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Fit For Duty, Chandler Smith Takes On The Sanctionals

Morning Chalk Up

January 21

Red H Nutrition

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Today’s newsletter offers up a big helping of sport and community coverage. Below:

  • Captain Chandler Smith and the Sanctionals.
  • Cheryl Lathrope reclaims her health through CrossFit.
  • A profile of Greg Glassman, CrossFit Health and skepticism.

Keep those PRs, big lifts and story tips rolling in. Hit us up at [email protected].



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“You can’t test courage cautiously.” — Annie Dillard

Fit For Duty, Chandler Smith Takes On The Sanctionals

  Fit For Duty, Chandler Smith Takes On The Sanctionals  

On your left Captain America, Chandler Smith is coming in hot.

Besides the obvious physical comparisons between the fictional Steve Rogers, and Captain Chandler Smith, Officer In Charge for the Army Warrior Fitness Team, there is a striking resemblance in the sense of purpose each share as forward-facing members of the military. In training for and competing in the Sanctionals season, Smith is also fulfilling his duties as a recruiting tool for the United States Army.

Warriors wanted: The purpose of the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Team is to recruit capable men and women as soldiers. Through their training and performances at events, team members are able to physically showcase what a soldier is capable of through hard work and dedication, and it has been a determining factor for Smith as he maps out his season.

  • On top of his own training and competing, Smith also helps curate workouts and program for the rest of the team in their training for competition as well.
  • Smith: “There’s a lot of factors in planning the season, making sure we all get enough exposure because the members of the team represent multiple paths of success in the Army, but the pendulum also swings towards being able to do well in an event because that’s what gets the most eyes for what we do here.”

Smith garnered plenty of attention in his 2020 Sanctional debut a couple of weeks ago, battling through wrist and ankle injuries to win the Mayhem Classic in impressive fashion. In doing so, he beat out 13 current or former individual games athletes – nine of whom he’s got a playdate with in Madison later this year.

Marching forward: With a win in his back pocket, Smith is taking some time to recover before setting his sights on a full slate of competition at Sanctionals that includes representing the team in multiple divisions on all parts of the globe.

  • As an individual: Smith has plans to compete at the West Coast Classic in March, and the Rogue Invitational in May. Both will have highly competitive fields, and Rogue is where he earned his invite to the Games in 2019.
  • As a team: Smith and his Army teammates will join forces for the Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge in April, before he heads to the Madrid CrossFit Championships to compete on a team with Andrea Nisler, Taylor Williamson, and Travis Williams.
  • But wait there’s more: Depending on a few factors still to be determined, Smith could also end up competing on a team for the Army at either the Granite Games or the Asbury Park Summer Games in June.

In total that’s three individual competitions, and as many as three team competitions before the Games. Regardless of whether he ends up competing at five or six Sanctionals this season, it would be the busiest schedule we’ve seen yet on the men’s side. No male individual games athletes competed at more than four events in 2019, and even then only two athletes – Matt Mcleod and Travis Mayer – managed to do so.

A bigger purpose: For an athlete with hopes of a top 10 finish at the Games this year, competing at nearly a half dozen times beforehand might seem excessive. Smith on the other hand, maintains a mindset of gratitude.

  • Smith: “I have the honor of getting to train full time. The army’s angle is not to make really good athletes, this is really far from the core purpose of the army,” states Smith,
  • On his responsibility: “I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I’m not being asked to do some of the really, really hard things that some of my buddies (in the Army) are being asked to do, and that really makes me feel responsible for maximizing what I’ve got here.”

Either way, we’ll get to see Smith back at the Games as an individual in 2020. As far as the next five months, one thing is certain – the Sanctionals will be treated to a high dose of Chandler Smith on the competition floor, and that’s a win for the Army, and the fans.


How Cheryl Lathrope Lost 183 Pounds and Reclaimed her Health

  How Cheryl Lathrope Lost 183 Pounds and Reclaimed her Health  

Not that long ago, Cheryl Lathrope spent most nights sleeping on her couch. At 5-foot-7 and 344 pounds, it just took too much energy and effort for her to climb the stairs to her bedroom.

And when her dog dropped his toys under that couch, sometimes she’d just leave them there because bending over was too difficult.

“I could barely even walk the steps to my mailbox,” said the 53-year-old Lathrope, who’s hips ached constantly.

On top of struggling with day-to-day tasks, Lathrope’s health markers were on the decline. Her blood pressure was high at 146/110 mm Hg and her A1C—average blood sugar level—was 7.0, which is considered diabetic. She was also on a fairly high dose of antidepressants as well.

“And I never wanted to travel because I needed an extension on the seatbelt and I was devastated to ask for it,” Lathrope said.

The doctor gave her two options: A low-calorie liquid diet to help her lose weight or undergo bariatric surgery.

“I sent an email right then and told (owner) Rob (Lalonde). I told him, ‘I’m 52, over 300 pounds and I feel like I’m going to die.’ I didn’t even know who I was writing the email to, or if I’d ever hear back, but Rob literally answered within an hour.”

