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Mat Fraser Retires?

Morning Chalk Up

February 3   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Mat Fraser: “Why I’m Retiring.”
  • Fraser’s Top Five: The 2016 Suicide Sprint.
  • The Nate WOD national fundraiser kicks off today.
  • CrossFit L2 Coach Trevor Smith almost died from the flu a year, now he’s ready to take on the Open.

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“I don’t count my situps. I only start counting once it starts hurting.” - Muhammad Ali

  Why I'm Retiring  

Why I'm Retiring

Today, a little more than eight years after the start of my career in competitive CrossFit, I’m announcing my retirement.

In 2012, the owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit signed me up for the in-house Winter Throwdown competition. I couldn’t afford the entry fee for the event, and he offered to pay my way but told me if I won, I had to buy a pair of CrossFit shoes. I was training in Nike Air Max 90s at the time.

I didn’t understand the hype around CrossFit.

I’d come from the Olympic Training Center, where I lived and breathed Olympic lifting. My goal was to compete at the Olympics, where every snatch and clean and jerk was a serious, silent event. But at Champlain Valley, it was a class full of people running from movement to movement and dramatically falling onto the ground at the sound of the clock.

At the Throwdown, I finished with a first place win and $500 in my pocket.

As a broke college kid, I thought I’d struck gold and immediately wanted to find more opportunities to earn extra pocket money. I’d search this website where all the local events posted their competition dates and prize purse.

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  • Rulebook Update: CrossFit released an updated version of the 2021 CrossFit Games season rulebook, clarifying more details on the quarterfinal and semifinal stages. Patrick Clark has the breakdown, here are the cliff notes:
    • There will be 10 Semifinal events: North America gets four, Europe gets two, and the remaining continents get one.
    • There will be 40 male and female athletes and 40 teams: top five from each North American and European semifinal, top three from Oceania, top two from Asia and South America, and the winner from Africa. The top two finishers from the last chance qualifier will also qualify.
  • O2 won BevNet’s 2020 Award for Best Marketing Campaign for their #StayForMay program that gave out gift cards to gym members who continued to pay their monthly membership fees while gyms were closed during the worst of the pandemic closures.
    • From O2: “Our #StayForMay program supported nearly 60,000 gym members so they could continue paying dues to 1,918 gyms nationwide. We couldn’t have done this without you, our community, and we cannot express our gratitude enough.”
  • The Community Gyms Coalition yesterday sent a letter encouraging President Joe Biden to work with Congress to provide direct relief to America’s community gyms, studios, and fitness facilities in future COVID-19 rescue legislation.
    • From the letter: “Prior relief legislation did not address the structural impediments gyms, studios and fitness facilities face in accessing and making use of relief,” Community Gyms Coalition wrote. “Federal relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) have not equipped gyms, studios and fitness facilities with sufficient funds to meet their most significant costs sustained due to shutdown orders.”
  • PUMA NYC has partnered with Afrobrutality for Black History Month, releasing an exclusive shirt.
  • Nike released a new hand-free shoe, the Go FlyEase. More than eight years ago, a teen with cerebral palsy, Matthew Walzer, wrote a letter suggesting the shoe giant they create a hands-free, hinged sneaker, now it’s a reality.
  • Sad News: Captain Tom Moore, the 100-year-old World War II veteran who raised almost $45 million for the National Health Service in the UK, passed away this week due to complications related to COVID-19.
  • Margaux Alvarez, who competed in the 2019 World Long Drive Championship, is working on her swing again.
  Fraser's Top Five: The 2016 Suicide Sprint  

Fraser's Top Five: The 2016 Suicide Sprint

Yesterday afternoon, Mat Fraser dropped a major bomb on the CrossFit community, announcing that he was retiring from individual competition and putting an end to his five year reign at the top of the podium at the CrossFit Games.

Over the past half-decade Fraser’s sheer dominance of the sport has provided us with a multitude of brilliant moments across all levels of the sport. He was a consummate champion whose mastery rewrote the record book a dozen times over before going out on top with his fifth straight CrossFit Games title.

For the next five days we will be recapping  Fraser’s top five moments at the Games, one each from his five titles in order as we pay homage to the incredible individual career that has now come to a close.

#5 — The 2016 Suicide Sprint

The final day of the 2016 CrossFit Games included a three-part test that was a trio of short, 50 point workouts done in succession after a quick reset during a single trip out to the competition floor at the soccer stadium of the StubHub Center.

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  Nate WOD Challenge Honors Fallen Heroes, Raises Money To Support Children Battling Cancer  

Nate WOD Challenge Honors Fallen Heroes, Raises Money To Support Children Battling Cancer

Starting February 4, CrossFit gyms and athletes across the country can compete in the Nate WOD Challenge, an annual event to raise money for One Summit, an organization that “builds resilience in children battling cancer through mentorship with a Navy SEAL.”

Remind me: The Nate WOD Challenge, first held in 2015, was created by Adam La Reau, founder of One Summit, to honor brothers Nate and Josh Hardy.  Nate was a Navy SEAL, Purple Heart recipient, and hero who lost his life in action; Josh lost his battle to childhood cancer.

The Hardy brothers are also sons of One Summit founding board member, Stephen Hardy.

The workout: The Nate WOD is a 20-minute AMRAP of two muscle-ups, four handstand push-ups, and eight kettlebell swings (two-pood).

