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Maddie Sturt is On The Comeback Trail

Morning Chalk Up

March 16   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • CrossFit Omaha in Nebraska looks back on the last decade
  • Australia’s Maddie Sturt is ready for a wide open Oceania Semifinal
  • High intensity exercise is the best thing you can do to treat depression and anxiety
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“The secret of happiness is something to do.” - John Burroughs

  From 14.3 to 23.3: How CrossFit Omaha Evolved Over a Decade  

From 14.3 to 23.3: How CrossFit Omaha Evolved Over a Decade

On March 13, 2014, CrossFit HQ descended on Omaha, Nebraska and CrossFit Omaha for the live announcement of 14.3, featuring gym owner Stacie Tovar and Allessandra Pichelli. Last week, history repeated itself as the live announcement of 23.3 once again took place at CrossFit Omaha. While still the same gym at the core, the affiliate has undergone many improvements and growth phases over the last decade.

The Stats: Since its affiliation in 2007, CrossFit Omaha has opened its doors to hundreds of members, and has gone through several locations since its original building on the University of Nebraska Omaha campus.

  • The gym has grown from 120 members to nearly 300 since 2016. While the pandemic and space issues at the old facility made population growth challenging, the gym is back up to pre-pandemic numbers.
  • Gym owners Stacie and Dustin Tovar invested in the new gym location in 2018, but only moved in in January of 2022. However, with over double the square footage and a better location, the wait was well worth it.
  • In the new space, Big Omaha Fitness offers more than just CrossFit, with more than 70 classes each week. These include HIIT, bootcamp, gymnastics, strength, weightlifting, and of course, CrossFit.
  • Big Omaha Fitness employs six full-time coaches and another six part-time coaches.
  • The gym also partners with a mental health and addiction rehabilitation group and the Special Olympics.

Member Reactions: With such a huge community and plenty of long-time members with years of memories, CrossFit Omaha receives raving reviews.

MinDee Ritchie, who started at the gym almost 10 years ago, has watched the gym go through much of its transformation.

  • “It’s an amazing transformation. If you’ve ever been to the old gym, then you come here to this and you’re like, ‘How did we ever work out at the old gym?’” she said. “It’s been really fun and exciting to see all the programs that have developed and all the new faces.”

Many members, like Joe Hautzinger and Pete Nordlund, have fond memories of the community coming together. Like Ritchie, the pair both started over 10 years ago and point out the gym’s annual beer workout, which brings in new faces and lots of memories each year.

For the 23.3 Live Open announcement, full-time coaches Corie Kammerer and Matthew Watt faced off in front of the entire world before the elites took on the workout. While doing that grueling workout with a total of 588,000 viewers over the first 24 hours was intimidating, the pair said being able to do it in front of their gym family was rewarding.

  • “The adrenaline was still there, you try to calm down but obviously it’s still there,” Watt said. “With the community there, I liked to get eyes on the people that I knew.”

Gym-owner Dustin Tovar says he’s proud of the growth the gym has made over the past years, in particular, the ability to attract members outside of just the CrossFit space. It’s helped create a larger, more cohesive community, he said.

  • “We always wanted to be more than just a “CrossFit box” and attract more people. That was the driving force behind Big O Fitness,” Tovar said. “We are confident that we can help so many more people become happier and healthier human beings if we can just get them to step foot inside our facility.”
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HQ update: CrossFit is hosting a press conference at noon PT today, which will feature 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open winners Mal O’Brien and Jeffrey Adler, along with Adrian Bozman and Justin Bergh. We’ll have a recap shortly after so keep an eye on our websiteInstagram and Thursday’s newsletter for the full breakdown.

He’s back: The one and only Khan Porter is bringing back his Weirdly Normal Podcast and launching an accompanying YouTube Channel under the new name “Who is Khan Porter.” 🇦🇺

Get some: Registration for The Rogue Challenge: The Triple Challenge opens this Friday, March 17, and get your kettlebells ready because this one is a doozy.

Interesting: The Mediterranean diet may lower heart disease risk in women by nearly 25 percent, a new study has found.

  Will 2023 Be Australian Maddie Sturt's Comeback Season?  


Will 2023 Be Australian Maddie Sturt's Comeback Season?

Madeline “Maddie” Sturt is a four-time CrossFit Games competitor and has been one of Australia’s top athletes since her first Games appearance in 2016. Sturt came epically close to qualifying for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, when she finished a mere four points behind third place finisher Ellie Turner at the Torian Pro Semifinal last year.

