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Gyms Navigate Reopening Regulations

Morning Chalk Up

May 9

Red H Nutrition

Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. We know that COVID-19 has created innumerable difficulties for gym owners, coaches and athletes, but Emily Beers profiles several coaches who sought out different compensation structures before the pandemic and are weathering it well. And, some elite teen athletes have found success in Olympic weightlifting after leaving competitive CrossFit. Today:

  • Some coaches have found an alternate compensation structure that has benefited them and their gyms financially.
  • Burnt-out teen CrossFitters find success in weightlifting.
  • Gym owners around the world try to navigate a rapidly shifting landscape of re-opening regulations.  

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“As you listen to that voice in your head, that voice becomes your best and worst coach. Nobody will coach you more than that voice. If that voice was projected over the loudspeaker, would you be proud of it?” – Ben Bergeron


Meet 4 Coaches Who Saw a Better Way Than an Hourly Wage or Salary, Especially During a Pandemic

 Meet 4 Coaches Who Saw a Better Way Than an Hourly Wage or Salary, Especially During a Pandemic 

Shanna Guzman wanted to become a full-time, professional coach who could earn a professional wage without working 35 to 40 on-floor coaching hours each week. She wanted to be able to pursue coaching as a lifelong career, and definitely wanted the ability to take the odd paid vacation.

No Future in Hourly Compensation

But after getting paid an hourly wage to coach group classes for a number of years, Guzman realized there was no future in that compensation model.

Kayla Smith had the same revelation. So did Chris Spigner. And Connor Martin. Each of them experienced what it was like to be paid $20 to $30 an hour, or getting paid a salary, but in both cases quickly found themselves having to work way too many on-floor coaching hours each week, and yet they were still unable to earn a professional wage.

“There were days I was coaching five or six classes a day, coaching the same stuff over and over and repeating myself over and over,” said Smith, who used to manage a CrossFit affiliate. “At one point a couple years in, I would be there from 5 a.m. until 9 o’clock at night. I coached every single class.”

Not only was she spending too much time on the floor, but Smith knew she wouldn’t ever be able to become a full-time, career coach in that business model.

“(It) doesn’t set the coaches up to win…It’s fine as a part-time job, or maybe a college student just starting out, but there’s no long-term win,” she said.

Guzman had a similar experience. She wasn’t able to make a living, and paid vacations were never going to happen.

“When I was coaching at a (traditional) CrossFit gym, if I left for two weeks, I wasn’t getting paid because I wasn’t teaching a class or (wasn’t) on the floor with a PT client, so no income was coming in,” said Guzman, who now works at OPEX Revival in San Rafael, CA owned by CrossFit Games athlete Marcus Filly.


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Elite Teens Face Burn Out and Injury, Find Success in Olympic Lifting

 Elite Teens Face Burn Out and Injury, Find Success in Olympic Lifting 

High school athlete burnout is common, even in CrossFit. But when elite teen CrossFit athletes get burnt out, chances are they’re not completely bowing out of the world of competitively lifting heavy things. With their competitive CrossFit days behind them, there’s a small but mighty group of former Games athletes that have made an impression in the world of Olympic Weightlifting.

In small-town Warrensburg MO, CrossFit Believe is home to Reagan Henry, 2017 Games athlete turned weightlifting star. Henry represented Team USA at the 2019 Youth Panamerican Championships and has big goals in her sport.

  • “I want to make the 2024 Olympics, for sure,” Henry admitted. The University of Kansas commit is also set to study and become an obstetrician and gynecologist. “I have never felt so passionate about a sport in my life.”

Before Henry became absorbed in weightlifting, she was an avid CrossFit competitor. At the 2017 CrossFit Games, in the 14-15 division, Henry finished in 17th place. While earning the title of “Seventeenth Fittest Teen on Earth” would surely be an impressive resume (and ego) builder, Henry wasn’t satisfied coming out of the Games.

  • Henry: “At the end of each day, I remember going home more mentally tired than physically.”

Feeling frustrated and fatigued with the varied nature of training for CrossFit, Henry turned to olympic weightlifting when a friend introduced her to highly acknowledged weightlifting coach Travis Mash.

