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Most Improved Games Athlete, Alex Gazan, Eyes Next Season

Morning Chalk Up

August 15   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Time and experience move the needle for Most Improved Games Athlete, Alex Gazan
  • Creatine monohydrate is the one supplement to rule them all
  • Three big takeaways from 2023 CrossFit Games programming
  • The CrossFit business community begins to mobilize to support fire victims in Maui
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“Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” - Vince Lombardi

  Alex Gazan: An Underdog(s) Story  

Alex Gazan: An Underdog(s) Story

In 2022, a young Alex Gazan competed at the CrossFit Games as a rookie, finishing in 24th place. As the field was cut to the top 30 athletes for the final day of competition, Gazan edged close to that line, but was able to finish out the weekend, and complete all 14 tests.

Her first year with Justin Cotler’s Underdogs Athletics training camp, she was elated to even qualify for a ticket to Madison, let alone finish out the entire event. She was grateful to be given the opportunity to experience all that is the CrossFit Games.

One big thing: After winning the North America West Semifinal this spring, beating out veterans Katrin Davidsdottir and Arielle Loewen, Gazan made a big statement at the 2023 CrossFit Games by finishing 5th overall, with six top-ten finishes.

Two vastly different years, showing major growth, she earned the CrossFit Games Most Improved Athlete Award for 2023. Gazan credits the improvement not to a defined difference in training, but rather the experience she gained over that time period.

  • “Honestly, it was just time. In 2022, it had been one full year for me and it was just a goal to make it to the Games. I feel like I’ve just needed time to understand everything that it takes to compete at that level and time to understand myself as an athlete.”
  • “I’ve been with Underdogs for two years now. Last year, I followed the older athletes around like a puppy dog–Kari (Pearce), Danielle (Brandon), Bethany (Flores), I learned so much from them. And this year, I’ve been working so much closer with Justin,” said Gazan. “And the goal was more than just ‘qualifying for the Games.’”

Justin Cotler shared his premonition for her jump in the leaderboard from one year to the next.

  • “Honestly, I felt very confident she would. She has made the fastest progression over the last two years of any athlete I’ve ever worked with,” said Cotler.

2023 Games highs and lows: All eyes were on Gazan on Test 4: The Alpaca Redux, as the athlete slipped out of her shoes, while in 1st place, pushing the sled.

  • “The turf was so hot, there was no friction, and I felt my shoe come off, so I thought just go barefoot… I train barefoot all the time. So I took them off and started to go, and a judge (Chuck Carswell) came over and told me that I had to put my shoes back on. And my grip was so shot, my shoes were triple knotted, there was no way I could get them back on.”
  • “I looked at my judge like, ‘can you help me,’ which I’m sure they couldn’t.  And I’m seeing girls finish ahead of me, Emma (Tall), Laura (Horvath), and I knew Emma (Lawson) and Alexis (Raptis), were right behind me, so I just shoved my toes in and went for it,” recalled Gazan.

Gazan ultimately took 3rd place in the test, one of only five women to finish under the time cap, and in her dramatic finish gave spectators a powerful display of her grit and determination to complete the test at all costs.

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😬 🥵 “This is going to be fun”: Well, that sorta depends on your idea of “fun,” but either way, General Manager of Education and Sport, Dave Castro, will be programming workouts August 14-29. Hear more about his plans and approach.

Rich Froning completed the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race over the weekend. The race, which is one of the most grueling and prestigious in the world, started in 1994 and riders take on 12,000 feet of elevation gain in the pursuit of the coveted silver and gold belt buckle (awarded to finishers).

Recap Game 💪: The 2023 Third Fittest Woman on Earth, Arielle Loewen, is joining Patrick Vellner, Brent Fikowski, Snorri Baron Jonsson, and others in recapping Games events from the final year in Madison.

Speaking of Recaps: Justin Medeiros and Ellie Turner took to Youtube to reflect on their 2023 Games experiences and performances.

Noah Ohlsen is “Unbroken”: Check out this cool mini-documentary on the fan favorite “Florida Man,” and his ten-year career at the CrossFit Games, produced by Gymshark.

