Tag Archives: personal trainer

3 concerns for a Pregnant Crossfitter/Exerciser -Signs and prevention

I have made a big point of the advantages of training and exercise during pregnancy so let’s have a look at what signs mean you should probably rest or need to slow down.

The major concerns for a pregnant athlete are dehydration, hyperthermia, and hypoglycaemia.

Dehydration is an easy one to answer as it is just as important not pregnant. A simple test is to take a look at the colour of you urine. The darker it is the less hydrated you are. During pregnancy you want to try and keep it as close to clear as possible.

Hyperthermia is a greater concern during your first trimester when the foetus has trouble regulating temperature and can easily get over heated from an exercising mother. The good thing is that ladies who are well trained before pregnancy are better able to dissipate temperature then others. That doesn’t mean you can totally disregard the point. Some athletes will take their temperature before a workout and just finishing a workout to gauge more accurately temperature change.

There are different forms of hyperthermia but the three types most common for a pregnant exerciser to watch out for are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat syncope.

Heat exhaustion is where the body is starting to over heat possibly from exercising, watch out for cold clammy skin. You may feel one or all of -giddy, thirsty, nauseated, weak and sweating profusely (although I don’t think sweating is a good sign as I sweat loads anyway)

Heat cramps are a painful muscle spasm in the arms legs or abdomen, usually after strenuous exercise or activity. Heat cramps are usually a lack of salt in the body.

Heat syncope is a sudden dizziness experienced after exercising in heat.The pulse is weak but the heart rate is rapid. Body temperature is normal. Skin is pale and sweaty but cool and moist to touch

If you find yourself or a client suffering from hyperthermia you must –

  • get them out of the sun into a cool area or room.
  • get fluids into the body, fruit juice or water.
  • take a cool shower or bath or sponge down body.
  • lie down and rest in a cool place

Hypoglycemia again is a concern for a general population as well as pregnant ladies. You will find though that with changing blood pressure and increased blood volume this will be more sensitive for the pregnant ladies. You may feel light headed or unsteady on you feet, a quick look back at when your last meal or snack was should help distinguish hypoglycemia from a possibly more serious sign on the below list. Ensure that meals are regular and snacks are readily at hand post workout, should ensure you keep this at bay.

If any of the below symptoms occur you need to stop, cool down and replenish your body. I would also advice you check out your symptoms with your doctor as it could be an early warning sign.

Difficulty walking


Unusual absence of foetal movement (note that during exercise baby is usually quiet)

Vaginal bleeding


Shortness of breath




Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green


Whooping Cough is back!

In light of the recent increases in Whooping Cough and the alarming rise in deaths this year, does the debate of vaccines need to be addressed again.

How safe is it to have a vaccine during pregnancy? and how does parents decision to refuse vaccinating there babies affect the number of cases?

The ultimate question is -Should vaccines be made mandatory? Would this save lifes?

I can totally understand the need for reassurance where vaccinating during pregnancy is concerned. Think back to the anti-sickness jab given in the 60’s which caused birth defects.

Worrying I know but the NHS website assures you that it is safe and if anything will help protect your baby in the first few weeks after birth before they have the Whooping Cough jab. I think it is really important that if you do have any worries that you do ask as many questions to your mid-wife and doctor.

I did that very thing when it came to Snoop’s MMR vaccine.

I had read a book and heard from a few friends who have nephews and nieces that aren’t vaccinated and quiet naturally my curiosity was roused.

The book I read was The Truth about Children’s Health by Robert Bernardini, M.S.

I have to say on  reading the chapter on vaccines, the content was quiet scary. I am talking about the language they used and the emotions they were trying to evoke in the reader.

In the space of 1 hour -the length of time it took to read the chapter, I had switched from being fine with vaccines to OMG.

This prompted me to speak to my doctor.

The first question she asked was how old the book was?????

It was nearly 10 years old.

She then asked me what hard facts and evidence was in the book???????

Thinking first I realised there was no real hard evidence at all, just anecdotal.

The doctor directed me to a site with an article on vaccine safety.

What I read made sense to me, more so then the book.

I have always believed that to vaccinate your child is to protect them and now I had looked further into it I was sure I was doing the right thing.

