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Danielle Brandon and Underdogs Athletics Part Ways

Morning Chalk Up

July 7   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Danielle Brandon has left Underdogs Athletics
  • In depth analysis: Scoring the 40 CrossFit Games men against each other
  • How much water should CrossFitters drink?
  • The Bottom Line discusses the Underdogs/Danielle Brandon fallout
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“The return we reap from generous actions is not always evident.” - Francesco Guicciardini

  BREAKING: Danielle Brandon and Underdogs Athletics Part Ways  

BREAKING: Danielle Brandon and Underdogs Athletics Part Ways

Underdogs Athletics founder and head coach Justin Cotler and three-time CrossFit Games athlete and this year’s Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Semifinal champion Danielle Brandon have cut ties with each other. The announcement was made through statements released exclusively to the Morning Chalk Up on Wednesday.

Cotler’s statement read: “After our most recent discussion, Underdogs Athletics and Danielle Brandon have mutually decided to part ways. We wish her all the best at the 2022 Games and in all her future endeavors.”

  • Cooper Marsh, Brandon’s manager, responded with a similar statement: “Danielle Brandon and Underdogs Athletics have mutually decided to part ways. She is a massive fan of the Cotler family and the growth they have helped her achieve over the last 2+ years as an athlete and as a human being. She wishes them well in their future endeavors.”

Why it matters: This is the only case that we are aware of, where an athlete and their coach parted ways in the month leading up to the Games. Especially an athlete of Brandon’s caliber–she is considered a podium contender after an impressive performance at the MACC Semifinal during which she credited Cotler and Underdogs for her success at the competition and going forward at the Games.

Over the past year, the Underdogs training camp has undergone a significant shift. Kari Pearce, the Third Fittest Woman on Earth in 2020 retired in 2021, although she remains a key member of the Underdogs family and works out with the training camp. Bethany Shadburne’s 2022 campaign ended prematurely following an injury during Quarterfinals and she moved to Los Angeles to live with her fiance. And now with Brandon’s departure, the founding female trio are no longer anchoring the camp as they once did.

Remind me: During the height of the COVID pandemic, Cotler and Pearce moved to Las Vegas from the East Coast to take advantage of looser restrictions on gym closures.

That season, Shadburne and Brandon joined Pearce in the lead up to the Games. And other team athletes and aspiring Games athletes like Tola Morakinyo and Matt Dlugos joined the camp to help build out the Underdogs crew.

More recently, Cotler has taken on Ricky Garard, Alex Gazan, Kristine Best, Alison Scudds and Kyra Milligan, as well as several others, while also hosting training sessions with elite athletes like Anikha Greer.

Some of the Underdogs highlights have included Pearce’s third place finish at the 2020 Games, a 1-2-3 podium for Shadburne, Pearce and Brandon at the 2021 West Coast Classic Semifinal. Morakinyo’s win with CrossFit Reykjavik at the 2022 CrossFit Lowlands Throwdown, and Brandon’s win at the 2022 MACC Semifinal.

The bottom line: It remains to be seen how this move will affect Brandon heading into the CrossFit Games. Prior to joining Underdogs, she followed online programming without an in-person coach. After joining up with Cotler, she experienced much success.

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A loaded TYR athlete roster will debut the brand’s much-anticipated footwear line for the first time ever at this year’s CrossFit Games.

Pat Vellner, Roman Khrennikov, Travis Mayer, Lazar Djukic, BKG, Ricky Gerard, Will Moorad, Freya Moosbrugger, Guilherme Malheiros, Ellie Turner, and Alexis Raptis will be among the top qualifiers to watch from the brand, as they sport the brand’s lifters, trainers, and running shoes throughout the Games.

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Statement: Canadian Nycolas Joyal has admitted to using banned substances and it looks like he is now out of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil, the host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Brian Friend on his take about CrossFit’s new documentary about the 2021 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

Sign up: Calling all Games competitors, you can register for the Reebok Bonus Program now.

Local love: Great piece in the Brownwood News about CrossFit Longma opening in Las Vegas.

What a lift: Maddie Rogers set the American record for the 76kg snatch over the weekend at the USA Weightlifting Championships. 🏋🏼‍♀️

CrossFit props: Scott Stallings, who we interviewed on The Bottom Line, has once again talked about his physical transformation that turned him into a better PGA golfer.

  Scoring the 40 Male Games Athletes Against One Another on 2022 Workouts  


Scoring the 40 Male Games Athletes Against One Another on 2022 Workouts

Now that the full field of 40 men and 40 women is set for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games we can really start honing in on the field in its entirety, as well as what we know about them from a competition perspective this year.

