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“Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active” drops this week, read an early review now

Morning Chalk Up

June 29   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Check out our early review of “Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active”
  • Stacie Tovar, Jason Khalipa, and Chris Spealler discuss training into their late-30s
  • James Sprague is gearing up for his first Games as an individual
  • Check out Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro
  • The French Throwdown celebrated its tenth anniversary last weekend, learn more below
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“Appreciate where you are in your journey, even if it's not where you want to be. Every season serves a purpose.” - Unknown

  The 2022 Games Documentary “Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active” Drops this Week, Here’s An Early Review from a Pair of Superfans  

The 2022 Games Documentary “Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active” Drops this Week, Here’s An Early Review from a Pair of Superfans

I (Katie) started CrossFit only because of the documentaries. Within one week of discovering the Froning documentary (Froning: The Fittest Man in History, 2015) on Netflix, I had binged every single Fittest on Earth and YouTube recap available on the sport. By the time I stepped into an affiliate for the first time four years later (shoutout to Hybrid Farm in Rice Lake, WI), I so clearly understood what Drake meant by, “I’m the rookie and the vet.” From a pair of self-proclaimed documentary superfans, here are our takeaways from “Fittest on Earth: Retro/Active.”

Return to a Familiar Format

Similar to Semifinals making a return to Regionals, this film felt more like a return to the documentaries of old than the last few. We get to know each of the podium athletes on a deeper level, and see their story develop throughout the week. One by one, each test is described through commentary from the athletes, Adrian Bozman, Justin Bergh, media personalities, and audio clips from the live feed. Then, we watch it unfold from the perspective of our main characters: Tia Toomey, Justin Medeiros, Roman Khrennikov, Mallory O’Brien, Laura Horvath, and Ricky Garard.

Early on in the film, Competition Director Adrian Bozman discusses programming presses-to-handstand in Event 2: Skill Speed Medley.

  • Bozman: “It’s part of CrossFit’s DNA, it’s been in the hundred words of fitness for two decades now. It’s one of those things that athletes should be playing around with and practicing. It’s one of those things that, because it hasn’t shown up in competition before, people are starting to get lazy and blow it off. You can’t do that anymore.”

And with that simple statement, Bozman encapsulates the “Retro” part of the “Retro/Active” title of the film. Of course, the “Active” part is self-explanatory.

  • “Retro/Active is director Mariah Moore’s third turn at the helm, following up on 2021’s “Fittest on Earth: Next Gen.”

Side Note: Justin Bergh is a major part of the film, as he was a major part of the season and event, but I can’t help feeling that I know something he doesn’t know. Not that anything should be different, it’s just an odd viewer’s guilt.

The Humanity of CrossFit

Throughout the film, we see a very human side to each of the athletes. It’s no secret that Tia and Justin were not wearing the Leader’s jerseys after Day 1 in Madison, and hearing them tell that story from their own perspective fed our superfan souls. We also get some never-before-seen interview moments with Roman. The silver medalist holds his newborn son on the podium while his voiceover describes the legacy he wants to leave, and it feels like a very deep and personal moment with one of our newer Games “characters”.

Finally, don’t watch this without your tissues. As Tia talks about starting a family and soaking in her final moments on the floor in Event 13, we couldn’t help but tear up. Then, when the camera pans to Mat Fraser and Matt O’Keefe blubbering in the stands, we were full on crying.

Even those who have negative feelings toward Garard will surely feel something when the podium-finisher reflects on his last five years: “If I hadn’t made that choice, what would my life be like.”

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Ten Thousand is releasing a new short style that’s built for adventures outside the gym. Check out the A–L Short now.

🏋️‍♀️ Squat University is giving away a home gym. Enter before July 1.

Here’s a list of easy vs hard choices from Ben Bergeron.

RX Smart Gear is hiring, apply now.

  From Gains to Maintenance: CrossFit OGs Chris Spealler, Jason Khalipa, Stacie Tovar Talk Performance Realities After 15-Plus Years in the Sport  


From Gains to Maintenance: CrossFit OGs Chris Spealler, Jason Khalipa, Stacie Tovar Talk Performance Realities After 15-Plus Years in the Sport

Repeatable and measurable: It’s why many of us fell in love with CrossFit, the expectation being that CrossFit will provide an endless stream of improvement.

And generally speaking, when we commit to our fitness, this does happen. We keep getting fitter.

For a time.

But eventually, when we hit a certain age, and more importantly, when we hit a certain training age, gains in the traditional sense of the definition become harder and harder to achieve.

Insert hit to the ego here.

