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 The Rogue Invitational Enters Day Two

Morning Chalk Up

October 27   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • A recap of day one at the Rogue Invitational
  • Greg Everett talks about building Catalyst Athletics
  • CrossFit hires a new VP of Affiliates and Operations, Jay DeCoons
  • Reps Ahead holds its first pro match
  • And, Jamie and Elliot Simmonds’ Workout of the Week

Don’t forget to hit us up with story tips, highlights, quotes of the day and more.

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“I'd rather be the guy doing and failing than the guy doing nothing more than telling others they've failed.” - Greg Everett

  Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and Jeff Adler Take Event One at Rogue Invitational  

Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and Jeff Adler Take Event One at Rogue Invitational

After you win the CrossFit Games, the expectation is you will win again. That’s the kind of pressure both Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and Jeffrey Adler had going into the Rogue Invitational in Austin, TX this weekend.

They both answered the call on Thursday evening, picking up event wins to kick off the four-day competition.

The details: Event one was a one mile ruck (100/80 pounds), followed by an 800-meter ruck run (45/30 pounds), followed by a one mile run, with a sled bag pull to finish (125/100 pounds).

On the women’s side, all eyes were on Toomey-Orr making her competition debut after giving birth to a baby girl in May, and the reigning Fittest Woman on Earth Laura Horvath.

  • Horvath put forth a solid performance (fourth), especially on a running event which isn’t normally one of her strengths, but she was no match for Toomey-Orr, who led all competitors in a time of 20:24.
  • Toomey-Orr called her win “absolutely crucial” in a post-test interview, as with only nine events, “You gotta capitalize on every event,” she said.

Worth noting: While it was no surprise to see Toomey-Orr win a run event, Poland’s Gabriela Migala managed to hang close to Toomey-Orr throughout the test, finishing just 13 seconds behind. Further, Migala also edged out Emily Rolfe, the winner of the 5-km cross country run from last summer’s Games.

On the men’s side, it was 2023 Games rookie Jelle Hoste who led the field much of the race, but Adler stayed close on his heels throughout, as if he was just waiting for his moment to pounce. That moment came during the end of the final one mile run; Adler passed Hoste and picked up the test win.

  • Other top contenders, Roman Khrennikov and Brent Fikowski placed third and fourth respectively, while 2022 CrossFit Games bronze medalist Ricky Garard, who withdrew from the 2023 season due to a shoulder injury, finished eighth.

What about Pat? The current second fittest man in the world Pat Vellner, not known to excel at long runs, finished 13th out of 20 competitors and will have some work to do on Friday to get himself back into a podium position.

The big picture: With an absolutely stacked field on both the men’s and women’s side at the Rogue Invitational, the battle has just begun. But judging by the confident statement Toomey-Orr and Adler made on Thursday, they have to be considered the favorites.

Not even six months postpartum, Toomey-Orr never had a doubt: “I was adamant I was coming back at the Rogue Invitational and I made it happen,” she said.

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🚣‍♀️ 🚣‍♀️ Rowvember 2023 Alert: For the fifth year in a row, Dark Horse Rowing is running “Rowvember,” a month-long, pre-holiday challenge. Dark Horse will provide a rowing workout every day for those who sign up and the goal is to complete as many as possible during the month. Last year, 8,000 people signed up. The goal this year is 10,000.

2POOD x CrossFit: Check out this cool giveaway from 2POOD. You can enter to win a CrossFit Certification Course or Credential of your choice and the new “100 Words” 4″ Weightlifting belt. All you have to do is enter your email address for a chance to win.

Rogue Iron Game Premium: The Rogue Invitational is coming this week and along with the regular live stream, Rogue Fitness is offering a premium option that includes the ability to toggle between cameras, a featured athlete cam, live chats and Q&A, multiview, and more.

ICYMI: The complete spectator’s guide to the Rogue Invitational.

  Catalyst Athletics Greg Everett on Building a Brand from the Ground Up  


Catalyst Athletics Greg Everett on Building a Brand from the Ground Up

Greg Everett never planned on being an Olympic weightlifting coach. As he puts it, it just was a “very fortunate series of accidents and mistakes.”

A pillar of CrossFit is Olympic weightlifting. The art of the clean and jerk and the snatch can be broken down into beautiful movement patterns and can be perfected year over year over year.

Everett was at the precipice of the sport of CrossFit and was one of the key people involved in getting a weightlifting program into the CrossFit methodology.

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  Breaking: CrossFit Names Jay DeCoons As New VP of Global Affiliate and Operations  

Breaking: CrossFit Names Jay DeCoons As New VP of Global Affiliate and Operations

In an email to affiliate owners yesterday, CrossFit announced Jay DeCoons as their new VP of Global Affiliate and Operations. DeCoon earned an MBA at Harvard University and has experience in finance at Highland Capital. He also comes with over ten years of experience in the fitness industry, where he served in leadership roles at YogaWorks and later The Bar Method.

One big thing: This announcement comes after a long search for a new head of affiliates after the General Manager of Affiliates Gary Gaines was removed in December of 2022.

