“I want to live my life, not record it.”- Jackie Kennedy
Documentary Follows CrossFit Affiliate Owner’s Quest to Help Recovering Addicts
Army veteran and affiliate owner Dale King has spent nearly two decades trying to help residents of Portsmouth, OH, battle addiction with fitness. Now his efforts will be the focus of an upcoming documentary, Small Town Strong.
The big picture: Small Town Strong centers on PSKC CrossFit, King’s home base that has helped numerous residents of Portsmouth take a new approach to their recovery. The documentary tells King’s story, but it also follows one specific woman as she goes through the process and pursues a better life.
Portsmouth, a town of just over 20,000 people, is considered to be the “epicenter” of the current opioid epidemic. One reason for this is Dr. Paul Volkman, who was sentenced to four life sentences in prison for his conviction in the drug overdose deaths of four patients.
According to CBS News, federal prosecutors said in 2012 that Volkman made weekly trips from Chicago to three locations in Portsmouth and that he “prescribed and dispensed millions of dosages of various drugs including diazepam, hydrocodone, oxycodone, alprazolam, and carisoprodol.”
“The doctor who invented the pill mill model that actually historically started here in Portsmouth back in the 90s,” King said. “So we have had the longest experience kind of dealing with being an addicted population. And we’ve ridden the wave from opiate [to] prescription pill, prescription pain pills to heroin to currently the third wave is fentanyl.”
“I mean, one of the things that we do, we show the process that Dale’s describing,” said co-director Chase Millsap. “But the stakes here have never been higher. We start talking about fentanyl on the market and the chance of relapse turning into death is incredibly high.”
“And these people deal with this every single day. One relapse could mean the end of it. So you know, sobriety and abstinence is the only way to go through this. And so it’s that level of risk and stakes, but then at the end of the day, by working out together, holding each other accountable, you can decrease that.”
An important topic: As King explained, the opioid epidemic should generate more discussions than it does. He noted that there are more than 107,000 people dying each year from these overdoses, and he referred to fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction. To King’s point, the CDC noted in September 2022 that fentanyl was responsible for at least 70% of all drug deaths.
“One of the things we wanted to do with the documentary is really pull back the curtain a little bit, get into people’s lives, get into their addiction stories, get the backstory,” Millsap said. “And I think you’ll find that there’s a lot of commonalities there.”
“I think you get a sense of just like, somebody did opioids once and is hooked. You get a better understanding of this as a disease. So then it becomes now we’re talking about stigma, right?”
“I think the real secret sauce here when it comes to CrossFit – and we explore this – we walk through the science behind CrossFit, what it does to the brain, how the brain can heal.”
King’s affiliate has a partnership with a nonprofit addiction treatment facility, the Counseling Center. He provides an alternate take on physical therapy, which supports ongoing emotional and mental therapy, and he helps make a lasting impact on those in recovery.
The partnership began in 2018. King built out a gym at the Counseling Center so that PSKC could start holding CrossFit classes. Now the affiliate holds roughly 25 each week while helping those in recovery build a sense of camaraderie through their suffering.
“We figured it would kind of work but the outcomes have been so remarkable from it,” King said. “Just from the standpoint that like, you’re with a group of guys, and they will hold you accountable.”
In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil caught up with up with seven women and seven men to see what drives them to compete (and how they pick competitions) and if there’s a common theme amongst the athletes.
Calling all coaches: CrossFit has just released its newest online course “Coaching Fundamentals.” Coaches will learn the six skills of effective training through 15 practical drills, which they can put to use immediately. The course will help them improve in all areas of their coaching, allowing them to evaluate their own performance and giving them the tools to develop their skills.
Row away: PRVN, the home of none other than Tia-Clair Toomey, has now teamed up Concept2.
Who’s in and who’s out?: Keep your eye on our TYR Wodapalooza article to be in the know as to who will be heading to Miami. 😎
Up for it?: Box Challenges, a geo-targeted event powered by WeTime and WeMedia, is set to kick off and registration is still open.
Another reason to get your Wod on: Short bursts of intense movement have been linked to a significantly reduced risk of death within seven years, a study has found.
Just Doer it: The Equipment Company Trying to Level Up CrossFit Athletes in Central America
Fitness equipment company Doer Fitness wants to “level up” the sport of CrossFit in Costa Rica by bringing North American expertises to Central America.
“We want people from here to feel that friction. We have athletes here who feel they are OK, but if they are against North American athletes, they are way behind. We want to bring that culture here, to make the stakes higher,” Jeff Segura, from Doer Fitness, said.
Doer is hosting a three day seminar, December 2-4 in Costa Rica with Training Think Tank (TTT), a US-based training camp and programming group. TTT’s team, including 2019 Second Fittest Man, Noah Ohlsen, as well as Games athletes Travis Mayer, Alexis Raptis and Julian Serna, along with coaches, will teach attendees in a variety of formats.
“I couldn’t even lift a gallon of milk out of the fridge," Emily Rolfe
After undergoing emergency blood clot surgery post Event 1 at the 2022 CrossFit Games, Emily Rolfe made her comeback debut at the Dubai Fitness Championship nearly four months later. Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil catches up with Rolfe to discuss the process of getting back into training, where her heads at ahead of the 2023 season, and what her goal was going into the DFC.
Breakout Performances at the 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship
The 2022 Dubai Fitness Championship wrapped up this past weekend with dominance on the women’s side and a last-minute upset on the men’s side.
While the 10th anniversary of this offseason event had some big names on the roster, we saw some incredible breakout performances from up-and-coming athletes. Heading into the 2023 season, be sure to lookout for these eight athletes in the European region.