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  Passion and Excitement Help Gear James Sprague Up for the CrossFit Games  

Passion and Excitement Help Gear James Sprague Up for the CrossFit Games

In a now long-buried video on FaceBook from check-in at the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games, 14-15 division competitors Tudor Magda and James Sprague stand dutifully (if awkward and tense) while an interviewer asks them questions. Both smaller and more scraggly, the boys–then training partners–described their check-in experience, the gear they received, and their backgrounds in the sport. When asked what he was most excited about during his first-ever Games appearance, Sprague replied,

“Run Swim Run. . . everything, actually! Everything is gonna be so fun!”

Six years later, Sprague is experiencing another first: the individual division.

The extroverted, jovial 15-year-old that showed up to the 2017 Games in his father’s shoes is a far cry from the Sprague that punched his first ticket as an individual at the North America East Semifinal. He’s taller and stronger, for one. He’s moved across the country, from his home state of Washington to Naples, Florida to train with the Brute Strength crew.

One thing hasn’t changed much over all the years: Sprague’s enthusiasm.

Happy to train, compete, encourage, and speak on his love for the sport, Sprague is a true representative of CrossFit. Now, he’s gearing up for his first individual appearance at the Games, after qualifying through the North America East Semifinal. Sprague highly prioritizes balance and making sure his mental health is where it needs to be right along with his physical health, so after taking a week off to go home to the Pacific Northwest to visit family and “reset,” he’s back in Naples to focus solely on being “CrossFit James.”

  • “It’s a lot of learning, how to be 100% all-in for every aspect,” Sprague said on the transition from Semifinals to Games training. “Not taking any moment for granted and taking advantage of every part of the day. Everything revolves around the Games now.”

Of course, Sprague has trained for the CrossFit Games before. He competed as a teenager in 2017 (14-15 division) and 2019 (16-17 division), where he placed fourth and fifth respectively. However, Sprague says that with nearly double the events, volume, and time competing as the younger division, he’s training double the time.

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  I Tried Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro and Here’s What I Found  

I Tried Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro and Here’s What I Found

The annoyance from a nagging injury is enough to keep you away from the gym at times, however making use of some of the newest gadgets and tools to aid recovery can really be worth the while.

Over the winter I fractured my kneecap and have only recently started getting back to all the movements I was avoiding for many months. I had the opportunity to try out Kineon’s MOVE+ Pro for several weeks and used the device for one month straight. Below are my biggest takeaways from the experience and hopefully persuade you to give it a try too.

Eases pain: I won’t lie that I was skeptical prior to giving the MOVE+ Pro a try and I wasn’t completely sure that red light therapy was what I needed in my recovery (Want to know more about the science? Read this). However, after a month of using the device I really saw a big relief in my pain. Since I had a broken knee cap I would lay down at night and it would ache. I’d also find going up the stairs or kneeling down to be almost unbearable.

After a month of using the MOVE+ Pro every evening for 15 minutes I could feel the difference in my pain level. I was no longer straining on the stairs because of the pain in my knee and when I would squat or kneel down I didn’t have to do it so gingerly anymore. I would forget to use the device once in a while, but I’d make up for it by using the tool in the morning and evening the next day. The pain is still there throughout my day-to-day life, however without the MOVE+ I am almost 100 percent certain it’d be much worse.

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  French Throwdown Celebrates 10th Anniversary  

French Throwdown Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Held over the course of three days, on the last weekend in June, the French Throwdown celebrated its ten year anniversary with 820 athletes, 350 volunteers and 8000 spectators, at the Velodrome of St. Quentin in Yvelines, France, just outside of Paris.

Remind me: Besides being one of Europe’s largest CrossFit competitions and hosting competitors from throughout the world, the French Throwdown is also a charity event, as it partners with the Aladdin Association, an organization that helps to send sick children on holidays and vacations.

In 2022, the French Throwdown was able to donate 12,000 Euros to the association, thus helping change the lives of over a dozen children. Event organizers hope to reach the same success with this year’s edition.

Over the weekend, spectators took to the sunshine as the set–up included a festival-like atmosphere and large vendor village, activities, challenges and demonstrations. Sponsors like FitAid, GOWOD, Rogue, Go Ruck and Northern Spirit were all in attendance. Fans could learn biathlon shooting techniques, combining cardiovascular endurance and shooting skills. They could practice how to properly lift and train with a Go Ruck sandbag, and they could learn how to master double unders and even double under crossovers from five-time world jump rope champion Molly Metz.

For competitors, the event hosted a multitude of categories including age groups, scaled, intermediate and RX individuals, and scaled, intermediate, RX and elite teams. Over three days, athletes faced between nine to ten workouts and up to 12 scores, including a 5K run, echo biking, rope climbs, sandbag lunges, handstand walking, l-sits and lots of barbell.

The final event, “OHS Amanda” saw athletes completing a 9-7-5 rep scheme of ring muscle ups and overhead squats at 70 kilos for the men and 50 for the women, with a time cap of 5 minutes.

