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Hero Workout to Honor CrossFit Coach Who Lost Life Saving Wife

Morning Chalk Up

March 10   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Hero workout to honor CrossFit coach who lost life saving wife from rip current in Puerto Rico
  • Could doing one Fran a day keep the doctor away?
  • Nonagenarian Annie Holmes loves CrossFit and CrossFit loves her
  • CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue’s workout of the week
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“Respect is what we owe; love, what we give.” - Philip James Bailey

  CrossFit Coach Loses Life Saving Wife from Rip Current in Puerto Rico  

CrossFit Coach Loses Life Saving Wife from Rip Current in Puerto Rico

On March 3, the WildFire CrossFit Community in Phoenix, AZ lost long-time coach and friend Damian Walker, who drowned trying to save his wife’s life from a rip current in Puerto Rico while on vacation with 22 other family members.

Walker’s wife Salmeh’s life was saved, but his was not. His father, Lou Walker, was also taken by the current, and his body has still not been found.

Salmeh did manage to pull her husband’s body from the water and began performing CPR on him on the beach, “but he had already drowned,” explained WildFire CrossFit owner Tiffany Divelbiss, who owns the gym with her husband Skip Divelbiss.

Walker at WildFire: Walker, 33, had been coaching at WildFire CrossFit for 10 years and was described as “the spark that lit the fire for so many people.”

  • “Damian was 100 percent larger than life and had the biggest heart of anyone we know. He would stop on the side of the road to make sure an animal was OK,” said Divelbiss, fighting back tears. “He was always the one that hyped everyone up, but he (also) had this insane humor and was a prankster. He liked to make us laugh and keep us on his toes. It was always out of love.”
  • She added: “He always made sure he got to know things about our members. He really took the time to get to know all of them.”

Honoring a hero: Still deep in grief, the WildFire community quickly set up a GoFundMe for Walker’s family. At the time of publishing, it had raised almost $18,000.

  • They also just designed a Hero Workout in honor of Walker and will be hosting an event on April 2—what would have been Walker’s 33rd birthday—where people will have the chance to complete the workout and celebrate Walker’s life.

The workout: Damian “D”

33 rounds of:

  • 3 handstand push-ups
  • 3 power cleans (185/1125 pounds)
  • 2 pistols
  • 3 bar muscle-ups

And while nothing will bring Walker back, Divelbiss is hoping the April 2 event and the hero workout will give everyone a way to honor their coach and friend and remember him for the amazing man he was.

“He touched so many people and we want to give our community something to rally around and share their Damian moments to celebrate him…and help us all heal. He was the heart and soul of WildFire CrossFit,” she said.

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ICYMI: Morning Chalk Up’s analytics guru Joey Adduci has a full breakdown of Adrian Bozman’s first crack at programming the CrossFit Open.

Sneakerheads: There’s two new shoes on the market, Reebok’s “pumped” weightlifting shoes and TYR’s first iteration of a weightlifting shoe and we have the skinny on both of them from our writers. 🏋🏻‍♂️

Call it a comeback: Bethany Shadburne’s journey back to the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games is most definitely a story we are keeping our eyes on.

Interesting listen: The Invictus Mindset Podcast talks to Matt O’Keefe, the CEO of HWPO and a NOBULL partnerships consultant.

Local love: A local radio station in Amarillo, Texas has a list of the four best places to get your CrossFit workout on in the city.

More local love: Quite an extensive local piece on a new CrossFit gym that has opened up in Bass Lake in Washburn County, Wisconsin.

  One Fran a Day to Keep the Doctor Away?  


One Fran a Day to Keep the Doctor Away?

While many who do CrossFit have lofty performance goals that require serious time in the gym, the average person at an affiliate is arguably there just to be healthy and fit, so they can avoid disease and live a long life.

And generally these people don’t have time to train more than an hour a day, let alone twice a day, nor do they even want to. They’re seeking a short, hard and efficient workout so they can carry on with their day.

Continue Reading...
  Ninety-Three Years Old and Still Going Strong at Auburn CrossFit for Annie Holmes  

Ninety-Three Years Old and Still Going Strong at Auburn CrossFit for Annie Holmes

Four years ago, Nikki Holmes noticed her 89-year-old mother Annie Holmes had stopped walking like she used to.

