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Morning Chalk Up

February 3   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • AMRAP 4 Austism has CrossFit community lending a helping hand
  • 23 questions with Alexis Raptis
  • Country Strong Fitness Learning Center for kids helps gym stay afloat financially
  • Ricky Garard’s workout of the week
  • Valentine’s Day Gift Guides for Your Swolemate
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“Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.” - Winston Churchill

  Helping Community Members Impacted by Autism through Fitness  

Helping Community Members Impacted by Autism through Fitness

On November 17th, 2009, parents Rudy and Becky Thoms’ world changed when their son, Landon, one of three kids in the family, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In the years following, the family endured many obstacles together before being able to enroll Landon in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which is incredibly expensive, time consuming and challenging to get covered by insurance.

Inspired by their son who is non-verbal, the North Carolina couple co-founded AMRAP 4 Autism in 2013, a community fitness event that generates awareness and proceeds for the Autism Strong Foundation — directly providing therapy to those who need it to work on communicating, learning and even speaking. To date, the organization has raised over $460,000.

“14,000 hours of therapy were paid for by our organization in 2021 and we’ve allotted 40,000 hours in 2022,” said Steve Hartle, National Brand Ambassador for Autism Strong. “As a little tiny foundation, we’ve been extremely powerful in this area, and we know we can make a huge difference everywhere.”

Everywhere is right, as the mission continues to expand — reaching the southwest for the first time on January 28th. CrossFit Magna in Phoenix, Arizona was the first gym in the desert state to host the charity workout. When a gym signs on to run the event, AMRAP 4 Autism provides the affiliate with the programming (and scaling options), as well as banners, coach t-shirts, digital marketing materials, a custom fundraising website and even email copy to send to members; making the process as easy and effective as possible.

“Landon was born at 32 weeks, our founder’s son, and so 32-minute AMRAP has always been the constant. Outside of that, the movements have changed, the numbers and reps schemes have changed,” Hartle said. “This year, 44 is a big number because based on (recent) CDC stats, it’s one in 44 children that are impacted by autism in some capacity.”

CrossFit Magna member Alexis Whittington participated in the workout last weekend, as the cause hits incredibly close to home.

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We’re hiring: Morning Chalk Up is on the hunt for both a Copywriter/Account Executive and a Head of Business Development, so send in your resume if you think you’re a good fit.

In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil spoke to everyone’s favorite Canadian chiropractor and CrossFit star Patrick Vellner about his new shoe with TYR. 🇨🇦

YummyDani Speegle, Crumbl Cookies, what more do you need to know?

The Copper State: NOBULL is going to be setting up at Kähvi Coffee + Cafe this month from 2/6 – 2/12 as their new temporary home base in Phoenix, AZ.

Nice: HWPO is launching HWPO Give to further help all the charities they support.

  23 Questions with Alexis Raptis: Chick-fil-A, The Last of Us, Justin Beiber and Sara Sigmundsdottir  


23 Questions with Alexis Raptis: Chick-fil-A, The Last of Us, Justin Beiber and Sara Sigmundsdottir

Fresh off a fifth place finish at TYR Wodapalooza in January, American Alexis Raptis is once again on the rise. After impressing the CrossFit world as a teen sensation, she came 10th at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games in her first appearance in the elite women’s category. Now she’s primed to take another step forward as the 24-year-old was recently ranked 15th by CrossFit’s new Worldwide Ranking System, but one could expect she’s thinking of a much lower number this season.

Based out of Alpharetta, Georgia, the Training Think Tank teammate and Michigan native is using her gymnastics background to full advantage, but who is the woman behind the expert form and unrelenting power? We sat down with Raptis for 23 questions (in honor of the year) and dove into the questions that really matter.

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  Country Strong Fitness Learning Center for Kids Saves Gym's Financial Livelihood  

Country Strong Fitness Learning Center for Kids Saves Gym's Financial Livelihood

Karina and Lani Bangay had always wanted to find a way to generate revenue at their gym during the quiet hours of the day, but the task seemed impossible.

