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Affiliates Respond to Coronavirus…

Morning Chalk Up

March 10

Element 26

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. The coronavirus has been big news, and we’ve been following it in the CrossFit space for a month; Emily Beers profiles some gyms around the world and how they are preparing. And, a week ago tornadoes ripped through Tennessee, your senior managing editor, Joe Genetin-Pilawa has been tracking the story. Today:

  • How is your gym preparing for COVID-19?
  • The CrossFit community rallies around CrossFit Hermitage.
  • The Age Group Online Qualifier starts this week and we have all the data you can handle.

What did we miss? Hit us up at [email protected].



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“Many people are good at talking about what they are doing, but in fact do little. Others do a lot but don’t talk about it; they are the ones who make a community live.” – No one, ever


Gyms Abroad Face Closures Due to COVID-19, but American Affiliate Owners Remain Unconcerned

  Gyms Abroad Face Closures Due to COVID-19, but American Affiliate Owners Remain Unconcerned  

The 150 clients at CrossFit Varese in Azzate, Northern Italy have been without their gym since February 23, when the Italian government mandated a closure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Sunday, efforts to contain the virus in Italy took an even more drastic step: 16 million people are now quarantined in the region. Weddings and funerals have been suspended, people are asked to remain at home, and those who break the quarantine could face jail time.

Gym Owners in Italy Face Lockdown

Although his “members are complaining because they want to workout,” said CrossFit Varese owner Carlo Strati, he is taking it all very seriously.

  • “The situation is serious here. The most important thing at this time is to contain the spread of the virus….The government is taking serious actions and we must do our part,” he said.

For Strati, this has meant providing home workouts for clients to do at home, suspending memberships and ultimately taking a financial hit.

  • “They are not paying. We are losing money,” he said, adding, “but that’s the only way. It’s a real emergency…It is our responsibility to educate people to a healthier lifestyle, not only when it’s fun and easy, but also in this situation.”

According to Strati, his gym will remain closed until at least April 3.

It’s a Different Story in the United States

On Sunday the world hit 110,000 COVID-19 cases, gym owners in the United States say they’re largely unconcerned about the potential impact on their community’s health, or on the business’ bottom line.

  • “Not worried. Got a jug of hand sanitizer before the great shortage of 2020, and am reminding people to stay home when sick, as we do every flu season,” wrote Chase Tolleson, the owner of CrossFit Algonquin in Illinois, on the CrossFit Affiliate Owner’s Only Facebook forum.
  • “Business as usual,” mimicked Steve Loeding of Top Gun CrossFit in Minneapolis, MN.
  • “Zero concern. Social media and the news have put so much info out, I find it redundant to tell my clients to wash their hands and don’t come to the gym if they are sick,” said Andrew Petrulis of CrossFit High Order in East Haddam, CT.
  • “Not worried,” said Theo Tsekouras of CrossFit H-Town in Houston, TX.
  • “Not sweating it,” added Eric Freedom of CrossFit Reason in Arcadia, CA.
  • “This is just another media hyped scare. How many gyms closed when we were all going to die from SARS, bird flu, mad cow disease, Y2K? Business as usual,” added Bryan Stoneking of CrossFit School of Sweat in Temescal Valley, CA.
  • “Not concerned. Keep the facility clean, members need to help maintain that cleanliness, stay at home if sick and keep cleaning supplies well-stocked. Nothing different from what we do the rest of the year,” added Michael Dean of TGH CrossFit in Grand Haven, MI. in the PushPress User Group forum on Facebook.

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Element 26
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Community Rallies around CrossFit Hermitage

  Community Rallies around CrossFit Hermitage  

In the early morning hours of March 3, a series of tornadoes tore across middle Tennessee leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. As many as 12 tornadoes touched down, including at least one strong F3 in East Nashville and one F4 in Cookeville. Together they caused 25 fatalities, injured another 308 people, caused $93 million in damages and left 73,000 people without power.

A week ago we reported on the complete destruction of CrossFit Hermitage, an affiliate in its ninth-year, owned by Brandi and Tom Forbes. The gym suffered a direct hit by one of the tornadoes and will have to have to rebuild from scratch. It’s important to note that none of the 100+ members of the Hermitage community suffered injuries or property loss.