Of the millions of children vaccinated I don’t doubt some might have a funny reaction -a fever, crankyness, soreness at the site of the jab -That far out weighed the risk of Snoop getting Mumps or Whooping Cough.

As far as the book is concerned I know they are trying to inform parents but in my opinion they are scare mongering parents and blaming all of society’s issues on bad vaccines, from anti-social behavior to the increase in the prison population. It’s all down to vaccines????? I am not so sure.

Millions of children in third world countries are fighting for vaccines while parents in the West turn them down.

You can never ask too many questions so if you are in any doubt your best place to start is asking your doctor.

Do I think vaccines should be mandatory?

No I don’t think they should as it is a parents right to choose.

Do I believe in the vaccines?

Yes of-course I do, and after asking the right questions and looking into the facts I believe I made the right choice to protect my son.


Sally Dixey is a personal trainer with Crossfit London in Bethnal Green



Should you drink Protein Shakes while Pregnant?

Interestingly when I researched this topic almost entirely the sites found were US based.

What does this say about our side of the water?

Either we use protein supplements less or as a much less active island the question to shake or not to shake while pregnant just doesn’t come up on UK Mum networking sites.

Anyways here is the best answer I could find.

A pregnant lady requires roughly 71 grams of protein a day more if carrying twins. This works out at about 10 grams more then usual give or take.

While I believe we should be getting our protein intake from whole foods some struggle eating meat and protein rich foods.

Some choose the supplement route, using brands such as Maxi-muscle and MyProtein. If you have taken them before pregnancy it may not occur to take a look at the labels to see if they are OK to take during pregnancy.

Often there will be a disclaimer on the label stating not recommended and that is for a good reason.

A lot of these products are combined during manufacturing with added vitamins, minerals and herbs, some that are not appropriate for pregnancy.

It is also worth noting that artificial sweeteners are also not very desirable during pregnancy

Some studies have even shown these to contain heavy metals although they were within the safe guidelines. I think it’s prudent to ask your doctor for alternatives they could recommend.

You could however make your own shake up using a low fat yogurt mixed with peanut butter or fruits. You could throw in a tsp of flexseed oil for good measure -(this is of-course providing your not on a paleo diet)

I found this site quite useful for further information on the subject.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green


18th September – The 5’s

Getting to the end of the 5’s and the weights are getting tougher!

I can’t wait to see where this takes me, over half way through now.

Today saw me Back squatting and Bench pressing.

Working weight was 85% and the target was at least 5 reps plus some.

In between each move I inserted pull ups and double under practise, using time effectively.

Phillip has given me a few pointers with my double unders, which I am finding frustrating!

I am trying to make the double under move efficient by bouncing through my ankle and not my knees and hips. This is defiantly less taxing but as a primary school break time skipper use to bouncing through my knees and hips its hard to switch them off.

Aware that I need to add more met cons to my routine I tried out my Monday night Crossfit London WOD.

AMRAP 3 Minutes

10 Box jumps

15 Ball Slams

1 minute active rest of max pull ups (as I need to work on Push ups I did them instead)

This was a lot harder then it appeared. Ball slams and Box jumps are exhausting at the best of times but together they made a killer combo.

I did 5 rounds.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green

One Girls thoughts on Recovery

I think I must bore some of you Crossfit junkies with all my baby and pregnancy blurb. It’s funny because when I completed the business side to my personal training certificate, my business plan actually revolved around pregnancy so I guess this was inevitable.

I will try to keep this short…….

It is my personal mission to encourage and promote healthy active pregnancies and post-natal recovery so when Snoop is sleeping or distracted, I trawl the net. On one of these occasions I came across this article. I have copied an excerpt but the basic gist is that the athlete is reflecting on her return to training, and more to the point, competing after the birth.

My recovery and return to training took 5 months – is that too long or slow?

After reading this I think I made the right decision.

Go on have a read……..

“Finding the right boundaries for postpartum training was more difficult. “I probably returned to CrossFit a little too quickly after giving birth,” Richards-Lindsay admits about her return to training two-and-a-half weeks after giving birth.

