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Coronavirus and CrossFit: Everything You Need To Know

Morning Chalk Up

February 1


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Although we are in a Sanctional off-week, all eyes will be focused on the Freakest Challenge in Barcelona, Spain today, as Sara Sigmundsdottir, Mat Fraser, Noah Ohlsen and more seek to coach their teams to victory in the head-to-head, elimination-style, team competition. Today:

  • How to Watch: The Freakest Challenge.
  • In her OpEd, Emily Beers says to affiliates, “if you are only offering group classes, you are basically Zumba.” 
  • The coronavirus is making news around the world, how is it affecting the CrossFit community?

As you power through that partner WOD this weekend, don’t forget to send us your story tips and big lifts at [email protected].



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“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” — Jim Rohn

How to Watch: Freakest Challenge

  How to Watch: Freakest Challenge  

One of the most unique and popular functional fitness competitions will take place at the Sant Jordi Club in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday, February 1. The Freakest Challenge Final returns for their fifth edition and features the top athletes in the sport of fitness in attendance. Our very own Justin LoFranco, Tommy Marquez and Michael McCoy will be on the ground to cover the fast-growing fitness competition, providing behind-the-scenes coverage, interviews with some of the top athletes in the sport of CrossFit and videos of all the action.


Coverage for the must-see event will be streamed live and for free on the Fittest Freakest YouTube channel and one their Facebook page.


The one-day events starts at 5:00 AM PT and ends at approximately 11:00 AM PT.

How the Freakest Challenge Final Works

Eight teams will compete in a single-elimination, head-to-head tournament format until there are only two teams left in the final event. Workouts are announced on the day of the final, except for the final event itself, which is announced only minutes before the last two remaining teams duel head-to-head. The winner of that event will be crowned the Freakest Challenge Champion.

Each team will be paired with a Nike athlete-mentor. Those athletes are Mathew Fraser, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Lauren Fisher, Laura Horvath, Thuri Helgadottir, Noah Ohlsen, Lukas Hogberg and Willy Georges.

More on the Freakest Challenge


Message to Affiliates: If You’re Only Offering Group Classes, You are Basically Zumba (OpEd)

  Message to Affiliates: If You’re Only Offering Group Classes, You are Basically Zumba (OpEd)  

by Emily Beers

“How much is your monthly membership?” asks the new prospect, referring to the cost of joining group classes at your gym.

Your answer is probably somewhere between US$120 and $250.

Group classes and CrossFit have become like peas and carrots: Synonymous with one another.

Have you ever considered why? And whether the group class model is the best system for clients, coaches and the business?

Believe it or not, CrossFit did not begin with group classes. When CrossFit Inc. Founder Greg Glassman started coaching, he started as a personal trainer and developed close connections with his clients. And, when he got busier, he started pooling clients into small groups, but at that point, he had already built relationships with them.

Yet today, most affiliates rely almost entirely on group fitness, even for new clients they know nothing about.

“Why is this a problem?” you ask.

It’s a problem for the business. It’s a problem for the coach. And it’s a massive problem for the client.

(But before I get into it, I must add that I’m am not suggesting group classes aren’t valuable and that we should abandon them entirely. I’m simply suggesting they are not enough for the client, the coach or the business and should be treated as just one small piece of the membership puzzle).

The client

In short, there’s little opportunity to address individual needs in a group.

But CrossFit is scalable, so we can all train together seamlessly, right?

While this is a topic for a whole other article, if you have coached for any period of time, you have probably realized this a fallacy. It’s absurd to think a generic group class program is what’s best for anyone, let alone everyone. Period.

However, beyond just the workout itself, the greater problem is an inability to help clients with the other 23 hours of the day amidst a group of 15 people. It’s impossible to help them fix their nutrition habits, their emotional relationship with food, their stress levels, lifestyle choices or sleep habits in a group. As I sometimes say: Nobody is going to tell you they have genital herpes in a group class.

If all you’re selling is a group class membership, then you’re selling a hard workout. Nothing more. But, what most people need is a real, trusting relationship with a coach who can help them navigate what’s really going on in their lives. In other words, it’s the difference between a group class client you barely know telling you she wants to lose weight, and a client you have a real relationship with admitting she wants to lose weight because she’s terrified of following in her parents’ footsteps and dying young of complications from diabetes.

The business

In the group class model, you can’t charge clients what you could if you were offering a higher value service. For example, you could potentially charge $350 a month for a package that included two group classes per week, as well as an individual program to tackle their weaknesses, and one 60-minute lifestyle consultation each month. Instead, you’re in the Orange Theory, Zumba, Bootcamp market, charging $150 per month for unlimited group workouts.

