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Can Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr Win at Rogue?

Morning Chalk Up

October 10   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • New series: 23 Questions to End the 2023 Season–first up, Justin Cotler
  • Opinion: Can Toomey-Orr win at Rogue and is it dangerous to even ask?
  • The CrossFit community rallies around Coach Carolyn Bajic as she battles Transverse Myelitis

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

Nominate your gym for affiliate of the month and be sure to include a note about why we should feature it.

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“It is not how we live in the light that enlightens us, it is how we live in the dark.” - Rune Lazuli

  How the CrossFit Community is Helping Carolyn Bajic Build Back After Her Legs Gave Out  

How the CrossFit Community is Helping Carolyn Bajic Build Back After Her Legs Gave Out

In July 2023, after several years as a CrossFit athlete and coach, Carolyn Bajic took her L-2. She left the weekend energized and ready to put her new knowledge to work.

  • Less than two months later, she would be in intense pain, unable to walk, and wondering when she would ever be able to pick up a barbell again.

It all started when she was 23 years old and diagnosed with Lupus. One night, Bajic noticed her fingers and feet incredibly swollen and in pain. Her doctor told her she had Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Bajic took her health into her own hands, cleaned up her diet, went vegan, and started working out. Her health initially improved, but soon the inflammation returned. Blood work was done, and the final verdict was that she had Lupus.

  • Lupus occurs when the immune system, which usually helps protect the body from infection and disease, attacks its own tissues. This attack causes inflammation and, in some cases, permanent tissue damage, which can be widespread.

Weeks after Bajic completed her L-2, she started getting tired and worn down. She knew it was a symptom of her Lupus, so she tried to rest and shake it off. She headed to Madison shortly after to watch the CrossFit Games, and after she returned, it escalated quickly.

  • Bajic: “The day after I got home, I called off work because I was so tired. Then I started feeling like I couldn’t hold food down. A migraine started soon after, and that got worse every day. A few days later, I had a fever and chills and started vomiting. Horrible back pain started too, and it kept getting worse and worse.”

A member of Bajic’s family drove her to the emergency room, and as Bajic went to get out of the car, her legs gave out from under her.

As she was helped into the ER and a wheelchair, she realized how fast things had turned.

  • “I felt a tingling painful sensation, like needles in my legs. Then I started noticing that something was wrong with my feet. My feet were out of the wheelchair–I had my slip-ons on, and my foot just dangled. I tried to put my foot back on the chair but noticed I couldn’t move it anymore. This happened in a matter of 45 minutes.”

The pain was so acute that Bajic wasn’t scared–she didn’t have time to think–but as soon as the two shots of morphine kicked in, so did the fear.

She couldn’t feel her legs.

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🤓 📈 Guest Programmer: Starting last night, the 2015 Fittest Man on Earth, Ben Smith, will be programming the WOD. Smith is also the owner and head programmer at CrossFit Krypton in Chesapeake, VA.

📺 📺 Le Boiz TV: James Newbury and Khan Porter have launched Le Boiz TV on YouTube as the official channel of Le Boiz Swim.

Underdogs Athletics is now offering a Hybrid Weightlifting Program. The program is tailored to combine strength and finesse to help athletes redefine and develop their skills.

ICYMI: Teaganne Finn attended a Catalyst Athletics weightlifting seminar; offers three big takeaways for CrossFitters.

Have a Speed Read you think we might like? Hit us up.

  Opinion: Can Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr Win Rogue Five Months Postpartum, and Does Asking this Question Send a Dangerous Message to Other Women?  


Opinion: Can Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr Win Rogue Five Months Postpartum, and Does Asking this Question Send a Dangerous Message to Other Women?

When it comes to what women should and shouldn’t do for fitness during pregnancy and postpartum, it seems everyone has an opinion.

This was especially evident last month when we published an article about the upcoming Rogue Invitational match-up between the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Laura Horvath and the six-time champion who gave birth to a baby girl in May, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr.

The article was met with criticism that we would even bring Toomey-Orr into the conversation so soon after having a baby—the argument being it promotes a delusional idea that women can expect to get back to 100 percent so quickly after putting their body through pregnancy and childbirth—some even suggesting it’s a dangerous message.

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  23 Questions with Justin Cotler, Underdogs Athletics Co-Founder and Head Coach  

23 Questions with Justin Cotler, Underdogs Athletics Co-Founder and Head Coach

As we head into the end of 2023, it’s a good time to reflect on the season behind us as well as look to what’s coming ahead. But amidst the heavy pondering that comes with the close of the year, it’s also time to approach some more light hearted subjects.

Since coaching the first American woman back to the CrossFit Games podium in five years during the 2020 season, Cotler has gone on to open the Underdogs Athletics training camp, which is home to Games athletes like Ricky Garard and Alex Gazan. This week, we sat down with Cotler to learn more about his 2023 beyond CrossFit.

In the spirit of the Vogue 73 question interview made popular by journalist Joe Sabia, we asked him 23 questions to close out the 2023 season.

  1. What’s your favorite time of day?

Justin Cotler: I’m a night owl. I think it stems from my years of being a musician

working late night gigs and in the studio.

  1. What are you most excited about these days?

JC: Watching my kids grow and thrive. Both my own kids (6 and 3 year old) and my

gym kids (all the athletes I coach)

  1. What’s one thing people don’t know about you?

JC: I feel like maybe most people know this about me now as it’s been publicized, but I

was a full time recording artist prior to my coaching career.

  1. AMRAP or For Time?


  1. Bike, row, ski, or run?

JC: Bike

  1. What do you usually eat for breakfast?

JC: Eggs, avocado, fruit (yes, i know avocado is fruit, but I put it in it’s own category)

  1. What’s one thing you had to learn the hard way?

JC: I am allergic to marijuana. Causes my heart rate to spike and creates massive


  1. What did you want to do with your life at age 12?

JC: Be either a professional athlete or singer

  1. Favorite place to be?

JC: Home with my family or at a competition coaching

  1. What’s one piece of advice you wish athletes would listen to?

JC: Are the decisions you make on a daily basis aligned with your goals? If they are,

great, if they aren’t, make better decisions.

  1. You have 10 minutes to train, what are you doing?

JC: Strict Pull Ups and Pushups

  1. What is a trend you’ll never give up?

JC: Smoking meat on my Traeger Grill. Does that count?

  1. What’s one habit you wish you could break?

JC: Cracking my knuckles

  1. Describe yourself in 3 words

JC: Loyal, passionate, moral

  1. What are you grateful for this year?

JC: My incredible wife. She makes everything work.

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  23 Questions with Justin Cotler, Underdogs Athletics Co-Founder and Head Coach  

Chalktober: Benefitting Compete for a Cure

Bidding is OPEN on select items for Chalktober: an auction with products donated from your favorite brands with all proceeds going to Compete for a Cure, a 501(c) non-profit that funds breast cancer survivors’ and thrivers’ wellness within local communities, and provides education for coaches, trainers and athletes. Show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and win some great prizes! 

If you would like to donate directly to Compete for a Cure, text “mcu” to +1-325-603-3395! 



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