Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. The dominance of CrossFit athletes on the Titan Games illustrated what many within the community have said for years, Tommy Marquez lays it out. And, Al Sagapolutele had a heart attack…that saved his life.
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“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.”– Unknown
The Titan Games: CrossFit’s Primetime “I Told You So”
Matt Chan and Dani Speegle hoisting the final trophies as champions of season 2 of the Titan Games was a fitting ending to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s primetime television show that attempted to test athletes in a series of physical challenges against elite athletes from various sports.
The final result should come as no surprise to any longtime members of the CrossFit community, but having a legend of CrossFit’s “old guard,” and one of the CrossFit Games next generation of rising stars conquer a show hosted by one of the biggest celebrities in the world in front of millions of viewers is another important brick in the road of CrossFit’s rise from fitness rebel pariah to global industry leader.
Started from the bottom: CrossFit has long been embroiled in a battle with the mainstream fitness establishment over the legitimacy of the training program, and it’s potential to build world class athletes capable of feats recognizable on a broader scale.
CrossFit’s early leadership tactics would often involve purposefully fanning the flames of controversy through it’s assertions — defying commonly accepted practice — ruffling the feathers of the establishment as often as possible as the best way to garner attention for an upstart program from a California surf town.
The scrutiny and attacks towards CrossFit that resulted (couch thread anyone?) served as bulletin board material and free marketing for a company that was adding more gyms with each passing year, and churning out athletes that would kickstart a sport of their own.
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In 2016, unbeknownst to him, Al Sagapolutele had a heart attack.
He didn’t find out until later why he had been feeling uncharacteristically out of breath — and as if he was rocking back and forth on a boat — for the last week.
“All of a sudden, during my appointment, my doctor told me to remain absolutely calm, but that emergency services were on their way to take me to the hospital,” said the 46-year-old, who ended up getting three stents in his heart.
While Sagapolutele was surprised to find out about his silent heart attack, another part of him wasn’t surprised it had happened. He weighed 460 pounds at six-foot-three at the time and wasn’t exactly the picture of health.
“There had been warning signs for a long time and every time I went to see the doctor she would tell me I needed to lose weight,” he said.
But Sagapolutele just never took his doctor that seriously until the heart attack, which left him feeling embarrassed and ashamed.
“I remember being so embarrassed and feeling so bad for the (emergency services) guys. I was so heavy and they had to help me up onto and off the bed,” he said. “I also didn’t tell anyone for a few days. Three days after going to the hospital, I finally called my family. They were angry and upset with me for not telling them sooner.”
He added: “I realized then that my life was completely out of control. Even before the heart attack, I would call in sick to work on Mondays because I had been drunk the night before. I knew I needed to make a change.”
Mastermind Group Aims to Help Gyms Find Business Solutions, Because “We’re all in this together”
Michael Walerius was tired of watching gym owners experience the same struggles, yet never communicate to come up with collective solutions together.
“We never connected unless it was at a competition or a throwdown. People just seemed to keep to themselves, which is fine, but then when you dig into it you realize we’re all facing the same issues no matter what kind of (business) model we run,” said Walerius, the owner of OPEX St. Louis Central in MO.
This one simple core activation drill can help you prepare your body for big lifts: the “side plank march.” Not only does it build lateral core stability like a regular side plank, the marching action builds your bracing technique while moving at your hips – kind of useful for lifting.
Are you looking for a fun, challenging and safe space to test your fitness this Summer? Join The Everyday Athlete Open and experience a virtual 5-week open-style workout challenge accessible to every athlete, with minimal equipment and scaled workout options. Whether you’re already following a program, or you’re looking for inspiration to find a new groove, every athlete is welcome! The first WOD is announced on 8/23!
What Success Looks Like for the Green Beret Project
In part two of their discussion, Adam Kramer from the Green Beret Project talks about providing long-term mentoring to at-risk youth, including what success looks like for the kids they work with and what the future might hold for the organization.
A Better Rower
Whether we are rowing in a metcon, doing some monostructural training or just trying to get a sweat, we can all improve our rowing. Check out this video with tips and advice on efficiency and technique from Games athlete Kristi Eramo O’Connell.
Here are three more events across the affiliate community that we’ve been watching:
Share the Pain 5 – Sadler Strong: Beloved member of the CrossFit Lewes community in Lewes, DE, John Sadler, was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer recently, and the CF Lewes community jumped into action to raise money to help offset medical bills. On August 8 they hosted the fifth iteration of their “Share the Pain” series, this one called “Sadler Strong.” The first four events raised over $130,000 for various charities. They’ve raised over $37,000 so far and the GoFundMe campaign is still
open for donations.
PE Classes by CrossFit Furious: Blake Matthews, the owner of CrossFit Furious in Helena, AL has created a physical education class to address the lack of physical activity that students attending school virtually or on a staggered basis will experience this school year. The classes, which started yesterday, will be open to students in grades kindergarten through fifth, and will follow the county’s school schedule by splitting up students by last names for hour and a half classes on
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students who are signed up for the classes will get to participate in a wide variety of activities including dodgeball, kickball, basketball, roller skating, Pickleball, soccer and others. Offering these will encourage children to stay physically active despite being at home more often.
Situp4mentalhealth and Scottish Counseling Services: Members at CrossFit Cairngorm in Aviemore, Scotland took part in a grueling marathon rowing challenge to raise money for frontline workers to receive immediate access to counseling. Together the 17 members rowed 380,000 meters in 31 hours during the event. Check out full campaign details.