“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”- Steve Jobs
Coach’s Quest to Bring CrossFit to the Special Olympics Community
After her first session coaching CrossFit Special Olympics athletes in 2017, Sharon Palermo knew this was what she wanted to do.
“I don’t ever not want to do this,” said Palermo, a former affiliate owner, of how she felt after that first day training. “They’re just so inspiring.”
Five years later, not only is Palermo still coaching Special Olympics athletes, including two powerlifters who are headed to the Special Olympic Games (which go June 6-11 in Orlando, FL), but she’s also in the process of working with the Special Olympics New Hampshire organization to build a statewide functional fitness program in as many affiliates as possible.
The details: Palermo’s Special Olympics program started at CrossFit TUFF in Nashua, NH, but when that gym closed permanently, she moved it to CrossFit Earned in Merrimack, NH, where it continues to operate today.
Through the years, more than 50 Special Olympics athletes with various intellectual or developmental disabilities, or cognitive delay have been through the program.
Today, as many as 20 people show up to a CrossFit class on any given day at CrossFit Earned, and neighboring gym, EverProven CrossFit in Dover, NH has just committed to offering the program, as well.
So far, coaching the program has all been volunteer-based, but if Palermo can prove to the Special Olympics New Hampshire organization that the program is measurable and scalable, then she should be able to qualify for funding, which would be especially useful, as oftentimes this demographic needs equipment or adaptations of equipment that most gyms don’t currently have, Palermo explained.
“Right now we’re beta testing. It needs to be streamline across the board, so we’re in the process of building a cohesive program that can be transferred to other gyms. So we’re trying to provide coaches with a structure and understanding of the needs of Special Olympic athletes, as well as how to interact with them,” Palermo said. “Our hope is to be able to provide coaches with the training on how to work with these athletes.”
The big picture: Regardless of whether or not the program ever qualifies for funding via the Special Olympics, Palermo will keep coaching these athletes, because she can’t imagine life without it.
“Just the feeling you get when you work with these athletes, it’s just so inspiring…They have taught me that nothing is impossible,” Palermo said.
She added: “And the results have been amazing. Just the confidence they get. I have had people afraid of doing burpees, and now they can do burpees and sit-ups. Watching them be able to do things they couldn’t do before without pain or discomfort, or maybe just because they couldn’t move that way, is so exciting. But it’s more than that. Their mood and mindset changes. It’s an entire life improvement.”
Annie Thorisdottir is giving $100 of Free Yerbae to CrossFit Business Owners
Calling all CrossFit business owners, Annie Thorisdottir is giving you $100 of free Yerbae, no strings attached.
Yerbae is the perfect energy drink for CrossFitters, made with only natural recognizable ingredients and no sugar, calories or sucralose. Get the energy you want without the crash or jitters.
As long as you don’t have an existing Faire account, you’ll receive $100 of free Yerbae and free shipping.
In case you missed it, Lauren Kalil, host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Brian Friend, Patrick Clark and Chad Schroeder about who they have at the top of their Power Rankings for the elite men and women.
A group registration for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games is live. The competition kicks off next Thursday, April 21, and runs through Sunday, April 24. Check your email if you haven’t already.
In a new mini-documentary, Rogue Fitness dives into Tia-Clair Toomey‘s time training with the Australian bobsled team in hopes of making the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Brent Fikowski, the third fittest man on the planet, is a daddy! 🥳
Not Hungry When You Compete? Here’s Why and What to Do About it.
As the multi-day CrossFit competition ecosystem continues to grow, more athletes will experience the confusing phenomenon of the missing appetite in the heat of battle.
Intuitively, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. If anything, appetite should be higher as a result of the intensity and activity. The reality is, the opposite is true for most people most of the time.
If an athlete is competing in a short event, like a 5-10 kilometer race or 2-hour basketball game, the impact of low hunger signals is not likely to impact performance. For longer events, such as multiple day CrossFit competitions or long endurance events, not eating properly can have a massive impact on performance and placement.
Smith Brothers Offer Programming for Busy Athletes
For the OGs, there are a few iconic places on the CrossFit map–the Ranch in Aromas, the first box in Santa Cruz, Mat Fraser’s parents’ basement in Vermont, and the Smith family garage in Chesapeake, VA complete with the old, dented garage fridge.
The 2015 Fittest Man on Earth, Ben Smith started his training career there, as did his brothers, Alec and Dane. Now, the three Smiths have created an online programming service, The Smith Bros. Garage, designed specifically for athletes with busy lives who want to build fitness, but have to squeeze their workouts into already tight schedules.
One big thing: Every Smith Bros Garage workout is designed to be completed in 20 minutes or less and athletes can mix and match various programming tracks based on goals and schedule flexibility.
The story: As a new parent to twins, Dane realized that his training schedule was very limited and that inspired him to create “DadBod Fitness,” an online programming company that he ran on his own.
“I wanted to create an at-home program for busy adults who only had like 20 minutes to workout and had to go out to the garage to do it,” Dane said.
“The whole idea was to get all three of us (Dane, Alec, and Ben) involved in it, but Alec was gone and with the concept of “DadBod Fitness,” it wasn’t really about Alec or Ben at the time,” he continued.
