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CrossFit Coach Championing National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Morning Chalk Up

September 13   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • CrossFit coach helping champion mental health awareness through normalizing the process of asking for help
  • Mal O’Brien and Laura Horvath: a CrossFit Games deep dive
  • NASCAR world continues to embrace CrossFit as team raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project
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“The object of the superior man is truth.” - Confucius

  Normalizing Asking For Help: “We've Only Got One Chance at This Life, and it's Definitely Worth Living”  

Normalizing Asking For Help: “We've Only Got One Chance at This Life, and it's Definitely Worth Living”

One of the things we admire most about CrossFit is it’s inclusivity; all are welcome to push themselves within our community regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender, background, or even mental health status. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and even if you’re not struggling, perhaps your coach, training partner or fellow classmate is.

Rob Aronofsky, who now coaches at Rockingham CrossFit, has struggled internally for years, and his challenges were exacerbated by working in a negative environment (being a correctional officer), and feeling like his masculine identity wasn’t allowed to express a need for help.

“I definitely grew up and was very much the stereotype of the male who does not talk about his feelings and does not show emotion,” Aronofsky said. “…I started drinking and doing drugs to numb myself, and that led to me starting to have anxiety attacks and things like that. And then ultimately, I kept not getting help and really started to spiral out of control.”

On September 15, 2019, Aronofsky attempted suicide and in retrospect, he says “it forced me, it forced that stereotypical male, to get the help that I so desperately needed.”

“So now, I don’t stop talking about mental health,” he continued. “Whereas before, even up until September 14, 2019, those words just never came out of my mouth, and it’s so scary. But then once you actually ask for help and get it, you’re like, ‘it really wasn’t that bad’. Or when you find the right therapist, because it is kind of like dating — sometimes you have to find the right therapist who gets you and works with you.”

In the time since his cry for help, Aronofsky has become an advocate for mental health and making conversations about it approachable via his TikTok (with 130k followers/3M views), and believes asking the hard questions is part of how we, as a society, make progress.

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In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil and Preslie Hirsch were at the Madrid Championship this past weekend. Check out our competition review video and story for the complete rundown.

The robots are taking over!: WODProof will be hosting The Bionic Rowing Challenge, the first of its kind judged by artificial intelligence. The competition starts on Sept. 19. 🖥

Shoe review: As Many Reviews as Possible takes on the TYR L-1’s.

  Mallory O’Brien and Laura Horvath: 2022 CrossFit Games Athlete Studies  


Mallory O’Brien and Laura Horvath: 2022 CrossFit Games Athlete Studies

This is the third piece in a series of articles in which we’re going deeper into a duo of athletes from the 2022 Games to identify exactly what happened, and what it could mean for them for the upcoming season.

In case you missed it, the first part of this five-part series compared Haley Adams and Gabi Migala’s performances this year and last, while the second part examined Roman Khrennikov and Ricky Garard’s 2022 outing.

The 2022 CrossFit Games for O’Brien and Horvath appear to have been dramatically different in terms of the trajectory of their overall weekend. And it is in fact the case that when you chart the respective placements by event for them, one of their paths to the podium was very straightforward (O’Brien), while the other was rather dramatic (Horvath):

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  CrossFitDevour Partners With Darlington Raceway for Unique NASCAR-Themed Event  

CrossFitDevour Partners With Darlington Raceway for Unique NASCAR-Themed Event

The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs began on Sunday, September 4, with the Cook Out Southern 500. Hours prior to the race, a group of CrossFitters headed out onto Darlington Raceway and took part in a unique workout to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The details: NASCAR’s Group Sales Team reached out to CrossFitDevour co-owners Arence Gowe and Ashley Brown back in June to set up a special event at the 1.366-mile track. The goal was to raise money for a charitable foundation in a unique way while providing access to one of the biggest races on the schedule.