“It was August 2018. I was driving to my appointment to see if I’d have to have bariatric surgery, but I couldn’t do it. So I turned around and drove to work instead. I sat in the parking garage at work and I didn’t know what to do,” said Lathrope, who works as a consultant for the Government of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario.

At the time, she had also become addicted to watching the CrossFit Games.

“I watched all of the CrossFit Games movies over and over. Something about it fascinated me. I would be sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t even bend over to tie my shoe. I can’t even pick up my dog’s toys.’ I was amazed by what (Games athletes) could do,” she said.

Still feeling completely lost sitting in her car at work, Lathrope decided then and there that she wasn’t going to have surgery. And she wasn’t going on some short-term liquid diet either. Instead, she googled CrossFit gyms in her area and selected Landmark CrossFit in Ottawa.

“I sent an email right then and told (owner) Rob (Lalonde). I told him, ‘I’m 52, over 300 pounds and I feel like I’m going to die.’ I didn’t even know who I was writing the email to, or if I’d ever hear back, but Rob literally answered within an hour,” she said.

Today, Lathrope considers writing that email the moment that saved her life.


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Baby Swimming Lessons with Kara Saunders

In this episode, Kara Saunders does it all — tackles a tough chipper, including her first GHD sit-ups since pregnancy, hangs out with Sam Briggs, discusses the launch date for ACTIV, her sunglasses company, and takes baby Scotti to swimming lessons.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Better Sleep

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Is Your Ego Blinding Your From Better Opportunities?


Is Your Ego Blinding Your From Better Opportunities?

In this episode of Open Gym podcast, Patrick Cummings sits down with Max Isaak, one of the co-founders of the CrossFit TILT franchise. They’re about to open their fifth location. Before TILT, he had plenty of opportunities to open a gym by himself.

Listen on Spotify    Listen on Apple Podcasts    More Listening Options...


Breakfast Blondies

Forget the overnight oats and the chia pudding, this healthy-ish take on a flaxseed muffin will make you jump out of bed. Grain-free and packed with protein, the Breakfast Blondie made with almond butter and flaxseed meal with just a touch of maple syrup and brown butter toasted nuts.



  • Rodrick Lopez hits a 240 pound power snatch for a PR.
  • Auturo Lara power cleans 315 pounds.
  • Congratulations to Mathew Rex Deaton on his first bar muscle-up.
  • Louise Czurka does 3 thrusters at 161 pounds for a PR.
  • Dylan Cooper does a 295 pound thruster.
  • Tesla the Australian Shepard takes burpees one step further.


Greg Glassman, CrossFit Health and a Writer’s First WOD

Last week, Outside Magazine, published a profile of Greg Glassman, the history of CrossFit, the development of the methodology and sport and CrossFit Health, the company’s newest direction. The writer, Tessa Love, offers an in-depth look at these topics and an interesting portrayal of the CrossFit founder and CEO. Here are a few of Love’s key passages and assertions:

  • On Glassman at the 2019 Games: “Glassman, the 63-year-old founder of this fitness phenomenon, doesn’t seem to think [the Games are] such a big deal… He has turned his back on the action and is chatting with his ever present entourage about his new favorite topic: CrossFit Health, the company initiative positing that CrossFit is the cure to chronic illness and the savior of the failing health care system.”
  • On the CrossFit business model: “The business is structured in a Glassman-approved libertarian fashion—each box is independently owned and operated, with little say-so from CrossFit HQ, for a $3,000 yearly fee—and it’s become the largest fitness chain in the world. Though the company’s revenue figures aren’t public, Forbes estimated in 2015 that CrossFit pulls in over $100 million a year.”
  • On CrossFit Health: “In 2017, CrossFit launched CrossFit Health… An overhaul of the company’s image began in earnest that same year and included a major redesign of the CrossFit website in 2019. Images of bulging CrossFit competitors were replaced with average people just trying to get in shape: instructional videos show older adults doing tricep dips off a vintage kitchen counter or raising bags of dog food off the floor. Normal people, functional movements, total health—that’s the new CrossFit brand.”
  • On Glassman’s outlook: “Glassman isn’t wrong in his assessment of America’s health problems. According to a 2019 Harvard study, nearly half of all American adults will suffer from obesity by 2030. Another study, published in 2018, found that 70 percent of deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic illness. In Glassman’s mind, the answer is simple: ‘Off the carbs, off the couch.'”
  • On her first CrossFit WOD: “After spending three days with Glassman, I’m tempted to believe that if he has changed so many lives, he must be doing something right… It’s this thinking that prompts me to let three doctors drag me to my first CrossFit workout in Madison during the games, where I perform burpees and rowing reps until I’m pouring sweat and can’t lift my arms.”
  • On CrossFit and skepticism: “Back home…I mull over Glassman’s immutable commitment to skepticism. Embedded in the CrossFit brand is the belief that we should always question the established order. So I have to ask: Is a multimillion-dollar company claiming exclusive access to the truth not part of the established order? If I drink the CrossFit Kool-Aid, shouldn’t I question the ingredients?” 


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