“I tried a few push-ups, squats, and plank holds the week I returned from the hospital. I decided that it felt pretty good and knew that my ultimate goal of making it to the Games was only possible if I got started right away,” Richards-Lindsay says.

Finding the Limits

Although her workouts were “scaled and modified” to her comfort level, Richards-Lindsay explains that even those light workouts may have demanded too much from her still-healing body.

“I simply underestimated how much healing really needed to take place … I had diastasis recti [during pregnancy] and it still isn’t healed to this day because I didn’t give my abdominals a chance to heal and come back together,” Richards-Lindsay says.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Diastasis recti is a separation between the left and right side of the rectus abdominus muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area.” It is common in newborns and pregnant women, and usually heals in the months following birth.

“I needed to give my pelvis, hips, abdominals, and back some time to strengthen and adjust after something as taxing as nine months of carrying a child and 24 hours of labor,” Richards-Lindsay reflects. “I had lied to my doctor on my six week check up, saying that I hadn’t been exercising yet. Obviously if there’s a timeframe set, there’s a reason.”

Throughout her post-birth training, being a “good mommy” was always her priority. “Sometimes I just didn’t want to leave her, so if I got three workouts a week, oh well,” Richards-Lindsay (Full article)

I can totally see why she wanted to return so soon. You all know why….because as crossfitters a competitive streak is part of our nature: we want to strive to push ourselves. We are invincible!

But competition aside we need to humble ourself to the true impact and cost pregnancy has on the female body.

Hormones that have made pregnancy possible don’t just go away when the baby is born! You need the same caution to impact, movement and intensity as you did for the 9 months you were pregnant.

When I say Cost, it doesn’t mean cost forever, as I stand I am living proof give yourself time to heal and you can build yourself strong again.

After Snoop was born the motherly side of me was wrapped up in being a good Mum but the Crossfiting side to me was dying to get back in the gym. It was like having a two little voices in my head.

I guess this is a perfect point to add that officially whether natural or not you should abstain from exercise for the first 6 wks. This allows your abdominals to return to there natural position. Any attempts before this could result in permanent damage!

I had the most extreme and most invasive type of birth and fully aware of the risks I had to ignore that little voice crying out for a hectic metcon!

The most obvious starting point for me begun looking at my everyday tasks.

I found myself finding even the simple job of closing a heavy drawer a huge strain on my tummy and operation site. I realised I was stooping as I moved, and even lifted myself out of bed differently!

Pelvic floor exercises and a short walk was about my limit, as even standing around for too long (probably related to posture also) was extremely uncomfortable. I needed to be proactive and correct my stance and posture for everything if I was going to get any where! Washing up dishes became a workout, opening and closing my heavy drawers were a test of ab bracing!

Slowly I began to feel a little more ‘normal’, time for a test I think………so I joined Andrew’s Friday lunch class and although I got through it I was uncomfortable, unstable, weak. I found myself holding back because I think I knew deep down that I wasn’t really at full health. It was only 3 months since the birth. Sound like a long time to you??? I challenge you to watch a video of a c section and then come back to me and tell me it’s too long!

I wanted to do it right. And that could only happen if I took the foundations and made them solid and by that I mean work on my strength, I want to add confidence too! (I needed to feel strong again before I could let rip on a few wods)

I gave myself a few more weeks recovery during which time I discovered paleo and embarked on a 30 day challenge. You gotta eat right to train right!

I started first just messing around with some light weights – squats, dead lifts, overhead press. Then a couple of wods on holiday in Australia.

Then came the Hit List. My way of focusing my training and giving myself goals to work on. I am officially one of the geeks in the gym who records every thing religiously. And why not it saves all that faffing and guessing weights.

So far this journey is around the 9month mark……

What had I achieved……..

Pre -pregnancy squat and overhead press weights and 1 pull up!

I felt I was ready to add a few more wods into my training alongside strength.

Being careful about recording weights and training over the next two months paid off because I now have 6 pull ups, 2 ring dips and my dead lift is getting closer to my previous double body weight max.

When did I realise I was absolutely back on form?

Smashing through Karen (150 wall balls for time 6kg 9ft target) in 5 min 51!

