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Fighting post-traumatic stress with CrossFit

Morning Chalk Up

September 28   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • A high school is celebrating its ten-year anniversary.
  • How one organization is fighting post-traumatic stress with CrossFit.
  • Kara Saunders update post COVID.
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“Nature has given us all the pieces required to achieve exceptional wellness and health, but has left it to us to put these pieces together.” - Diane McLaren

  High School Affiliate Celebrates 10 Years, Helps Spread CrossFit to 52 Other Las Vegas Schools 

High School Affiliate Celebrates 10 Years, Helps Spread CrossFit to 52 Other Las Vegas Schools

Ten years ago, PE teacher Michelle Morrison approached the administrators at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, NV, and convinced them to let her run a CrossFit class for students in the ninth to twelfth grades.

With their blessing, Morrison opened Rancho CrossFit, a non-profit affiliate that would operate in the school’s then rundown, “old school weight room,” said Morrison, a teacher of 17 years.

“I’ll never forget that first day. They had no idea what they were getting into,” Morrison said about the 30 boys who signed up to be part of her inaugural CrossFit class.

Today, Morrison, a member of Iron Talon CrossFit in Las Vegas, offers eight CrossFit classes to 250 equal parts male and female students at Rancho High School, an inner-city Title 1 school, as well as an after school CrossFit club.

This means that for the last 10 years, Morrison has been rewarded by witnessing students get their first pull-up, push-up, or muscle-up, students who stop drinking soda and lose weight, and students who tell her how much more energy they have, how much better they’re sleeping, or how much better they feel about themselves. Nothing could be more rewarding for a teacher, she said.

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How Many Times Should You Eat a Day?

How Many Times Should You Eat a Day?

Heard any of these recently?

“You should be eating at least 5 times a day.”

“You should never skip breakfast.”

“You have to try intermittent fasting.”

Yeah, there is a lot of confusion around meal frequency.

Check out this guide from Trifecta to get the answers to common questions such as:

  • Can eating more often increase metabolism?
  • Does eating before bed cause weight gain?
  • How bad is skipping meals?

Get the low down on all things meal frequency, and find out whether you should be eating more or less frequently.


Two signed Mayhem Jerseys up for auction. Mayhem Freedom is auctioning off one male and one female leader’s jersey signed by the entire team. The proceeds will be donated to the Knoxville Dream Center, a local non-profit that supports underserved populations in the Knoxville, TN area.

  • Auction ends October 1.
  • Current bid: $1,100

How is Kara Saunders feeling post-COVID? She discusses her recovery and overall fitness in this vlog update.

  • “I probably feel better at this point of the season this year than in the past. Normally I come back from overseas and I’m out doing stuff but I’ve had forced rest and I’ve forced myself to take more time to rest. Usually, I feel a lot unfitter than I do now. I’m just keeping it steady instead.”

Former British Marine, Dave Bell, successfully rowed unsupported across the Atlantic. It took him 119 days to row from New York to England, which he did completely alone and unsupported.

GOOD READ: How this South Korean CrossFit coach is trying to change the drinking and fitness culture in Korea.

  The Weekly Fight: Turning Post Traumatic Stress into Post Traumatic Growth 

The Weekly Fight: Turning Post Traumatic Stress into Post Traumatic Growth

In December of 2015, former Marine Marty Kenny received a call from his Commanding Officer, asking him to reach out to a Marine, once under his command, who had been missing for a few days. “Needless to say, he never picked up when I called him,” Kenny said. “They found his body on December 26.”

  • “It’s not the first time I have lost Marines to suicide, but for some reason, this one really hit home,” Kenny continued. “He had three wonderful kids, he was married, and we never expected this. I was done. I knew I needed to do something, and I didn’t know what it was. All I knew was that picking up a kettlebell and beating my body up helped me through a lot of my stuff.”

With that in mind, Kenny started The Weekly Fight, a nonprofit founded on the principle “shared struggle brings people together.” They work to reduce veteran suicide and support healthy lifestyles through weekly workouts, turning “Post Traumatic Stress into Post Traumatic Growth.”

How it works: CrossFit gyms affiliated with The Weekly Fight hold weekly free workouts, open to anyone. (Community members are welcome, Kenny says, but they ask for a small donation if the person is not a veteran, family member, or first responder.)

  • Pre-COVID, there were 11 Weekly Fight gyms across three different states. Currently, there are six locations across two states.

The workouts are partner or team-based to build “that sense of camaraderie. In the past, workouts have been dedicated to veterans that lost their battles with PTSD, but now, the nonprofit dedicates WODS to veterans and first responders that are doing positive things in their community.

  • On 9/11, they dedicated the workout to HEART 9/11, an organization that takes first responders who “bonded in the aftermath” and has them rebuild and recover areas that have been affected by natural disasters.

The organization: The Weekly Fight is built on three pillars: a crisis management fund, a scholarship fund, and education.

The funds: Pulling money from direct donations and competition fundraisers, The Weekly Fight supports veterans and surviving children of PTSD.

  • “If there’s somebody in need, we hand out money,” Kenny says.

The Crisis Management fund is there for whatever a first responder or veteran may need, like paying electric bills or funeral expenses.

  • Since its inception in 2016, The Weekly Fight has given away almost $100,000 via the Crisis fund.

The Scholarship fund benefits children who have been around any PTSD in their home. These funds go towards higher education; Kenny hopes to give away at least $20,000 this year.

