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Affiliate of the Month: Big Lick CrossFit

Morning Chalk Up

October 3   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • The Masters Fitness Championship wrapped over the weekend, get the highlights below
  • Comparing guest programmers Dave Castro and Adrian Bozman on CrossFit mainsite
  • The Weekly Buzz is coming in hot with sports and affiliate news updates
  • Affiliate of the Month: Big Lick CrossFit in Roanoke, VA
  • From the gym to the games: David Tillman on the evolution of MAD Athletes CrossFit Training Program

Nominate your gym for affiliate of the month and be sure to include a note about why we should feature it.

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“It’s hard to see things when you are too close. Take a step back and look.” - Bob Ross

  Masters Fitness Championship Hosts 500 Athletes, its Largest Competition to Date  

Masters Fitness Championship Hosts 500 Athletes, its Largest Competition to Date

Held last weekend at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IN, the three-day Masters Fitness Championship, hosted Elite and Rx Masters competitors, ages 30 and above, competing as individuals and in male and female teams of two.

Some background: As the premier annual competition for masters, the Masters Fitness Championship, a CrossFit sanctioned event, hosts athletes from throughout the greater CrossFit community for its fourth year. Since its inception in 2020, the event has nearly tripled in size and has drawn in some big names including Anna Tunnicliffe Tobias, Jenn Ryan, Dex Hopkins and Jason Grubb.

The 2023 event saw 500 athletes competing with some tests known the athletes beforehand, and some that were revealed upon the start of the competition. Fans, spectators, families and friends completely filled the space, cheering on the athletes as they battled for the podium.

Ken Battiston competed in the 35-39 category, and won Test 4, “The Gallows.” When asked what it meant to him to have his daughter watching him from the crowd, he responded,

  • “It does a lot, I love having her here, and in the gym everyday. She gets to see a lot of strong women do a lot of really amazing things. I want her to see that. I want her to see how men and women interact and how they should interact. I love being able to set that example and show her that everyday.”

Elite and Rx individuals faced seven tests, teams faced six, over the three day competition with a classic mix of strongman implements like heavy sandbags, as well as barbells, gymnastics, jump rope crossovers and a pool swim for individuals.

When asked about his first year competing at the event, Dex Hopkins shared his excitement and emphasized the unique community that is the masters athletes.

  • “These are people in affiliates that I’ve spent a decade with. And so to see them out here, test themselves, the longevity of the people that are able to be in the sport that long it’s super important to keep that alive and have a spot where they can showcase. A lot of these guys are … full time people. I’ve been waiting to be a Master for 10 years, so I’m super excited to join the community,” said Hopkins.
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Chad1000X: Don’t forget, Veterans Day is coming soon, November 11, and CrossFit and the Step Up Foundation have partnered to help raise awareness of veteran suicide. “Chad” will be programmed for the first time as an official Hero WOD on Veterans Day and you can join the community and help raise money. Register now.

🚨 🚨 New WIT Fitness Athlete: Congratulations to Victor Hoffer, the newest member of the Team WIT Fitness family. Hoffer was a member of the CrossFit Games Demo Team this year and wowed onlookers with his incredible test run of the Inverted Medley.

🎟️  🎟️ Grab your TYR Wodapalooza tickets, on sale now! And don’t forget, for guaranteed seating for elite events at Flagler and Bayside, select “Elite Passes” or “VIP Passes” for even more options and perks.

ICYMI: Looking ahead to the rest of the season and into 2024.

  CrossFit Mainsite Guest Programming: Dave Castro and Adrian Bozman  


CrossFit Mainsite Guest Programming: Dave Castro and Adrian Bozman

A couple of months ago, it was announced that CrossFit would be featuring guest programmers to write mainsite workouts in an effort to highlight the different styles and perspectives towards programming.

This process recently kicked off with Dave Castro, the General Manager of Education and Sport, who wrote workouts from August 14-29. He was followed by Adrian Bozman, CrossFit’s Competition Director, writing workouts from September 11-25.

In Dave Castro’s original briefing for the guest programming concept, he explained that there would be parameters and core concepts to keep the workouts in touch with where they’ve traditionally been, while still allowing creative freedom to have fun with it.

Today we’re giving you the highlights and breaking down the first two series of guest programming.

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  CrossFit Mainsite Guest Programming: Dave Castro and Adrian Bozman  

The Weekly Buzz

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  Affiliate of the Month: Getting Behind All the Causes for a Decade and Counting at Big Lick CrossFit  

Affiliate of the Month: Getting Behind All the Causes for a Decade and Counting at Big Lick CrossFit

For Traci and Doug Polumbo, gym ownership has always been about more than a place for physical fitness.

