(NEW YORK) — A woman is showing men what it’s like to work out while nine months pregnant and motivating others to hit the gym.
In late May, Michelle Duboc, a CrossFit coach and co-owner of CrossFit Unbounded in Miami, shared a video on her Instagram page of herself working out with a couple of male CrossFit members at her gym while 40 weeks pregnant.
Duboc was doing the Murph Challenge, a workout that CrossFit members take part in every year on Memorial Day to honor Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan.
What made the workout special this year was that her husband, and a few male coaches and gym members, decided to do the workout with 10-pound medicine balls wrapped around their waists to mimic the challenges of working out while pregnant.
“It was pretty cool to see them actually want to try it and to see kind of what it feels like,” Duboc told ABC News’ Good Morning America.
In her video, which has more than nine million views on Instagram, several male gym members attempt to do the Murph challenge’s 2-mile run, 300 air squats and 200 pushups with Duboc while the medicine ball is strapped around their waists.
“She’s a motivational person at the gym well before and after her pregnancy,” said Duboc’s husband, Gian Franco Duboc, who also coaches and co-owns Crossfit Unbounded.
He came up with the idea to do the workout challenge with medicine balls.
“Everybody around her in the gym just looks at her and if somebody’s having a bad day and they don’t want to work out, they just look at her and they’re like, ‘Damn, I can’t complain,'” he said.
Duboc has been sharing her workout videos on Instagram throughout her pregnancy. When she was pregnant with her oldest daughter three years ago, she said that she didn’t want to post about her workout routine because of the negativity she would receive. But this time around, she wanted to let others know the benefits of moving your body while pregnant.
“It’s so beneficial,” said Duboc. “Working out is just so good for you. You also get those happy endorphins that we all need if going through a rough time in pregnancy.”
In a 2019 study published by East Carolina University, researchers found that exercising during pregnancy resulted in babies who are more adept at movement, and possibly more likely to be active as they grow older.
Another study published in 2018 by researchers in Spain also found that women who exercise just three times per week during pregnancy have a shorter labor.
While there are many benefits to working out during pregnancy, Duboc said she’s received a lot of negative comments online for the videos she shared.
“For a lot of people, it’s like really embedded in their head, like women who are pregnant shouldn’t lift [weights],” said Duboc. “And they hear it more like [pregnancy] is a condition.”
She added, “It’s sad because they don’t know all the benefits that come from working out during pregnancy.”
For those who are pregnant and want to get their bodies moving, Duboc said to take it slow.
“Don’t start something new if you haven’t done it before,” she said, and added they should continue pre-pregnancy workout routines if they had one.
The day after the workout challenge, Duboc delivered her second daughter, Sky Duboc, who weighed 7 pounds and 10 ounces.
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