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In Remission and Already Tackling The Rower

Morning Chalk Up

December 31

Morning Chalk Up

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. It’s the last day of 2019 and as you take stock of the past year’s events and prepare to ring in 2020, take a look at John Briggs’ recap of his experience over the past 18 months as a CrossFit affiliate owner at a failing gym. His story shows the importance of perseverance and so too does our update on Missouri CrossFit mom, Lisa Fosnough’s fight against cancer. Today:

  • A successful accountant and a struggling box.
  • An update on Lisa Fosnough; spoiler, it’s good news!
  • Fundraising highlights across the affiliate community.
  • What is “Fourth Trimester Fit”?

Don’t forget, if you have a story idea, a big lift, an event, or anything else you think we might want to cover, hit us up at: [email protected].



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“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

— John D. Rockefeller


In Remission and Already Tackling The Rower


It’s always a privilege and pleasure in this job to bring you the GOOD NEWS stories.

We introduced you to Lisa Fosnough a few months back when we heard about the badass mom powering through CrossFit workouts during her chemotherapy. 

We knew this woman was a fighter and this week, post surgery, the member of KCI CrossFit revealed she’s now cancer free and in remission.

In describing the news as “truly the greatest Christmas present,” Lisa said, “I still have a long road ahead of me with my leg but hoping I will be walking on it by March.”

Lisa told the Morning Chalk Up: “The doctors couldn’t have been happier with how the surgery turned out”

“I was initially using a walker and I now have crutches,” she said.

Lisa was diagnosed with a rare form of osteosarcoma – a type of bone cancer – in her right thigh earlier this year. She’s now undergone six rounds of chemotherapy every three weeks since then to prepare her for the surgery last month, which saw 9 inches of her femur removed and 65 percent of her quad muscle.

The surgery took a marathon 12 hours and saw her femur successfully removed, relocated and a cadaver femur put in its place.

One thing we’ve learned about Lisa Fosnough – never underestimate this woman! So we weren’t surprised at all when she posted, just 17 days out of surgery: “I’m rowing.”


This Is What Happened When a Successful Accountant Bought a Failing CrossFit Gym


After six months as a CrossFit affiliate owner, I was still covering a business loss each month just to keep the doors open.

What had I gotten myself into?

It turns out that making a profit in a gym is much harder than it appears on paper—even for an accountant.

Here’s what I learned and how I turned things around at CrossFit GSL.

Fix Failing Gym: For Time

I own a successful accounting firm, and our team of 20 serves more microgyms than any other firm in the United States. Working with hundreds of gyms, we’ve used tax consulting and cash-flow management systems to help owners find profit. With that exposure to the fitness industry, I was able to see patterns and determine what works for the most successful owners. 

So, when I saw some signs that my home gym might be failing, I reached out to the owner to give him some unsolicited advice. His response was unexpected. Instead of saying, “Thanks for sharing. Have a nice day,” he said, “Would you like to partner with me?”

In CrossFit GSL, I saw an opportunity to work in the trenches and see if I could personally help a failing gym do the same thing my firm had done for our clients. Plus, I liked the idea of helping keep the gym open for the people who used it to stay healthy and fit. So in July 2018, I bought into a failing gym that had never had a profitable month since its opening in 2012.

I became the proud co-owner of a failing gym, and I actually paid money for the privilege of funding the monthly losses.

But I was confident. I knew the financial side of things really well, and I knew which revenue streams to add. I knew we needed to analyze current services and determine which, if any, were profitable. I knew we needed to look carefully at each expense. All of this was in my wheelhouse, and I was optimistic that it would be easy to fix this gym while I improved my ownership skills in a few other areas.

Here’s the reality: I did not understand how much employees and culture would contribute to the success or failure of the gym.


Kick-Off 2020 With a Gym Nutrition Challenge

Skip creating a nutrition challenge from scratch! Over 300 gyms have run the #800gChallenge®; a challenge focused on eating more fruits & veggies without any dietary restrictions. Your members will love it!

This 4-week challenge comes with ALREADY DONE FOR YOU marketing and educational materials to run on SugarWOD, Wodify or other platforms for scoring and leaderboarding. Reduce your work, generate revenue, AND help your members start the year off with healthy eating habits.




4 New CrossFit Movements

Earlier this month, the Dubai CrossFit Championship introduced four new movements to official CrossFit competition: reverse grip chest-to-bar, deck squats, a jumps and flying push-ups.

  Morning Chalk Up  


NIKE Gear For The New Year

Got big goals for 2020? Gear up at NIKE and start chipping away.  Shop now and use the code “GOBIG” through 1/4/2020 for 20% off sale items including the Metcon 5!

  Morning Chalk Up  


Why CrossFit Shouldn’t Be in the Olympics

Should CrossFit — or functional fitness — be an Olympic sport? With organizations like the International Functional Fitness Federation pushing for this, Ben Bergeron and Patrick Cummings discuss this question on this episode of Chasing Excellence.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Dial In Your 2020 Nutrition With RP

A new decade is a day away and there’s no better time to focus on your nutrition than right now. Use the code “CHALKUP” to get your first six months of the RP Diet App for just $9.99/month and let the RP Diet App help you lose fat, gain muscle and improve your performance in the new year.

  Morning Chalk Up  


The 10 Most Popular Recipes of 2019…Duh

We’re closing out the decade tomorrow and Bon Appetit’s got the hottest (sometimes coldest) dishes of 2019 — everything from feel-good veggie enchiladas to salad ramen and miso-glazed Salmon.