  • Since then, Austin Malleolo, an eight-time Games athlete, co-founder of the HAM Plan (which became CrossFit Affiliate Programming), long-time seminar staff member and former affiliate owner served in an interim capacity in the role. He previously also served under Gaines as the Director of North American Gym Operations.
  • Malleolo will now be moving into the role of Senior Director of Affiliate Strategy and Operations.

Remind me: This move is the next step in a long line of leadership shifts at CrossFit HQ over the past several years.

  • Just before the 2022 CrossFit Games, Current CEO Don Faul took over leadership of the company after Roza stepped down earlier that year and Alison Andreozzi was named as the “interim head of CrossFit”
  • In a July interview with the Morning Chalk Up, he revealed that one of his key focus points was affiliate success.
  • Since then, he has spent much of his tenure in the position working towards growing current affiliates and expanding to new gyms.
  • In December of 2022, General Manager of Affiliates Gary Gaines was removed from the company as the sixth C-suite or director-level executive to exit that year.
  • Prior to his departure, he headed the campaign to create an “Affiliate First” model, including a content toolkit that gyms could use to improve their branding and marketing.

Prior to his new role at CrossFit, DeCoons spent over ten years in the Barre and Yoga space.

  • From 2009 to 2014, he served as the President and COO of YogaWorks where he oversaw the operations of 30 locations in New York and California.
  • He then went on to become the CEO of The Bar Method, a fitness franchise with over 115 locations in the United States and Canada.
  • After being acquired by Self Esteem Brands (the parent company of Anytime Fitness), he became the Brand President until 2020, when he moved to work for New Dawn Ventures, an investment platform.

According to CrossFit, DeCoons is a “CrossFit enthusiast” who began CrossFit in 2017 in Northern California.

  • “He is pursuing his L1 next month in Tacoma, Washington, and is excited to get on the road and meet as many of you as possible to get your insights and feedback.” CrossFit HQ wrote in an email to affiliate owners this morning.

The big picture: While DeCoons comes from outside the CrossFit industry, his leadership in the fitness industry, as well as his impressive resume, including a bachelor’s in finance from Notre Dame and an MBA from Harvard, coupled with his background in finance will hopefully provide a fresh perspective for CrossFit leadership and affiliates.

As CrossFit continues to rebuild its leadership team after several years of executive shifts and turnover, DeCoon’s entrance will hopefully facilitate continued growth for CrossFit and a renewed focus on putting affiliates first.

  Reps Ahead Successfully Concludes Its First Pro Match and Crowns James Sprague the Inaugural Winner  

Reps Ahead Successfully Concludes Its First Pro Match and Crowns James Sprague the Inaugural Winner

This year, Reps Ahead founder Phillip Thomas brought his idea to revolutionize the sport of fitness to life with a new competition style format “Reps Ahead.”

One big thing: Back in September, the brand announced that they would be hosting their first official pro match on October 7th featuring Games competitor James Sprague against Tyler Eggiman at Black Goat Fitness in Washington.

  • The event was intended to showcase the new style of competition, as well as add a new layer of legitimacy with multiple Games athletes involved in the event, including ten-time Games competitor Cole Sager as one of the judges.

Remind me: The competition style format is a variation on the traditional AMRAP. However, instead of simply needing to beat their competitor by at least one rep at the call of time, athletes can “call time” on their own terms by edging a certain number of reps ahead of their competitor.

The details: While complex on paper, the event is quite simple for the viewer to understand. The athletes were given a simple triplet of 12 box jumpovers, six hang squat cleans, and 12 chest-to-bar pull-ups.

  • Athletes were given an allowance of eight rounds, each consisting of two minutes of work and one minute of rest. During the work time, athletes attempt to pull 14 total reps ahead of their fellow competitor.
  • At the start of the next round, the reps ahead accumulated remain and athletes continue to try to amass the 14-rep lead.
  • At the end of the first round, Eggiman sat six reps ahead of Sprague. Eggiman would continue to hold this lead for the next few rounds, nearly beating Sprague.
  • However, by round five, Sprague’s fitness would prevail as he pulled off a breakaway and managed to separate himself by 14 reps and earn the first pro-victory title.
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  Jamie and Elliot Simmonds’ Workout of the Week  

Jamie and Elliot Simmonds’ Workout of the Week

Today’s workout is programmed by CrossFit Games veterans and husband/wife duo, Jamie and Elliot Simmonds. Jamie is a six-time Games athlete from New Zealand (based out of Abu Dhabi). She was the Third Fittest Woman on Earth in 2019 and her team CrossFit YAS took third place in the Affiliate Cup in 2016. Elliot is a five-time Games athlete from the UK (also based out of Abu Dhabi). He was on the same CrossFit YAS team that took third in 2016.

Together the Simmonds run Quintessential Health and Performance (QHP). Their workout below comes from QHP Classic, but they are also launching QHP Daily 30, a program of 30-minute workouts that can be used as a gateway to fitness or a stop gap through a busy period of life.

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