A CrossFit-crazed British woman won’t let her pregnancy slow her down. The fitness buff continues to compete in the grueling strength and conditioning program despite being 38 weeks pregnant.
Meet Katja Harjanne — a 39-year-old Brighton resident with a bulging belly and muscles to match, who doesn’t care what people think about her fitness regimen.
“I think sometimes we forget that life goes on and doesn’t stop because you’re pregnant,” she told Barcroft Media. “At the end of the day, I’m not doing what’s right for other people, I’m doing what’s right for me.”
Harjanne had been a CrossFit fanatic for three years before getting pregnant and decided to find out if she could keep on training while expecting.
“When I first fell pregnant, I researched online and found a lot of positives about exercise and pregnancy,” she said. “I spoke to the midwife in my initial visit and she told me to listen to my body. She said that strength training is fine and to keep it up.”
“I trust my own judgment,” she added. “I’m not just swinging weights around, I’m taking care of my body and my baby and if something doesn’t feel right, then I try something else.”
As for Harjanne’s fiancee, Jason Depner — he fully supports her workout routine, which includes weightlifting, cardio and gymnastics.
“We sat down when we first found out she was pregnant and worked out how she could continue her training in a way that was safe for her and the baby,” said Depner, who is also a CrossFit enthusiast.
“Eventually she started doing press-ups on a box so her bump wouldn’t hit the floor, and she uses bands to lessen the strain of pull-ups. But she’s really taken the reins herself and listened to her body. I fully trust her and she’s done fantastically well.”
Harjanne worked out constantly over the past eight months as her gym-mates cheered on her efforts to stay in shape, according to Barcroft.
“I train four or five times a week and I feel absolutely fantastic,” she said. ““Everyone at CrossFit has huge respect for what I’m doing as they understand the discipline and my dedication. My energy levels have kept up and it’s helped me throughout the whole pregnancy.”
Despite receiving her fair share of criticism, Harjanne truly believes what she is doing is safe and healthy.
“Other people who don’t know a great deal about CrossFit have been more worried and skeptical,” she said. “A hundred years back, women didn’t stop working in the fields because they were pregnant, they still had manual stuff to do.”
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