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The Open Is Coming. How to Prepare Your Gym

Morning Chalk Up

December 14   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • How to prepare your gym for the 2024 CrossFit Games Open
  • Are you advertising your gym? Check out a few reasons why you should consider it
  • Our final installment of “Memories from Madison” highlights the most iconic event of this Games era, “The Capitol”

Looking for the perfect gift this holiday season? Check out our Holiday Gift Guide.

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“I want my gym community talking about how cool the Open was last year for the whole calendar year.” - Luke Meade, Owner of CrossFit Medfield

  How to Prepare Your Gym For a Successful Open Season  

How to Prepare Your Gym For a Successful Open Season

While February might seem far into the future, gyms will have just two short months to prepare for the Open once members return from their holiday vacations. While elite athletes view the Open as the official kickoff to the long road to the CrossFit Games, for the wider CrossFit community and your average affiliate, the Open has a bit of a different meaning.

One big thing: Every year, the Open serves as an opportunity for affiliate owners and managers to bring their community together and encourage members to push themselves outside of their comfort zones.

  • But how do get members to sign up for the Open and keep them excited and engaged throughout the entire three-week period?
  • While there’s no one right answer, there are several key phases to keep in mind when encouraging members to sign up for the Open.

Phase 1: Building The Hype 

While the glitz and glamor of Friday Night Lights might take up most of your planning time, you’ll need to ensure that you have members signed up to attend those events.

Create a nomination challenge: Utilize social media to create a chain reaction of nominations for your coaches and members to push each other to sign up.

  • “Our coaches who sign up for the Open post their confirmation email on Instagram stories and tag three individuals from the gym to nominate them to sign up,” said Invictus Boston marketing director Justin Bartels.
  • “They will usually tag three more members when they sign up, and the nomination chain rolls on,” he continued.
  • “Our gym page will repost all of the stories so our members can see their fellow members signing up. It creates a lot of momentum and camaraderie early on. We will usually get 60-80 sign-ups in a day from this,” he concluded.

Create incentives: While it might feel tough to ask members to pay $20 to officially register for the Open, having more members registered in an official capacity can encourage more participation in the long term.

  • Sophie LaChance, owner of CrossFit Portsmouth: The Port has a unique way to incentivize her members to officially register for the Open.
  • “We’ve had trouble getting our members to sign up for the online CrossFit Open. They don’t want to pay the money or understand the benefits. I’ve never pushed it because it costs money,” she said.
  • However, this year, LaChance has decided to give members who officially register for the Open $10 off their official CrossFit Portsmouth Open t-shirt as a way to help them feel like there are some additional perks to signing up.

Get coaches to lead the way: While social media is a great tool for encouraging members to sign up, the coaches who your members look up to and trust will always be your best bet for encouraging members to participate.

  • “I ask the coaches to start talking to the members during the whiteboard session about The Open, what it is, and how to participate,” LaChance said.
  • “[I encourage them to] stress that it’s just a fun in-house competition and more about fun and camaraderie than competition and scores,” she continued.
  • Affiliate owners and managers can also encourage members to share their own Open experiences with members, whether that be at the whiteboard or on social media.
  • Many coaches have been in the CrossFit space for a long time and can speak well to the way the Open has pushed them in years past.
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TYR WZA Workouts: The 2024 TYR WZA Fitness Festival team has begun to release workouts for this year’s elite division in Miami, FL, on January 11-14, have been released. Check out workout 1 “Cortadito”:

For Time:
Parallel Bar Dips
Hang Power Cleans, 185/125 pounds

– into –

Shoulder to Overhead
Bar Muscle Ups, 185/125 pounds

New Trainer Alert 🚨 🚨: TYR Sport and Squat University have dropped their collaboration shoe, the DropZero Barefoot Trainer, featuring an innovative powerstrap design.

The Progrm mAsh: Learn the history of John Singleton’s The Progrm mAsh, the new competition format that the Filthy150 will use this January.

  • Registration for this event, happening January 26-27, 2024 in Louth, Ireland, at the DKIT Sports Arena is open now.

ICYMI: Team Brandon came out on top at FitFest UK.

  Still Not Advertising Your Gym? Here are Some Reasons to Consider It  


Still Not Advertising Your Gym? Here are Some Reasons to Consider It

More profitable gyms run paid ads, yet less than 50 percent of gyms relied on them in 2023.

