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Controversy, Fitness And The Future of CrossFit

Morning Chalk Up

January 4

Morning Chalk Up

Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. Don’t call it a comeback; actually that’s exactly what it is–James Newbury might be super-human and is looking to punch his ticket to the CrossFit Games. Today:

  • Newbury seeks Sanctional success.
  • A look back at media controversies and CrossFit’s victories over the past 20 years.
  • And, a new online training program that caters to busy athletes with 90 minutes to train.

As you hit those weekend partner WODs, don’t forget to hit us up with PRs, big lifts, and story ideas at [email protected].



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“I really think a champion is defined not by their wins, but by how they can recover when they fall.”

— Serena Williams


Waiting For A Wildcard: Newbury To Make Competition Comeback


Australian James Newbury admits his season so far is “very different from any other” but the 5th Fittest Man on Earth is determined to make it back to Madison.

  • “The season is long and there is still plenty of fitness and tickets to be gained,” he told the Morning Chalk Up.

James Newbury wasn’t able to complete the Open when he fractured his back and since it’s also the qualifier for 13 upcoming sanctioned events this season, he’s missed out on those spots as well.

  • “I would be keen on the Aussie events if I was able to score a wildcard potentially,” James said.

The four-time Games athlete has revealed he also plans to compete at Rogue and perhaps one or two other events, in the hope of punching a return ticket to Madison.

Wait, wasn’t this guy just in the hospital?: Yep, Newbury made a somewhat explosive exit from the 2020 CrossFit Open, landing himself in a hospital bed just days after he performed 20.3 during a live announcement down under.

Road to Recovery: James has revealed just four days after the accident he was “back on the bike” so to speak and within five weeks — safe to say he’d defied medical expectations — completing an entire Ironman race (in 10 hours and 42 minutes to be exact!)

  • “My sport of choice is CrossFit but I’ve always really enjoyed just having a crack at everything,” James told videographer Wyks Etsebeth, who documented James’ comeback and the entire Ironman race (yes, the final leg is a full marathon!) in early December.
  • “If there’s an experience that I feel like is challenging — mentally and physically — I want to do it,” he added.

How he did it: “Working on working it” was how James’ described it. “I definitely believe that given the right ingredients the body can do miraculous things,” he told the Morning Chalk Up.

  • James believes the secret is being “proactive in creating an optimal healing environment” which for him included lots of sleep, sun, earth and quality food.
  • “I also saunaed a lot and soaked in the float,” he said.
  • In the mini-documentary, James’ partner, Kayla Banfield also describes how he opted not to take any pain medication.
  • She described the day of James’ accident as “one of the worst 24 hours” of her life, but added she’s been inspired but hardly surprised by his comeback.
  • “He doesn’t like sitting on the sidelines, he doesn’t like playing it safe, he likes to push himself,” Kayla said.

What training looks like now: I was super sore immediately after the ironman but the next day surprisingly I felt fine,” James said. For the record a full Ironman is a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim, a 112-mile (180.25 km) ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run.

  • His first CrossFit session back after the injury-induced break was a different story: “I was much sorer after coming back and doing my first class at Soul,” he laughed.
  • Now James’ training is mainly CrossFit-based, and approximately 8-10 sessions a week: “That will ramp up now that I have blown out the cobwebs… I’ll ride a criterium race for fun or register for Sprint Triathlons and local ocean swims wherever possible.”

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The Benefits of Nasal Breathing

Why nasal breathing you ask? CrossFit Invictus Coach Kirsten dives into three performance benefits of breathing in through your nose instead of gulping air in and out of your mouth. Spoiler alert you’ll get more oxygen.

  Morning Chalk Up  


All the Cool Stuff Matt Chan Did After Not Dying in 2014

CrossFit Games legend Matt Chan joins Sean Woodland on Two Brain Radio to reflect on his six-year CrossFit Games history, his programming company, Train for the Win, and how fitness enables him to experience life to the fullest.

  Morning Chalk Up  



A Free Travel WOD Generator

Programming for yourself is hard and it’s even harder when you’re on the road, in a hotel or trying to get your fitness in with limited to no equipment. This WOD generator will randomly provide a no-gym and no-equipment needed workout for you in seconds and it has a built-in timer so no need for another app. And the best part — it’s free — all you need to do is get to the page and get to work.

