Jessica Hawley’s third pregnancy felt different.
So she was sure this time a girl would join her two sons already at home.
She had more energy and found it was easier to move around despite her growing baby bump. But baby number three was another boy.
The reason the pregnancy felt so different, said Hawley, 34, was she just more fit this time around.
The Omaha woman has stuck with her three-times-a-week CrossFit workouts during her third pregnancy.
At 35 weeks pregnant — and with doctor approval — Hawley was tackling box jumps, burpees and pullups on the TRX straps. She’s had to modify some exercises, cut the amount of weight she lifts and do fewer reps.
Hawley plans to work out as long as she can during this pregnancy, and she’s hoping the regular workouts help in the delivery room, too.
“I feel night-and-day different,” she said.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I’ve been working out for a long time. In high school, I played basketball, and in college, I played intramurals. My husband, Ben, really likes CrossFit. So in January 2017, I started (at Iron Hero CrossFit). Working out has always been part of my life, but it’s something I did on my own.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: There’s a lot of variety, which is why I like it. We do strength training and cardio. No matter the workout, (gym owner) Chris Suiter can scale it to what I need. I work out three to four days a week.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: My goal is to work out as far as I can during my pregnancy. I’ve joked that my water’s going to break here.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: My mindset has changed a lot. I never thought I could life heavy weight or work out in a class regularly. I’m proud that I’m here, and I’m doing it. I’m investing in myself. I have kids and work, and I could easily have an excuse not to do it.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Probably second-guessing myself. In the beginning, I could have been like, “I’m pregnant,” and stopped. My body’s capable. I’m capable. I’ve surrounded myself with a community that believes in me.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: Seeing results, having a community that’s super encouraging. No one’s treated me differently because I’m pregnant. I’ve had the encouragement of other people and support from my husband.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: Someone who’s not friendly at the gym.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I’m a big Creighton basketball fan. I like spending time with my kids, Gavin, 4, and Derek, 2. I also do a lot with my church.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: I love rowing. It’s my favorite piece of workout equipment.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: I’d say, if it’s something you want to do, take a chance and do it. When you do something for yourself, you’re not going to regret it. Invest in yourself.
1 of 11
Float spas, where users are suspended in a salty bath, started popping up in Omaha in 2016. Spa-goers enter a private float tank nearly double the size of a bathtub. Hundreds of pounds of Epsom salt have been dissolved in the shallow pool of water so people float on top. Proponents say floating reduces muscle and joint pain, shortens recovery time from athletic training or injuries, relieves stress and increases creativity. Click here to read a World-Herald story on float spas.
If you've been dreaming of dribbling a soccer ball while encased in a plastic bubble, you're in luck. That trend made its way to Omaha in 2015. The game can be tough — experienced players tumble right alongside first-timers. Click here to read a World-Herald story on bubble soccer.
Local yogis can find their flow among a tribe of baby goats. Two dairies in Honey Creek, Iowa, started offering the classes in 2018. The goat yoga trend started in Oregon in 2016 and has since swept most of the country. The wandering goats add some levity to yoga, known for improving flexibility and decreasing stress. Click here to read a previous World-Herald story on goat yoga.
Kickball isn't just for kids. Adult kickball leagues have joined the mix of recreational sports in Omaha, much like sand volleyball and softball. The sport gets players moving, but it doesn't feel like a grueling workout. Some kickballers called it "exercise in disguise." Click here to read a World-Herald story on kickball.
Ballet-inspired workouts made their way to the Omaha area back in 2014. The city is home to handful of studios purely devoted to the workouts, which combine yoga, Pilates and ballet movements performed on a dance barre. Some local gyms and fitness studios offer the classes, too. Instructors said the classes are fun and motivating. Click here to read a World-Herald story on barre.
Rowing isn't new, but it's made a splash on the local fitness scene. The exercise machines had fallen out of favor thanks to treadmills, weight rooms and group exercise classes. But they've been reintroduced through fitness trends like CrossFit and Orangetheory. At least two local studios have debuted classes built around the machines. Click here to read a World-Herald story on rowing.
Participants — wearing minimal clothing — stand in a chamber that looks like an aluminum can and grows colder over two to three minutes using liquid nitrogen. The temperature drops to between negative 200 and 240 degrees. Proponents say the high-tech ice baths reduce inflammation, relieve pain, prevent injury, increase energy and speed healing. The practice also has been credited for cosmetic benefits. But some medical professionals are skeptical. Click here to read a World-Herald story on cryotherapy.
Exercisers bask in glowing orange lights and blaring upbeat music at Orangetheory Fitness. The metro area now is home to a handful of the studios, which got their start in Florida in 2009. During the classes, a trainer leads people through a circuit-style workout that rotates between treadmills, rowing machines and a strength area with free weights. Members wear heart rate monitors to track their efforts during a workout. Click here to read a World-Herald story on Orangetheory Fitness.
Pound classes debuted in Omaha in 2015. The classes are a full-body strength and cardio workout that simulates drumming. Exercisers pound the drumsticks in the air, against each other and on the ground while performing strength exercises like squats and lunges. Click here to read a World-Herald story on Pound.
Aerial yoga blends yoga poses with acrobatics. Yogis practice in hammocks, flipping upside-down. It incorporates stretching and strength exercises, cardio and meditation. Instructors say the class is good for the spine, alleviating pressure — although there are some risks, and the class isn't for everyone. Click here to read a World-Herald story on aerial yoga.
Heart rate monitors are a standard part of curriculum for some metro high school students. They've also made an appearance in several boutique gyms. Teachers at Mercy High School said wearing the monitors prep students for a lifetime of fitness. Click here to read a World-Herald story on the monitors.