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2020 Games Dark Horse: Gabi Migala

Morning Chalk Up

September 5


Welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. The CrossFit Games are only 13 days away, check out our updates below. And, some gym owners are concerned about the chemicals they are using for sanitation, Emily Beers has more.

  • Gabi Migala is our next dark horse pick, don’t miss her profile, and Pheonix Gyms, a place where substance abuse recovery and fitness intersect have brought on 1000s of new online clients during the pandemic. 

All of these quote suggestions, story tips and PRs are great! Keep them rolling in at [email protected].

The Morning Chalk Up is looking for an experienced writer interested in covering CrossFit Games athlete feature stories. Apply now!



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“It may be hard but it’s not impossible.” – Ean from New Ulm CrossFit (Age 8)


2020 CrossFit Games Updates


We are 13 days out from the start of stage one of the 2020 CrossFit Games. We will be providing daily updates from here on out to keep you in the loop as more details emerge. 

Quick catch-up: The first stage of the 2020 CrossFit Games will feature 30 male and 30 female athletes competing virtually over two days beginning September 18. The top five athletes from each division will advance to an in-person competition in Aromas, CA, from October 19-25. The athlete roster includes the top-20 finishers in the Open plus the 10 Sanctionals qualifiers.

Format Update:

Although Dave Castro announced that he’s continuing to test the online workouts, putting final touches and “tweaks” on the handful of them, it appears the structure is mostly complete. 

  • Here’s the equipment list that was shared with athletes. Now you can start guessing what the workouts could be. Castro teased that one workout with feature the Concept2 rower prominently. 
  • Armen Hammer discussed notable omissions from the equipment list, things that are frequently seen in Regional and Games-level programming on his vlog yesterday. He also speculated about the possibility that the judges assigned to each athlete may deliver additional equipment on the eve of the events.
  • The competition will be two days long, starting on Friday, September 18, according to athletes briefed on details of the event. 
  • Athletes will be notified of events only 48-hours in advance. 
  • Athletes have been advised they need to have access to a 300m track for potential running events. 
  • Workout scores won’t be immediately reported, according to athletes. That way, athletes in different parts of the world won’t know the scores of their competitors. Nothing stops them from sharing among one another but the idea is to safeguard against any unfair advantage. 

Quick Round-Up:


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Worth Noting


Athlete News:

Industry News:

  • Niki Brazier announces the creation of her digital media company FIRE TEAM.
  • CompTrain announces the hire of its first CEO, Pete Roney.

Everything else:



Safe Cleaning Solutions A Must for Gym Owners and Industry Leaders

 Safe Cleaning Solutions A Must for Gym Owners and Industry Leaders 

Yesterday, I had a record sneeze experience: No less than 14 sneezes, strung together uncontrollably in quick succession.

“COVID!” someone yelled from across the gym.

“No, it’s that damn spray you’re all using so aggressively every day,” I replied.

That’s it, I’m looking into a better product to clean our equipment that doesn’t make me sneeze, and that doesn’t rust our metal plates, I thought.

Turns out, I’m not alone: Other gyms owners and coaches are having concerns that we might be doing more damage than good with our obsessive disinfecting.


Non-Profit Extends Reach During Pandemic, Provides Fitness to Thousands of Recovering Addicts Around the World

 Non-Profit Extends Reach During Pandemic, Provides Fitness to Thousands of Recovering Addicts Around the World 

The Phoenix — a non-profit with five brick and mortar functional fitness facilities across the country — started offering virtual classes when the pandemic hit and has been reaching close to 1,000 new people each month, said Scott Strode, the executive director of the Phoenix.

  • “It was actually kind of a gift. We realized we could now get to recovering (addicts) in rural communities, which historically we haven’t been able to reach,” said Strode, adding that the Phoenix has provided free fitness — including CrossFit classes — to 10,000 people recovering from substance abuse disorder since he founded the charity organization in 2006.

The pandemic also provided Strode and his team the opportunity to begin an on-demand service, so people all over the world can find various fitness classes any time they want.

  • “The only price to admission is 48 hours of sobriety,” said Strode, who started the non-profit because he “saw a huge gap in services” for those recovering from substance abuse disorder.
  • “So much is focused on formal treatment. Very little existed about helping people find who they are in their sober life,” said Strode, adding that he found CrossFit on his own recovery journey.

2020 CrossFit Games Preview: Women’s Dark Horse — Gabi Migala

 2020 CrossFit Games Preview: Women's Dark Horse -- Gabi Migala 



Four Accessories For a Stronger Clean

This video from Barbell Shrugged can help you diagnose three weaknesses in your clean pull and gives you four exercises to help you build back and leg strength for the clean. Focus on these exercises and new PRs are on the way.

 Morning Chalk Up 



2 Bottles of Recovery Water for $5

Packed with 20g of clean protein, and 0 artificial ingredients, Ascent’s Recovery Water will keep you hydrated and recovering strong. You can now try 2 of their refreshing flavors for just $5! Try Ascent’s Recovery Water today.

 Morning Chalk Up 


All In 3: A Fikowski and Vellner Documentary

During the past two Games seasons, StoryHive has produced films on Canadian favorites Brent Fikowski and Pat Vellner. This season, they add Emily Rolfe into the mix and follow the athletes through the Open, Dubai and a global pandemic.

 Morning Chalk Up 


Save On NIKE Metcons.

Select NIKE Metcons are on sale. No code needed just select your favorite pair, purchase and get ready to make all your gym buddies jealous with your new kicks.

 Morning Chalk Up 


Armen Hammer on What’s Missing From the Games Stage One Equipment List

After reviewing the full equipment list for the online portion of the CrossFit Games, Armen Hammer breaks down what’s missing that would normally be necessary for Regionals and Games-level programming.





Good Read: How to Succeed in Your Workouts Alone

Yesterday the Washington Post published an article by Morning Chalk Up contributor, Hilary Achauer, entitled “No coach, no problem: How to succeed at HIIT workouts on your own” and provides some great insights. Here are a few takeaways, but be sure to read the full piece, available in the Wellness section of the paper.

  • Achauer noted that for the past ten years she has done CrossFit workouts in an affiliate during her lunch break. But, for the past five months, her workouts have been solo, in her own garage. “I’m struggling to achieve the high-intensity part of my HIIT workouts,” she wrote. “I’m working out the same number of days but feel less fit, less motivated and definitely not excited to do it again the next day.”
  • Her article goes on to offer tips on how to stay motivated if you are working out alone.
  • Intensity is the key: “HIIT workouts are efficient, but to enjoy their calorie-burning, heart-healthy benefits you’re going to have to push yourself. HIIT is all about spiking the heart rate and feeling sweaty, out of breath and uncomfortable.”
  • To motivate yourself, use an interval timer because it “‘“creates a sense of urgency.'” And, put on fast music, “between 160 and 180 beats per minute. ‘Your body will naturally try to go faster to the beat during a faster song.'”

There’s a ton more in the article, be sure to check it out.  

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