during and after pregnancy
- How coaches can best educate themselves to help their clients
- What a typical day looks like for Lindsey
- What Lindsey’s nutrition looks like, and how her approach has changed since giving birth
- How Lindsey’s back is tolerating high volume training, and what she’s doing to keep it healthy
- Everyday Battles/Brianna Battles
- CrossFit classes with Brianna Battles at CrossFit Autumo
- CrossFit Autumo
- Julie Wiebe, PT
- Lisa Kozian Ryan
- Jacob Wellock, Double Edge Fitness
- Mike Dolce, The Dolce Diet
- Update Studio: Catching Up with Lindsey Valenzuela
- Interview with CrossFit Games Athlete and New Mom: Lindsey Valenzuela
- Ep 23 – Lindsey Valenzuela on pregnancy, affiliate ownership, and competition
- Ep 41 – Graham and Savanna Holmberg: From Fittest Man, to Faith and Family
- Ep 82 – Training During Pregnancy and Healing Diastasis Recti with Lisa Ryan
If you like this episode, please subscribe to Pursuing Health on iTunes and give it a rating. I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below and on social media using the hashtag #PursuingHealth. I look forward to bringing you future episodes with inspiring individuals and ideas about health every other Tuesday.
This episode is brought to you by MobilityWOD. Do you struggle to get into good positions in your training and workouts? Are your movement compensations causing you undue pain and grief? M|Wod’s belief is that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves. Join hundreds of Olympic and World Class athletes, College and Professional Teams in the NFL, MLB, Basketball, Hockey, Rugby and Soccer by using MobilityWOD to train and compete at your best. Visit www.mobilitywod.com to receive 20% off your annual membership with code JULIEFOUCHER.
This episode is also brought to you by Siete Foods. When Veronica Garza was facing a series of major health challenges as a teenager, her entire family of seven jumped on board to help. Together, they adopted a low-inflammation, grain free diet. As a Mexican-American family living in south Texas, they couldn’t imagine life without tortillas and it wasn’t long before Veronica came up with a delicious solution and Siete Foods was born. Visit www.sietefoods.com to try some of their delicious grain free and paleo-friendly tortillas or tortilla chips yourself and use code Julie for 10% off your order.
Disclaimer: This podcast is meant to share the experiences of various individuals. It does not provide medical advice, and it is not a substitute for advice from your physician or health care professional.