A heavily pregnant woman has caused a firestorm of controversy after a photo of her doing a CrossFit workout was posted online.
Lea-Ann Ellison, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom of two, has been slammed as selfish, vain and stupid after photos of her lifting weights went public. Ellison, who's eight months pregnant, is stunned by the criticism.
"What bothers me most about all this backlash is that there are so many pregnant women who eat poorly and don't exercise at all during their pregnancies," Ellison told Yahoo Sept. 19. "There is an obesity epidemic in this country. What about that?"
Ellison, who is due in two weeks, submitted her workout photos to CrossFit headquarters, which then posted her pictures to its Facebook page. Ellison wrote the caption herself, where she gushed about how CrossFit has helped her stay physically and emotionally fit during her pregnancy.
"Eight months pregnant with baby No. 3 and CrossFit has been my sanity," she wrote. "I have been CrossFitting for two and a half years and strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body's capabilities to kick ass."
The post immediately set off a torrent of comments. While most people applauded Ellison for working out and during her pregnancy, others accused her of endangering her health and that of her baby.
"This is actually sickening," wrote one woman. "I hope pregnant women around the world do not do this kind of crap. I am a CrossFit enthusiast but I DO NOT recommend this at all. Doctors always strongly suggest to not lift heavy because you can sever your placenta and cause major damage, an early labor and miscarriage. Posting this picture shows people the wrong message that this is OKAY when it's not!!!!"
Another disgusted commenter wrote: "She is very selfish for endangering a life for her own personal gains and achievements. This is not a proud picture to post. That amount of weight lifted above the head is extremely dangerous while pregnant. CrossFit is a hobby, not a necessity to life."
Ellison, who has gained just 23 pounds during her pregnancy, said she has cut back on her workouts and is careful not to lift heavy weights.
“I used to take CrossFit classes five days a week, but lately, I’ve scaled back to three times,” she said. "I did lift weights for my maternity photo shoot, but only 35 pounds. The most I've lifted while pregnant is 65."
A recent study indicated that CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that combines high-intensity weightlifting, sprinting and body-weight exercises, can dramatically improve aerobic fitness and body-fat composition.