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Fit Follow-Up: Stefanie Spitz

  • Name: Stefanie Spitz
  • Child: Aiden, born January 25, 2015
  • Backstory: Stefanie Spitz isn’t afraid to get a little dirty. With 11 obstacle course races under her belt—seven of them Spartan Races—the Hoboken, New Jersey, resident, a transmissions operator at Bloomberg TV who moonlights as a personal trainer, loves a challenge. She trained through her entire pregnancy last year at Epic Hybrid Training, which focuses on workouts inspired by obstacle and adventure races (read our review of it here)—a commitment that seems to have paid off. “Once Aiden was born, he wasn’t even a day old yet, I got a text from an Epic friend and I was asked what was harder, a Spartan Race or delivering a baby,” she says. “The funny part was, I actually had to think about it! My final answer was, ‘Depends where the race is.’” We chatted with her about prioritizing pregnancy and post-baby fitness, pull-ups and cheering on active moms-to-be (“Keep at it, sistas!”).
Down and Dirty

I’ve done a total of seven Spartan races and 11 obstacle races. I never saw the appeal of obstacle course races until I went to Epic Hybrid Training. I started there a year and a half before I got pregnant. After the first class I was hooked on the training and that led me to join the Epic team and race with them. You can say I drank the Kool-Aid right from the beginning.

Waiting for Baby

When I found out I was pregnant, the first question to my doctor was, “Can I still work out?” Once he gave me the go-ahead, I didn’t stop until I was 39 weeks. I delivered at 41 weeks. I knew that me not exercising would not only make me stir crazy, but I had heard that the actual birth process would be much more difficult. My regimen didn’t change when I was pregnant. I still attended Epic classes regularly—two to three times a week, sometimes more. I was still pushing the limits and working very hard in class. I didn’t modify per trimester, I modified as I realized things were getting too difficult and I was struggling or straining.

Beginning Again

I waited until exactly six weeks post birth to work out again. At first it was challenging and almost frustrating. I really wanted to be back to my old self immediately, but the coaches and my friends were super supportive. My first class back was a rude awakening, but only because I didn’t want to believe that it was going to be hard to get back to where I was strength wise. I found it surprising more than difficult. Surprising because I swore to myself it was going to be easy, difficult because Epic classes are never easy—and getting those hard workouts just after having a baby is tough!

Crunch Time

I think the amount of exercise I did during pregnancy greatly affected my actual labor and birth. I did work out with birth in mind, but I knew I was going to do what I could to stay fit during and post pregnancy no matter what. Yes, my labor was long at 19 hours, but not only did Epic teach me to have a positive outlook on everything, it helped aerobically with breathing and pushing. Now I feel great. Not nearly as strong as I’d like to be and my stamina is still not where it used to be, but there’s no greater feeling than to get through a class and know that I’m getting stronger each time I go.

Eyes on the Prize

My long-range fitness goals are pretty minor. I’d love to get back to my pre-baby body. I’d love to be able to do my Spartan Trifecta [finishing one race at each of the main distances: Sprint (3 to 5 miles), Super (8 to 10 miles) and Beast (12 to 14 miles)] within the next year or so and signing up for races just pushes me to get back into shape that much quicker. I have a bet with a friend that for every unassisted pull-up I do he has to do 100 burpees. That is motivation! I can do one right now. I’m working on getting two in a row.

Making It Work

Post pregnancy, staying fit has been harder. I admit finding time to work out is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be. Everything I’m about to say is so cliché, but it has to be said. Remember it took nine months to cook that precious bundle so don’t expect your body to bounce back in 20 minutes. Try to get in your workout—whether at the gym when your significant other can watch the baby, or at home—when your baby is sleeping. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Doing a little something really helps. A secret of mine: I like to figure out a short workout I can do before bed: ten burpees, 15 V-ups, five pull-ups… whatever you can think of to get your heart pumping for a few minutes.

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