Here’s what we’ve learned in the days since:

  • The CrossFit Hermitage facility is a total loss. Despite the destruction, affiliate owner Brandi Forbes is looking at the positives. She said, “I know how strong our community is, but to experience the broader community and the way they are offering their support and hard-earned money — it just hits you hard emotionally.”
  • Displaced athletes are working out at surrounding gyms who have opened their doors and offered free classes for the month of March.
  • The Hermitage community met up for a park workout this weekend and ran hill sprints.
  • Brandi Forbes: “We are family and we would do this for others in the community, but to have it happen to us is hard to describe.”

In the days following the storms, the CrossFit community around Nashville and beyond has rallied around the CrossFit Hermitage community, as well as those affected by the storms in Cookeville.

  • Almost immediately, CrossFit Trivium and the Battle of the Barbells scheduled a Tornado Relief Fundraiser, set to take place on April 4. All proceeds from the event will go to CrossFit Hermitage to help them rebuild. More details will be released soon.
  • CrossFit Hermitage started a GoFundMe page to help facilitate their rebuild. As of this moment, they’ve raised over $17k.
  • Barbell VooDoo, the apparel company is offering a limited edition “I Believe in Community” t-shirt, and 100% of the proceeds are going to help rebuild CrossFit Hermitage.

CrossFit Games 2020 Age Group Online Qualifier Preview

  CrossFit Games 2020 Age Group Online Qualifier Preview  

The Age Group Online Qualifier (AGOQ) kicks off later this week running from March 12-16. Traditionally held in May, the AGOQ starts two months earlier now as one of the last changes to be realized from the CrossFit Games season restructuring which started in 2018. There are still just 10 Games spots to be earned out of the 200 athletes eligible to compete in each of the 16 age group divisions.

As observed in the 2019 AGOQ results, top placers in the Open still ended up in most of the 10 qualifying spots. However, it is noted that some top performers and eventual podium athletes, did not do well in the Open and merely did enough to make the Top 200 in their Open age division to qualify for the AGOQ. With the Open placement removed as part of the AGOQ score, it is harder to predict who are the fittest athletes coming into the AGOQ.

Below is a summary of the most notable statistics and rankings of the athletes eligible to compete in the AGOQ. Historically there is around a 75-85% participation rate in the AGOQ of the eligible athletes from the Open across the age divisions. Therefore, there will be some of the athletes mentioned in this analysis that do not compete in the AGOQ.

Masters Age Divisions by the Numbers

In the table below is a breakout of the past Games history of the 200 qualifiers in each division along with the same statistics from 2019 for comparison.





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  Morning Chalk Up  


Banded Stretches to Get Rid of Lower Body Pain

Kristi Eramo O’Connell demonstrates five banded stretches to help clear up lower body pain and mobility issues. Remember to stay active for all of these, and breathe as you would in a yoga class. Settle in and relax.

What Does it Mean to have Professional Coaches?


What Does it Mean to have Professional Coaches?

On the Open Gym podcast, sponsored by O2 Recovery Drink, host Patrick Cummings talks with Nicole Christensen, founder of CrossFit Roots. An 11-year affiliate, Roots boasts a 10,000-foot facility and seven CF Level 3 or 4 coaches. Developing that kind of coaching expertise didn’t happen by accident.

Listen on Spotify    Listen on Apple Podcasts    More Listening Options...



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  Morning Chalk Up  


Sheet-Pan Curry Honey Mustard Chicken and Veggies

We love sheet pan meals and this delicious honey mustard chicken is baked to perfection with potatoes, carrots, onion and brussels sprouts. The curry honey mustard gives this incredible one chicken and vegetable dish a kick! It’s a wonderful, healthy chicken dinner for busy weeknights that’s paleo, gluten, grain and dairy-free.





