BirthFIT Interview: Jennifer Durden

This interview is from the vault back in 2012. Jennifer Durden is a rockstar, and I think everyone should read this interview. She is a perfect example of what it means to be BirthFIT. Enjoy!


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Compare training during pregnancy to training prior to pregnancy.


Training prior to pregnancy was 5 days a week, with extra challenges thrown in there:  working on lifts more outside of the hour, working on DU’s, weighted push ups and pullups, more than one WOD some days, compete in local competitions.  During pregnancy, at first not much changed.  I did adjust weights on certain lifts, really didn’t go for 1 rep maxes on DL’s.  Continued to do RX up until 12 weeks when I could no longer do sit-ups, so I switched to toes to bar until that became uncomfortable, then I went to knees to elbows, then I did GHD back ext as a substitute up until the 37th week.  With all workouts, I did what I could RX and scaled where I needed to.  For instance, if the workout called for cleans at #115, I did hang power cleans at #95 to #75 depending on rep scheme. I did what I felt my body could do, that’s all you can really ask for.  I never did a workout to the point of exhaustion, but I continued to push myself to be a better athlete.


As someone with training CrossFit during pregnancy fresh in your mind, what advice would you give to other women CrossFit training throughout their pregnancy?


Don’t get frustrated!  Easier said than done right?  As a competitive person, as most CrossFit athletes are, I am so hard on myself.  I will be honest, there were many days, that after a workout I was just in a bad mood because mentally I knew I could have done a workout faster or have done one more round in an AMRAP, but physically my body couldn’t do it the work like I wanted it too.  There were days were I flat out could not breathe properly. Your body is changing for the better being pregnant. The reward is a beautiful son or daughter.  Doing the workout at all is the accomplishment at the end of the day.  So, go into every workout knowing that you are doing your best no matter what, and you will be amazed at what a positive impact you will make on others around you without even trying.


What did your diet look like during your pregnancy? Were you ‘strict’ or ‘clean’ during those 40 weeks or did you find it more difficult to eat clean during pregnancy?


I gave into some indulges throughout my pregnancy.  I mean you can’t have alcohol or caffeine so something had to give.  My thing was sweets.  If it had sugar in it, I wanted it.  Now, I never crave anything out of the ordinary.


Did you utilize anyone for body work during pregnancy (acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, etc.)?


I am a huge believer in chiropractic. Throughout training before pregnancy, I would get adjusted 1 to 2 times a week depending on the workouts that week, and how my body reacted to them.  So I maintained that regiment throughout the pregnancy, as well as an hour-long massage every Wednesday.


What was your favorite workout during pregnancy?


Pretty much any workout that was 21-15-9 because usually those are the funnest workouts to do at our gym.  I also liked any workout with kettle bells and push press.


Much of training CrossFit involves a lifestyle both in and out of the gym. How much would you say a lifestyle that supports vigorous exercise, strong community ties, and a priority in nutrition played a role in the success of your pregnancy?


I think it played a huge role throughout my pregnancy, and right on into labor.  I had a great pregnancy.  I maintained excellent blood pressure every doctor visit.  They never had to run extra tests, didn’t test positive for diabetes, all my levels were on point every visit. My doctor told me he wished more ladies approached pregnancy like I did- exercise and a good diet with a positive attitude.  I had some difficulty during labor that was out of my control, and I think having that endurance and strength got me through pushing for two hours.


It seems like that which helps athlete’s in a workout, for example, would also help a woman in pregnancy. From focusing on the task at hand, to trusting the process and fighting through to the end. In what ways, if any, was giving birth like the mental game that plays out in a workout?


Just like in a workout, you are focused on the task at hand. You may hear random, “come on keep it up”, throughout your workout, but for the most part you drown that out.  During labor, I remember “3,2,1 push…1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10.  Good.  Again!”, and that’s pretty much it.  I knew I was in good hands with the midwife and the doctor.  I knew they had my back, and were going to make sure that the baby was OK, and that I was OK.  My job was to push as hard as I could to get him out into this world.  Giving birth is both mentally and obviously physically exhausting. Mentally I had to focus, just like walking up to a heavy bar to pick it up.


Describe your pregnancy and birth.


I had a great pregnancy.  No complications throughout.  The birth was great.  He was head first, but was face up not face down, so that caused some complications during labor and delivery.  But he never stressed at all.  I think me being fit got me through those two hours of pushing no doubt.  Give birth for time!  3,2,1…GO!


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4 Rounds:

6 Push Press

200m Run/Walk



4 Rounds:

6 Push Press

200m Run or 250m Row



6 Rounds:

6 Push Press

400m Run or 500m Row



Pick a weight that you can do all 6 push presses in a row.

Rest as needed between rounds.

Row, Run, or even do farmer’s carry.

Be sure to check in with yourself before, during, and after the workout.


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