“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
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.”
The Open and Individual Quarterfinals Are Done, but Your Workouts and Feet Don't Stop
Did you know each foot is a complex body part with 33 joints, 26 bones, and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments?
The feet also have an extensive network of nerve endings and sensory receptors that quickly send messages to the brain to keep the body stable and make decisions quickly.
Understanding the importance of feet and how they can affect the upward joints like the ankles, knees, and back is essential for optimizing performance, which is why 13 Spacer Mobility athletes qualified for Semifinals.
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?
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.
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.
Ready to level up your fitness game and drop body fat for the summer? Enter our giveaway for the chance to win 3 months of guaranteed, one-on-one nutrition coaching where you'll get a customized plan around your goals, body, lifestyle, and mindset. You'll get everything you need to transform your body and feel your best.
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.
We all love YETI, from water bottles to mugs that ACTUALLY keep our coffee hot (or cold if you’re a cold brew lover), coolers, bags and more! When you spend $20 or more, you’ll get free shipping for a limited time. Don’t miss out on getting all the best products, without the shipping costs.
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!
This email may contain affiliate links. We make a small commision off of purchases made via our affiliate links to help support this newsletter. If you no longer wish to receive the Morning Chalk Up newsletter, unsubscribe here.