  • Because Nate hated to run, “he was the guy that carried everything,” writes Maria Papandreou of One Summit in an email, the WOD is “incredibly difficult and involves heavy lifting.”
  • The numbers – two, four, and eight – signify February 4, 2008, the day that Nate “made the ultimate sacrifice.”
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  Trevor Smith Almost Dies of the Flu, Fitness Helps Him “Pull Through”  

Trevor Smith Almost Dies of the Flu, Fitness Helps Him “Pull Through”

One year ago, CrossFit Level Two Coach Trevor Smith almost died from a combination of influenza A, pneumonia and a staph infection that led his organs to shut down and put him into heart failure. Today, though he’s still not 100 percent, he is gearing up for the CrossFit Open in March.

  • Though Smith will have to scale some of the workouts, he’s OK with that, he explained. “I know that my long-term health will be better achieved by making the workouts personal for where I’m at now,” said the 28-year-old.

The details: On January 31, 2020, Smith’s fiance rushed him to the hospital. A day later, he was flown to Duke University hospital and was placed on a ventilator in the ICU, where he stayed for two weeks receiving dialysis and ECMO, a treatment that uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung. Without ECMO, he would have died, he said.

  • Smith’s official diagnosis was acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). “It’s really uncommon for someone my age,” said Smith, who was healthy and fit without any preexisting conditions.
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10-Second Tempo Pause Squats

One of the most underrated training tools is using slow tempo descents and pauses with your lifts. Doing so allows you to feel every little nuanced part of the movement, allowing you to make real time adjustments and allowing you to have more optimal control of the movement pattern. It’s also a great core stability drill. Work these 10-second tempo and pause squats from Squat University into your training to get stronger n the bottom position of your front squats and cleans.




A New Workout Channel Coming to Roku, Apple, and Android

Are you that friend who everybody goes to for workout and nutrition advice? Tell them there is a new functional fitness channel coming to Roku TV, Apple, and Android devices. The creators of Tabata Songs are about to release "TABATA+ Workouts on Demand" and are currently seeking beta-testers.



Ham and Cheese Breakfast Roll-Ups

We love breakfast burritos, like, we really love them. But, these ham and cheese roll-ups hit the spot too and they are low-carb because you use eggs instead of tortillas. The technique may take a little practice, but it's well worth it!




The Reebok NANO X1 is here. The newest iteration of the "Official Shoe of Fitness" is available today, get yours before they sell out.



Apply a Marathon Mindset to Your Life Goals

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. We can learn a lot from the approach endurance athletes take to their sports and apply it to life goals. Give this blog post from Drew Crandall at Misfit Athletics a read and think about pacing, the motivation to keep going and the ebb and flow of your pursuits.


Chalk Up Highlights is our section dedicated to celebrating our community’s wins in the gym. Follow @ChalkUpHighlights and submit your highlight to [email protected] to be featured.

5/26 - 5/27: Gold Star Murph 2022 (Southern Pines, NC)
6/3 - 6/5: Northern California Classic (Sacramento, CA)
6/3 - 6/5: Atlantic Coast Classic (Daytona Beach, FL)
6/4 - 6/5: Whiplash: The Welsh Open 2022 (Same Sex Pairs) (Merthyr Tydfil, United Kingdom)
6/4: Love’Em or Leave’Em 10 (Saugus, MA)
6/4 - 6/5: Tandemonium (Palmer, AK)
6/4: Goose Games (Chicago, IL)
6/4: Average Joe’s Competition (Sheridan, WY)
6/11: Costa Rica Riptide Rowathon (Mokena, IL)
6/11: Hi Temp Games (Albany, GA)
6/11: Mind Games (Okemos, MI)
6/11: Kanna Fest (Ambler, PA)
6/11: Battle on Bridge Street III (Phoenixville, PA)
6/18: Oz Fest 2022 (Junction City, KS)
6/18: Beat The Heat 2022 (Hays, KS)
6/18: Atlanta Masters Classic (Snellville, GA)
6/18: Back Lot Bout – RX, Intermediate, Scaled (Saint Charles, MI)
6/18: Wodmania (Urbana, OH)
6/18 - 6/19: Best of the West (Rock Springs, WY)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Maryland (Dunkirk, MD)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx NorCal (Petaluma, CA)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Winchester, KY)
6/18: The Heat 5.0- Co-ed Partner Competition (Marysville, OH)
6/18 - 6/19: The Garrison City Gauntlet (Dover, NH)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
6/18 - 6/19: The CS&F Summer Classic (Cumming, GA)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Maryland (Dunkirk, MD)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx NorCal (Petaluma, NC)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Kentucky (Winchester, KY)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx Tennessee (Mc Minnville, TN)
6/18 - 6/19: Emerald Coast Throwdown (Pensacola, FL)
6/18: Girls Gone Rx West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
6/24 - 6/27: I Got Your Six (Charleston, SC)
6/25 - 6/26: BILT Summer Classic (Welland, CA)
6/25: Independence Games VIII at The Pit Fitness Ranch (Three Rivers, MI)
6/25: Northwest Arkansas Basement Brawl (Fayetteville, AR)
6/25: Summer Bash 2022 (Zanesville, OH)
6/25: Ocean State Summer Threesome (Smithfield, RI)
6/25: Mayhem & Massacre @ CrossFit Muster Station (Sanford, FL)
7/9: Rex Rumble at CrossFit zoo (Ocala, FL)
7/9 - 7/10: Rex Rumble 11 Double Down (Ocala, FL)
7/16: Girls Gone Rx Fayetteville (Spring Lake, NC)
7/16: Girls Gone Rx San Antonio (San Antonio, TX)
7/16: Girls Gone Rx West Texas (Snyder, YX)
7/16: Girls Gone Rx South Sound (Puyallup, WA)
7/16: Girls Gone Rx Wilmington (Wilmington, NC)
7/17: Warrior Affiliate League Summer Classic (Whittier, CA)

See all upcoming events

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