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Body Shame Has No Place in a Gym

Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. This is Justin LoFranco, your Editor-in-Chief to bring you a quick wrap-up of the major news items throughout the week.

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“CrossFit forces us to ask ourselves: Who am I? What am I made of?” — Julie Foucher 

No Shirt, No Problem!

So, Graham Holmberg — a guy who it’s hard to find a photo of with his shirt on — announced that his gym is now enforcing a new dress code; one rooted in “modesty.” From now on, no one can take their shirts off, and women can’t wear booty shorts.

Ignoring a few obvious things — like the fact that men presumably can still wear booty shorts if they want to, and that loose running-shorts show way more crotch “pit” than booty shorts, or that leggings leave little to the imagination — we’re left to wonder what the point is of telling grown adults how they have to dress.

It’s not a safety thing. It’s not a function thing. So, what is it?

First off, it’s his gym; he has the right to have whatever rule he wants. I hope this dog whistle helps him attract the crowd he wants. I always encourage business owners to put their values front and center, for exactly that reason. That’s why we have rainbows all over the place at Rocket CrossFit, we’re telling you what we’re about.

But this question of dress codes is a different beast, because it is driven by the fallacies of modesty culture. The underlying idea is that people need to not be “sexy,” in order to not inspire impure thoughts and actions in others. The logic being that if Jo is attracted to Jack, then Jo will be distracted, or have impure thoughts, or….

The problem with this is that it is not Jack’s job to protect Jo from their own feelings and impulses. Grown adults should be able to handle their own responses to things without having to have the environment crafted for them. This is like child-proofing a room for adults.

The logical extension of this way of thinking is to make sure that we just remove from the world anything to which someone could be attracted. That is obviously absurd.

It is extra absurd in gyms, especially CrossFit gyms. We work so hard, every day, to help people be proud of their bodies. Yes, we’re working hard on strength and fitness, but also on combating horrible cultural messaging that has told us we can only be proud of our bodies if they look muscled and thin. (You know, like all those topless photos of Graham Holmberg that are all over the internet.)

Our gym, Rocket CrossFit, happens to be in a small, one-story, brick building with very little air flow. It’s a pizza oven in the summer, no matter what we do. Shirts come off quickly. A few years ago, one of our members noticed that the only people who felt comfortable taking their shirts off were the people who fit that narrow definition of “buff.” So this member proposed a “Shirt’s Off Sunday,” during which everyone could feel comfortable taking their shirts off.

It was glorious. The gym was filled with people of all shapes and sizes, all ages and genders, sweating and working. I was not the only one crying. People told us they had always wanted to do that, but never felt they had the right to. A few people even told me that after that, they put on a bathing suit for the first time.

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Holmberg’s Affiliate Issues Dress Code Standard, Bans “Booty Shorts” and “Shirtless Workouts”
Justin LoFranco and Jessica Danger

July 1, former CrossFit Games athlete and owner of Eleventh Element CrossFit Hilliard, Graham Holmberg, notified members in an email of a dress code policy barring men and women from working out topless and disallowing women to wear “booty shorts” despite Holmberg working out topless in the gym as recently as May 8 as well at the Rogue Invitational.

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At the Ten Year Mark, Barbells For Boobs Shifts to Redefine Standard of Care
Jessica Danger

This year Barbells For Boobs celebrated their tenth anniversary and with it, they’ve gone back to their roots, shifting to being 100% managed by their Board and volunteers. Moving forward, their mission will be to redefine the standard of care in breast health and improve quality of life post diagnoses and providing fitness Resources After Diagnosis to breast cancer survivors and their community that supports them.

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Did They ‘Wing It’? The Women Who Scraped Into The Top 20 Worldwide
Brittney Kleyn

No surprise the majority of Open qualifiers are CrossFit royalty, but scrolling down the list of women, those ranked in the late teens are names you’ve possibly never heard of. Meet the new crop of Aussie females heading to the 2019 Games: Courtney Haley returns for her second year and will be joined by rookie Katelin Van Zyl. 

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Event Recap: France Closes Out First Sanctionals Season
Justin LoFranco

Last weekend in Yvelines, France, the curtains officially closed on the inaugural Sanctional season that kicked off in Dubai last December. In the span of nearly seven months, 15 sanctioned events have sent 30 individuals and 14 teams to the CrossFit Games. Here is a list of who has received an invite to the 2019 CrossFit Games.

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We hope you all enjoyed the holiday weekend. Here are six things to help you put on a brave face Monday morning and re-enter the “real world.”

  1. Don’t forget, not everyone had the holiday off.
  2. You know who else didn’t have Independence Day off? The 2019 CrossFit Games Demo Team.
  3. Speaking of Independence, Morning Chalk Up sat down with team Mayhem Independence in Paris.
  4. If you’re feeling poorly about the weekend, here is the best way to shake it off.
  5. But we hope you didn’t feel bad about busting out that bikini this weekend. Do it. 
  6. Put these five hangover healing recipes in your pocket for next time.

…and brace yourself. Rich Froning and Royce Dunne are confirmed as a Pro Pair in the Torian Pro competition, taking place in Australia in November.

Oh and let’s not forget…

The Diet-Heart Hypothesis, Part 3 (Dr. Malcom Kendrick/CrossFit)

The Harmful Myth About the Chemical Imbalance Causing Psychiatric Imbalances (Prof. Peter C. Gotzsche/CrossFit)

What Your Poop Says About Your Health (Zlata Faerman/Self)

Prescription: More Broccoli, Fewer Carbs. How Some Doctors Are Looking To Food To Treat Illness (Karen Weintraub/CommonHealth)

What We Can Learn from Olympians About the Common Cold (Alex Hutchinson/Outside Magazine)

Fitness, Luck, and Health (Greg Glassman/CrossFit Journal)

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