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California Gym Focuses on Women’s Health and Wellness

Morning Chalk Up

September 8   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • The Fittest Games seeks to improve competition level in Africa; sees growth in participation and prize purse
  • California gym, FemFit, focuses on women’s health and wellness, especially through pregnancy and birth
  • CrossFit saved John Lambright’s life and now he’s paying it forward
  • Review of the Week: OLLY Pre-Game Energy Gummies
  • And, Shelby Neal’s Workout of the Week

Don’t forget to hit us up with story tips, highlights, quotes of the day and more.

QUOTE OF THE DAY + Send us a Quote

“You do not need to do what everybody else in class is doing. You do not need to impress anybody, including yourself. You need to show up and don’t complain, and then you need to come back again tomorrow.” - Ben Bergeron

  South Africa's “The Fittest Games  

South Africa's “The Fittest Games" Clocks Record Numbers and Prize Purse

South African CrossFit competition “The Fittest Games” had a record number of participants and one of the highest prize purses of any non-Semifinals event in Africa ever at its fourth annual event.

The goal for the competition’s co-owner Ryno Verster has always remained the same: bring elite competition to affiliates around Africa, unite the continent’s many countries, and give athletes new avenues to pursue CrossFit professionally. This year, they saw those goals ascend to a new level.

  • The prize purse for the elite division totaled 100,000 Rand, making it one of the largest cash prize for any independent CrossFit event in the continent. First place men and women received 25,000 Rand each, and second and third place received 15,000 and 10,000 respectively.
  • Over 400 athletes from 22 boxes and almost every single province from South Africa competed across 24 divisions.
  • For the first time, the competition went international, bringing in a group of athletes from neighboring Mozambique.

The competition uses a special format that sets it apart from others and is in line with the same goal of uniting the continent. Athletes register through their affiliate and compete in in-house competitions before qualifying for the annual event, which takes place in-person at CrossFit Ground Zero in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

  • “New boundaries are being broken, new limits. The whole country and the people are really serving the community,” Verster said on the growth he’s experienced in the past few years. “It’s a humbling experience to have something like this.”

Verster knows that to make Africa a more legitimate competitor in the race for the Fittest on Earth every year at the CrossFit Games, it needs to be a profitable endeavor for athletes. While competitors in North America and Europe can make a living at the gym with sponsors at their side, the athletes that he’s fighting for don’t have the same opportunities. This is why his competition is so focused on prize funds.

  • “Our elites, during the week, could take the time off (from work) because the prize pool was big enough to justify them putting in leave at work or getting someone to run the box for them,” Verster explained.

Before the World Cup that the competition will hold in 2025 (and a following sabbatical year as part of their seven-year cycle), Verster hopes to “add a zero” to the prize fund for each individual winner. In addition, he hopes to replicate the funds given to individual athletes for teenage division winners. In Verster’s perspective, setting these young athletes up from the get-go as having the financial support to focus their time on CrossFit will help get them to a global stage in a few years.

Of course, this effort isn’t without support from outside sources. Verster says that in a short conversation with CrossFit CEO Don Faul, he promised full backing for their competition and help with the prize fund for the Community Cup, the award given to the affiliate with the most participants.

Verster says that CrossFit HQ has come out “all guns blazing” in support of the competition. In addition, he knows that one key sponsor can be the difference maker, and he’s in active pursuit of a title sponsor that could provide these means to the community.

In the end, though he admits it’s a difficult labor of love that takes a lot of support from many different people, Verster knows the effort is worth it.

Verster: “It’s basically the meaning I’ve set out to do–to change the sport, to professionalize the sport.”

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The Rogue Invitational “Q” leaderboard is now locked. The following athletes will head to Austin, TX in October to face off against some of the top finishers in the 2023 CrossFit Games:

  1. Ricky Garard | Dani Speegle
  2. Victor Hoffer | Manon Angonese
  3. Travis Mayer | Elena Carratala Sanahuja
  4. Tudor Magda | Lauren Fisher
  5. Garrett Clark | Kyra Milligan

The Madrid Championship is off and running. Check out the leaderboard as athletes prepare to take the competition floor on day two.

Chad 1000X for Veteran’s Day: This week GORUCK and Gold Star spouse Sara Wilkinson announced CrossFit’s support ahead of the fourth-annual CHAD 1000X workout, a global virtual fundraiser honoring Chad Wilkinson, the Navy SEAL who died by suicide in 2018.