ICYMI: Part one of our exclusive interview with CrossFit CEO Don Faul, reflecting on his first year in the role.

  The One Supplement to Rule Them All  


The One Supplement to Rule Them All

Creatine is the most widely researched and studied of all fitness-related supplements.

As a result, it has one of the best reputations in the supplement game to date and here’s a breakdown of the compound itself and why you might want to take it.

Some Facts:

  • Your body makes creatine: It is an organic compound synthesized mostly in the liver and kidneys from three amino acids: glycine, arginine, and methionine.
  • You can get creatine from food: Hitting your daily protein intake requirement will help assure you’re not deficient in creatine. Keeping a high variety of beef, fish, pork, and poultry would be sufficient. Don’t worry for those that are vegetarian you can prioritize foods high in those three amino acids listed and be covered too! We didn’t forget about you!
  • You can also supplement as needed: Check out the different types on the market below to help you make a better decision.
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  Three Big Takeaways from 2023 Games Programming  

Three Big Takeaways from 2023 Games Programming

Now that the dust has settled on the 2023 CrossFit Games, we can look at the test in its entirety and make some critical observations about how balanced or biased it was.

The details: The first thing we looked at was the different modalities programmed across the weekend.

The monostructural (aka cardio) movements were programmed seven times, with running appearing twice. Gymnastics (aka bodyweight) movements were tested the most this year, with 12 different movements appearing. Weightlifting (aka loaded implements), appeared 11 times over the weekend.

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  CrossFit Businesses Rally for Maui  

CrossFit Businesses Rally for Maui

As the world has been watching the aftermath of the catastrophic wildfires that all but destroyed the historic town of Lahaina in Maui, HI—and has led to 96 confirmed deaths (as of Monday, August 14)—various CrossFit businesses have been stepping up to offer whatever small help they can.

What They’re Doing

Jump Ship Training: The Hawaii-based programming company has created t-shirts and crop tops to support Lahaina CrossFit and their members. Two days after launching the fundraiser, they had already sent Lahaina CrossFit $2,000.

Lifting Culture: The apparel company has launched a fundraising campaign—a “Lift Maui Up” t-shirt—where 100 percent of the profits from the sales will go to support immediate and long-term relief efforts in Maui. Donations will go to Aloha United Way.

FITAID: Throughout the month of August, the popular drink company will be donating five dollars from every purchase of FITAID Hawaiian Nectar to the Maui Strong Fund, a foundation committed to supporting those affected by the fires.

Hawaii Community Foundation: Though not specific to CrossFit, the Hawaii Community Foundation is also accepting donations to be distributed to those in need in Lahaina.

From ground zero: Among the thousands from Lahaina who have been displaced are six-time individual CrossFit Games athlete Chyna Cho and her husband Freddy Camacho, also a former Games athlete, who were forced to evacuate their home in Lahaina on August 10 and are currently staying with friends.

  • “We bounced when the flames got a few hundred yards away,” Camacho wrote on Instagram, adding that their home wasn’t destroyed, but two of the five buildings that make up their complex were.
  • “We have so many friends who lost their homes and their livelihood…We have been running around trying to help where we can. Not going to leave Lahaina,” Camacho told the Morning Chalk Up, adding that “data (and) cell service is sketchy and comes and goes. We really don’t know what’s going on in the outside world.”

That being said, Camacho confirmed that the gym where he and Cho train, Lahaina CrossFit, is still standing, and the owners “are committed to opening back up.”

“This island is truly amazing. Everyone is pulling together to take care of everyone else. So much Aloha!”



How Experienced Lifters Can Improve Their Hook Grip

If you’re an experienced lifter who thinks they can’t improve their hook grip, think again! Check out these tips from the Invictus coaches.




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Three Things to Focus On When Starting CrossFit

When you first walk into a CrossFit gym, it can be super overwhelming. The acronyms, the different movements, the new people… what do you focus on? Use these three things to help silence some of the noise and focus on what’s important when you start!



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Your Summer Goals and Having FUN

Balancing your goals becomes ESPECIALLY challenging in the summertime. Use these five tips to help you stay balanced but also enjoy the rest of summer!


