Phoenix, Arizona native Leslie Spector began her CrossFit journey September, 2010 in an effort to train for Ragnar 2011, a 200-mile team relay race and medicate her recent diagnosis of bipolar naturally. CrossFit, in combination with paleo eating, did the trick, shaving more than two minutes off my mile time and balancing her moods like never before.

“Unfortunately, I suffered a hip flexor injury during the race earning me three months of physical therapy and rehab. Shortly after this I became pregnant, exercising very moderately. Despite being healthy and active, my body decided it needed a reset and after only a few weeks I miscarried.”

Following the miscarriage, Leslie suffered some depression and self-medicated with “laziness in combination with deliciously gross food.” She became pregnant again almost immediately and was terrified of everything this time. The result? A sedentary pregnancy and a total of 70 lbs gained.

After an emotional roller coaster of a pregnancy (she chose to go without medication for her bipolar disorder) and the somewhat traumatic birth of her daughter, she was determined to get healthy again! And Leslie wasn’t merely focused on her physical health; she wanted the full mind, body, spirit health. After walking, then running, then a round of Insanity, she craved more and found Back Alley CrossFit in October, 2012.

“Chemicals freak me out and Back Alley makes it possible for me to maintain balance without having to pop pills,” said Leslie. “If I go more than a couple days without my daily dose of BACF, it’s obvious. I love being dependent on exercise and friends…the support and friendships I have built are priceless!”

Now, at the end of her second pregnancy, Leslie has maintained her CrossFit and paleo lifestyle, feeling better than ever and more relaxed for baby Spector #2 to arrive.

More on Leslie:

Other exercise practices: When I am not CrossFitting I love to hike, run, and do yoga.

Since doing CrossFit, I’ve learned: That exercise of any kind is even more mental than I thought prior to doing it pregnant. There are times when body can do much more than mind will let it and there are times when mind wants to keep pushing through and my body is screaming slow down. When I can control the mental side of CrossFit, I find the most success.

Favorite Back Alley memory: Falling off a box during a WOD, living to tell about it, and loving that everyone was working so hard and it went unnoticed.

Biggest CrossFit and pregnant challenge I’ve faced: Hands down, my biggest challenge has been slowing down and scaling back. I am competitive by nature and strive to always beat my own best. Being pregnant, the recommendation from around the CrossFit world and the mainstream is to slow down. The easiest way to do this is the “talk test.” I should be able to maintain a conversation throughout the WOD. This is not a time for getting better or pushing toward PRs, but rather a time to maintain. It has taken great mental dedication to follow this recommendation, I mean, when is the last time you could carry on a conversation during a WOD?!

Do you follow a particular eating lifestyle? As far as eating during pregnancy my goal is balance. Nothing has been eliminated, but we definitely lean towards a paleo-ish diet…with ice cream. We definitely indulge in ice cream!

Best CrossFit and pregnant tip or secret you’ve discovered: Just show up! You can scale and modify any WOD to make it work for your ever-changing body. Throw expectations out the window and listen to your body.

What have you found most valuable about CrossFit while pregnant?: I have proven to myself with this pregnancy that no matter how much exercise and diet balance I maintain, my body will gain weight to support my pregnancy. However, CrossFitting while pregnant has given me energy and mental balance, which in my situation is more priceless than hot preggie bod.

Favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Ghandi

Favorite girl WOD: Honestly, none stood out and I had to look them all up to pick a fave. Kelly is fun one, I like when running is incorporated.

Three words that describe me: Dedicated, neurotic, fun

When I’m not in the box, you can find me: At home with the fam! They are my world!!!

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