Henry said the methodical, specific training cycles to improve a single pull or hip snap agreed with her more than CrossFit. Furthermore, she was partial to the reliable format of competition. This reliability no doubt suits her; at her last meet, USA Weightlifting’s Junior National Championships in February, Henry took second in the 64kg/140 pound division with an 80kg/176 pound snatch and 105kg/231 pound clean and jerk, and fourth overall.


Gyms Attempt to Navigate Rapidly Changing Landscape of Re-Opening Regulations

 Gyms Attempt to Navigate Rapidly Changing Landscape of Re-Opening Regulations 

The COVID-climate for CrossFit boxes globally right now is unpredictable. While some states and territories are relaxing restrictions and allowing gyms to reopen, other affiliate owners are being forced to wait it out and lobby their government for an exemption while weighing the health and financial costs and benefits of either option.

(From a reporting standpoint, the situation isn’t just changing by the day — in some cases — it’s by the hour. At the Morning Chalk Up, we take pride in providing the most up to date information where possible, and thanks to thousands of CrossFitters who are part of our global community, here’s an update of what we’re hearing from those on the ground.)

In the United States: At the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown several weeks ago, 96% of the 6915 CrossFit affiliates in the US were closed. According to the New York Times, currently, 31 states are in some phase of easing restrictions and many more will be added to that list by mid-to-late May; however, state governors have placed gym re-opening at various stages or phases of their blueprints and plans.  

In states where mandated closures remain in place, affiliates continue to petition governments to allow them to train in their facilities again, with strict protocols. Adding to the list of initiatives we’ve been closely monitoring:

  • Kyle Stark, owner of Ft. Wright CrossFit in Kentucky has created a petition to convince the government CrossFit gyms “aren’t your typical gym” and should be able to reopen sooner.
  • A letter to the Florida surgeon general has been signed by a growing number of local affiliates, while another petition has also been filed in Florida to allow small, independent gyms to be classified separately from large gyms and given their own timeline for reopening.
  • Jake Naumcheff owns CrossFit Laminin in Vestavia Hills, Alabama and wrote an open letter to Governor Kay Ivey sharing how their facility “…is uniquely equipped to comply with the certain social distancing and sanitation protocols currently in place.”



Noah Ohlsen Train for the CrossFit Games in His Driveway

Whether or not the CrossFit Games happen this summer, Noah Ohlsen’s mantra has been “stay ready.” Check in with him in this video as he trains in his driveway in Miami.

 Morning Chalk Up 


The Reebok Speed TR Flash Sale

Reebok’s versatile Speed TR is on sale for just $37 until May 12. If you haven’t experienced the Speed TR now’s the perfect time to give it pick it up and put it through a few tests. This shoe was built for sprints, weights, and short distance running. Pick up a pair now and use the code “SPEED” to get them for $37.

 Morning Chalk Up 


Jason Khalipa Discuss Fitness Beyond COVID-19

On this episode of the Barbend podcast, host David Tao talks with Jason Khalipa, one of the fitness world’s most recognizable figures, the 2008 CrossFit Games Champion, a multi-time Games podium finisher, and fitness entrepreneur with a truly international business. They discuss which gyms have the best shot of surviving the pandemic, the future of strength sports, and his own experiences as the father of an immunocompromised child.

 Morning Chalk Up 


Honey Mustard Apple Tuna Salad

Try this protein-packed honey mustard apple tuna salad that’s easy to make and delicious on either apple slices or sweet potato toast.





Top Trending Stories at the Morning Chalk Up

Here are five of the top trending stories from the past week:

  • Age group athletes reacted to the abrupt end to their season last week with disappointment, but also resilience and resolve.
  • Michael Manning, the owner of Harbor City Community Fitness, re-opened his gym defying the Florida closure mandate, here’s why.
  • There has been much speculation about the fate of the team division at the 2020 CrossFit Games, Tommy Marquez reports on the individuals who gave up their individual qualifying spots to compete on a team and teases a possible team competition at CrossFit Mayhem.
  • NBC released the roster for season two of the Titan Games and Matt Chan, Margeaux Alverez, and Dani Speegle lead a crew of athletes with CrossFit connections.
  • After the CrossFit HQ announcement ending the age group season, a group of teen athletes met virtually to hatch a plan for the Teen Games, and they just might be able to pull it off.

Bonus: Check out these five macro-friendly and tasty recipes from our friends at Working Against Gravity, we know you’ve some extra time to cook.  

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