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Morning Chalk Up

March 23   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Chef Hamilton drops 120 pounds and earns a community
  • Lauren Fisher makes a comeback statement
  • Blind CrossFitter, Erica James plans for the games in 2024
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“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” - Dolly Parton

  Chef Hamilton Johnson Loses 120 Pounds, Improves Mental Health With CrossFit  

Chef Hamilton Johnson Loses 120 Pounds, Improves Mental Health With CrossFit

There are many reasons why people do CrossFit–the intensity, the community, or the varied workouts. Chef Hamilton Johnson used CrossFit to improve his mental health and lose 120 pounds.

One big thing: Chef Hamilton Johnson, who will soon open a new southern restaurant in Washington, D.C., has been doing CrossFit since 2018. He wasn’t able to do a push-up or easily walk up a flight of stairs, so he began working with CrossFit Balance Managing Director Devin Maier on the side to learn proper movement. However, Johnson moved over to the classes after seeing firsthand the community feel.

  • “I remember watching the classes, and I was like, ‘Man, the energy’s awesome,’” Johnson said. “‘Like the community seems really nice and really uplifting.” And he was like, ‘You should try it.’ So here we are.”
  • “I was jumping in and doing kind of CrossFit-style workouts, but 18.1 was my first workout with Devin. He made me do 18.1 after the fact, a month or so after that Open started. But that was my first one. Sometimes I go back and kind of test it to see what happens, and it’s pretty crazy.”

An important benefit: There are many in the industry that put extra emphasis on their overall health. Chef Antonia Lofasa does powerlifting at Deuce Gym while Chef Michael Symon has mixed in some yoga with his weightlifting and cardio. What is the reason for this besides the obvious aesthetic benefits?

  • “I think a lot of it kind of derives from mental health,” Johnson explained. “I think that, for me, working out and doing CrossFit and trying to eat healthy is really beneficial for my mental health. And I think in the restaurant/Chef industry, I think that’s a big issue with mental health for people.
  • “And then it’s just a tough business. It’s very stressful. There’s long hours, you kind of fall in a rut where you work 12 hours. Next thing you know, you’re going out, having a few drinks, and you’re eating chicken wings at one in the morning. It’s easy to kind of fall in that rut.”

An early adopter: One fascinating aspect of Johnson’s journey to improved overall health is that he was a fan of CrossFit before he decided to make a change in his personal life. He watched all of the CrossFit Games and had favorite competitors in the field. Annie Thorisdottir, an athlete that Johnson was able to meet, is a prominent example.

  • “I’ve always watched the CrossFit Games even before I was even thinking about working out. I just thought it was pretty incredible. And I was like, ‘Man, I’ll never be able to do anything like that, any kind of workouts like that.”
  • “I would watch it, and I was just mesmerized by that. So I was like, ‘These guys are crazy, like crazy in shape. Mentally, it’s like, ‘Wow, why would you do this to yourself?’ And then I get it now.”
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2023 CrossFit Games Leaderboards (updated, still unofficial until March 27)