Once Alec returned in 2021, though, the Smith brothers joined forces, changed the name to The Smith Bros Garage, and developed a new programming cadence that incorporated elements from all three of their approaches to fitness.
The details: With all three brothers on board, Ben handles the programming for Krypton Athletics and Ben Smith’s Blueprint, but then passes them off to Dane who revises and adapts them to fit the 20 minute time domain. Alec then adds in gymnastics skill work WODs to flesh out the week.
Currently there are six tracks in The Smith Bros. Garage Program and the team has approximately 300 clients/athletes right now:
Fit: Classic CrossFit/functional fitness WOD.
No Equipment: An adapted version of the Fit WOD.
Strength: Functional bodybuilding and targeted strength work.
Endurance: Varied intervals and intensity in run, row, and ski workouts.
Gymnastics: Targeted gymnastics skill work to improve handstands and handstand walking, pull-ups, muscle-ups, etc.
Core: accessory work to develop a strong core and good back health.
Fit, No Equipment, Strength, and Core workouts are programmed six times per week, Endurance is offered three times and Gymnastics twice. A membership to The Smith Bros. Garage is US$20 per month and provides access to all six tracks weekly.
The bottom line: There are tons of online programming options available and many are designed to cater to high level athletes who are seeking to compete. In that landscape, The Smith Bros. Garage offers great options for stressed-out parents or others with busy lifestyles who need to get in and out of a workout quickly and efficiently.
Emma Lawson’s Workout of the Week
Today’s workout is programmed by Emma Lawson, the 17-year old Canadian phenom who has turned heads this season with her performances. The reigning “Fittest 16-17 Year Old Girl” has decided to forgo defending her division crown to chase her dream of competing at the Games as an individual. After a 9th place finish in a stacked field at the Dubai CrossFit Championship in December, she followed that with a 102nd finish in the Open and then a 10th place finish worldwide in the Quarterfinals before accepting her invitation to the Atlas Games.
15 Ring Muscle-ups
2,000m Bike Erg
50ft. Dumbbell Front Rank Lunge (50/35lb or 23/16kg)
10 Ring Muscle-ups
1,500m Bike Erg
50ft. Dumbbell Front Rack Lunge (50/35lb or 23/16kg)
5 Ring Muscle-ups
1,000m Bike Erg
50ft. Dumbbell Front Rack Lunge (50/30lb or 23/16kg)
Time Cap: 18 minutes
Scale dumbbell weight to 35/20lb
Substitute ring rows for ring muscle-ups
Some advice from Emma: “Break up the muscle-ups as needed, efficient transitions and find a good pace to maintain on the bike and for the lunges.”
To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.
No More Messy Bags or Digging For Gear: Haven Athletic Unveils Organized Bag To Help Athletes Focus
Caleb Ulffers still gets frustrated when he thinks about how his workouts used to get disrupted because he couldn’t find what he needed in his big, disorganized duffle bag that mysteriously lost important things faster than a dryer gobbles up socks.
“I remember I went to the gym one time, couldn’t find my headphones, and I was digging around my duffle for it. I emptied the bag out, pulled the bottom plastic piece out, and I was like, ‘This is ridiculous. There has to be something better,’” he said.
“At that point, I was so frustrated. Like, ‘Where the hell are my headphones?’ This is dumb. I just want to workout. You’re in my way,’” Ulffers said of his long-time gym bag woes.
These frustrations led Ulffers—a seven-year CrossFit veteran who trains at CrossFit Invictus in Seattle, WA—his brother Jacob Ulffers and their friend Nick Chickinelli to embark on a path to create the perfect gym bag for the CrossFit athlete.
Their main goal: To help the CrossFit athlete preserve their “precious time at the gym.”
And after doing some market research and realizing that “most gym bags suck,” they started their company Haven Athletic, which has a carbon zero impact through a certification from Climate Neutral, the nonprofit certifying brands like MiiR and Allbirds.
As of today, they offer two sizes of organized gym bags designed specifically for the CrossFit athlete. It was important to them to design a product worth protecting, so they filed and were awarded patents on both of their products.
Haven Athletic must be onto something, as their first run of the larger size bags are sold out, (but they’re getting more in June and you can pre-buy them at a discount now), and their smaller size is still available but going quickly, Ulffers said.
Four Strength Accessory Exercises for CrossFitters
Lifting heavy is great, but if you ignore your accessory work, you're never going to reach your full potential. If your max strength is holding your CrossFit performance back, then here are four drills to add in today.
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More drama on day three of competition as a medical intervention occurs in Spartan Combat, tempers flare during the Pacer Test, and a mechanical issue lights a fire under former CrossFit Games athlete Corinna Coffin on the mountain bike event.
A Free WHOOP Strap 4.0 and Extra Month's Membership
WHOOP measures your body's data over 100 times a second to provide personalized feedback on your recovery, strain, and sleep. Morning Chalk Up readers can get a free strap and an extra month's membership when you sign up at the link below.
Active recovery is low-intensity activity that promotes blood flow to the muscles, helping you to recover. While recovering might mean doing nothing to you, that's not necessarily the best option to bounce back from your workout. Here are seven active recovery workouts that will help you recover better than the couch.
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