As a result, clients don’t stick around. They leave as fast as they come in, a constant revolving door, and you’re left searching for new clients month after month.


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Coronavirus and CrossFit: Everything You Need To Know

  Coronavirus and CrossFit: Everything You Need To Know  

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a public health emergency, so it’s no surprise the Coronavirus outbreak is having an effect on the worldwide CrossFit community.

  • The disease has killed at least 212 people in China and there have been close to 10,000 cases confirmed by Chinese health authorities. Nearly 100 additional cases have been confirmed around the world.

The Asia CrossFit Championship (ACC) Online Qualifier has pushed back the deadline for submission by 10 days. Affiliates across the country have had to remain closed in the wake of the outbreak. The new online qualifier deadline is February 12, UTC+8 11:59 PM.

  • Event Organizer Max Ma said that while their teams remain safe and are doing well, most businesses will remain shut down until February 9.
  • “Most of the affiliates are taking the initiative to close for a week or more. It’s Chinese New Year anyway, so most of them had already planned to close,” he said.

The live event is set to take place beginning May 8, however, organizers have confirmed those dates could change, pending how quickly the outbreak is controlled.

  • “I will work with the government to try to keep the event on time … But if they have decided to postpone it to June or July, we could work with HQ to set that up. Worst case scenario is that we go for 2021 season,” Max Ma added.

The Morning Chalk Up has spoken with several athletes who had planned on competing at ACC but are now reconsidering.

  • Former Games athlete Brandon Swan said: “I think it’s a no from me. I value my health over a Games spot.”
  • Two times Pacific Regionals competitor Laken Watt had planned to peak for Asia: “But obviously health is more important. I’ll finish the qualifier but not sure if Asia is in my plan anymore.”

China’s National Champion Ant Haynes lives in Hong Kong and took pictures outside his flat this week where a line of people backed up 300 meters to purchase face masks.

  • “I know a few [affiliates] in China have had to close up shop for a few weeks because of the virus,” he told the Morning Chalk Up “Hong Kong is just on red alert, being so close to China.”

While we compete in the Sport of Fitness, the ultimate goal is health and longevity. To all those affected in the community, our thoughts are with you — stay safe — and contact us if you feel there are ways in which the global CrossFit community can help.




Mat Fraser’s Dominance at Strength in Depth.

The Buttery Bros were on the scene at Strength in Depth last weekend and bring you all the behind-the-scenes action from London.

  Morning Chalk Up  



The WAG Podcast

The WAG Podcast takes a unique approach to self-development by connecting the dots between nutrition, mindset, stress and relationships through relatable stories and by providing you with actionable steps that you can take today. Check out their most popular episode “What It Takes to Get Lean” below.

  Morning Chalk Up  


How to Increase your Squat Mobility.

In this episode of her vlog, Kristi Eramo helps you work on your tight hips, hamstrings, adductors and quads. These stretches are great for lower body mobility before or after a heavy leg day.

  Morning Chalk Up  


74 Super Bowl Appetizers to Tackle this Year.

The big game is tomorrow and if you are stumped on what to bring to the party, check out this list of 74 recipes, from basic buffalo wings and pretzel bites to cashew nam prik.





Training Tips and Coaching Insights on Instagram

We all love seeing our favorite athletes hit big lifts and amazing gymnastics complexes on social media, but recently, a few Instagram users reached out to us about how they are using the platform in very specific ways to help everyday CrossFitters improve their skills. 

If you regularly use WODs for your programming, here are two Instagram accounts you should check out:

  • Bryan Rosen, a CF-L3 Trainer, runs @dotcomwarmups. His goal is to provide warm-ups for CrossFit WODs and to educate coaches and athletes on how to prepare for the workout. Each day he provides a general warm-up and specific warm-up to help you prime your body for the WOD.
  • Juan Acevedo, another CF-L3 Trainer, runs @dotcomscaled. There he provides multiple scaling options for the daily WOD. Sometimes he offers as many as 3 or 4 options for varying skill levels. 
  • These two accounts, combined with the actual main site workout itself, are a great resource for athletes working out in garages and home gyms who are still looking for some coaching and guidance.

The Whiteboard Daily, another Instagram account, offers a wide array of coaching cues and insights drawn up on an old school whiteboard.

  • Karl Eagleman, a CF-L2 coach, provides daily diagrams and whiteboard sketches on @whiteboard_daily. His mission is to provide valuable coaching content and since launching the account in 2017, he’s posted over 400 educational boards covering movement cues, coaching education and perspectives. His website is also a valuable resource for those seeking additional coaching education.     


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