More Fundraisers across the Affiliate Community

We covered some local fundraisers in the Community section yesterday, but the list was too long too include all of them. Here are a few more we have our eyes on:

  • “Jan” WOD for Ovarian Cancer Research: On March 14, CrossFit Addict in Richmond, VA will hold a fundraiser to benefit the VCU Massey Cancer Center in support of one of their members, Jan Pasnak, who was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Her doctors told Pasnak that she was able to handle her 17-hour surgery well due to the overall level of fitness she’s developed through CrossFit. Community members will be challenged to shave their heads with Pasnak and complete a workout named for her.
  • WallBalls for Dole-Weith: This past Saturday, March 7, Chimney Rock CrossFit and Fortitude Fitness teamed up to support the Weith family. A year ago, Janine Dolce-Wieth, a Chimney Rock community member, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Many medications, appointments, treatments, and surgeries later, her battle continues. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the Wieth family.
  • Murph the Monument: On May 25, Together We Rise CrossFit in Indianapolis, IN will bring together the local Midwest CrossFit community to do “Murph” in Monument Circle in downtown Indy. The event will raise money for a variety of charities, including the Lt. Michael Murphy Foundation. Spectators and athletes will enjoy live music, food truck options and vendor booths from a variety of Murph the Monument partners. 
  • Shoutout to Dave Velikov: Every day for the month of March, CrossFit Division affiliate owner, Dave Velikov will do “Murph” to raise money for fallen police officers. Prior to opening his gym, Velikov was a police officer and on March 1, Constable Artem “James” Ochakovsky, a member of the community was fatally injured in the line of duty. Those interested can donate at “Heroes in Life, Not Death.”
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3/14 – 3/15: Sector Games 6 (Manati, Puerto Rico)
3/14: Going HAM TxFit Games 2020 (Southlake, TX)
3/14 – 3/15: The Tactical Games (Burnet, TX)
3/14: Granite Games Spring Throwdown (Lancaster, OH)
3/14 – 3/15: WOD GODZ III (Shreveport, LA)
3/14: CFL St Patrick’s Day Competition (Longmont, CO)
3/20 – 3/22: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/21: Pot O’Gold Throwdown (San Antonio, TX)
3/21: GRID 6 SCII (Columbia, SC)
3/21: Slingin Iron “Spring Fling” (Walker, LA)
3/21: WOD FOR OOCH (Toronto, Canada)
3/21: The Cheru Challenge (Denver, CO)
3/21: Battle of the Beast “Shamrock Showdown” a Strongman Event (Hudson, NY)
3/21 – 3/22: Rumble by the River (Columbus, GA)
3/21: All Valley CrossFit Championship (Wildomar, CA)
3/21: All Valley CrossFit Championships (Wildomar, CA)
3/28: HYROX Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
3/28: Fit for Freedom (Saint Charles, MO)
3/28: The 615 Theowdown (Nashville, TN)
3/28 – 3/29: Dork-A-Thon at CrossFit Florian (Norwood, MA)
3/28 – 3/29: Freaking Crossfit Throwdown (Miami, FL)
3/28: HYROX Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
3/28: Rookie Rumble at CrossFit Off the Grid (Williamstown, NJ)
3/28: Muscle Madness (Coppell, TX)
3/28: GOAT – A Youth Fitness Competition (Olyphant, PA)
3/28: CFQ SPRING FLING (Quispamsis, Canada)
3/28: CrossFit Katy Team Classic VI (Katy, TX)
3/28: Thunderdome Throwdown (Northfield, MN)
3/28: H2K’s Gauntlet fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Arden, NC)
3/28: GOAT – A Youth Fitness Competition (Olyphant, PA)
3/28: Bridgetown Throwdown (La Puente, CA)
4/2 – 4/4: Anarchy In The OK (Edmond, OK)
4/3 – 2/4: CFE’s Two Peas in a Pod – Same Gender Partner Competition (Burlington, MA)
4/4: Battle of the Sexes (Northville, MI)
4/4: AC2 Individual Competition (Flagstaff, AZ)
4/4: Kilo Crushfest (Hampton, VA)
4/4 – 4/5: The Tactical Games (San Jon, NM)
4/4: Battle of the Ages – Winnersville (Valdosta, GA)
4/4: Rookie Rumble at (Mountainside, NJ)
4/4: Remember a Lift (Southbury, CT)
4/4: Warrior Affiliate League Deuces Wild (Fontana, CA)
4/5: Freehold Spring Lift Off 2020 (Freehold, NJ)
4/5: Cap City Ope (Alexandria, VA)
4/11: Rookie Rumble at River Valley CrossFit (Van Buren, AR)

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