  •  CrossFitDevour and NASCAR sold tickets, which cost $45 each. Each one included a parking pass at the South Carolina track, access to the workout, and a seat in the stands to watch the race. Each ticket also included a $5 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • This was a NASCAR-themed workout, so it needed a fitting name. Gowe went with Dale Pain-hardt, which referenced seven-time NASCAR champion, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.
  • The participants started with one lap around the 1.366-mile track. They then had to complete 100 thrusters (med ball or torpedo), 100 jumping jacks, 100 burpees over a partner, 100 lunges (med ball or torpedo), 100 push-ups, and one more lap around the track.

“I didn’t want to have people do a normal bodyweight workout that they could have done at home,” Gowe explained. “I wanted it to be something different, something that they would, at the end of it, feel like they have gotten a good workout. But also something that they wouldn’t have programmed.”

Gowe and Brown brought 25 people out for the event, but the group expanded to 26 when Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice jogged by and saw the workout taking place. He jumped in and finished off the unique workout that included two trips around a track that has hosted 198 races across the top three series. There were also some supporters on hand that cheered on the participants.

  • “I specifically – in a sneaky CrossFit way – just put one lap as opposed to putting the distance,” Gowe added. “So going around that track, you get past the first turn and then once you get towards that second turn, that’s when you realize that this is more than a mile.”
  • “You also have the angle, the angle to the track that makes a little bit of a difference. … But it seems like people seemed to enjoy just the challenge and the difference in how you have to run.”

Rice, who is an avid CrossFitter, was a late addition to the workout. However, he is ready to contribute in a bigger way in the future. He volunteered Kaulig Racing to sponsor CrossFitDevour’s next fitness event to help raise awareness.

Fun fact: The Southern 500 is one of NASCAR’s three active Crown Jewel races along with the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. The first iteration took place in 1950, the second season of the Cup Series, and it has grown to become one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. The 2022 iteration featured a sold-out crowd of roughly 47,000 fans.

A new tradition: The CrossFitDevour-hosted event at Darlington Raceway was actually the third during the 2022 season. The inaugural event took place at the .75-mile Richmond Raceway (Virginia) on April 3. DBG CrossFit was in charge of this workout which featured 100 participants and donations to the NAVY Seal Foundation.

  • The second event took place at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the regular-season finale race. 89 people were on hand for this event in Florida.
  • There are plans for two more events in 2022. One will take place at Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama) ahead of a playoff race on October 2. Another will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Florida) before a playoff race on October 23.

A story to tell: Raising money for charitable foundations while enjoying a grueling workout is an integral part of the CrossFit experience. Community members have done so hundreds of times around the world. However, not many can say that they did burpees and thrusters on an actual race track hours before 36 drivers battled for a playoff win.



A Strong Catch in a Snatch

Some coaching cues just stick with us. “Pulling the bar apart” on a snatch might be the next one. Snatches are a highly technical movement and anything that helps us catch that bar overhead in a strong position is a great thing to try.




Your Protein Bar Doesn't Have to Suck

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Apple Pie Oats

Fall is almost here, and what better way to kick things off than with a tasty fall recipe? Brought to you by the author of “Feeding the Frasers”, Sammy Moniz, this recipe will satisfy your cravings for those fall flavors and keep you full to train.



Free Chicken Breasts for a Year

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Who Is Going to the Rogue Invitational?

The Rogue Invitational is rapidly approaching, and with the star-studded invite list, how will the online qualifiers compare to the rest of the field? Lauren Kalil sat down with Brian Friend to discuss the “Q” qualifiers for the upcoming competition.


Share Your Crossfit Story


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

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, Daniel Chaffey and Dave Re.
  • 💍 Congratulations to Lauren Fisher and Rasmus Andersen on their wedding in Santorini over the weekend.
  • Lucy Saltmarsh from Atlanta, GA introduces the kick up box jump challenge. Good luck.
  • Congratulations to CJ Santana from Vero Beach, FL on the 229 pound/104kg power snatch PR.
  • Congratulations to Lee from CrossFit Auburndale in Auburndale, FL, who got a double hip replacement five years ago, and today is able to complete multiple plate to overhead reps and a full 100m walk without support. #crossfitworks
  • Crop Top Nick Mathew from CrossFit Minnetonka sticks a solid 295 pound/134kg snatch.
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