  • North America East
    1. Jeffrey Adler (47) | Mallory O’Brien (16)
    2. Dallin Pepper (48) | Brooke Wells (45)
    3. Samuel Cournoyer (59) | Emma Cary (47
    4. Noah Ohlsen (63) | Anikha Greer (58)
    5. Spencer Panchik (107) | Emma Lawson (61)
  • North America West
    1. Justin Medeiros (9) | Arielle Loewen (29)
    2. Patrick Vellner (15) | Alex Gazan (43)
    3. William Leahy IV (42) | Rebecca Fuselier (73)
    4. Cole Greashaber (51) | Kelly Baker (81)
    5. Mitchel Stevenson (65) | Emily Rolfe (89)
  • Europe
    1. Fabian Beneito (70) | Laura Horvath (33)
    2. Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson (95) | Gabriela Migala (49)
    3. Victor Hoffer (96) | Emma Tall (54)
    4. Lazar Djukic (105) | Manon Angonese (66)
    5. Harry Lightfoot (153) | Thuridur Helgadottir (72)
  • Oceania
    1. Ricky Garard (28) | Kateline Van Zyl (26)
    2. Jay Crouch (36) | Jamie Simmonds (32)
    3. William Kearney (112) | Briony Challis (54)
    4.  Jake Douglas  (120) | Ellie Turner  (56) )
    5. John Champion (130) | Georgia Pryor (68
  • Asia 
    1. Morteza Sedaghat (60) | Dawon Jung (14)
    2. Andrei Fedotov (75) | Seher Kaya (21)
    3. Eren Kim (75) | Kamlia Takeyeva (22)
    4. Ruslan Miftakhov (86) | Shahad Budebs (47)
    5. Arthur Semenov (90) | Minjeong Kim (60)
  • South America
    1. Guilherme Malheiros (41) | Victoria Campos (33)
    2. Benjamin Gutierrez (77) | Sasha Nievas (33)
    3. Gustavo Errico (124) | Carolina Martinez (52)
    4. Vitor Caetano (128) | Amanda Fusuma (59)
    5. Esteban Ospina (157) | Luiza Marques (63)
  • Africa
    1. Kealan Henry (40) | Christina Livaditakis (31)
    2. Darren Zurnamer (42) | Mariska Smit (44)
    3. Callum Deeble (53) | Gemma Rader (46)
    4. Michael Van Tonder (54) | Tanha Bouffe (53)
    5. Daniel Griesel (70) | Georgia Ayres (63)
  Is Lauren Fisher Back?  


Is Lauren Fisher Back?

After a four-year hiatus from individual CrossFit Games competition, 29-year-old Lauren Fisher says she’s more fit than ever and has her sights set on, not just returning to, but being a force at the CrossFit Games this summer.

Remind me: Fisher burst onto the scene as an individual in 2014, when at the age of 20, the then CrossFit Invictus athlete placed an impressive ninth in the world as a Games rookie.

After that, Fisher’s life became a whirlwind of traveling, photoshoots, and sponsorship deals—including signing with Nike and getting her own shoe—as she was touted as the next big thing in CrossFit.

But things didn’t go as planned for Fisher in the upcoming years. Plagued by injury after injury, Fisher did return to the Games three times as an individual—in 2016, 2017 and 2018—but never managed to repeat the top 10 performance from her rookie season. In fact, each year she competed as an individual, she fell further down the leaderboard.

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  Blind CrossFitter Erica James Sets Goal to Make Games Appearance in 2024  

Blind CrossFitter Erica James Sets Goal to Make Games Appearance in 2024

Erica James currently sits in first place in the visually impaired division for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open. However, unlike the other top finishers in the Open her season is over.

CrossFit will not have all adaptive divisions compete at the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, but say they hope to invite all divisions come the 2024 season. James is eager to put her skills to the test after only recently joining the sport and a life-long love of fitness.

James, located in Greenville, South Carolina, was born with a rare cancer called retinoblastoma, which is cancer in the eyes and the retinas. Doctors discovered she had it when she was only six-months-old and while she’s been cancer free for many years she’s lost her vision from radiation treatment.

  • “So I’ve progressively been losing vision throughout my whole life, but always really been into sports,” said James.
  • “As a young kid I was a gymnast all the way up into highschool. I was a competitive gymnast and made it all the way to level 10 in that sport and that definitely got me thinking CrossFit could be potential in the future.”
  • James adds, she did the 2022 Open just to give it a try “and I ended up winning last year and was hooked after that.”

Aside from her recent CrossFit accomplishments, James qualified for the Paralympic trials in track and field in 2021. She qualified for trials in the 100 meter, but sadly came up short.

  • “I got fourth place and missed by milliseconds to claim one of those top three spots that got to Tokyo. But it was an incredible experience,” said James, who is the owner of a fitness studio named The Booty Shop.

Even though she didn’t make it she is happy about the attention parasports and adaptive athletes are getting. James is excited about the potential that adaptive CrossFit could be one day and is supportive of some of the changes CrossFit has made to classification.