I still have my weaknesses like everyone, but I officially can no longer use the excuse “I’m still recovering” that makes my total recovery time 11months!!

Did I take too long to get here? I don’t think so, ask yourself would you send a

thoroughbred to the Grand National when they were at risk of further injury or not on form?

I reckon your answer is no.

I wonder in hindsight how different Taylor Richard-Lindsay’s approach would have been if she knew what she knows now? Would she have driven herself so hard so soon? So what recovery took me 11months! 11 months is nothing in the grand scheme of things, I’m strong and wiser to boot and I wouldn’t change it one bit!

(I just want to remind you that I am talking here about my experience which was recovering from a c section, which is quite different and a longer process then that of a natural birth but although this is on the more extreme end of the spectrum it is important to remember the body will take around 12 months to recover fully no matter how you deliver. Before embarking on any exercise after birth you must consult your doctor or mid-wife)


Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer at Crossfit London in Bethnal Green

12th September -FireBreathers

Wednesday 12th saw the second team trial session delivered and what a session it was.

Tom had set up a Fire-Breathers session, which is Crossfit slang for those Crossfitters out there that eat back to back wod’s up for breakfast, who work so hard that you have that burning sensation sitting on your lungs and throat -Nice.

I could sense from the build up that this was going to be an epic session.


1rm Thrusters

Set up for Grace  (you have to watch this video Miranda is awesome!)

30 Clean and Jerks for time (42/62kg) The rule is Ground to overhead, full lock out.

10 minute cap.

The faster you got through Grace the more rest you had.

Getting ready for Cindy

5 Pull ups, 10 Push ups, 15 Squats

AMRAP 20 Minutes


Before I continue I have to admit that I totally screwed Grace up and i don’t even understand why………….

Let me explain.

Grace should be Ground to Overhead right..but for some reason I went ahead and must have completed around 20 reps from a hang position! I was the only numpty in the class doing it like that, I must have been in my own world.

I had every intention of running through Grace again on Friday and then post my result but the DOMS is still pretty harsh even as I type. I defo need to work on volume if I am going to make the team.

Anyways aside from that I was quite happy with my effort.

It was the first time doing pull ups in a wod rx’ed. Tough but such a good feeling!

I had to reduce my push ups from full to knee push ups by about round 4 but I am ok with that. I just need to work on that.

My Scores.

Thruster 52.5kg

Grace 5.30 (20 reps from hang)

Cindy 9.5 rounds

Attempting a group hug was impossible!
Attempting a group hug was impossible!
Scores on the doors!
Scores on the doors!

An Epic session with some Epic team mates.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green




Personal Training Status

To date my Personal training schedule has been closed while I adjust to Mummy-hood.

I now want to put myself out there again as a personal trainer (not just a pre and post natal trainer) ready for my clients and to reflect my new status as Mummy and consequently because I need to have Snoop in the gym while I coach. I am revising what I charge hourly.

Previously I charged £60 for the hour but am going to reduce the charge to £50 as a gesture toward having my baby in the gym while sessions are delivered.

How does that work???

Well Snoop is quite happy to watch us and play with his toys, he sometimes will pipe up with a few encouraging words from time to time.

Obviously I don’t want to spend all day teaching back to back ignoring my child in the corner but carefully scheduled appointments means I can keep a balance of work and play.


Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer with Crossfit London in Bethnal Green


Luxury Paleo Pancakes

So a while ago I posted some pancakes made with banana and almond butter.

They were awesome, best pancakes ever till I discovered this recipe……………….

2 Large eggs beaten,

Add ….

Tiny pinch of salt

A splash of maple syrup

1 Tbs Coconut flour and 3 Tbs of coconut milk

Pinch of baking soda

Splash of vanilla extract

Dust in some cinnamon to taste.

Mix all together to make a uniformed batter and then spooning into a pan using a Tbs as a measure.

Use some coconut oil to cook in.

When the bubble begin on top flip for a minute and then set aside.

I drizzle maple syrup on top to be indulgent.


I have been taking these into the gym this week and have had great reports all round.

I know they are good though when Snoop gobbles them up. So that makes a tasty treat for you and tasty baby food treat for the bubba. Sorted!


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green


Reflecting on old posts………..