“She had an aging Corgi, and when he stopped walking she kind of did, too. And she had always been a walker, but she was struggling to walk 100 yards,” said Nikki, now 62. At the same time, Nikki and Annie were planning a trip to Italy, Greece and Turkey, which was going to require some serious walking.

When Nikki expressed her concerns to her mother, Annie said, ‘Well, maybe I could join that class that you go to.”

Annie was referring to her daughter’s CrossFit class at Auburn CrossFit in Auburn, CA.

Where Annie is Today

Four years later, at the age of 93, Annie is a devoted member of Auburn CrossFit and walking is no longer a problem.

“She’s always up for walks. She’ll walk with me and my three 50-pound dogs. She’s never not up for a walk, even if she has already done CrossFit that day,” Nikki said.

Not only is walking enjoyable again, but Annie also rows and bikes and deadlifts, and can do modified burpees and lunges and is even doing this year’s Open workouts (although she isn’t registered).

But what she’s most proud of is her plank time. Annie can hold a plank for three minutes and 10 seconds.

“There’s a little 6-year-old girl at the gym, who is the daughter of one of the coaches, and she holds the same record as me,” said the 4-foot-9 Annie.

Further, Nikki said she has noticed her mother’s strength and balance are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were prior to CrossFit.

Sometimes, though, Nikki said her mother’s newfound confidence can get the best of her.

Shortly after starting CrossFit, Annie wanted to remove an 8-foot umbrella from her aluminum table in her backyard, so she climbed on top of the patio table and pulled the umbrella out. But before she could get down again, the table flipped and took her down with it, leaving Annie with a broken wrist and shoulder.

Her doctor told her there was a good chance she would never be able to raise her hands again, but Annie, with CrossFit as her secret weapon, proved him wrong and managed to recover from the injury in her 90s.

But as much as CrossFit has helped her physically, it has been an equal emotional and mental help.

“It’s the emotional bonds we have. People will tell me that I inspire them, but every single person there inspires me. And we really are bonded. We have parties outside the workouts and we are there for each other in every way,” Annie said.

Annie’s Message to Other Seniors

To Annie, aging is like a disease that can be reversed, she explained.

“You can recover from it. It doesn’t need to take you down,” Annie said. “And I encourage everybody to do CrossFit. If I can get more people to join and discover how much power they still have, I would be really happy.”

So far, so good. Recently, CrossFit LLC released a video of Annie, and since then three other seniors—two 80-year-olds and one 81-year-old—have joined Auburn CrossFit because the video inspired them.

Annie couldn’t be more pleased, and is ultimately proof that CrossFit really is for anyone of any age.

“I’m just glad I’m here. And I will never give it up,” she said.

  CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue's Workout of the Week  

CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue's Workout of the Week

Today’s workout is programmed by CrossFit Oslo Navy Blue, the team from Norway who have finished second two years in a row and are now 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games favorites. You will need a team for this in the spirit of the team competition, and there are notes on the team on how to crush it properly.

For time in a team of 4:

  • 40 synchro toes to bar
  • 30 synchro burpees over worm
  • 20 synchro worm clean & jerks
  • 10 legless rope climbs
  • 20 synchro worm clean & jerks
  • 30 synchro burpees over worm
  • 40 toes to bar


“If you don’t have a worm, you can substitute the worm C&J to 4 person-sync DB hang C&J 32/22.5kg standing one behind the other: M/F/M/F.

Perform the burpees over the DBs by facing the same way you did with the C&J.

Also note that the rope climb is shared by all members of the team, but you can only use one rope.”

Scaled version:

For time:

  • 30 Toes to bar
  • 30 Burpees over DB
  • 20 4-sync DB hang Clean & Jerk @ 22.5/15kg
  • 10 Rope Climbs
  • 20 4-sync DB hang Clean & Jerk @ 22.5/15kg
  • 30 Burpees over DB
  • 30 Toes to bar


“Make a plan A and plan B for how you want to split the toes to bar so if A doesn’t go to plan, you have another strategy to use without having to think about it. Communicate simply between you and your teammates if you need to change the plan.

Hold a steady pace on the burpees and C&J so you don’t burn out too early and split the rope climbs depending on who can push here, but remember it’s a team effort.”



Braised Chicken Thighs With Crushed Tomatoes

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This Five Minute Full Body Mobility Routine

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A Pair of Grips That Don’t Require Chalk

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Chris Hinshaw Explains Why You Should Record Your Running

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