  • Since the Hero WOD’s inception in 2020, 10,000-plus people spanning the globe have participated in CHAD 1000X to raise awareness for suicide prevention and honor an American hero lost too soon to invisible wounds.
  • Learn more about the fundraiser and register now.

ICYMI: Advice from Ben Bergeron about avoiding injuries in CrossFit training.

  California Gym Supports Women through “All Seasons of Life”  


California Gym Supports Women through “All Seasons of Life”

Like many of us, Mikilah Speer found CrossFit, fell in love and started competing in the sport, eventually becoming a Level 1 coach.

Five years into CrossFit she became pregnant with her first child in 2015 and immediately noticed something that concerned her.

  • “I really noticed the gap in the industry and lack of information for prenatal and postpartum exercise, specifically prenatal training in the CrossFit world,” said Speer, now a mother of three. “Even my doctor didn’t really know how to guide me. He told me, ‘just keep doing everything you have been doing,’ which I now know is wrong.”

This planted a seed in Speer’s head, one that led her to become a BirthFit Coach and open a female-focused gym—FemFit in Redding, CA—that dedicates itself, not only to prenatal and postpartum fitness, but to women more generally.

Continue Reading...
  John Lambright Chooses to Invest in Wellness Over Illness  

John Lambright Chooses to Invest in Wellness Over Illness

So many people start CrossFit to lose weight and get healthy. Most of the time, it is the stubborn 20-30 pounds and the desire to get off blood pressure medicine, but occasionally, it’s much more.

For John Lambright, it saved his life.

Early on in Lambright’s life, the path was laid for a battle with weight before he even realized it. 

Lambright is a self-proclaimed open book:

  • “Childhood was a slew of difficulties for me. There was all kinds of abuse in my life, and one of the ways I worked through it was by eating my emotions. And so, very quickly, I went from a skinny child to a very overweight child.”

His eating habits and overall health took a dive, and by fifth grade, he was well over 200 pounds and six feet tall. In a world where kids make fun of anyone different, Lambright had a tough time; add on the fact that his family moved around frequently, and it was a recipe for even more tough times ahead.

But he loved sports.

  • “I did basketball and loved playing, even though I was probably 325 pounds, most of my high school career. And then, my senior year, I was over 400.”

He found support from the guys on his team, especially his coach, and even being as heavy as he was, Lambright continued playing, and the joy greatly aided his mental health. But it was physically tough on his body and grounded his ankles down to nothing.

  • “I was always pivoting on one ankle, and it was at the point where I was so heavy I couldn’t get the needed surgery for it because I couldn’t tolerate the parts that would need to be put in. So, the doctor discussed amputation at the knee at about 20 years old.”
  • “My ankle had died–there was a vascular necrosis in my right ankle.”

Lambright wasn’t going to let that happen.

Continue Reading...
  Review of the Week: OLLY Pre-Game Energize Gummies  

Review of the Week: OLLY Pre-Game Energize Gummies

As someone who has gotten “pre-workout drunk” before- yes you know the feeling if you’ve taken way too much pre-workout before- I quit taking pre-workout cold turkey after my near death experience. Because of this, sometimes it’s frustrating when I don’t have that extra pep in my step before a workout because I don’t want to jack myself up with caffeine.

I’d heard about OLLY vitamins before but had never tried them for myself. I saw they make all kinds of vitamin gummies (for sleep, energy, libido, relaxation, focus, and everything you can imagine) but I was super intrigued when I saw the Pre-Game Energize gummies, so I knew I had to give them a shot.

I took one of these gummies everyday before my workouts during the month of August. Here are my key takeaways.

Continue Reading...
  Shelby Neal’s Workout of the Week  

Shelby Neal’s Workout of the Week

Today’s workout is programmed by 2023 CrossFit Games rookie Shelby Neal. The former teen division Games athlete (she placed eighth in 2016 and sixth in 2017 in the 16-17 girls division) broke through at the North America East Semifinal in Orlando, placing ninth to secure her spot in Madison. At the Games this year, Neal survived all the cuts, completing the weekend in 19th overall.

Shelby Neal

2-2-2-3 Intervals

*The first three intervals are 2 minutes each, the final one is 3 minutes.

Buy in:

10/7 Calorie Ski
1 Legless Rope Climb
1 Rope Climb


Max reps OHS (135/95 pounds)

1 Minute rest between intervals

Scaling Options: Athletes can substitute a second regular rope climb for the legless climb (so, 2 regular rope climbs instead of 1 of each), or they can skip the legless climb all together and simply do 1 regular rope climb. Athletes can also substitute the rope climbs for the most difficult gymnastics pulling movement they are proficient in (pull-ups, muscle-ups, ring rows, etc.) or that they need to work on while under fatigue.