But when the pandemic hit in 2020, they knew it was time to “pivot or die,” said Lani, who owns Country Strong Fitness in Cedro, CA.

With schools being closed, and so many more kids getting homeschooled, they put a plan in place to add a learning center to their gym—a place for homeschooled kids to come to do their schoolwork, and, of course, do multiple short workouts throughout the day.

Today, that plan is a reality. Country Strong Fitness is also home to Country Strong Learning Center, which has a waiting list because they’re at capacity.

The details: Country Strong Learning Center opened in September 2021, and today has 60 kids who come anywhere between two and four days a week

  • Parents pay anywhere from $450 to $550 a month for each kid to attend and be supervised by a full staff that includes teachers.
  • Not only has the learning center saved their business from a financial perspective, but both Lani and Karina said it has made a huge difference to the children’s health and fitness. “We recognized the need for kids to move more,” said Karina about another reason they opened the learning center in the first place.

The result: Not only are the children doing multiple functional fitness-style workouts a day, but they’re also learning to embrace healthy foods.

  • In December, the learning center ran a seven-day no sugar challenge, and “the kids went wild for it,” Karina said. “It was amazing to see their level of motivation.”
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  Ricky Garard's Workout of the Week  

Ricky Garard's Workout of the Week

Today’s workout is programmed by CrossFit Games veteran, Underdogs athlete and 2023 TYR Wodapalooza Individual Men’s winner, Ricky Garard. The Australian made a huge statement in his return to the sport, taking third at the Dubai CrossFit Championship in 2021, second at the Torian Pro Semifinal in 2022 as well as third at the 2022 CrossFit, and most recently, starting off his 2023 campaign with a win in Miami.

Ricky Garard

  • 3 Rounds for Time:
  • 30/25 Cal Bike Erg
  • 30 Meter Handstand Walk (10m unbroken segments)
  • 15 Sandbag Cleans (150/100) (Ground-to-shoulder and back in front, not over-the-shoulder)
  • 15 Bar Muscle-Ups

Time Cap: 22 Minutes

Scaling options: For the 30 meter handstand walk, sub 6 wall walks. For the sandbag cleans, you can scale the loads, either 100/70 pounds or 70/50 pounds. If you don’t have sandbags, you can sub in barbell power cleans at 135/95 pounds or 95/65 pounds. For the bar muscle-ups, substitute 15 pull-ups + 15 stationary dips per round.

Some advice from Ricky: “This workout is a slog so prepare yourself mentally for a grind.  Smooth and steady through the bike and HS walk as you’ll need all the juice you can muster on the Sandbag cleans.  And unless you are a muscle-up demon, break those into 3 sets starting on round 1.  Have fun, be tough, and embrace the challenge!!”To inquire about submitting an upcoming workout of the week, shoot us a note.

  Gift Guide for Your Swolemate: For Her  

Gift Guide for Your Swolemate: For Her

It’s the season of love, and what better way to show her that you care than getting her some of the best fitness products? We made you a nice little cheat sheet of all the things she’s secretly wanting (and not so secretly hinting at if she sends you this guide).

Editor’s note: Some of these deals are exclusive to Morning Chalk Up. Order fast while supplies last to ensure delivery before Valentine’s Day.

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  Gift Guide for Your Swolemate: For Him  

Gift Guide for Your Swolemate: For Him

Wondering what to get your man for Valentine’s Day? We are making your life easier this year with some must-have men’s fitness products to show him just how much you care, and/or subtly improve his workout wardrobe.

Editor’s note: Some of these deals are exclusive to Morning Chalk Up. Order fast while supplies last to ensure delivery before Valentine’s Day.

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Three Tips to Smooth and Seamless Double-Unders

What is one movement that repeats in the Open every year? You guessed it, double-unders. If it’s a weakness of yours, you need to read these tips from Invictus Athlete to master them in time.