Oihana Moya Oliver (5th place): Moya was extremely consistent at Dubai, finishing inside the top 10 in seven of the eight events. She displayed incredible capacity on both ends of the fitness spectrum, taking fifth in the Burj Khalifa challenge (endurance), and second in the max hang clean event (strength). Look out for Oihana Moya Oliver to be a major contender for a Games spot in the European region in 2023.
Manon Angonese (6th place): Angonese only finished outside the top 10 in two of the eight events at the DFC, with her best performances coming on Sunday (fifth, fifth and fourth in the final three workouts). Excelling towards the end of the weekend was a trend we also saw from Angonese at the 2022 Rogue Invitational. This shows that she has no problem recovering from the volume of a long competition, and is definitely a European athlete to watch moving into the 2023 season.
Claudia Gluck (7th place): Gluck’s win in the “Fast like an Oryx” workout (shuttle runs, burpee clear overs and dumbbell thruster intervals) was an unbelievable showing of her engine and strength endurance. She finished inside the top 10 in six of the eight events, and could be a threat at Semifinals if she’s able to improve her finishes in some of the longer endurance events.
Hanna Karlsson (8th place): Karlsson won the “Ride or Die” workout (Echo bike and legless rope climb sprints), showcasing a mix of power on the bike and upper body pulling strength/stamina. She finished inside the top 10 in five of the eight workouts, exhibiting broad capacities with a seventh place finish in the Burj Khalifa Challenge (endurance) and fourth place finish in the hang clean workout (strength).
Fabian Beneito Selles (1st place): The men’s 2022 DFC champion fought until the last second to overtake Brent Fikowski for the top spot. Beneito Selles had three event wins over the weekend and only finished outside the top 10 once (Burj Khalifa Challenge). He started Sunday with back-to-back wins and took second in the “Barbell Furious” workout (heavy cleans, front squats and shoulder-to-overhead), which put him in striking distance heading into the final workout. He came into Dubai as a top-ten Semifinal athlete, but left as champion and one of the up-and-coming athletes to lookout for in 2023.
Moritz Fiebig (2nd place): Fiebig tied Fabian Beneito Selles with 625 overall points on the weekend, but lost the tiebreak due to having fewer event wins. He won the final workout of the weekend “Walking with the Devil,” leapfrogging Brent Fikowski in the overall standings and nearly winning the entire competition. He finished inside the top five in six of the eight workouts, showing that he is well-rounded, but can also hit home runs when he needs to. Fiebig made his CrossFit Games debut in 2022, finishing 36th in his rookie season. After winning the 2022 German Throwdown and nearly taking home the gold at Dubai, Fiebig is a major threat in the men’s European region heading into 2023.
Alex Kotoulas (5th place): Kotoulas displayed superhuman endurance at the DFC, winning the “Burj Khalifa Challenge,” where he climbed 160 stories in a weight vest in just over 30 minutes. He went on to prove the balance of his fitness, placing inside the top 10 in all eight workouts. After finishing fourth at the 2022 Madrid Championship and fifth at Dubai, Kotoulas appears to be on track in his pursuit of qualifying for the CrossFit Games.
Aniol Ekai (6th place): Ekai finished inside the top five in 50% of the workouts, with his best performances being a second place in workouts one and five (Burj Khalifa Challenge and Fast like an Oryx). These top performances show that Ekai can compete with the top of the pack if the workouts line up well for him, but he was held back by placements outside the top 10 in four of the eight workouts. Moving into the 2023 season, Ekai will be a threat, but will need to piece together a consistent weekend if he wants to take the next step in qualifying for the CrossFit Games.
The bottom line: Since the majority of the field at Dubai was from the European region, it serves as a good preview of what’s to come heading into the 2023 season. While we may only see a few of these names at the CrossFit Games, you can be certain they will all be strong contenders at their respective Semifinals this season.
Paige Powers’ Workout of the Week
Today’s workout is programmed by Mayhem athlete, Paige Powers. She was a Games rookie in the Individual division 2022 and placed 25th, but she is a Teen division alum. Powers took third in the 14-15 age group in 2018 and third again in the 16-17 age group in 2019. During the 2022 season, she took 15th at Wodapalooza and then second place at the Atlas Games Semifinal.
Five rounds for time:
25/20 cal ski
20 GHD sit ups
50’ handstand walk
Time cap: 18 minutes
Scaling options: For the ski, reduce calories to 20/16 to make it more manageable. For GHD sit-ups, the volume is pretty hefty so if you don’t feel comfortable with that amount, knock it down to 15 or switch to ab mat sit-ups. For the handstand walk, athletes can scale to bear crawl.
Some advice from Paige: “This will be super taxing on the core and the transition from handstand walk to ski will get spicy on the arms. Be smart in the first couple of rounds and increase your pace as the workout goes on. Have fun!!”
To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.
Three Ways That “Letting the Class Run Itself” Can Positively Impact Your Members
As a coach, you might want to be in total control of your class… who are we kidding? That’s what every coach wants. But sometimes letting the class run itself can be the best way to teach!
One size doesn't fit all when it comes to recovery. You need the program, products, and guidance that are right for your body and exercise level. Take this quiz (and be honest) to get recommendations to help you recover better and crush your next WOD.
You must be on the nice list because Fitness Santa is here to bring you 12 straight days of festive fitness giveaways. Just enter below and from December 1st until December 12th one lucky winner will be drawn each day to receive a huge prize from one of your favorite brands.
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Christmas is getting closer each day… have you done your holiday shopping yet? Thinking of gift ideas can delay our shopping, but use our guide to get some ideas for the fitness fanatic in your life. We make it easy, so you don’t have to leave your couch to get them the best gifts!
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