The rest period means athletes won’t be completely dead, but the ski will also introduce some fatigue going into the gymnastics pull. Athletes can also adjust the overhead squat weight to 115/75 pounds or 95/65 pounds.

Advice from Shelby: “I did this WOD in preparation for the 2023 season and it really was a game changer for my confidence! I loved it so much I thought I’d share!

The ski should be short and dirty–not an all out sprint but something you can do aggressively and then immediately go into a tough gymnastics movement. The workout is won on the barbell so the initial part should be very smooth, consistent yet aggressive so you can be firm and stable on the overhead squats and ready to hang on for the remainder of the round. The goal is one big unbroken set per interval if possible. Have fun and good luck!”

To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.



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The Different Deadlift Set Ups

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Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.

  • 💕Happy anniversary to Morning Chalk Up’s Eric and and wife Erica Sherred.
  • 🎂Happy 40th birthday to Heber Canon.
  • Congratulations to Bring It On CrossFit in North Geelong, Victoria, Australia on their 11 year affiliate anniversary.
  • 🌟Great job to Davin from Core City CrossFit in Detroit, MI, who competed at the PItt Teen Throwdown.
  • 🤓Congratulations to Steph Chung for passing her boards.
9/29 - 10/1: MACC FEST (Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Festival) (West Friendship, MD)
9/29 - 9/30: Iron Anchor Throwdown (Batavia, OH)
9/29 - 10/1: 2023 Masters Fitness Championship (Fort Wayne, IN)
9/30 - 10/1: Sango Games 2023 (Clarksville, TN)
9/30: 15th Anniversary and Birthday Brawl (York, PA)
9/30: Barbell Brawl VIII (Kennett Square, PA)
9/30: No Weak Links: Cuff Links (Marcy, NY)
9/30 - 10/1: Southie Showdown (Boston, MA)
10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Babes with Barbells (Huntington, WV)
10/7: KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: Pitness At The Mill (Canton, GA)
10/7: 2023 KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: FitoberFest (Prairie Village, KS)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Crash Crucible (Spartanburg, SC)
10/14: T-Town Throwdown (Toledo, OH)
10/14: Triple Threat Terror 2023 (Forney, TX)
10/14: Oscar Mike Challenge (Lakeville, MN)
10/14: Babes and Barbells (Asbury Park, NJ)
10/14: Scream & Clean III (Danbury, CT)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Canada: Belleville (Bellevile, Canada)
10/14: Best Babes West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
10/14: Best Babes Columbus GA (Columbus, GA)
10/14: Best Babes Illinois (Byron, IL)
10/14: 8th Annual Kilo CrushFest Competition (Hampton, VA)
10/14 - 10/15: 059 Classic (Modena, Italy)
10/14: Strength and Speed (Feasterville, PA)
10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Mesa (Mesa, AZ)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx DC (Alexandria, VA)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Sedalia (Sedalia, MO)
10/14: Best Babes Massachusetts (Beverly, MA)
10/15: Kares CrossFit October Showdown (Georgetown, Guyana)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/21: Barbells For Bullies: Portland (Hillsboro, OR)
10/21: 401 Fall Throwdown (Smithfield, RI)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/27 - 10/28: Star City Fittest (Roanoke, VA)
10/28 - 10/29: The Ghostly Games (Fayetteville, GA)
10/28: Wodtoberfest (Owosso, MI)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/3 - 11/4: Florida Grid League Championship (Orlando, FL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/4: Sunshine SmackDown (Bedford Hills, NY)
11/4: Witch City Throwdown (Salem, MA)
11/4: Barbell Babes Lorton (Lorton, VA)
11/11: Freakin’ Gauntlet (Pembroke Pines, FL)
11/11: The Meadowlands Classic (Carlstadt, NJ)
11/11: Barbell Massacre 8 (Dahlonega, GA)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/18: Best Babes Dallas (Dallas, TX)
11/18: Best Babes Philly (Philadelphia, PA)
11/18: Best Babes Iowa (Mason City, IA)
11/18: Girls Gone Rx Salt Lake City (West Haven, UT)
11/18: Teams Of The Midway: 2 Person Teams (Cary, IL)
11/18: Friendsgiving (Ambler, PA)
11/18: Turkey Bash (Chatham, IL)

See all upcoming events

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