February 17, 2014
Competing Until the Baby Arrives
By Josh Bunch
Mindy Coby is due three days after the announcement of 14.5.
Mindy Coby is due three days after the announcement of 14.5.

"I would like to show people the Open is for every single person who wants to do it."


 

Three days after Open Workout 14.5 is announced, Mindy Coby is expected to give birth to a boy named Dylan.

The 29-year-old isn’t competing in the Open for the Games, Regionals or even Leaderboard bragging rights. To Coby, the Open is simply five workouts over five weeks.

She started CrossFit six years ago, and her first workout of air squats—the kind where you rebound off a medicine ball like a kid who has eaten too much sugar—and dumbbell push presses was all it took. And to this day, there is no excuse Coby can find to skip a workout.

Not even pregnancy.
 
“People aren’t as fragile as they think they are,” she said. “All they need is encouragement, not someone telling them they need to sit around for nine months.”
 
Before pregnancy, Coby could clean and jerk 195 lb., snatch 150 lb. and complete Fran in 3:48. She’s a seasoned CrossFit athlete, and knows her body can handle the scaled workouts she’s doing in the box while pregnant.
 
However, she wouldn’t tell a rookie to start doing CrossFit when pregnant.
 
“But if you’re already in the game there is no reason to stop,” she said.
 
Coby has been competing in CrossFit since the early days. She competed in the first-ever Affiliate Cup at Dave Castro’s ranch in Aromas, Calif., in the summer of 2009, took 35th at the 2010 Central East Regional in the individual division, and joined team Practice CrossFit to compete at the 2011 and 2012 Central East Regional. 
 
“I remember Annie (Thorisdottir) getting her first muscle-up,” she recalled of the 2009 CrossFit Games. “I’d never seen a crowd react like that before.”
 
The smell of summer air, California soil, sweat and beer linger from that memory. It’s something she holds onto today as she trains for the first stage of what has become a true worldwide sport. 
Even though she won’t be able to compete at the same intensity this year, she’s determined to be a part of it. She cherishes the memory of watching Thorisdottir in 2009, and she doesn’t want to miss out in 2014.
 
“People never regret being a part of something like that,” she said.
 
Her coaches and husband, Justin Coby, have helped her modify her workouts.
 
“The fact that she continues to train while pregnant is impressive,” Justin said. “But what makes her unique is how she does it so nonchalantly. She wastes no time talking about the fact that she (does) CrossFit (while) pregnant, she just does the work.”
 
A few months into her pregnancy, Coby exchanged box jumps for step-ups, handstand push-ups for regular push-ups, and sit-ups for plank holds. She stopped doing rope climbs because the risk just wasn’t worth it, she said. 
 
Over the next couple months, other movements started to go. She continued to train five days per week, but without dips, chest-to-bar pull-ups or muscle-ups.
 
“Gymnastics have always been weaknesses,” she said with a laugh.
 
Adding a baby-weight vest doesn’t help.
 
It’s all a matter of scaling back, and accommodating her pregnant body. Instead of lifting heavy, she opts for lighter weight. When push-ups are prescribed, she pulls out a pair of rusted parallettes that provide space for her growing belly. When pull-ups just don’t feel right, she does supine ring rows. 
 
She’s not wrapped up in doing what everyone else is doing; she’s interested in doing the best she can. 
 
When 14.1 is released on February 27, she’ll join her box just like she has for the last three Games seasons.
 
During her entire pregnancy, Coby has been keeping track of her progress through Facebook clips. She says she puts it out there for CrossFit athletes and non-CrossFit athletes to see.
 
“I get the questions, ‘Are you sure you should be doing that?’ but that’s all,” she said.
 
With her doctors’ encouragement, she plans to continue to train until her water breaks.
 
“Even my doctors don’t tell me to stop (training),” she said. “They actually encourage it. They said as long as I can breath through whatever I’m doing, I’m OK.”
 
“My goal is to be present with my community, to support them,” she continued. “I don’t care if it’s all modified. I would like to show people the Open is for every single person who wants to do it.”