Education: This pillar centers around sharing experiences and discussing trauma.

  • “When you start to see that you’re not the only person, there’s not something wrong with you… you start to be able to open up more,” Kenny said.
  • “I can be at The Weekly Fight, and my wife will know something’s wrong. She’ll see [a friend] and say, you need to go talk to Mark. I can go up to Mark and say, ‘I’m having a tough day,’ and he’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I get it,’” Kenny continued.
  • “It’s just the point of being able to be next to someone that gets it. I think, for me, the big thing that happens with Veteran and First Responder suicide is that we think there’s something wrong with us, and we start to withdrawal because we don’t want to disturb everyone else’s life with what we’re dealing with,” he added.

HaLeigh Abbott, one of the nonprofit board members, says one of their affiliates in Pottstown, PA, also runs a sobriety group. The veterans and individuals in recovery can relate to each other, she says, because “trauma is trauma.”

  • My husband has reached out to someone in that group,” Abbott said, “And asked for support. That guy’s not a veteran, but he’s sober and my husband’s sober. That helps form a bond, too.”
  • It doesn’t even matter if you served or if you didn’t,” she said. “You have something that can help.”

The bottom line: The Weekly Fight gives veterans, first responders, and their family members a “place to go where you can find someone who is going through or has gone through the same thing you have.”

  • Kenny explains: “It’s not about the workout, not about the dedication, it’s about having a location where people who don’t like to communicate a lot of times, know they can find some people that are like-minded.”


Why Science is Cooling on Cold Water Immersion

Looking for a reason to avoid the cold plunge? Look no further. In this study, jumping into cold water straight after strength training was found to have no beneficial effect on recovery or training adaptations. Check out the findings and decide for yourself if the ice bath is worth it.




A Gym Bag That Works as Hard as You

Want to be matched with your perfect gym bag? Leave it to the pros at King Kong to match you with your next workout buddy. One that will always be there through even the toughest workouts, keeping you prepared, organized, motivated, and will most importantly never skip a session.



Three Drills To Improve Your Gymnastic Strength

Gymnastic strength takes time to develop, but doing the same drills day after day can become tedious at best and, at worst, mind-numbing. Add these three innovative exercises into your routine to see strength gains while keeping your brain engaged.



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Your Poor Posture

Constantly slouching over your computer or cell phone causes unwanted soreness in your back and can even lead to injuries in the box. Strengthen your back and fix your posture with these mobilization exercises that promote healthy movement in your joints.


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

  • 🎂 Happy birthday Jacob Typskin, coach to Sean Sweeney.
  • 🎂Happy 13th birthday to CrossFit Glasgow in Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Congratulations Christy B from CrossFit Wash Park in Denver, CO on getting your first pull-up.
  • Mia Hesketh hits a 220 pound/100kg squat clean + hang clean complex postpartum.
  • Alex Gazan hits three tempo clean grip deadlifts at 295 pounds/134kg then five strict press at 125 pounds/57kg.
  • Andrea Nisler hit a 260 pound/118kg clean but failed the jerk because a change plate fell off.
  • Congratulations to Tani Mintz from Sharp Edge CrossFit in Evanston, IL on the 175 pound/79kg 5RM overhead squat PR.

Uprising Meals’ kitchen, where they prep all their meals was completely submerged during Hurricane Ida, and their insurance will not cover the damages. They’re asking for help to stave off bankruptcy.

  • “Our kitchen facility was submerged in rushing water. It took doors off the hinges, broke equipment, ruined our freezers and inventory inside, destroyed our tray sealing machine, thousands of dollars of insulated shipping boxes, kitchen appliances, contaminated everything with mud, broke our walk-in refrigeration units, and rendered the facility inoperable.”
1/28 - 1/29: Qualifiche Campionato Italiano Sthenathlon Blor (Milano, Italy)
1/28: Masters Of The Midway (Cary, IL)
1/28: Bloodline Brawl (Fort Myers, FL)
1/28: Sunshine CrossFit ALS Fundraiser (Bedford Hills, NY)
1/28: Bloodline Brawl VII (Teams of 3!) (Fort Myers, FL)
1/28: Masters Of The Midway: Individual (Cary, IL)
2/4 - 2/5: Modena Challenge: Intermediate and Rx (Modena, Italy)
2/4: Valentine’s Day Massacre (Tucson, AZ)
2/4: The 2023 Winter Classic (Danbury, CT)
2/4: GOAT Youth/Teen Fitness Competition: Individual, Age Groups 10-17 (Olyphant, PA)
2/10 - 2/12: Fittest if the Coast Championship (Charleston, SC)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash (co-ed pairs) (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/11: Valentine’s Day Crush (North Hollywood, CA)
2/11: Cupid’s Clash at THRIVE CrossFit 103 (Staten Island, NY)
2/11: The Big Chill (Chillicothe, OH)
2/12: The 2023 RCF Winter War (Londonderry, NH)
2/18: Moultrie South Georgia Classic (Norman Park, GA)
3/1 - 3/31: Barbells For Bullies: Sit Ups For Pups (Online Event, United States)
3/18 - 3/19: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, Canada)
3/25 - 3/26: Costa Dorada Fitness Challenge (Tamarit, Tarragona, Spain)
3/25: No Weak Links (Marcy, NY)

See all upcoming events

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