That’s coming from the annual State of the Industry report put out by Two-Brain Business which looked at 13,444 gyms and pulled data from gym management software companies PushPress, Wodify, TeamUp, and Kilo.

The details: The report found that 49.1 percent of gyms ran ads in 2023. And as for CrossFit gyms specifically—who made up a little more than 50 percent of the gyms in the report—only 44 percent consistently ran ads this year.

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  ‘Moments From Madison,’ Part Four: The Capitol  

‘Moments From Madison,’ Part Four: The Capitol

The athletes’ slow and grinding climb up the steps to the Wisconsin State Capitol captivated fans during the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games and became a symbol for the city that gave CrossFit a home for six years.

In the final installment of our “Moments from Madison” series, we revisit “The Capitol” and remember some of the biggest moments from the men’s and women’s side.

Remind me: The event started on the field with 20 pig flips (510 pounds/310 pounds for men and women, respectively), followed by a 3.5-mile run through Madison. Once the athletes completed their run, they had a 200-meter Jerry bag carry and ended with a 200-meter Husafell carry. They finished the event at the top of the steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol.

Fans lined the streets and the steps leading to the finish line, but athletes had a lot to do before that point. This was the first event on the third day of the competition, so athletes had already faced four grueling workouts up until this point.

  • On the women’s side, the typical powerhouses like Dani Speegle, Laura Horvath, and Ellie Turner took the lead on the pig flips. But as they got into the run, athletes started to feel the lower back fatigue from the pig and the endurance athletes started to shine.
  • Haley Adams, an athlete known for her endurance, went flip for flip with Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr during the second heat and unsurprisingly pulled ahead on the run with almost no other women in sight. However, it was Amanda Barnhart who ultimately finished her pig flips first.
  • Adams held strong on the Jerry can and Husafell bag until the stairs. She started to lose her grip carrying the bag overhead and on her upper back and moved to a bear hug carry. It wasn’t long before she began to break down.
  • Gabriela Migala managed to pull ahead of Adams and took the event win. But it was Rebecca Fuselier who stole the show. Though she was the last athlete to finish the event, the crowd roared around her, and her efforts epitomized the sport and instantly became the most memorable moment of the weekend.

Fuselier finished the event in 54:42, roughly 21 minutes slower than Migala, who won the event on the women’s side. Over on the men’s side, things were off to a similar start. In heat two, Roman Khrennikov powered through the pig flips and was first to the run, followed by fellow “big boy” Jayson Hopper.

  • As the run progressed, we saw Khrennikov, Ricky Garard, and Lazar Djukic group up and keep very similar paces. At the time, analyst Chris Hinshaw commented that athletes who stayed in a pack had a better advantage than running alone: “Let’s work together until we get to those heavy implements.”
  • Djukic pulled away and got to the Jerry bags immediately, knowing his fellow competitors were on his tail. Managing grip failure was the name of the game for the back half of this workout.
  • Khrennikov went back out in front of Djukic, running to the Husafell bag. But as Khrennikov dropped before heading up the stairs, Garard looked over and swiftly passed him. It’s important to remember this was Garard’s first Games appearance since his 2017 ban, and he returned with a vengeance. While the two battled back and forth for a bit, Garard would pull ahead and win the event.

Garard took third overall at the Games and proved he’d been putting in the work. Unfortunately, an injury kept him out of the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

The bottom line: “The Capitol” was one for the books and a moment at the competition that fans and athletes will remember for a long time. New memories will undoubtedly be made at the Games’ new home in Fort Worth, TX, next year, but “The Capitol” was a culmination of the CrossFit legacy built in Madison.

  ‘Moments From Madison,’ Part Four: The Capitol  

Morning Chalk Up's Holiday Gift Guide

Stuck on what to gift the CrossFit lover in your life this holiday season? Look no further! Surprise them with gear that elevates every workout. And guess what? You deserve the gift of peak performance too! Treat them (or yourself) to the latest in fitness essentials – from performance-enhancing gear to recovery essentials, we’ve curated the ultimate gift guide to make every workout merry and bright.

What are you waiting for? Start gifting!


Sweet Potato Brownies

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Handstand Walking Help

Try these progressions for walking on your hands, getting more difficult and challenging with each step. Begin with wall-assisted holds and graduate to handstand walking in free space.



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Time Under Tension

Try these timed front rack and back rack holds, getting used to being under massive tension and holding tight while you're there. Try to hold each position for 20 seconds.


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