  Morning Chalk Up  


Cauliflower Tacos With Cashew Crema

These vegetarian crispy tacos are delish and a healthy New Year head start on your fitness and nutrition goals.



  • Stefi Cohen sumo deadlifts 353 pounds for six, beltless.
  • Six-year-old Prisais Brooklyn power cleans 45 pounds and clean and jerks 55 pounds.
  • Brandy Herron front squats 185 pounds for 3.
  • Jenna Kaitbenski cleans 170 pounds for a PR.
  • Michelle Basnett does 5 touch-and-go cleans at 185 pounds.
  • Throwback: Matt Chan does Grace in 1:08.
  • Happy 23rd birthday to Maddie Sturt.


Controversy, Fitness And The Future of CrossFit

In the South China Morning Post this week, Patrick Blennerhassett profiles some of the controversial media coverage that hampered CrossFit’s early years, as well as some of the sport’s most accomplished athletes over the past 15 years. A 2005 New York Times article, “Getting Fit, Even if it Kills You,” blasted readers with an inflammatory headline and then went on to suggest that the workout methodology was dangerous, perhaps even fatal, Blennerhassett notes.

  • Coach Greg Glassman, CrossFit founder, suggested that they “still haven’t recovered” from the New York Times piece and are still fighting the stigma that CrossFit is dangerous, injury-ridden, and cultish. A second piece in the Times, this one in 2015 with the headline “When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to CrossFit,” was more positive overall, but still maintained a sensationalist tone. It is possible that the tide is beginning to turn, however, evidenced by the recent US District Court ruling in favor of CrossFit in its legal battle with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
  • Blennerhassett: “Mainstream Media’s aversion towards CrossFit is understandable–branded fitness regimes like P90X, Tough Mudder and most recently Peloton and its much maligned commercial–are all easy to take shots at…But in maligning people’s push to get fit, however misguided, we are taking a shot at a certain aspect of society we should probably be taking out of our cynical scope, rather than zeroing in on it.”
  • In profiling Mat Fraser, Rich Froning, and Tia-Clair Toomey, Blennerhassett also notes that CrossFit athletes have embraced social media and have used it to their advantage in the absence of attention from big-name media outlets.
  • Despite the controversial media coverage and some missteps from CrossFit HQ (the shuttering of its Facebook and Instagram accounts, for example), Blennerhassett concludes that the future remains bright. CrossFit “has found footholds across the planet in various pockets outside the US, where its mecca remains–check out its massive growth in places like Brazil, Southeast Asia, and Australia if you have any doubts–and while it’s not going to become a household workout favourite, it is in no way fading away as the world continues to embrace all forms of functional, marketed fitness regimes en masse.”   

Since we’re on the topic of looking back, CrossFit HQ published this “Year of CrossFit Victories” article cataloging 14 victories for the brand in 2019. 

  Morning Chalk Up  

MisFit Athletics Co-Founder Jumps Ship, Launches New Program

MisFit Athletics co-founder, Seth Page and wife Dani are launching Jump Ship Training on January 6, 2020. Page served as the programmer at MisFit from its inception, but after parting ways, recognized that oftentimes, athletes with full-time careers and families, have only limited time to train. 

  • The Jump Ship 90 Concept: Drawing from his own experience as a gym owner, Page found that, lacking extra time, if he put his training sessions on a clock, he and Dani were more motivated and focused. Every session in the core Jump Ship program runs exactly 90 minutes.
  • How do I join: Register on the Jump Ship website and every week you will receive five days of programming, as well as access to a members-only Instagram page for additional coaching tips, feedback, and workout breakdowns.
  • Don’t worry: If you are a competitor, they have a full program for you too. 


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1/11: Unbroken Ocala (Ocala, FL)
1/11: Strongfit Fundamentals Course (San Diego, CA)
1/11 – 1/12: CrossFit Ft Vancouver Championship (Vancouver, WA)
1/11: 3rd Annual In-Law Competition (Keene, NH)
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)
1/25: Battle of the Ages (Norwood, MA)
2/1: Krypton’s Compete for a Cure (Chesapeake, VA)
2/1: Warrior Affiliate League Fantastic 4 (Chino Hills, CA)
2/1: Wodi Gras 2020 (New Orleans, LA)

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