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Barbells Behind Bars: First Ever Prison CrossFit Competition

Morning Chalk Up

January 2

Morning Chalk Up

Good Morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. It’s time to settle into a new routine in the new year and as you do, we have some cool stories from the CrossFit community.  Earlier this year, Jessica Danger introduced you to Redemption Road CrossFit, an affiliate hosted at Limon Correctional Facility in Limon, CO. Now she brings you an update about the first CrossFit competition ever held in a prison. Then, from the penitentiary to the pop-top: Brittany Kleyn charts the meteoric rise of NOCCO, the “No Carbs Company” taking the fitness energy drink market by storm.

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“If it does not challenge you, it won’t change you.”

— Fred DeVito


Barbells Behind Bars: First Ever Prison CrossFit Competition


On Saturday, December 14, a CrossFit competition took place in Limon, CO that was unlike any of its kind. Sure, the WODs looked just as awful as any, there were prizes for podium finishers, everyone got a t-shirt, and there were divisions for different groups of competitors. And that’s where this competition varied from most others. One of those divisions was “Men Competitors: From Inside Limon.” That’s because this was the Inaugural 2019 Redemption Road Invitational at Limon Correctional Facility.

Morning Chalk Up filled you in on Redemption Road CrossFit earlier this year. In April of 2018, the first CrossFit L1 course was taught inside a prison at Limon Correctional. And this year, Limon was the first ever to host a CrossFit competition inside a prison.

The Inaugural 2019 Redemption Road Invitational at Limon Correctional Facility was,  “Another first in the world! The first CrossFit competition inside a prison with 25 ‘outsiders’ and 5 Correctional Officers teamed up with 30 ‘insiders’ from the Redemption Road CrossFit program inside Limon prison.”

On top of that, the competition was a fundraiser to equip the staff gym inside the prison. The entire event was put on by the Redemption Road CrossFit coaches. They programmed all the workouts, designed the competition shirts, and printed them inside the prison themselves. The “insiders” were allowed to wear competition shirts during the event. For some, this was the first time they had worn anything aside from prison garb in thirty years.

And all the funds raised will go toward building a gym that, as inmates, they would not otherwise be able to enter.

Denver Police Sgt. Aaron Brill, who manages Redemption Road and is the President and CEO of Redemption Road Fitness Foundation, told Morning Chalk Up, “Our RRCF Coaches program [has] about 35 Correctional Officers and staff…but they don’t have much of a gym.” So the inmates and staff came up with the idea of a fundraiser competition and the Redemption Road Invitational was born.

The updated staff gym will cost about $13,000 total. Brill was hoping to raise $4,000 over the weekend to get it started. They wound up filling every spot, volunteer, competitor, and “insider” and together raised $5500; sponsors like Star Spine and Sport, ABC Hammers, Ascent Protein, CrossFit MOB, CrossFit Bladium and Colorado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Stapleton provided prizes to the winners.

Brill, who’s mission for Redemption Road is to help “insiders” understand that they hold value and can still contribute to a community, called the event a wild success. “As far as I know there has never been a CrossFit comp inside a prison with offenders paired up with Officers and Community members. This was the idea of the inmates to raise funds for the staff gym, [and it] says a lot about the heart and mindset of our program participants!”


Big Bucks On Athlete Endorsements To Cap Off A Big Year For NOCCO


It seems like just yesterday we welcomed NOCCO – one of Europe’s leading BCAA beverages – to the USA.

Just nine months ago, the Swedish company made a zero-carb-splash on Amazon and launched in 100 gyms in the SoCal region alone. Now, NOCCO is closing out 2019 with plenty of reasons to celebrate, including capping off the year with 50 US-based athletes on their roster.  

2019 in numbers:

  • NOCCO opened its US headquarters in Los Angeles in March 2019.
  • The drink’s now stocked on and 500 gyms across the United States, including 50 in Las Vegas and 150 affiliate based retailers.
  • 22 of the brand’s athletes represented NOCCO at the 2019 CrossFit Games including Fittest Woman on Earth Tia-Clair Toomey and Rookie of the Year Haley Adams.
  • The brand has since signed on 50 US-based athletes as ambassadors.

Making its mark: NOCCO used athlete ambassadors as a key marketing tool in Europe and has brought that model to the US.

  • Ben Jones, NOCCO CEO: “It has been a fantastic year and so great to see the passion and commitment from our ambassadors. We have signed over 50 athletes all over the USA this year… We look forward to working even closer with the team, supporting them in their future success, and together spreading the love for NOCCO.”

Thinking outside the CrossFit Box: It’s not just big names like Tia-Clair Toomey that the brand’s been able to attract. Clearly NOCCO is thinking big picture signing ambassadors like Laura Micetich, who’s built a cult fitness following outside of CrossFit. IFBB Pro Thomas Bakke is also on NOCCO’s American-based roster.