Crush the Open With the Power of Three

The Open comes with a multitude of tests. That's why you need inov-8's Power of Three. It includes three pairs of shoes individually designed for metcons, running or weightlifting. You won't have any surprises this year no matter the workout!



Seared Scallop Pasta With Kale Pesto

Need a new idea for dinner? Try this fishy pasta for the best of both land and sea. Healthy, and only takes twenty minutes to cook.



Your FREE Whoop and a Month Membership On Us

Ready to learn helpful information about yourself and your training? Whoop helps you monitor your recovery, sleep, training and health and gives recommendations to become a more efficient and healthy human. And don’t worry, for new members we’re hooking you up with a free Whoop 4.0 and a month of membership on us!



These Three Tests to See If Your Hip Flexors Are Actually Tight

Do your hip flexors feel tight, or are they actually tight? Do these three tests to find out if you have been living a lie.

JOB BOARD Jobs from Gym Jobs

Evansville CrossFit | CrossFit Coach - Array

Tradewinds Fitness | Group Fitness Coach and Personal Training - Array

Get Fit EGV | CrossFit Elk Grove Village | Part Time L1 CrossFit Coach - Array

District H Strength & Fitness | Full-Time Trainer/Coach - Array

Quantum Fitness | Group Fitness Coach/Nutritionist - Array

CrossFit TYL | CrossFit TYL for sale (profitable and turn key) - Array

CrossFit 925 | 925 Coach and Personal Trainer - Array

CrossFit CE | Part Time Coach - Array

Move. Lift. Live. | Performance and Group Fitness Coach - Array

CrossFit Dartmouth | CrossFit Coach - Array

OP CrossFit | CrossFit Coach and Personal Trainer - Array

Power Plant CrossFit | Group Fitness Coach - Array

Find A Job   |  Post Your Resume



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

  • 🎂 Happy birthday to Sean Woodland, and the Morning Chalk Up’s own Emily Beers.
  • Michael Shearn is back again with another “don’t try this at home” movement—ring handstand push-ups, with a weight vest.
  • Congratulations Isabelle Boria from CrossFit Charlton in Charlton, MA on the 5RM front squat PR at 245 pounds/111kg.
  • Adaptive athlete Andy De Beni from NOMA CrossFit in Turin, Italy says he took ‘legless’ rope climbs “a little too seriously.”
  • 🏆 Tiffany Craven from Westford, MA hit a major milestone with her PR 440 pound/200kg weightlifting total, including a 242.5 pound/110kg clean and jerk and 198.4 pound/90kg snatch.
  • 🌊 Congratulations to CrossFit Games adaptive athlete Letchen du Plessis on completing the 2023 Robbin Island Crossing 7.5km swim through the Atlantic Ocean.
    • Du Plessis shared, “The swim is considered to be one of the toughest, most extreme long distance cold water sea swim races in the world – 7.5km across the famous Robben Island channel, known for its bitterly cold water and strong, unpredictable currents.”

🐾 CrossFit 201 in Oakland, NJ is double-dipping their internal Open competition (AM vs. PM classes) as a fundraising competition for Treasure Furever animal rescue. Donate here to support their efforts.

12/9 - 12/10: Space Coast Classic (West Melbourne, FL)
12/9: Wodamania (Singer Island Riviera Beach, FL)
12/9: Winter Solo ’23 (Columbia, MD)
12/10: The Great Equalizer 9 (Dover, NH)
12/16: Masters Mania 6 (Oklahoma City, OK)
1/13 - 1/14: The 615 Throwdown (Nashville, TN)
1/14: Battle Cancer Miami (Miami, FL)
1/20 - 1/21: Masters N Minors II (Beachwood, OH)
1/20: FrostFit Team Challenge (Colorado Springs, CO)
1/27: REPS AHEAD Switch Winterfest (Broomfield, CO)
1/27: GOAT Youth Fitness Competition (Olyphant, PA)

See all upcoming events

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