Yet, despite this apparent set-back, Sturt viewed her Semifinals experience with positivity:

  • “I just wanted to come away from the Torian (Pro) and be happy with my effort and my personal performance and not take the results with me, because I really sort of let it affect me in previous years. I wanted to walk away happy and not hate being there. I was honestly shocked that I was so close (to securing a ticket to the Games). That just lit the fire again. I’m still hanging in there.”
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  High Intensity Exercise More Effective at Combating Anxiety and Depression than Drugs According to Study  

High Intensity Exercise More Effective at Combating Anxiety and Depression than Drugs According to Study

New research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine discovered that physical activity is 1.5 times more useful at treating mild to moderate depression, stress and anxiety than traditional medication, or cognitive behavior therapy.

The details: The research, led by Dr. Ben Singh, looked at close to 100 meta-reviews of randomized controlled trials that included 128,119 participants, and found that all forms of exercise are beneficial for mental health, but that high intensity exercise offers the biggest benefit of all, thus suggesting physical activity should be considered the first-choice treatment option for those suffering from various forms of mental illness.

Why this matters: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a billion people currently suffer from a mental disorder, with depression and anxiety being the most common. Further, the WHO estimates there has been an increase in mental health disorders by as much as 28 percent since the onset of COVID-19.

The big picture: This study is certainly not the first of its kind, and is, in fact, part of a growing body of research that supports the notion that exercise, first and foremost, should be used to treat mental illness.

  • For example, this 2021 study, found that exercise lowers the risk of anxiety by more than 60 percent, while this research out of Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, suggests that greater physical strength might be correlated with reduced levels of anxiety.
  • It’s research like this that has led gyms like EHP Performance in Moorhead, MN to offer a full gamut of mental health services, from mindset and sports performance coaching for lifestyle and elite athletes, to support for conditions like PTSD, anxiety or substance abuse.

And while the CrossFit community might wholeheartedly recognize the importance exercise and fitness has on mental health, it’s arguably still not the number one choice of medication being prescribed to those suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. But according to yet another body of research, it probably should be.



This Case Study About a Gym Gaining 106 Members in Six Weeks

If you are a gym owner, then you know the constant struggle of wondering “how can I find new members?”. Marketing professionals like Fitness Marketing Agency can help.




Be Ready for Anything in the F-Lite G 300

With quarterfinals looming, be ready for anything in the F-Lite G 300, the world's toughest training shoe, made with Graphene for the toughest athletes. We know rope climbs are coming, and the F-Lite G 300 is ready with Rope-Tec protection that will defend from rope abrasion. Run, lift, climb, jump in the ultimate training shoe.



Rebecca Fuselier’s Magic Double-Under Cue

Games athlete Rebecca Fuselier isn’t only known for being crazy fit, she’s also known for creating some great content on her social media. And luckily for us, some of that content is educational: like this video to help you get your dubs in check!



The YETI Yonder™, aka Your New Favorite Water Bottle

Looking for a light water bottle that still has the toughness you are used to from YETI’s products? Introducing the Yonder™ Collection: available in two sizes (750mL and 1L for those who want more hydration) and in four colorways, this new design is also built to sustain impact and drop while remaining 100% leak proof!



Five Simple Ways to Move More

A lot of us work a desk job that requires us to do very little with our bodies. Sure, we still get our workouts in, but what about other areas we can add additional movement in our day? Use these five simple ways to move a little more and feel a lot better.


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

  • 🍀 Good luck to all Quarterfinalists in the next four days of individual competition.
  • 🇲🇽 Roldan Goldbaum of Strong Suit CrossFit in Ensenada, Baja California took fifth overall in the CrossFit Open, largely thanks to his time of 9:10 in 23.3. Watch the recap of his performance here.
  • Ben Sondgeroth is on a PR roll lately; the Babylon CrossFit member from Babylon, NY logged a 465-pound/210.9kg deadlift.
  • Lucy Saltmarsh from Florida demos the “World’s Hardest Mobility Challenge“. Are your hips up for it?
  • Lauren Flymen knows her way around a jump rope, but we’re really hoping this isn’t what Adrian Bozman has in mind for Quarterfinals Test 2.
12/9 - 12/10: Space Coast Classic (West Melbourne, FL)
12/9: Wodamania (Singer Island Riviera Beach, FL)
1/27: REPS AHEAD Switch Winterfest (Broomfield, CO)

See all upcoming events

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