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The Mental Toll of Gym Closures

Morning Chalk Up

May 15   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Editor-in-Chief, Justin LoFranco begins his journey to the summit of Mt Denali.
  • Tommy Marquez takes on the future of the Masters divisions.
  • Karen Armstrong fights for her fitness despite long-term gym closures.
  • And, This Week in CrossFit, our new weekly digest of all the top stories and happenings in the sport and community.
  • Today’s the last day of O2’s Gym Appreciation Week. Say thank you to your gym and enter them into the draw to win an Ultimate Gym Upgrade.
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“Be brave enough to be bad at something new.” - Jon Acuff

  Why I’m Climbing the Tallest Mountain in North America 

Why I’m Climbing the Tallest Mountain in North America

For 21 days starting Saturday, my team and I will attempt to climb the tallest mountain in North America — Mt. Denali. Some of you may know it as Mt. McKinley.

At 20,310 feet, it’s the highest point in the world in any direction until you get to get to the skyscrapers of the Andes Mountain Range.

There is, however, one minor difference. Mt. Denali is in Alaska and less than 1,000 miles from the Arctic Circle, so it’s colder. Being this far from the equator has the added benefit of making the air thinner, so at 16,000 feet the oxygen level is only half what it is at sea level.

A quick summit temperature comparison between Denali and Everest illustrates my point well.

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Last Chance: Enter your Gym for The Ultimate Gym Upgrade

Last Chance: Enter your Gym for The Ultimate Gym Upgrade

The last year has been challenging for gyms. COVID, lockdowns, endless Zoom classes; gyms have fought hard. And, through it all, they keep us going and inspire us all.

Send your gym a short thank you message for all they do and automatically enter them into the draw for an Ultimate Gym Upgrade as part of O2’s Gym Appreciation Week.

Thank you for thanking them.


  • On Sale Today: Tickets for the West Coast Classic Semifinal event, which will be held in Las Vegas, NV on June 18-20, will be available starting at 1 PM ET today.
  • The Granite Games Semifinal event, which will be held in Eagan, MN on June 4-6, will post one workout each day on Instagram. The first workout is “Thruster Run 3.0“:
    • For time:
      18 DB Thrusters
      200m Run
      15 DB Thrusters
      200m Run
      12 DB Thrusters
      200m Run
      9 DB Thrusters
      200m Run
      6 DB Thrusters
      200m Run
      3 DB Thrusters
      (70-pound/50-pound DBs)
  • The Granite Games also released its schedule for the weekend.
    • Friday, 6/4
      3:30 PM Gates Open
      4:30-10 PM Competition
    • Saturday, 6/5
      12-5 PM Competition
    • Sunday, 6/6
      10 AM-5 PM Competition and Closing Ceremonies.
  • The Torian Pro Semifinal event, which will be held in Brisbane, Australia on May 28-30, posted the first individual and team event on Instagram. The first workout is called “Reverse Triathlon“:
    • For time:
      5K Run
      7K Bike
      2K Row
      Time cap: 48 Minutes
  • “Reach for the Rings” the film documenting the 2019 iF3 World Championships in Malmo, Sweden in now available for pre-order.
  • Live Now: Registration for the next Rogue Fitness Challenge, “The Bella Complex,” is open now.
  Tommy Tackles the Future of the Masters Division 


Tommy Tackles the Future of the Masters Division

The 2021 season has all the makings of a banner year for the Masters divisions.

More importantly, there is a distinct opportunity for the product at the Games and the response to put into motion something that the Masters athletes have been clamoring for since the division started in 2010 — more resources and coverage.

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  A Closed Gym, A Lost Community, and the Toll it Has Taken on Karen Armstrong’s Health 

A Closed Gym, A Lost Community, and the Toll it Has Taken on Karen Armstrong’s Health

Last week, we reported on a new study based out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario that illustrated how a lack of access to gyms due to COVID-19 closures has been devastating for mental health.

Today we introduce you to Karen Armstrong, a 10-plus year member at Sled Dog Strength and Conditioning in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a gym that — notwithstanding a short period last summer when they were open for outdoor workouts — has been closed since the first wave of the pandemic hit in March 2020.

Her story: “For me, the gym is my safe place,” 53-year-old Armstrong began. “It’s a piece where I can go and be me…This time belonged to me.”

She continued: “That space and time to myself carried me through some tough times, where I learned to breathe and be strong. I developed my strength, both physical and mentally. It’s a place of my own.”

Fast forward to 2020: Armstrong’s husband retired and she was forced to work from her basement. At the same time, the parents of her two-and-a-half year-old grandson separated.

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  This Week in CrossFit 

This Week in CrossFit

Did the week get ahead of you and you’re looking to catch up on the top trending stories in CrossFit and the industry? You’ve come to the right place. Each week we will wrap up major news from the week and stories people are talking about inside the box.

With the wrap-up of The Age Group Online Qualifiers, we take a look at who (unofficially) punched their ticket to the Games and which athletes we’ll see compete at Semifinals. Oh…and 17-year-old Emma Carry snatch balances 265 pounds. What are they feeding these teen athletes?!

What we learned from the conclusion of the Age Group Online Qualifier:

  • As the leaderboard becomes final, we’re starting to have an idea of which masters and teens are headed to the Games. But some may be using that as a backup plan in hopes to secure an individual ticket, and there could be a family reunion standing on the podium.
Continue Reading...


The Importance of Pelvic Floor Health for CrossFitters

Too often the answer to pelvic floor issues is "avoid that exercise" rather than addressing the problem. Hear physiotherapist, CrossFit athlete, and L1 trainer Brittany Klingmann on the BoxJumper Podcast talk about strengthening and treating pelvic floor in athletes.




An Olympic Barbell Designed by CrossFitters

Upgrade your home gym with this Hero Barbell giveaway. Frustrated by their lack of barbell options, three friends decided to create their own. With finely-tuned spinning collars, precision-cut knurling, and sweet color schemes, the Legend Bar is the barbell made for CrossFitters by CrossFitters.



Improve your Front Squat with Lukas Hogberg

The back squats evil cousin trips up many athletes with its awkward weight distribution. Five-times CrossFit Games athlete Lukas Hogberg has tips on stance, set up, grip position, and bar path to help you out.



The Official Wearable of CrossFit

Even before becoming an official CrossFit partner, WHOOP straps were the data tracker of choice for over 50% of athletes at last year's Games, including Katrin Davidsdottir, Noah Olsen, and Kari Pearce. Join the WHOOP team for free with a complimentary WHOOP strap 3.0 and first-month membership below.



Taxes for CrossFit Coaches

Employee? Self-Employed? Subcontractor? Deductibles? Getting your taxes right as a CrossFit coach can be confusing. This guide explains everything you need to know and how to make sure you're getting the most from your return.


Chalk Up Highlights is our section dedicated to celebrating our community’s wins in the gym. Follow @ChalkUpHighlights and submit your highlight to [email protected] to be featured.

12/3 - 12/4: Torino Challenge (Moncalieri (TO), Italy)
12/3: Reindeer Rumble (Ocala, FL)
12/9 - 12/11: Fall Series Throwdown (Desio, Italy)
12/17: The Midwest Championship (Warrensburg, MO)
1/15 - 1/31: Athens Throwdown Qualifiers (Athens, Greece)
1/21 - 1/22: Modena Challenge: Beginner and Master (Modena, Italy)

See all upcoming events

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