Lindsay Vaught, via Instagram @crossfittingfortwo
Lindsay Vaught, via Instagram @crossfittingfortwo

The CrossFit Open is tough enough, but it’s even harder when you are CrossFitting for two. That is what Lindsay Vaught is doing in the 2017 CrossFit Open. Vaught is 39 weeks pregnant, but has completed all four of the Open workouts thus far (modified, of course). We caught up with the former CrossFit Games team member of CrossFit515 in Grimes, Iowa, to learn more about Vaught’s experience with the Open this year.

The Barbell Spin: You have competed in the Open six times (five times on the leaderboard and this year unofficially). Tell us a little bit about your background before beginning CrossFit and how you got started?

Lindsay Vaught: I ran cross country and played softball in high school, then I got into marathon running in college. In 2005, I qualified for Boston, but then had IT band issues that put a stop to my long distance running. My husband, Justin, and I lived in Denver while I was in law school from 2007-2010 and did lots of hiking and skiing, and the globo-gym scene.

My brother, Bobby Noyce, and sister, Jaime Kellow, started doing CrossFit in 2010, and they immediately wouldn’t shut up about it. They came out to Denver for their Level 1 Cert while we still lived there. I remember taking dumbbells to the park by our condo and Bobby putting Justin and me through our first CrossFit workout (dumbbell thrusters and burpees – it was awful). We moved back to Des Moines in June of 2010–my parents had also started doing CrossFit at that point, and Bobby and Jaime were making plans to open CrossFit515. My parents’ garage was our gym that summer, which was where I got my start with CrossFit.

The Barbell Spin: Your family has done very well competing in the sport of CrossFit. In 2013, CrossFit 515 made it to the Games with quite a few family members on the roster. How has CrossFit brought your family together?

Lindsay Vaught: We get this question a lot! My family has always been close, but I think CrossFit has given us a deeper, common bond and respect for each other. And a lot more reasons to see each other on a very regular basis at the gym.

The Barbell Spin: You’ve had a history of doing the Open while pregnant. The previous two pregnancies you signed up and finished the Open. Which years were those and how has this year differed?

Lindsay Vaught: I was also pregnant in 2012 and 2014. This year has been different just because I’m so much farther along in this pregnancy than I was those years (my due date is March 26). I don’t think I had to scale anything in 2012 or 2014. This year has been a different story! I didn’t sign up this year because I knew there are a lot of movements I wouldn’t be able to do, and also because I may have the baby before the Open is over!

The Barbell Spin: How have you modified the Open workouts this year because of your pregnancy?

Lindsay Vaught:

17.1. I set up mats for burpees (to have a hole for my belly) and did step up and overs on the box. I did the dumbbell snatches RX’d. Of the Open workouts this year, this is the one I’m most excited to do when I’m not pregnant!

17.2. I did pull ups instead of toes-to-bar, and I did the dumbbell cleans from the hang.

17.3. I did the scaled version of this one with snatches from the hang. I stopped after the rounds of 75-pound snatches because with how far out I needed to bring the bar around my belly, 95-pound would have been pushing it.

17.4. I did deadlifts with just a 53-pound kettlebell and dumbbell push presses (30-pound dumbbells) instead of handstand push-ups.

The Barbell Spin: What’s been the most difficult part of doing the Open while pregnant so far?

Lindsay Vaught: I love the atmosphere of the Open at CrossFit515, so it’s hard to not be doing the workouts competitively with everyone else. It’s fun to just be there in the environment watching everyone else though.

The Barbell Spin: How has CrossFit helped with your pregnancies and previous two births?

Lindsay Vaught: Being pregnant and giving birth is hard work – I can’t imagine trying to do it without being in good shape! I also give CrossFit credit for leading me down a better path in terms of nutrition. I used to think low fat / high carb was healthy and didn’t pay much attention to ingredients, and I’m thankful I turned my nutrition and my thinking about nutrition around before my first pregnancy.

CrossFit has also helped give me a respect and trust in my body and what my body can do that I didn’t have before. There are a lot of things in our culture and traditional prenatal care that teach women to not trust their bodies and their instincts. In an indirect way, I think CrossFit helped me tune out a lot of that and remain confident that my body knows what it’s doing.

The Barbell Spin: What would you recommend to someone thinking about doing CrossFit while pregnant?

Lindsay Vaught: The main thing I tell other pregnant CrossFitters who ask me for advice is this: Listen to your body and only do what you’re comfortable doing.

Nobody else but you knows what your body is feeling, so during pregnancy it’s important to be in touch with your body and assess how you’re feeling. It’s a different mentality than trying to shut off your brain and going balls to the wall. I wouldn’t recommend someone start CrossFit while pregnant, but if you’ve been doing CrossFit before getting pregnant and you don’t have a medical reason to stop, it is not unsafe, risky, selfish, or stupid to continue doing CrossFit while pregnant (despite what many people on the Internet will tell you).

The Barbell Spin: Do you think you’ll ever return to doing CrossFit competitively?

Lindsay Vaught: I’m sure I’ll do local competitions again. My focus the last few years has been juggling family and career (I’m an attorney at a law firm), so competitive CrossFit has taken a backseat, and I’m ok with that. Competing at the Games on the CrossFit515 team in 2013 was an amazing experience, but I knew at the time it was probably a once in a lifetime thing for me. Whether or not my focus is on competing, I’ll always do CrossFit for health and longevity.

Except for 2015, my mom has competed at the Games every year since 2011 (she took 1st in the 55-59 masters women division in 2011 and 3rd in the 60+ masters women division in 2016), so I know there doesn’t have to be an expiration date to competitive CrossFit. I’m also enjoying being part of the Bobby Noyce fan club. He’s made it to Regionals every year since 2011 and sitting in a good position in the North Central region again this year.

The Barbell Spin: What are you predicting we will see for 17.5?

Lindsay Vaught: Thrusters and double unders (probably what everyone else is predicting too). I could see it being dumbbell thrusters since that’s Castro’s thing this year. I’ll say, 7 minute AMRAP of 30 double-unders, 10 thrusters.

Vaught is 39 weeks, 1 day today. Follow her at @crossfittingfortwo on Instagram!