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Patrick Vellner Dives into Critical Mistakes at CrossFit Games

Morning Chalk Up

September 14   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • AED saves member’s life at CrossFit box with quick action
  • Should you be paying for ads for your gym?
  • Patrick Vellner talks CrossFit Games: “Too many mistakes”
  • WIT launches new crowdfunding campaign
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“If you can't convince them, confuse them.” - Harry S Truman

  CrossFit Box Owner Tani Mintz Saves Member’s Life With AED  

CrossFit Box Owner Tani Mintz Saves Member’s Life With AED

It was a normal 5 PM class on August 30 at Sharp Edge CrossFit in Evanston, IL.

Until it wasn’t.

As he was warming up his snatch, new member and new grandfather, 60-year-old Mike Fowler, began kneeling on the ground in his usual “out of breath position,” explained the gym’s owner Tani Mintz.

“I asked him if he was OK and he said yes, but a few seconds later I looked at him again and he was laying on the floor on his side with his eyes open, breathing loudly but his breath sounded like a gargle,” she explained. “He was taking deep, loud, fluid-filled breaths and was unresponsive.”

What happened next: Mintz called 911, and when she returned to Fowler’s side, his breath had become shallow, almost non-existent, and she noticed his face was swollen and blue-ish purple. That’s when she ran and grabbed the AED and followed the instructions.

  • “The AED scanned his pulse and after a few seconds told me to administer a shock. I did, he jolted and then another gym member began chest compressions,” Mintz said.
  • Within 60 seconds, Fowler began breathing again, and even talking. “The first words out of his mouth were, ‘I’m sorry,’” Mintz said.
  • Paramedics soon arrived and rushed Fowler to the hospital, where doctors confirmed he had had a heart attack.
  • The captain of the firefighting crew who tended to Fowler later returned to inform Mintz that she had saved Fowler’s life, and told her he was going to recommend her for a life-saving award. “I feel beyond grateful that I was there, and the fact that he is alive is all the reward I want or need,” Mintz said.

More important to her is that every gym invests in an AED, she explained, because, although she hopes it will never have to be used, you never know when you’ll need one to save a life, she explained.

One week later: Today, after spending two nights in the hospital, Fowler is back at home and “on the mend,” Mintz said. “He said he’s walking three to four miles a day already and has a plan with his doctor to start some cardio therapy in the next few weeks.”

  • She added: “I talked to his wife today and she said that when the doctor found out he was doing CrossFit, the doctor said (something along the lines of), ‘That’s exactly what you should be doing and you should absolutely go back to CrossFit when you’re out of here. I need to find out who this doctor is and thank them big time.”

That’s the story.  There are other details relating to his heart that were discovered as a result of yesterday’s heart attack, and I think they’re important details, but I’d be more comfortable sharing them after I have his permission.  Knowing him as I do, I think he’ll be more than happy to share his story if it means bringing awareness to the importance of having an AED readily available.

Thanks for listening and for considering this as a story.  If you do decide to write something up about this, and if just one gym buys an AED because of it, I would call it a successful article.

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In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil broke down the final day of the Madrid Championship, speaking to both winners Lazar Djukic and Emma Tall.

Reminder: The TYR Wodapalooza online qualifier kicks off this week (Thursday, Sept. 15) and then registration closes and scores are due on Sept. 19. 😎

Helping hand: Mayhem Mission is looking to help Jackson, Mississippi with its water crisis, teaming up with a local gym and church.

Another one: If you didn’t have enough reasons to exercise already, here’s another one: a study has found “that a hormone secreted into the blood during endurance, or aerobic, exercise reduces levels of a protein linked to Parkinson’s disease and halts movement problems in mice.”

  Are Paid Ads Necessary for the Small Gym Owner?  


Are Paid Ads Necessary for the Small Gym Owner?

Should I be paying for digital advertising to capture more leads? How much should I be spending a month? Google, Facebook, Instagram ads? Or all of the above?

If you’re a small gym owner, you have probably asked yourself those types of questions.

The answer, according to gym business coach Will Hurst, the founder of Big Little Gyms—a gym mentorship company that has worked with hundreds of CrossFit affiliates and other gyms—isn’t black and white.

For some gyms, especially newer gyms, it might be a good idea, Hurst said. But for most gyms, especially mature gyms who have been around for a while, there’s often an easier, more effective way to bring in new clients.

The way: Learn to maximize your organic leads capture first.

Continue Reading...
  Are Paid Ads Necessary for the Small Gym Owner?  

Patrick Vellner: "There were just too many mistakes in a few areas which is frustrating."

Making his eighth appearance at the CrossFit Games, Patrick Vellner had high hopes to inch back up the leaderboard. To his surprise, and many analysts and fans, he placed just outside of the podium finishing sixth overall. Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil sat down with Vellner to discuss how he’s utilizing pliability to help his mobility in the off season, the difference in programming this year at the Games and why he thinks this system is good for the sport.