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How to Fix Your Bad Shoulder

If overhead presses and handstands hurt your shoulder, these exercises could be your new saving grace. Not to mention, if Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet suggests doing them, you know your shoulders will be SOLID after.




On-Hand H20

Gym, beach, or backcountry, the new YETI Yonder™ Water Bottles are built to go wherever you train.



Your Chicken Wing Bar Muscle-Up

Do you watch videos of your bar muscle-ups and cringe a little? Most likely it’s due to the chicken wing you get from turning over too quickly. Use this drill to fix the chicken wing.



Get Patriotic with the Born Primitive Patriotic Collection

Get ready for the 4th of July with the new Patriotic Collection from Born Primitive. From swimwear to a new gym outfit, you’ll be showing your American pride. Rock some of their new collection at a BBQ near you!



The Most Common Injuries in CrossFit

Everyone might have their own guesses, but the CrossFit nerds at WOD Science actually tested: “What is the most common injury in CrossFit”? The results might surprise you.


Share Your CrossFit Story


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

  • 🎂 Happy belated birthday to the Morning Chalk Up’s own Gabrielle Kassel (Wednesday).
  • 🍼 Congratulations to Brenda Castro and Carlos Martell on their pregnancy announcement.
  • 👰🏻‍♀️ Congratulations to Carolyn Prevost and her wife Alexys on tying the knot this past weekend.
  • Congratulations to Grace Utto-Galarneau from CrossFit Zion in St. George, UT on her new job with the St. George Fire Department.
  • Noah Ohlsen hit a new front squat PR of 405 pounds/183.7kg in only five minutes.
4/6 - 4/7: Landifornian Battle (Seignosse, France)
4/6: Two Peas in a Pod: Mixed Gender Partner Comp (Burlington, MA)
4/6 - 4/7: SeaDog Summer Showdown (Jupiter, Florida)
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 608 (Janesville, Wisconsin)
4/6: Best Babes South Carolina (Beufort, South Carolina)
4/6: Best Babes Tampa (Tampa, Florida)
4/6: Best Babes Wyoming (Cheyene, Wyoming)
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: Best Babes Houston (Houston, Texas)
4/13: Queens of Oly East Tennessee (Bulls Gap, TN)
4/13: Queens of Oly Rockledge (Rockledge, FL)
4/13: Fittest on Main (Boaz, AL)
4/19 - 4/21: Crash Crescendo (Spartanburg, SC)
4/20: Barbells For Bullies: Community Workout Savannah (Savnnah, Georgia, US)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Plattsburgh (Plattsburgh, NY)
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: 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)
4/20 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia)
4/25 - 5/12: Raised by Grace (Virtual, )
4/26 - 4/28: Crash Crescendo (Spartanburg, SC)
4/27: Cap Crown Throwdown (Gladstone, Australia)
4/28: 249 Spring Throwdown (Sittingbourne, Kent, England)
5/4: Masters Equalizer Co-Ed Team of 4 Comp (Oceanport, United States)
5/4: The Battle on Bedford (Lynchburg, VA)
5/4: CHLKDUP Classic (Nashville, TN)
5/4 - 5/5: Pavia Spring Challenge ’24 (Pavia, Italy)
5/4 - 5/5: Italian Bulls Games (Lido di Ostia, Italy)
5/4: Team Challenge Texas (San Antonio, Texas)
5/4: The Strong and Courageous (Cullman, Alabama)
5/11 - 5/12: Finest City Weightlifting Open – Presented by The Strength Tank (San Diego, CA)
5/11: True Fitness Trials (Cherry Hill, NJ)
5/11: Queens of Oly Hawaii (Wailuku, Hawaii)
5/11: Queens of Oly Hudson (Hudson, NY)
5/11: Queens of Oly Philadelphia (West Chester, Philadelphia)
5/18: Girls Gone RX Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)
5/18: Thrive Throwdown (Lynchburg, VA)
5/18: Imperial CrossFit’s Spring Fit Fest (Kent, WA)
5/18 - 5/19: The Rainhill Spring Trials (Manchester, UK)
5/18: Luminate the Day (Nonprofit comp for Windy Willow Foundation) (Grand Rapids, MI)
5/18: Girls Gone Rx Chicago (Alsip, Illinois)
5/18: Girls Gone Rx Wilmington (Wilmington, North Carolina)
5/18: Girls Gone Rx San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
5/18: Code 3 Clash (Eagle, ID)
5/27 - 6/9: Turun Tuomiopäivä 2024 Qualifiers (Turku, Finland)
5/31 - 6/2: The Atlantic Coast Classic (Daytona Beach, Florida)
6/1: NOVA Throwdown 2024 (Sterling, VA)

See all upcoming events

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