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The Fitness Industry is Failing You

Morning Chalk Up

May 16


Good morning and welcome to the weekend edition of the Morning Chalk Up. James FitzGerald is the founder of OPEX Fitness and was the first-ever CrossFit Games Champion in 2007, his OpEd below focuses on finding and coaching fitness autonomy. And, in April we partnered with Reebok to #LiftUpMyTrainer and now we get to introduce her. Today:

  • In our OpEd section: how the fitness industry is failing you.
  • Meet Brandi Forbes, the Morning Chalk Up x Reebok #LiftUpMyTrainer winner.
  • Video: Do Sanctioning Fees Need to Be Refunded? The Bottom Line with Justin LoFranco and Niki Brazier.
  • Emily Beers unpacks why gyms, brothels, and coffee shops are grouped together in the Netherlands re-opening plans.

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“You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts.” – Pema Chodron


OpEd: The Fitness Industry is Failing You

 OpEd: The Fitness Industry is Failing You 

Well, thanks to COVID-19, you don’t have to try too hard to imagine a reality without our sacred brick and mortar fitness playgrounds. For the last two-plus months, rowers have been gathering dust and wall balls have sat in a lifeless row after gym owners around the world were mandated to firmly close their gym doors.  In fact, at the high water mark, 96% of CrossFit affiliates in the United States and 88% across the world were closed.

The closure of gyms sent waves of panic through the broader community of gym-goers who suddenly found themselves without a place of exercise.

I’ve observed two polar reactions to a lack of gym access, and both, in their own way, highlight how the fitness industry is failing the people it claims to serve.

Some simply stopped. Without the direction of a coach and the comfort of a barbell, they found themselves unable to exercise and act on healthy behaviors, choosing instead to throw in the (sweat) towel and give in to what I’ve heard termed the Quarantine 19 (pounds).

And then there are the fitness addicts, suddenly adrift and suffering a loss of identity without their daily WOD. These folks have been sent scurrying to the depths of the internet, chasing their dose in the form of thousands of air squats and push-ups. Whether motivated by fear of gaining weight or losing gains, the notion of not going to the gym for weeks on end has truly frightened these highly driven individuals.

One Huge Problem

The two opposite reactions described above highlight one huge problem: Gyms have made people dependent on their existence. They have failed to create autonomy in their clients. And this autonomy isn’t only about continuing to exercise. It’s about understanding the true intentions of exercise.


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Meet Coach Brandi Forbes, Reebok’s #LiftUpMyTrainer

 Meet Coach Brandi Forbes, Reebok's #LiftUpMyTrainer 

[Editor’s Note — In late-April, the Morning Chalk Up partnered with Reebok as part of their #PermissiontoPause campaign and gave the CrossFit community an opportunity to #LiftUpMyTrainer by nominating coaches to be spotlighted on the Reebok Home Workout Hub. We received more than 1000 nominations and today it’s our pleasure to announce the winner and tell her story.]

When the Morning Chalk Up got in touch with Brandi Forbes from CrossFit Hermitage, the voice on the other end of the phone line was infectious and optimistic. It’s clear this woman embodies Rebook’s vision of the #LiftUpMyTrainer initiative, a coach who’s transcended the restrictions of training during a global pandemic.

We’ve actually met Brandi Forbes from Nashville, TN before, when her affiliate was completely demolished by a tornado in March.

Yet there was Brandi, rallying her community and coaching the very next day in a local park.

  • “I’m blown away that so many people would take their time to submit a nomination and share their stories of our work together,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.

Their story IS a remarkable one.

One member who nominated Brandi to be recognized by Reebok told us:“From the moment her business was destroyed, her first thought was about us —making sure we stayed on track.”

It’s been a tough year for the CrossFit Hermitage community. First the tornado, then COVID-19 but amazingly, Forbes is still optimistic.

  • “It’s an awful gut punch to know that everything you’ve built over the years can be destroyed in one night,” she said. Brandi paints an image of the bent barbells and squat racks, crushed rowers and water-logged plyo boxes that represented her investment over the past 9 years in her affiliate.

VIDEO: Do Sanctioning Fees Need to be Refunded | The Bottom Line

 VIDEO: Do Sanctioning Fees Need to be Refunded | The Bottom Line 

Heavy Breathing in Brothels and Gyms Lead to Continued Closure in the Netherlands

 Heavy Breathing in Brothels and Gyms Lead to Continued Closure in the Netherlands 

If you’re a gym owner, the Netherlands is not the best place to live right now.

Unlike many American states and Canadian provinces, whose governments are either beginning to allow gyms to operate in some fashion or have laid out some vague plans as to when they might in the near future, the Netherlands has been crystal clear: Nothing until September 1. Along with sex clubs, cannabis coffee shops and saunas.

The big picture: On May 11, most non-essential businesses were allowed to re-open in the Netherlands, including businesses like hair salons and acupuncturists, explained Willem Hilberdink, the owner of UnScared CrossFit in Utrecht.

  • “Then on June 1, businesses are allowed to have up to 30 people indoors in their facility. And on July 1, if they have the proper square footage, businesses are allowed up to 100 people in their facility. That means movie theatres, restaurants and pubs can open. But not gyms. We have to wait until September,” said Hilberdink, who closed his doors in the middle of March.
  • “No disrespect to business owners in the marijuana or brothel scene, but it’s mind-boggling to put us in the same category as those sectors,” he said.
  • “The argument they’re giving now is there’s a bigger chance the virus will spread in a poorly ventilated room when people are breathing hard.”

Needless to say, Hilberdink is angry and insulted. He has a well-ventilated 9,000 square foot facility with another 30,000 square foot of outdoor space.

  • “There are people in supermarkets and parks by the hundreds, and we weren’t allowed to have 10 people do an outdoor class in 30,000 square feet…The sector by sector approach is just flawed. We should be able to show what we’re planning is safe and get approved to open,” he said.



The Buttery Bros Introduce the Butter Truck

On this episode, Marston Sawyers and Heber Cannon talk about how they ended up acquiring the Butter Truck and then check in with Kristin Holte to recap her 2019 Games experience.

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Fresh Coffee

Black Rifle Coffee imports the highest quality beans from around the world. No matter what your taste profile is they have a blend for you. Try one of their fresh blends today.

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Pat Vellner on Make PODs Great Again

Hosts John Wooley and Niki Brazier talk with CrossFit Games Athlete Pat Vellner about everything from his current training, house shopping, his wedding plans, the “feud” with Dave Castro, punishments during the Open, his career, and even John’s dad. Tune in to this fun conversation.

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Strawberry Banana Baked Oatmeal with Chocolate Chips

This delicious strawberry banana baked oatmeal with chocolate chips recipe makes an easy breakfast that’s perfect for meal prep! It’s a quick and healthy baked delight that’s coated with a drizzle of peanut butter or almond butter on top. Reheat a slice and enjoy all week long!





Top Trending Stories at the Morning Chalk Up

Here are five of the top trending stories from the past week:

Bonus video: The Sara Sigmunsdottir 2020 Games Season Mixtape.

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