Taking on the competition: This year was NOCCO’s first real presence in Madison yet all season it seemed like NOCCO was popping up everywhere from the Games to sanctioned events like Strength In Depth and the Lowlands Throwdown.

NOCCO is still just 5 years young, after launching its first product in December 2014. Compare that with brand’s biggest competitor in CrossFit FITAID, which has been on the market twice as long.

NOCCO’s focus on athlete endorsement is their point of difference: While FITAID boasts big names like Sara Sigmusdottir and Jacob Heppner on their payroll, their focus is centered on event sponsorship and expanding their support outside Crossfit.

FITAID’s co-founder Aaron Hinde told the Morning Chalk Up: “Continuing to support our core community through athlete sponsorship and sponsorship of the Crossfit Games and Spartan race…[is] on the top of our priority list.”


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Jacob of All Trades Season Finale

On the final episode of the season, Jacob Heppner dishes out waffle cones and ice cream scoops at the busiest parlor in Kansas City. As a cherry on top, LIFEAID is donating $1000 to Ice Cream for a Cause for every 50,000 views the episode gets.

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The RP Diet App

There’s a reason Rich Froning and Annie Thorisdottir trust RP with their nutrition. RP designed their app to help you lose fat, gain muscle and improve your performance week in and week out. Use the code “CHALKUP” to get your first six months of RP Diet App for $9.99/month and start trusting RP with your nutrition.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies

Imagine combining a chewy molasses cookie with a ginger snap and you’ve got yourself a ginger molasses cookie. It’s a soft, slightly chewy, light and crackly, sweet and spicy cookie that would make Grandma proud. And they’re vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and perfectly spiced.

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Are You Optimizing Your Affiliate for Consistency?

Entrepreneur and CrossFit L4 trainer Jon Gilson joins the Open Gym podcast to discuss what he sees as one of the major missions of the affiliate owner: to get their members to come back tomorrow.



  • Sage Burgener jerks 255 pounds from the rack for a PR.
  • Congratulations to GL for getting his first ring muscle up.
  • Bronislaw Olenkowicz snatches 308 pounds to cap off 2019.
  • Tyler Gould pulls 602 pounds for a new deadlift PR.
  • Michail Palierakis PR’d his box jump at 55 inches.
  • Corbin Welch took 290 pounds for a ride in a block clean + jerk + jerk complex.
  • 15-year-old Hampton Morris back squats 385 pounds for 5 and an 11 pound PR.
  • Congratulations to Baylee Rayl for the launch of her nutrition coaching business, Watering Wellness.
  • Mat Fraser no-reps Tia-Clair Toomey‘s koala challenge attempt with Shane Orr.


Affiliate News and Notes

With the holidays behind us, CrossFit gyms across the community are back in action. Here’s a quick round-up of news and notes about gym openings, expansions and more.

  • The members at CrossFit East County in El Cajon, CA pitched in together to buy Paul and Tina Flores a new motorcycle to celebrate their 12 years as affiliate owners and their exceptional service to the community.  And they had a goal: make Paul cry.  
  • CrossFit Deep Well in Mooreseville, NC opened its doors at a new location on December 30, 2019.
  • In Rockville, MD, CrossFit Fireborne moved into a new facility as well, we’ve heard it’s bright and shiny.
  • New affiliate, The Daily CrossFit, in Amsterdam, Netherlands is welcoming members in for the first time on January 5, 2020 with a community buddy WOD.
  • CrossFit SBR (Stonebridge Ranch) in McKinney, TX is opening this month and accepting founding members now.


+ Submit an Event

1/11: Unbroken Ocala (Ocala, FL)
1/11: Strongfit Fundamentals Course (San Diego, CA)
1/17: A Grand Day at Frantic (Cannington, Australia)
1/18: The Force Wars 2020 (Pembroke Pines, FL)
1/18: 3rd annual Battle For The Axe (Brainerd, MN)
1/18: Row For Reveille (Poulsbo, WA)
1/18: NCK Throwdown 2020 (Concordia, KS)
1/18: Lone Star Shootout (Dallas, TX)
1/18: CrossFit Krypton V.2 (Chesapeake, VA)
1/25: The Blizzard Brawl (Waite Park, MN)
1/25: Cerberus Powerlifting (Blue Springs, MO)
1/25: Reindeer Gainz III (Donna, TX)
1/25: 2020 Winter Swolestice (Fayetteville, AR)
1/25: Lost River Rumble II (Bowling Green, KY)
1/25: Cold Steel Classic (Oswego, IL)
1/25: HYROX Chicago (Chicago, IL)
2/1: Krypton’s Compete for a Cure (Chesapeake, VA)
2/1: Warrior Affiliate League Fantastic 4 (Chino Hills, CA)

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