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Morning Chalk Up

July 31

Ritual Beverage Company

Happy Friday, it’s the last day of July! Welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. We are back in business today after a slight delay yesterday morning, and we’re happy to provide the go-to reading material with your coffee! Below:

  • Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ has made national headlines by defying state COVID regulations. Tommy Marquez breaks down what has happened so far.
  • Earlier this month LIFEAID surveyed 135 gyms, asking questions about client retention and gym re-opening and the data paints an important picture, Emily Beers has more.
  • Mary Hollis transformed her life through fitness and now, as an affiliate owner herself, helps others do the same, learn more about her and Caffeinated CrossFit below.

Keep hitting us up with quotes, story tips and PRs at [email protected].



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“You can’t beat the person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth


New Jersey Gym Battles Local Government

  New Jersey Gym Battles Local Government  

Communities across the country continue to walk the COVID tightrope as cities and states teeter between rolling back quarantine mandates and reinstating restrictions following recent caseload spikes, but one New Jersey gym is embroiled in a heated battle with local government over the right to open and operate.

Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey has made national headlines after owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti reopened on May 18 in defiance of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the statewide order that gyms and other “non-essential” businesses remain closed.

  • Rock Bottom Nutrition, another business also owned by Trumbetti and Smith, operates out of the same building and has been similarly affected by the shutdown and legal standoff.
  • We’ve seen this before: Back in May we detailed how 2015 Games athlete Chad Cole and his Las Vegas affiliate locked horns with local government over the right to open and operate his gym in the midst of fluctuating pandemic restrictions.

A hefty timeline: The battle between Atilis Gym and the state of New Jersey has lasted over two months and includes multiple incidents in and out of court. A more detailed timeline is available through owner Ian Smith’s instagram.

  • March 16: Governor Murphy signs executive order 104, implementing social distancing measures and closing a collection of businesses including gyms.
  • May 2: The state begins relaxing restrictions, first opening up state parks and golf courses to the public.

Club Soda Sucks

Ritual Beverage Company
Club Soda Sucks

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Try Ritual Spirit Alternatives


LIFEAID Survey Reveals Client Retention From COVID-19 a Mixed Bag

  LIFEAID Survey Reveals Client Retention From COVID-19 a Mixed Bag  

In July, beverage and supplement company LIFEAID put out a survey to 135 gym owners to explore how they’re fairing in the face of the global pandemic.

Noteworthy: The gyms surveyed were not all CrossFit gyms. Of the 135, 106 were CrossFit affiliates or unaffiliated CrossFit-style gyms, but the survey also included Fit Body Bootcamps, Anytime Fitness, HIIT studios and martial arts studios.

One big thing: According to this survey, client retention amidst COVID-19 is inconsistent.

  • 14.8 percent of gyms said less than 50 percent of their clientele has returned
  • 43 percent of gyms said between 50 and 75 percent of their clientele has returned
  • 31.1 percent of gyms said 75 percent of more of their clientele has returned

Further, 11 percent of gyms said zero percent of their clientele has remained or returned. Presumably, these are gyms that have closed their doors, which is consistent with another finding in the survey: 89 percent of gyms have reopened for business.

Other key takeaway: The survey also showed varying degrees of confidence among gym owners in regards to how long it will take for them to rebound to pre-COVID attendance numbers.


Mary Hollis: Paying it Forward at Caffeinated CrossFit

  Mary Hollis: Paying it Forward at Caffeinated CrossFit  

Marry Hollis had always been overweight.

“I was raised in the south, so it was a lot of fried food all the time, you know, southern cooking. I had amazing parents, but they weren’t super educated when it came to healthy eating,” said the 32-year-old Hollis, who now owns Caffeinated CrossFit in Mableton, Ga.

“And I was a super picky eater, so up until I was about 25 years old, I literally didn’t eat vegetables,” she said.

This lifestyle had led her mother to develop Type 2 diabetes and her father to wind up with high blood pressure. One day, Hollis decided she didn’t want to follow her parents’ footsteps.

“I just woke up one day and I felt terrible. I was just tired of having no energy and feeling sluggish and not liking the way my clothes fit,” she said.

That was in 2012.