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

9/29 - 10/1: MACC FEST (Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge Festival) (West Friendship, MD)
9/29 - 9/30: Iron Anchor Throwdown (Batavia, OH)
9/29 - 10/1: 2023 Masters Fitness Championship (Fort Wayne, IN)
9/30 - 10/1: Sango Games 2023 (Clarksville, TN)
9/30: 15th Anniversary and Birthday Brawl (York, PA)
9/30: Barbell Brawl VIII (Kennett Square, PA)
9/30: No Weak Links: Cuff Links (Marcy, NY)
9/30 - 10/1: Southie Showdown (Boston, MA)
10/6 - 10/8: Marbella Championship (Marbella, Spain)
10/7: Babes with Barbells (Huntington, WV)
10/7: KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: Pitness At The Mill (Canton, GA)
10/7: 2023 KJ Classic (Longmont, CO)
10/7: FitoberFest (Prairie Village, KS)
10/7: Battle of Branded One at Redstone CrossFit (Littleton, CO)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Midwest Championship (Rochester, MN)
10/13 - 10/15: Crash Crucible (Spartanburg, SC)
10/14: T-Town Throwdown (Toledo, OH)
10/14: Triple Threat Terror 2023 (Forney, TX)
10/14: Oscar Mike Challenge (Lakeville, MN)
10/14: Babes and Barbells (Asbury Park, NJ)
10/14: Scream & Clean III (Danbury, CT)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Canada: Belleville (Bellevile, Canada)
10/14: Best Babes West Fargo (West Fargo, ND)
10/14: Best Babes Columbus GA (Columbus, GA)
10/14: Best Babes Illinois (Byron, IL)
10/14: 8th Annual Kilo CrushFest Competition (Hampton, VA)
10/14 - 10/15: 059 Classic (Modena, Italy)
10/14: Strength and Speed (Feasterville, PA)
10/14 - 10/15: The Vanguard (Lakeland, FL)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Mesa (Mesa, AZ)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx DC (Alexandria, VA)
10/14: Girls Gone Rx Sedalia (Sedalia, MO)
10/14: Best Babes Massachusetts (Beverly, MA)
10/15: Kares CrossFit October Showdown (Georgetown, Guyana)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/20 - 10/21: AAYMCA CrossFit Throwdown (Anderson, SC)
10/21: Festivus Games – Pairs (Savannah, GA)
10/21: Barbells For Bullies: Portland (Hillsboro, OR)
10/21: 401 Fall Throwdown (Smithfield, RI)
10/27 - 10/29: Oslo Throwdown (Oslo, Norway)
10/27 - 10/28: Star City Fittest (Roanoke, VA)
10/28 - 10/29: The Ghostly Games (Fayetteville, GA)
10/28: Wodtoberfest (Owosso, MI)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – NASH (Nashville, TN)
10/29 - 11/19: CHLKDUP BOX LEAGUE – BHAM (Birmingham, AL)
11/3 - 11/4: Florida Grid League Championship (Orlando, FL)
11/4 - 11/5: Costa Barcelona Fitness Challenge (Vilanova i la Geltrú, Barcelona, Spain)
11/4 - 11/5: Hold Fast Competition Individual (Gerenzano, Italy)
11/4: Sunshine SmackDown (Bedford Hills, NY)
11/4: Witch City Throwdown (Salem, MA)
11/4: Barbell Babes Lorton (Lorton, VA)
11/11: Freakin’ Gauntlet (Pembroke Pines, FL)
11/11: The Meadowlands Classic (Carlstadt, NJ)
11/11: Barbell Massacre 8 (Dahlonega, GA)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/11: War of the Masters (Elkton, MD)
11/18: Best Babes Dallas (Dallas, TX)
11/18: Best Babes Philly (Philadelphia, PA)
11/18: Best Babes Iowa (Mason City, IA)
11/18: Girls Gone Rx Salt Lake City (West Haven, UT)
11/18: Teams Of The Midway: 2 Person Teams (Cary, IL)
11/18: Friendsgiving (Ambler, PA)
11/18: Turkey Bash (Chatham, IL)

See all upcoming events

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