  • Kelsey Kiel hits a 245 pound power clean + squat clean + push jerk complex.
  • Katrin Davidsdottir shares her top 10 things to do in 2020.
  • Chandler Smith deadlifts “enough” (our guess is 635 pounds).
  • Sam Lubben jerks 400 pounds from the blocks.
  • Mat Fraser completed the Koala challenge, well, almost.
  • Congratulations to Elaine Tsay on her 282 pound back squat for a lifetime PR.
  • Alan Stengel ends the decade with a deadlift PR at 505 pounds.
  • Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson hits a snatch balance of at least 335 pounds and a pause snatch of at least 255 pounds.
  • Replay: Joshua Al-chamaa hit a 367 pound clean and jerk PR at last year’s Down Under CrossFit Championship.


Fundraising Across the Affiliate Community

The holidays are a time for giving, but CrossFit gyms are known for supporting members of the community as well as a wide variety of charitable causes at all times of the year. Here’s a quick summary of some good work affiliates have done recently:

  • CrossFit 77 in Mooresville, NC organized a 5k run to raise funds for one of their members, Jenny Morris, who was recently diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease. Together they raised $5,000.
  • On New Year’s Eve, CrossFit Norwalk will hold an event to support Officer Cesar Ramirez, a 30-year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and athletes of all skill levels can participate.
  • In York, PA, CrossFit CDI owner, Darren Kemp, has donated his gym space for a free Sunday class called “48 for Life.” The class is open to recovering addicts and provides sober support and physical fitness.
  • CrossFit Main Line in Philadelphia, PA hosted its annual “Holiday Amazing Race” in mid-December, donating over $3,000 to the Elmwood Park Zoo.
  • Explicit CrossFit in Sturgis, MI hosted a “Sweat-A-Thon” where 35 teams participated in WODs over a 12-hour period. The event raised $10,000 to support the St. Joseph County United Way, Teen Suicide Prevention Program.   
  • In Vienna, VA, CrossFit Mill Street is co-sponsoring the “Count to None” 5k race for the fourth consecutive year. All profits from the race go to JDRF to support the fight against type-1 diabetes. 
  Morning Chalk Up  

Welcome to “4th Trimester (Cross) Fit”

In the Wall Street Journal (paywall) last weekend, Hilary Potkewitz dives into the emerging market of postpartum fitness classes and apps for new moms, from CrossFit to celebrity-inspired Instagram moms and Aaptiv. While CrossFit athletes like Miranda Alcarez, Stacie Tovar, Kara SaundersChristmas Abbott and Emily Bridgers have led a trend of WODing through pregnancy and returning to the gym shortly after — sometimes drawing the ire of social media justice warriors — it’s now grown to include much more than CrossFit. 

  • Jena Olson: “I was just scrolling through Instagram while breast-feeding my baby at 2 a.m., and someone posted an ad for a postpartum fitness class. I’d never done CrossFit in my life, but I figured, why not try it?”
  • The “4th Trimester Fit” class she signed up for at CrossFit Cove in Columbia, MD, is one of a growing number of fitness programs targeting brand-new moms in the first 12 weeks after giving birth.
  • CrossFit Cove launched its postnatal class in 2018, after a wave of members had babies. Trainer Maria Alcoke created the six-week program as a gentle transition back to exercise, she said, rebuilding core strength through moves like squatting and lifting a weight off the floor.
  • Emily Wannenburg, a former nurse and midwife in Atlantic Beach, FL, has in recent years expanded a postpartum recovery program she calls 4th Trimester Fitness. She has accepted moms with babies as young as 10 days old. “This is not kick-your-butt fitness. It’s about reconnecting with your body,” she said. “And connecting with other mothers in the same stage.”
  • Hilaria Baldwin, a yoga instructor and author who has four children with actor Alec Baldwin, makes a point of sharing a range of images on social media, including full-body selfies taken the day after delivery showing her still-expanded belly. She also posts short videos of her post-baby exercises. She views it as a way to challenge outdated notions. “I want to show women that our bodies are not broken,” she said. “Before, people were very much afraid of women who were healing from pregnancy. We were looked at like we were sick or somehow not OK. Now we know our body is capable of healing faster than we think, and you don’t have to go hide in a muumuu.”


+ Submit an Event

1/11: Unbroken Ocala (Ocala, FL)
1/11: Strongfit Fundamentals Course (San Diego, CA)
1/17: A Grand Day at Frantic (Cannington, Australia)
1/18: The Force Wars 2020 (Pembroke Pines, FL)
1/18: 3rd annual Battle For The Axe (Brainerd, MN)
1/18: Row For Reveille (Poulsbo, WA)
1/18: NCK Throwdown 2020 (Concordia, KS)
1/18: Lone Star Shootout (Dallas, TX)
1/18: CrossFit Krypton V.2 (Chesapeake, VA)
1/25: The Blizzard Brawl (Waite Park, MN)
1/25: Cerberus Powerlifting (Blue Springs, MO)
1/25: Reindeer Gainz III (Donna, TX)
1/25: 2020 Winter Swolestice (Fayetteville, AR)
1/25: Lost River Rumble II (Bowling Green, KY)
1/25: Cold Steel Classic (Oswego, IL)
1/25: HYROX Chicago (Chicago, IL)
2/1: Krypton’s Compete for a Cure (Chesapeake, VA)
2/1: Warrior Affiliate League Fantastic 4 (Chino Hills, CA)

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