Subscribe to receive exclusive news, workouts, giveaways and more!

What’s My Workout: Melissa Stockwell

An elite-level paratriathlete, Melissa Stockwell—an above-the-knee amputee and former Army officer, who lost her left leg to a roadside bomb in 2004 while on duty in Iraq—has big plans for the next few years, not the least of which involves competing in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. (She is a 2008 paralympian, three-time paratriathlon world champion and Ironman finisher.) Her most immediate goal, however, is to bring her first baby, a boy due at the end of November, into the world.

Stockwell, who lives and trains in Chicago and is also a motivational speaker, is serious about her training; she recently tweeted that she swam 20,000 yards in a week (#yesimbragging, thank you very much). But she also knows how dialing back the intensity for nine months is sometimes just part of the deal. Her advice? “Cut yourself some slack!”

Q: Before you got pregnant, what was your standard training load?

A: A typical week would include eight to nine sessions of either swimming, biking or running. The distance and intensity varied by the day and was dependent on upcoming competitions.

Q: How has that changed?

A: Since I am an amputee and have activity specific prosthetic legs for biking and running, pregnancy adds a new element to my continued workouts. Unfortunately, my running and biking legs do not fit as well as they should this late in my pregnancy, but I have a love for the pool and the water and swim as much as I can. I am in the pool five to seven days a week for about an hour each and typically do 2,500 to 3,500 yards at a time. I have also done some prenatal yoga and strengthening classes. The hardest part about being pregnant is not being as active as I want to be, but I do my best.

Q: When did you stop competing?

A: I did my last triathlon [the ITU World Triathlon Chicago, pictured above] when I was four-and-a-half months pregnant. It was hard for me to hold back and to avoid pushing myself too hard, so I decided to stop racing at the competitive level until after the baby for the safety of all involved.

Q: Describe your pregnancy fitness philosophy in three words.

A: Keep on moving.

Q: Has anything surprised you when it comes to working out while pregnant?

A: The further along I am the more rest I need after a workout. If I swim 3,000 yards, I need to make sure I have time for a nap later that afternoon to avoid being fully exhausted.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give pregnant women when it comes to continuing and enjoying their workouts?

A: Listen to your body. If you are out for a run and things don’t feel right, stop, walk for a bit and try again. If they still don’t feel right, ask your doctor and don’t try to push through any pain. Find an alternate form of exercise that feels better.

Q: What have you learned during this experience that you’ll carry with you through the birth of your baby and into your new role as a mom?

A: That staying active is a lifestyle. I need exercise to get through the day and to be my happiest. I hope, as a new mom, that will carry on to my son and I will exercise with him as soon as I am able.

Q: Amen! And what are you looking forward to doing the most again once the little guy arrives?

A: Running!

Follow Stockwell on Twitter @MStockwell01.
Add your comments