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Chris Spealler Tests Positive for COVID-19

Morning Chalk Up

April 8

OptimizeMe Nutrition

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. CrossFit legend Chris Spealler tested positive for COVID-19 and shares his story. And, gym owners are working hard to pay their coaches as the quarantine continues. Today:

  • Chris Spealler tested positive for COVID-19, but is on the mend.
  • CrossFit affiliate owners are working hard to make sure their coaches get paid.
  • Brittney Kleyn has some insight into governmental assistance for gym owners.

If your affiliate is closed, please let us know here.



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CrossFit Legend Chris Spealler Tests Positive for COVID-19, But is on the Mend

 CrossFit Legend Chris Spealler Tests Positive for COVID-19, But is on the Mend 

Eight-time CrossFit Games athlete Chris Spealler, and a man who is often considered a legend of the sport, announced on social media on Tuesday that he tested positive with the novel coronavirus. He has been experiencing symptoms for four weeks, and although he’s on the mend, he’s still not 100 percent.

Spealler as a CrossFit athlete: Always a fan favorite, Spealler’s accomplishments in the sport are especially remarkable considering his five-foot-five, 143-pound frame. A true pioneer of the sport, Spealler competed in the first six CrossFit Games — from 2007 until 2012 — and then again in 2014. In 2017, he placed third at the Games in the men’s 35-39-year-old division. He also won the Spirit of the Games Award in 2010.

  • “Initially I was hesitant to share this with anyone due to the uncertainty and fear around the virus, but I think it’s important for us to do our part and take things seriously with a level head,” wrote the longtime CrossFit Park City owner from Utah.

In just two hours on Tuesday, Spealler’s post had gathered 397 comments, many of them prayers from other Games athletes, like fellow eight-time competitor Stacie Tovar and 2011 and 2012 Games athlete Jenny Labaw.

  • “Get well. Healing blessings to your entire family,” offered Cheryl Brost, who competed at her first CrossFit Games as an individual woman in 2010 and has competed at the Games five times in the master’s division.

Later on Tuesday: Spealler went live on Instagram and revealed his wife and two children have also contracted the virus, each of them experiencing different symptoms. So have people within his gym community.

  • For Spealler personally, it began with a dry cough that lasted a couple of days. Then he went for a 5 km “casual run” and noticed he was more winded than usual and couldn’t catch his breath.
  • A few days later, Spealler got tested. Two days later, he found out he was positive for the novel coronavirus. Though he quarantined himself from his wife and kids, his wife soon started seeing symptoms as well, including body aches. Shortly after, his children started to experience a dry cough and fatigue.

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A Look at How Affiliates are Paying Their Coaches During the Pandemic

 A Look at How Affiliates are Paying Their Coaches During the Pandemic 

Being an affiliate owner right now isn’t easy — That’s a gross understatement.

And one of the pressing concerns most small gym owners are facing is how to continue to pay their coaches through economic loss and utter uncertainty about how deep this thing will go.

After surveying three dozen CrossFit affiliates or small gym owners, and a handful of coaches, it became apparent that opinions about how to proceed with coach pay are diverse and polarized.

Pay coaches at all cost: “If the community is loyal to you, you are loyal to the trainers…We continue to pay, payroll or not. After this shit is over, you (will) earn loads of goodwill for a long time in your staff,” wrote Peter-Jan Kops, the owner of CrossFit 071 in the Netherlands, in the CrossFit Affiliate Owners Only Forum on Facebook.

Be realistic and make hard decisions: “Things to consider: If you are leaving everyone on, that is great, but keep an eye on virtual class attendance. Most of us will be closed through April, at least, and attendance will drop. Contacting every client everyday doesn’t necessarily take a full staff. Watch your cash flow now, as Chris Cooper (the owner of Two-Brain Business) suggested,” wrote Joe Thiede, the owner of Train Harder CrossFit in Odessa, Fla.

  • Thiede added: “It’s very possible (your coaches) could collect full pay by filing for unemployment. It’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, but you have to base it on fact. You might need to lay people off now so they have a gym to come back to later.”

Some of the common approaches affiliates are making in the trenches right now include:

Pay as normal: “We are still paying all of (our coaches) for their regularly scheduled classes, even though no one is coaching quite a full load. We moved to an almost full schedule online, haven’t lost members, so haven’t reduced pay at all,” said Alyssa Royse, the owner of Rocket CrossFit in Seattle, Wa.

