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In Defense of the Open

Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. This is Justin LoFranco, your Editor-in-Chief to bring you a quick wrap-up of the major news items throughout the week.

This edition is powered by The Wodapalooza Onlined Challenge & Qualifier.

Sun. Surf. Miami this winter. The Open may be in full swing, but it’s never too early to begin thinking about your next test of fitness to qualify to compete on the world stage.

Grab three of your closest friends and put together your squad (MMFF) for the WZA Online Qualifier, Team edition. This year, WZA added 100+ teams to make it easier to solidify a spot to compete.

Learn more and sign up at this link for the comp kicking off from Dec 6th-16th. 10 WOD’s. 10 Days. One WZA Miami.


“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” — Chuck Swindoll

In Defense of the Open

By Dr. Kelly Starrett

I’ve owned San Francisco CrossFit with my wife, Juliet, for nearly 14 years and, let me be frank, I don’t always like or appreciate the Open.  Running two Open’s in a single year is NOT a cause of celebration for our staff. 

But we need it. It’s necessary. It’s bitter medicine. So let me try and explain why, ultimately, I’m a fan. 

For many of our members, it has been a moment since they had a competitive season, if ever. In all likelihood, they were in their teens the last time they had to compete in back to back weeks. The Open is a short 5 week competitive season. It isn’t a single event, 5km, meet, pick-up game, etc. It’s a full season. That means, you’ve got to show up on a given day and time and deliver. Oh, and you have to do it again, next week. So in the course of a week, you’ve got to compete, recover, still get some training in during the week, and be fresh enough to do it again.

I’d actually argue that if you really attack the Open, you should come out at the end of five weeks a little less fit than when you started. If you are training through the Open, you are a savage. Sure, the best CF athletes on the planet should not be peaking during this month, but most participants in the Open aren’t them. The rest of us are going to have to modulate our training volumes if we are really going to show up and put the hammer down five weeks in a row. And this is the point.

I’d even go further and say comparing workouts between Open years shouldn’t be done. All the conditions are different. Your life is different. Your training volume is different. Heck, we program for the gym THROUGH the Open. I’d argue that this aspect of the Open makes for more mentally resilient athletes (after they have a fit and melt down that they don’t know why they suck at HSPU’s…) You don’t have complete control. This is again the point.  Show up, and let’s see how you go today. Only like 50 of us really have something on the line here. Let’s stop pretending we are playing for the same stakes as anyone that should be qualifying for the games.  We aren’t.  So, each Open effort has the possibility to be a learning experience.

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Too Young To Drive, Cary’s On Track To Finish Top 20 Worldwide
Brittney Kleyn

After 20.3, Emma Cary leaves seasoned athletes like Amanda Barnhart and Alessandra Pichelli in her wake, sitting 35th on the worldwide leaderboard. But here’s the thing; She’s only fifteen-years-old. 

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The Fittest On Earth Among 40 Penalized in 20.2
Brittney Kleyn

CrossFit is showing no mercy in this Open, with penalties being assessed each week across the board. As always, the top 40 men and women worldwide each week are being asked to submit videos for review by CrossFit Games staff. After 20.1 an unprecedented 26 athletes were penalized. This time around, half of the pool copped a sanction of some description.

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The Pistol On Debut But The Real Separator In 20.4 Will Be The Barbell
Brittney Kleyn

It’s been a year of firsts in the 2020 CrossFit Open and 20.4 is no exception seeing the introduction of the single-leg or “pistol” squat. The pistol is no simple movement. However, if we consider Castro’s craft of barbell loading, the heavier weights could be your ticket to bypassing thousands of other Open competitors in week 4.

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Forget The Comeback Kid: Mom’s The Word For Kara Saunders
Brittney Kleyn

Kara Saunders is on track to be the first former podium athlete in the modern era to qualify for the CrossFit Games postpartum as an individual, just five months after having her baby Scotti. Saunders is also only five points behind the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Tia-Clair Toomey for Australia’s National Champion spot.

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Fighting Cancer and Castro: How the CrossFit Open is Helping Ann Runkle Ritchie Battle Cancer
Jessica Danger

When Ann Ritchie found CrossFit in 2012 she had no idea it would strengthen her for a fight she didn’t know was coming: Cancer. But Ritchie has fought her way through cancer during the Open once before and she’s determined to do it again.

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Under Fire, Lefteris Theofanidis’ 20.3 Video Receives Backlash
Tommy Marquez

Greece’s 2019 national champion, Lefteris Theofanidis, the current worldwide leader on the men’s side, is in the crosshairs of some criticism over his 20.3 video submission, and if the workout receives a major penalty or the submission as a whole is invalidated, it would be a death blow to Theofanidis’ chances of qualifying through the Open.

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THINGS TO GET: Personal Care Products That Work as Hard as You Do
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We’re on the downhill slope of the 2020 CrossFit Open, friends. If you’re getting after 20.4 this weekend, here are a few things to get you going.

1. This week’s Open WOD is kicking off with a bang.

2. Know the 20.4 descriptions and standards

3. Watch Annie Thorisdottir complete 20.4 in 12:54.

4. James Newbury is out of the Open, but not out of the season.

Oh and let’s not forget…

An Open Letter to Everyone Doing the Open Without “Doing” The Open (Nikki Brazier/Morning Chalk Up)

Jacob Heppner Fist Pumps His Way Through 20.3: Will He Get Away With It? (Brittney Kleyn/Morning Chalk Up)

Setting and Keeping Boundaries in Your Life (Brittany Marsh and Jessica Danger/Morning Chalk Up)

Unlearning the Habits of a Bratty Teen (Todd Nief/Tod Nief Blog)

The Eleven Best Healthy Packaged Snacks at Costco (Audrey Bruno/Self)

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