They opened Big Lick CrossFit in Roanoke, VA almost 10 years ago and, as Traci said:

  • “We try to grab onto anything we can to get behind the community we live in.”

Since 2014, Big Lick CrossFit has raised money for every cause imaginable—cancer, military veterans, police dogs, youth resilience, people who have fallen on hard times, or anything else they or their coaches want to support.

  • “We just wait and see what comes our way and what we feel we can get behind,” Traci said.

The details: The list of fundraisers Big Lick CrossFit participates in every year is a long one and includes doing the workout Rowan every September—named after a local girl, Rowan Price, who lost her battle with leukemia at the age of 4 in 2019. The workout raises money for childhood cancer.

  • Each year since 2014, they have also participated in Memorial Day Murph, always donating to the Lt. Michael Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation.
  • Collecting food donations for Orchard Hills Achievement Center—a local organization dedicated to children with limited resources—at Thanksgiving has also been an annual endeavor for the Big Lick community, as has collecting and donating toys and food at Christmas.
  • Further, in 2019, they also hosted a 24-Hour rowing event—Row for Reveille—a fundraiser that raised money for wounded warriors and veterans returning from active duty, and in 2022 they helped raise more than $50,000 for the family of a Caleb Ogilvie, a local officer who was killed in the line of duty.
  • Most recently, last year they hosted two new fundraisers: One for Forging Youth Resilience (FYR), an organization that empowers youth to build physical and mental strength, and one for the Botetourt County Sheriff’s K-9 unit, an event they’re hosting again this October.
  • On top of hosting events, the Polumbo’s also make their gym available regularly to YoungLife, a non-profit dedicated to youth adults with special needs, and to a local high school, who regularly sends their PE classes on field trips to their gym at no charge.
  • Finally, although they don’t advertise it, the Polumbo’s also provide scholarships in the form of memberships on a case-by-case basis to students or members who have fallen on difficult times and cannot afford the gym.

The big picture: When they first opened the gym, Doug said to Traci, “You can’t be generous with people if you can’t pay your bills,” Traci remembers.

Nearly a decade later, the Polumbo’s have found a way to do both.

  • “We have been able to run the business in a way that it’s profitable, (but also) allows us to give back to the community and be more generous when different opportunities arise,” Traci said. “This is absolutely a passion business. My husband and I have a couple other businesses that we run, but this is the one that we really get the most joy (out of).”

What gives them so much joy, she explained, is watching people benefit from their community.

  • “I think everybody wants to make their community a better place to live, and what you put into other people, you receive as much or more than you’re giving,” she said, adding that she credits her coaches for constantly looking for creative ways to use the gym to give back to the greater community.

She added: “And the gym really gives us a venue. It provides us opportunities left and right to do that and to put those words into action.”

  From the Gym to the Games: David Tillman on the Evolution of MAD Athletes CrossFit Training Program  

From the Gym to the Games: David Tillman on the Evolution of MAD Athletes CrossFit Training Program

David Tillman started writing his own CrossFit workouts in 2007, shortly after learning about the sport. Now, almost 18 years later, he’s coached an impressive list of teen and age group athletes who have gone on to compete at the CrossFit Games, all under his programming and training method MAD Athletes.

The program now includes virtual programming and a mobile app for remote athletes looking to follow his training method. Tillman is the owner of CrossFit Cedar Park in Austin, Texas and has a kinesiology degree from University of Texas. His love of the sport started almost at the same time that CrossFit started to gain mainstream popularity in 2007, and found a love for programming workouts.

  • “One of the reasons I affiliated is that CrossFit allows you to program whatever you want.  I just always knew that’s what I wanted to program and coach.   I literally have every workout that I’ve ever programmed since 2007,” said Tillman.
  • Tillman became the go-to person in his area for CrossFit athletes looking to elevate their fitness and “the past few years, it’s been a lot of teens. I have some masters and individuals, but lately it’s been an influx of teens. I think we’ve sent seven different teenagers to the CrossFit Games.”
  • “I started programming, actually, before I even became an affiliate. I was the personal trainer with the clipboard, and my brother is a doctor of physical therapy and we opened up a place together, and out of that I would train people.”
  • “I worked a lot with athletes, specifically, athletes that wanted to play high school sports, college sports, even some professional athletes, and so that was kind of my bread and butter at the time.”
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