Breaking the Cycle

Hollis immediately took matters into her own hands, joined a gym and started researching healthier eating habits. Eventually she hired a personal trainer, and after a year-and-a-half she had lost 75 pounds, but had grown bored of the gym and her workouts had become stale.

“Then a friend invited me to CrossFit, and I never looked back,” she said.




A Sandbag Clean Instead of a Barbell Clean

The barbell clean is the superior exercise to build strength and power through the hip extension, but what if you can’t get your hands on one? Have no fear! The sandbag clean is a great alternative and easy to create, even if you aren’t in a position to get into the gym.

  Morning Chalk Up  


String Your Double Unders Together

Frustrated with your double unders? Give Brent Fikowski’s 6-week double under program a try. It only takes 30 minutes, 2 days a week and by the end, you will be stringing double unders together with ease.

  Morning Chalk Up  



In June, Reebok unveiled the [REE]CYCLED footwear and apparel collection featuring re-imagined products made with recycled materials. Now you can get the [REE]CYCLED Nano X in a bold new colorway that echoes the bright colors found in nature.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Your Boring Old Sunglasses

Tired of expensive, ugly, and over-engineered sunglasses that you’re too afraid to work out in? goodr glasses are all about making you look good, whether you’re victory dancing your latest PR or crushing a post-WOD beer. Styles include Silverback Squat Mobility, Firebreather’s Fireball Fury and Mint Julep Electroshock, so what are you waiting for?! No Slip. No Bounce. All Polarized. All Fun. And they start at just $25.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Sleep Basics For Recovery and Health

We don’t get enough sleep and we bet you don’t either. In this episode of Pursuing Health, Julie Foucher-Urcuyo and Dani Urcuyo break down the crucial role sleep plays in health and safety, and then provide some tips and simple tools that you can use to improve your sleep quality and quantity.



Congratulations to Alison K., who was the first to correctly answer what was the greatest number of scored Individual Events in one day at the CrossFit Games. The correct answer was Five Events. The Bonus question was, how many times did it happen? The correct answer was Three times: CFG09 Day 1, CFG15 Day 3, and CFG16 Day 5. The first to answer the Bonus question correctly was Bradley F.

  • Today’s question: Who was the first Individual to win the first two Events at a CrossFit Games?

Submit your answer.





Good Read: Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting CrossFit

The California Strength blog published an essay by three-time CrossFit Games team athlete Kelly Wild. In the piece, Wild, who was also a Division 1 collegiate ice hockey player and is now a Doctor of Physical Therapy, lays out the three things she wishes she had known prior to starting her CrossFit journey. Here are some key takeaways from the blog post:

  • Although Wild focuses on her own personal CrossFit journey, the list of things that she wishes she had known is pretty much universally applicable and provides some good reminders for all athletes no matter if they’ve just begun CrossFit or are a true OG.
  • First on the list: “Address your muscle imbalances immediately.” Wild states, “People often blame CrossFit for causing injuries. It is not the CrossFit movements themselves that are bad, as long as you have structural balance, adequate range of motion and proper technique! Now you can imagine where the problems arise if any of those elements are lacking in an individual.” Because most people come to CrossFit from other sports, they bring old injuries and mobility limitations with them.
  • “By not recognizing and addressing your imbalances from day one,” Wild wrote, “compensatory movement patterns will arise and with that, potentially serious injury.”
  • Next: “Get your technique right on the barbell movements.” Wild states, “I’m not just talking the Olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean and Jerk), but thrusters, squats, deadlifts, shoulder to overhead. ALL of these movements are highly technical, meaning that if you’re doing them with poor technique, and at the high volume in which they are done in CrossFit, injuries are likely going to occur.” Even though it’s a mental challenge to keep the weight light when everyone in your class is going heavy, but “it is much easier to learn a correct technique from the onset, versus trying to circle back and correct a bad movement pattern that you’ve done hundreds of times,” she concluded.
  • Finally: “Take the time to warm up well before every workout.” Wild states, “This is hard. We are all busy people. However, if you want to get the most out of your workout and perform to the best of your ability on any given day, a proper warm up is vital. Most CrossFit gyms post their workouts ahead of time. If your gym does, be sure to look ahead of time (not to cherry pick!) and plan out your warm up that is specific to your needs BEFORE the generalized class warm up begins.” 

There’s a lot more to dig into in the post itself, be sure to check it out.

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