Pay only full-time coaches: Other owners, such as Alex Cibiri, the owner of Element CrossFit in Mississauga, Ontario, are continuing to pay full-time coaches only. Cibiri’s full-time coaches receive a base salary plus commission on any upsells, such as for additional personal training. This hasn’t changed, although upselling clients has become a lot more challenging right now. Cibiri also had a handful of part-time coaches, who have other full-time jobs, and are no longer coaching for him at the moment.


Government Assistance Available To Affiliates

 Government Assistance Available To Affiliates 

While the CrossFit community rallies to raise funds for affiliates struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, several governments globally are offering stimulus packages to ensure small businesses can weather the coronavirus storm.

Globally, 78.8% of the 14,790 are closed and with no word on when many will be allowed to reopen, the grim reality is many may not.

If you’re wondering whether your gym could be eligible for a government lifeline, here’s a list of what’s available across the globe.

The United States

We published a more comprehensive overview of financial assistance available to affiliates and small businesses inside the CrossFit industry available here. Below is a brief overview of popular options available.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program: applies to those self-employed and independent contractors, who can receive up to two and a half times your total payroll expenses. There’s more information here.
  • EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loans) is available for those unable to pay bills, rent and all the necessary operating expenses. With SBA’s loan, businesses could be eligible for up to $2 million, all the details are on the SBA’s website.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia announced a $130 billion stimulus package to pay out businesses $750 (AUD) a week ($1,000 a fortnight) for each worker they keep in a job.

Your box could be eligible if:

  • You’ve lost 30 percent of your income and your coaches or staff were employed as of March 1.
  • The JobSeeker package includes casual staff as well as sole traders.
  • It’s also good news for coaches from New Zealand living and working in Australia (and there’s a fair few of them!) they’re also eligible to receive the handouts.
  • Read more about the package and how to apply here.



Eat Like Dani Speegle

In this episode of his vlog, Nate Edwardson tries to match Dani Speegle’s macros and meals. Check it out.

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Stay Home And Hit PRs

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A New Normal in China with Max Ma

Armen Hammer talks with Max Ma, the director of the Asia CrossFit Championship in Shanghai, China. They discuss what a “new normal” looks like following a coronavirus lockdown.

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25% Off Metcons

All NIKE footwear including the Metcon and Romaleos are 25% off. Shop now and the code “LOGIN25” through the end of the day to get 25% off.

 Morning Chalk Up 


Soy-Ginger Dinner Scramble

We get it, you are cooking so many meals at home and maybe you’re getting a little tired of it. Here’s a super easy delicious and healthy dinner recipe for when you’re just not feeling it. The ginger and soy sauce transforms the scrambled eggs into an entrée that you can serve over rice or greens or fried bread with quick pickles.





United in Movement Update

The United in Movement charity event and competition is rolling on and here’s a quick rundown to bring you up to speed:

  • Following the 24-hour livestream, telethon-style opening, the first WOD was announced.
    • Workout 1: 7 Minute AMRAP — Line-Facing Burpees, over a 6″ line.
    • Tia-Clair Toomey and Mat Fraser took this one on in Mat’s Cookeville garage.
  • Sunday evening, Brent Fikowski and Pat Vellner faced off (virtually) in workout #2.
    • Workout 2: 12 Minute AMRAP — 80 Lateral hops over-the-Dumbbell; 60 Air Squats; 40 Dumbbell Shoulder to Overhead (50/35).
  • Monday evening, newlyweds Lauren Fisher and Rasmus Anderson took on workout #3
    • Workout 3: 20 Minute AMRAP — 20 Hand Release Pushups; 30 Goblet Squats; 40 Hand Release Pushups; 50 Dumbbell Lunges; 60 Hand Release Pushups; 70 Single-Arm Suitcase Deadlifts.
  • Tuesday evening, Noah Ohlsen and Chandler Smith threw down (virtually) in workout #4.
    • Workout 4: 9 Minute AMRAP — 30-20-10 of: Alternating Hang DB C&J and Butterfly Sit-ups; right into, 30-20-10 Alternating DB Hang Snatch and Butterfly Situps.

So far, United in Movement has raised almost $200,000 and nearly 13,000 people are participating in the event.

Check out the United in Movement website and Instagram for more.

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