Watch Now...
  WIT Launches Round of Crowdfunding Campaign, Aims for Global Expansion  

WIT Launches Round of Crowdfunding Campaign, Aims for Global Expansion

WIT Fitness, the multi-brand training retailer with partnerships spanning the fitness industry, has announced a new fundraising campaign. The company, with its roots in the CrossFit community, has the goal of further expanding globally while adding more products, physical experiences, and collaborations with some of the most prominent athletes.

The details: The campaign itself has not yet been launched. This will take place later in the month of September. However, those interested can get involved early. From now until September 20th, they can register on Seedrs and join the priority list. They will get early access to the campaign, and they will be able to make their investment in the international brand.

  • This campaign takes place after WIT made a change in its leadership structure. The company appointed Matt Brewster as CEO back in June and began relying on his experience helping other retail brands grow.
  • For US based investors, please contact [email protected] directly. Minimum ticket is $25,000.

WIT previously held a crowdfunding campaign back in 2017. The company raised £1 million, which helped it build the flagship store in London. This retail space also included a community gym, which drew praise from “Men’s Health” and CrossFit community members.

  • Along with building a physical store in London, WIT also used its first crowdfunding campaign to expand overseas. The company expanded into the United States and launched its own apparel brand.

Matt Brewster, WIT Fitness CEO: “WIT Fitness is a brand built from the community, we owe our success to the incredible support we receive from the public and their belief in our vision to change lives through training.”

  • “It gives me great pleasure to open up this opportunity for that community to participate in our success and own a part of the functional fitness landscape. With our ambitious growth goals, dialed in strategic direction, and exciting lineup of new brands, partnerships, and activations, the future is bright for WIT.”

What the campaign includes: Investors who take part in the upcoming crowdfunding campaign will have some exclusive perks available to them. This includes a lifetime discount of “up to 15%,” early access to product launches, and free membership packages. Those that contribute over £500 will also lock up a mystery kit bag.

A group of big names: WIT Fitness has made its presence known in CrossFit, especially after locking up partnerships with some high-profile athletes. Chief among them is Sara Sigmundsdottir, who collaborated with WIT’s team to launch a line of products in 2021.

  • CrossFit Games athletes Jamie Simmonds, Jeffrey Adler, Paige Powers, Emma Lawson, Kristof Horvath, Kelly Friel, and Joshua Al-chamaa are all ambassadors for WIT Fitness. They all join a list that also includes Premiership Rugby Team The Northampton Saints.

Based on teases provided by WIT Fitness, this list of ambassadors will only continue to grow as the latest round of crowdfunding begins. It will include athletes and personalities alike as WIT Fitness becomes an even bigger name in the fitness industry.



A Strong Catch in a Snatch

Some coaching cues just stick with us. “Pulling the bar apart” on a snatch might be the next one. Snatches are a highly technical movement and anything that helps us catch that bar overhead in a strong position is a great thing to try.




Training From the Best Coaches in CrossFit

TrainHeroic offers a free 7-day trial to the best coaches in CrossFit. Work with PRVN's Shane Orr, Training Think Tank's Max El-Hag, DEKA Comp's Michele Letendre, Brent Fikowski, Christian Harris, and dozens of top coaches that offer training that ranges from Games Competitors to your everyday athlete!



Apple Pie Oats

Fall is almost here, and what better way to kick things off than with a tasty fall recipe? Brought to you by the author of “Feeding the Frasers”, Sammy Moniz, this recipe will satisfy your cravings for those fall flavors and keep you full to train.



Free Chicken Breasts for a Year

Avoid the grocery store and have ButcherBox deliver premium, high quality meat straight to your door. You can have deliveries sent on a schedule and cadence that works for you and pause anytime. Sign up now and get two pounds of organic chicken breasts free in every order for the first year of your membership.



Who Is Going to the Rogue Invitational?

The Rogue Invitational is rapidly approaching, and with the star-studded invite list, how will the online qualifiers compare to the rest of the field? Lauren Kalil sat down with Brian Friend to discuss the “Q” qualifiers for the upcoming competition.


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

  • Congratulations Amanda Barnhart on being inducted to the Wadsworth High School Sports Hall of Fame over the weekend in Wadsworth, OH.
  • Congratulations Kyler Boucher from NEBO CrossFit in Salem, UT on the 330 pound/150kg front squat.
  • Constanza Cabrera crushed the snatch complex at the FITLAND Fitness Festival in Colombia last month and ended up taking home first place in the elite women’s field.
  • Semifinal athlete Baylay Martin puts up a 5RM back squat at 440 pounds/220kg.
  • We love a good lifting transition video— Barbara Rocha from CrossFit Ponta Negra (CFPN) in Brazil crushes these high hang snatches.
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4/20: Barbells For Bullies: Community Workout Savannah (Savnnah, Georgia, US)
4/20: Festivus Games @ CrossFit Plattsburgh (Plattsburgh, NY)
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