It just so happens these athletes have all already done ten of the (mostly) same workouts to get to this stage of the season (the three Open workouts, the five Quarterfinal workouts, and the two “standardized” Semifinal workouts). Although it isn’t a perfect study, it does shed light on some pretty fascinating trends for the group as a whole, and even more intriguingly for specific individuals.

We’ll start with the men’s field.

Continue Reading...
  Why Hydration Matters for CrossFit Athletes and How To Do it Right  

Why Hydration Matters for CrossFit Athletes and How To Do it Right

Hydration can seem complicated. The good news is that it’s such an easy habit to incorporate into your daily routine and something that can truly optimize your athletic performance.

To start, we have to understand how hydration works. To put it simply, a person exercises and loses fluids. This fluid loss happens via the skin from sweat or the lungs from breathing. When the person does not replenish the loss of fluids adequately and appropriately, this is when dehydration occurs.

Symptoms of dehydration:

  • Feeling tired, thirsty, dizzying, and/or light-headed
  • Dry mouth, lips, and eyes
  • Dark yellow color and/or strong smelling urine

Why does this matter for athletes?

The USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) states that “research has shown that losing as little as two percent of total bodyweight can negatively affect athletic performance.” Getting better at a sport, like CrossFit, is going to require a lot of discipline. Developing and creating healthy hydration habits is one great way to take care of one of the major things that you can control in the process.

Continue Reading...
  Why Hydration Matters for CrossFit Athletes and How To Do it Right  

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Share Your CrossFit Story


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

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, Jamie Simmonds.
  • Teen athlete Kaiden Hogan from Training Think Tank in Alpharetta, GA split jerks 235 pounds/107kg for a 20 pound PR.
  • 🥈 Semifinal athlete Paulina Haro from Happy Place CrossFit in Mexico won the silver medal in Weightlifting Nationals with her 454 pound/206kg total (87kg snatch; 199kg clean and jerk).
  • James Townsend push presses three wheels (315 pounds/143kg) at the end of a complex like it’s normal.
  • Former Games athlete Sean Sweeney pulled 575 pounds/261kg from the floor for a lifetime deadlift PR.
  • 🇮🇸 The tortilla slap challenge has made it’s way to Iceland with the CrossFit Reykjavik crew of Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson, Lauren Fisher, Annie Thorisdottir, and Tola Morakinyo.
3/2: The LKW Games (Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina)
3/9: The Valkyrie Fitness Competition (Tampa, FL)
3/16: Upper Hunter Strongest Novice (Muswellbrook, Australia)
3/16: Oceanside CrossFit 1st Annual Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/16: Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/23: CFL Teen Take Over (Lorton, VA)
3/23: Masters Distinguished Games (Fort Wright, KY)
3/23 - 3/24: Beach Brawl (Spring) (Pensacola Beach, FL)
4/6: Best Babes 608 (Janesville, Wisconsin)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Minnesota (Austin, Minnesota)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Richmond, Kentucky)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Ohio (Lancaster, Ohio)
4/6: Best Babes Decatur (Decatur, Alabama)
4/6: Best Babes South Carolina (Beufort, South Carolina)
4/6: Best Babes Houston (Houston, Texas)
4/6: Best Babes Tampa (Tampa, Florida)
4/6: War Off I-4 (Deland, FL)
4/6 - 4/7: No Pain No Game (Legnano, Italy)
4/6 - 4/7: Shack Team Edition (Rome, Italy)
4/6: Best Babes South Carolina (Beaufort, SC)
4/6: Best Babes Decatur (Decatur, AL)
4/6 - 4/7: Landifornian Battle (Seignosse, France)
4/6: Two Peas in a Pod: Mixed Gender Partner Comp (Burlington, MA)
4/6: Best Babes Wyoming (Cheyene, Wyoming)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Masiphumelele (Kommetjie, Cape Town, South Africa)
4/20: Festivus Games (Goderich, Canada)
4/20: Festivus Games (Clermont, FL)
4/20: Festivus Games @ The Gym – CrossFit Kilo (Cedar Falls, IA)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CBM Sirens (Caledonia, MS)
4/20: Festivus Games @ Coyote Valley (San Jose, CA)
4/20 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia)
4/20: The Fittest 4 (Sunshine Coast, Australia)
4/20: Embrace the Challenge (Mentor, Ohio)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Pagosa (Pagosa Springs, CO)
4/20: First EVER Adaptive Festivus Games Competition (Waterford, United States)
4/20: Festivus Games (WAUKESHA, WI)
4/20 - 4/21: BGR Contest Spring Edition (Bergerac, France)
4/20 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia, Canada)

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