  • “I think that the goal for sport is to be fair, and so we need to make sure we have as much representation in our adaptive divisions as possible, while still making sure it’s an even playing field,” said James.
  • “I think that there’s a lot of progress that can be made. We have a lot of room to grow when it comes to that. But I do think that CrossFit is on the right path for it.”
  • “They’ve come out and said they are looking towards paraathletics and parasport in general to kind of guide them in making it better. So I’m hoping that we see leaps and bounds as we move forward.”

CrossFit HQ said in a release that as long as the adaptive division has enough participation for a competitive field in 2024 “we will be inviting all adaptive divisions to compete at the CrossFit Games Finals. “

For 2023” the top athletes from the Multi Extremity, Lower Extremity, and Upper Extremity divisions will qualify for the 2023 Games out of the Open. The remaining five divisions will crown their fittest based on the results of the Open,” according to CrossFit.

James is hopeful that the sport adds more competitions for the blind and visually impaired athletes and that other adaptive athletes are represented at the Games. She plans to continue her training under Casey Acree, an adaptive athlete himself and Underdog Athletics coach.

“I really hope that we’re able to go to the Games and compete in person like some of the other adaptive athletes are because I think that representation is everything,” said James. “So that is something that I really hope to do.”



Coaching Beyond the Whiteboard: Squat Analysis of a Seasoned Athlete

If only there was a course that you could learn from master coaches how to be a better coach for your athletes. Oh wait, there’s Invictus University. Check out this article to snag a few tips for coaching a seasoned athlete to improve their squat form.




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These Seven Ways to Boost Your Dopamine

Dopamine is a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel good. Yes you can get it by exercising, but how else can you boost your dopamine levels throughout the day? Read seven ways to get happy and stay happy here.



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Unlock Your Thoracic Spine

If you struggle with mobility in any overhead movements, or experience pain and discomfort in your upper back, then you need to work on your thoracic spine. Even though there is minimal movement in this area, if it’s tight or sore then you’ll feel it on EVERYTHING. Try these exercises for some relief!


Share Your CrossFit Story


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

  • Congratulations to 12-year-old Juliana Oliveira from Crown Botafogo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on the 220-pound/100kg back squat PR.
  • Masters athlete Cici Fougere from CrossFit Lena in Sarasota, FL is practicing her crossovers for next week’s Age Group Quarterfinals: “I feel like a kid again!”
  • Congratulations to Leah Smith from Ocean State CrossFit in Cranston, RI on the 245 pound/111kg clean and jerk PR.
  • The Core City CrossFit Kids from Detroit, MI learned how to get inverted on rings last week thanks to the help of calisthenics athlete, Billy Spooner.

🐰 CrossFit Mokena is hosting their annual “Extra Early Easter Egg Hunt” this Saturday, March 25 at 8421 W 191st St, Mokena, IL 60448.

  • Open to the public; all kids and families are welcome.
  • Hunt begins at 10am with over 1,000 eggs to find hidden throughout the affiliate.
3/1 - 3/31: Sit Ups For Pups (Everywhere, Anywhere Online)
3/2: The LKW Games (Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina)
3/9: The Valkyrie Fitness Competition (Tampa, FL)
3/16: Upper Hunter Strongest Novice (Muswellbrook, Australia)
3/16: Oceanside CrossFit 1st Annual Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/16: Shamwod & Shenanigains (Oceanside, Ca)
3/16: Shamwod & Shenanigains (oceanside, ca)
3/23 - 3/24: Beach Brawl (Spring) (Pensacola Beach, FL)
3/23: Masters Distinguished Games (Fort Wright, KY)
3/23: CFL Teen Take Over (Lorton, VA)
4/6: Girls Gone Rx Ohio (Lancaster, Ohio)
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: 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 Houston (Houston, Texas)
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 - 4/7: Landifornian Battle (Seignosse, France)
4/6: Two Peas in a Pod: Mixed Gender Partner Comp (Burlington, MA)
4/6: Best Babes Tampa (Tampa, Florida)
4/13: Queens of Oly Rockledge (Rockledge, FL)
4/13: Queens of Oly East Tennessee (Bulls Gap, TN)
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 - 4/21: Okanagan Valley Throwdown (Penticton, British Columbia)
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)

See all upcoming events

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