Does the Baby Make me Stronger??  

It’s a question I have been asked a few times…does the pregnancy make you stronger? Does is make you faster?

I have mulled this over in my mind a lot over the last few weeks and I think I have an answer.

No it doesn’t make me stronger but it does mean I am more in tune with my body and have found that all the changes to my body have meant I have become more efficient at using my body.

To explain that a bit further.

My mid-section has quite obviously changed beyond recognition I don’t have the same mid-line stability as I did before, which is when I have to start making the way I brace really count. I need to make sure that I can call on the rest of my body and ask it to work that bit harder to make sure I am safe.

As for the pregnancy making me faster..well some days I am on form and others I am sluggish and tired. I am just really glad I can keep up some kind of routine.

I wrote this post on my site way back in August 2011 a couple of months before having Snoop.

Now a year late I want to add to this as Andrew asked me a very similar question………

“Sally to get stronger do you need to get up the duff?”

We all know Andrew is far from tactful at times but he had a very good point to his crud question.

Before I had Snoop I had a very ropey pull up, zero ring dips and even worse double unders…………

1 Year on and I have 6 solid pull ups, my first ring dip and though still hard work I can bang out some double unders.

For anyone looking from a distance baby = stronger.

I can assure you though that the reality is very different.

So what has made the difference………….

My focus……..

My time in the gym is limited. I need to make every session count as I now don’t have the luxuary of training as and when I want.

I have made a Hit List. This is a list of skills I want to master. Having them written down means they stay at the fore front of training sessions, which in turn makes my use of training time more efficent.

I keep a detailed training book with all my sessions and weights recorded. Although I used this before I was a bit sloppy at note keeping.

Doing it strict – I have made a vow to train in the strictest possible way. I don’t really care about the fastest time at this point. My concern is getting it done with good form and without having to use thick band support.

Paleo – In January I tried 30 days of strict paleo eating. In the begining it wasn’t so easy, not just because of my own excuses but because my husband is a pasta lover! Slowly I made changes to my kitchen cupboards and my cookbooks. I have founds ways of adapting old recipes and worked out how I am going to be paleo while eating out.

I have to say its getting a lot easier to stay strict pretty much most of the time. And what is the pay off from this change over. I feel better in myself, less bloated and tired and of course the gains in strength speak for them-self. What can I say I am a total convert!!!

So back to the question at hand….

Do you need to get up the duff to get stronger?? ……..No but getting organised and focused goes a long way.


Would you like to get Stronger?

You can learn how to lift weights with confidence at one of our Wonderbar Events.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green

16th August -Loser!

I hate it when I fail at something, don’t we all I guess.

Training today with Chris I am going to start by getting down the met con,or at least my attempt.

Chris’s suggestion for today was Annie, a benchmark crossfit wod of double unders and sit ups.

50,40,30,20,10 of each move alternating.

It should take sub 10 minutes to complete, but after that fluke of a wod the other week I always suck big time at double unders.

I was prepared to give it a go.

Sucking big time doesn’t even come close.

I was a total loser and by 12 minutes and still not having completed 50.

I dashed the rope to the corner of the room and threw my toys out of the pram!

Chris did try to motivate me by telling me to bloody well get on with it but seeing him flying through while I kept whipping every inch of my legs and arms looking more like someone tangled in the jump rope rather then actually achieving any reps, was enough for one day.

At one point Chris even told me to stop being a spoilt brat, which is fair play. I need someone to be tough on me but where I don’t mind working on my weakness’s I can’t stand working through a wod with them. I feel set up for failure.

So what have I learnt from this.

I need to practice more double unders!

It wasn’t a completely failed session as I did continue the 8’s wave of my juggernaut program.

Really I should have more time between sessions but after such a hectic wk previously I only just got to training yesterday.

Yesterday was …..

Bench press and back squat.

5 sets and 8 reps each set – weight was set at 65% of my working max.

I squeezed in 5 sets of 3 pull ups and some stretching.

Today was……

Over head press and dead lift

5 sets and 8 reps each set – weight was set at 65% of my working max.

Again I got my pull ups in whoop! And some stretches.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London coach in Bethnal Green