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The State of Reopening

Morning Chalk Up

May 4

Working Against Gravity

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. California’s affiliates are now categorized as part of “stage three” in the re-opening plan; that means at least three months of total closure for 771 gyms. And, age group athletes react to the cancelation of their season. Today:

  • The state of reopening in California.
  • Age group athletes are understanding and disappointed.
  • The oldest affiliate in Australia celebrates its fourteenth birthday.

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The State of Reopening: California Affiliates Face an Uncertain Future

  The State of Reopening: California Affiliates Face an Uncertain Future  

At the high water mark, at least 89% of all affiliates worldwide were closed. In the United States, the number reached a staggering 96%. States and some countries are beginning to ease restrictions and allow gyms to open as long as certain safety protocols are followed.

The big picture: Two trends in the affiliate reopening environment.

  1. The situation is very fluid. As Georgia and Beijing just showed, the situation can change very quickly. Businesses like gyms are at the behest of state authorities, many of which consider gyms to be high contact areas.
  2. Just because gyms are in phase one of the president’s plan to reopen America, doesn’t mean state governors have to follow it. As we’re seeing play out in California, gyms were moved to stage three offering a grim picture for California’s massive affiliate population.

One really big thing: California Governor Gavin Newsom’s decision last week to move gyms to stage three of the state’s reopening plan, which he estimated was “months, not weeks, away,” is very alarming for the state of CrossFit.

  • California is home to 771 affiliates (11.1% of the U.S.), all who cannot legally open their doors without subverting local laws.
  • The big question: California affiliates have been closed approximately 45 days since the governor issued the nation’s first stay at home order. Can businesses keep enough clients to stave off closure for at least another 45 days, essentially three months or one full fiscal quarter?
  • One southern California affiliate owner said they lost a chunk of members immediately after the governor’s “months, not weeks” comment.

Stat de jure: 47 affiliates have now permanently closed since we began tracking on April 13. Some of those gyms expressed that they were already close to closing before disaster struck, but that’s a lot of gyms in a month-and-a-half.


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Age Group Athletes React to Division Cancelations for 2020 Games

  Age Group Athletes React to Division Cancelations for 2020 Games  

When CrossFit HQ made the announcement that they would be cancelling the age group divisions at the 2020 CrossFit Games late last Thursday, it sent a wave of emotions through the CrossFit community that has already been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 160 age group athletes, who a day earlier had cause to celebrate after HQ finished the video review process of the Age Group Online Qualifier, saw their season come to an abrupt end.

The Morning Chalk Up reached out to many of the top qualifiers in the age group divisions for their thoughts on the end of their Games season.

  • The range of topics that the athletes discussed was the “lack of communication and professionalism by HQ”, the bigger picture of the pandemic, canceling the Games outright, refund of their Open registration, crowning a fittest in each age group through the AGOQ and even receiving the gear they would have gotten by competing at the Games this season.

Another issue that some raised was that the age group athletes felt slighted by the lack of support or solidarity coming from the elite individual athletes. However, Haley Adams, a three-time Games teen athlete and the 2018 “Fittest 16-17 Year Old Girl”, posted a supportive message on her instagram account.

Here is what some of the age group athletes had to say:

Kelly Friel (two-time 40-44 division Games athlete, second place in 2018 and 2019):

  • “Personally of course I am disappointed. Just like all the other masters and teens athletes that have worked their butt off to earn a spot at the CrossFit Games 2020. This would’ve been my 3rd consecutive year to represent the UK in the masters division, so this did mean a great deal to me.” 
  • “I totally understand why they have cancelled the event due to what’s going on in the world at the moment. Who would’ve thought that a global pandemic was going to happen? I just feel that the way that it was all announced was very poor. They could’ve emailed all the athletes beforehand to let us know rather than us reading it all on social media.”

The First Australian Affiliate Celebrates 14th Birthday

  The First Australian Affiliate Celebrates 14th Birthday  

It all started with a print out of the main page in 2006. It was handed to Fiona Muxlow and quite simply, that’s how Australia’s oldest affiliate, CrossFit North Queensland was born. 14 years later, Fiona’s celebrating the box’s birthday, albeit from a distance due to coronavirus restrictions in the small town of Townsville, Australia.

Where it all began: CrossFit North Queensland only just scraped by 8 days in to claim the title of the oldest affiliate in Australia. For those playing at home, CF North Queensland opened May 3, 2006; CrossFit Sydney affiliated on May 11 that same year.

  • Founder Fiona Muxlow was introduced to the CrossFit methodology as part of her training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: “One of the guys said “You like weird sh*t Check this out!” and gave me a print out of the main page that he had come across … At first it was just me doing it in a traditional gym, doing runs on the treadmill etc,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.
  • While Fiona used CrossFit to train for her blackbelt in karate, she soon realized she wanted to invest fulltime. She booked a two and a half week trip to the US to complete her Level 1, then traveled around to affiliates as market research.
  • When I returned to Australia I opened Australia’s first affiliate. We didn’t have a box, we would work out in car parks and local parks a few times a week,” she said.
  • “Fast forward to the start of this year and we run classes 3 times a day and have our own box. Our focus is small group classes, a maximum of 12 per session with the focus on CrossFit for longevity rather than CrossFit the sport,” Fiona added.

What’s changed in the past decade: “When I first started, no one had any idea…It wasn’t like today when everyone has heard about “Functional Training” getting equipment was a struggle, finding insurance was almost impossible,” Fiona recalls.




FRAN: Episode 4 with Dani Speegle

On this episode of “Fitness Related Awesome News,” Jacob Heppner interviews CrossFit Games athlete, Dani Speegle, proves that he is not a great dancer, and features all the ways that folks at home are getting creative with their fitness. And, we learn more about Redemption Road CrossFit, affiliates inside two Colorado prisons.

  Morning Chalk Up  



Stacie Tovar’s Next Nutritional Lifestyle Challenge

If your nutrition has taken a backseat lately, you are not alone. Common quarantine nutrition issues have been: overeating, under-eating, more comfort food, not making it to the store for fresh fruits and vegetables, and increased alcohol intake or dessert intake. Whatever the issue has been, we’re fired up to get you back on track! Sign up today for $29.99 and join Stacie Tovar and crew for their next 30-day Nutritional Lifestyle Challenge, kicking off May 18th.

  Morning Chalk Up  


The Clydesdale CrossFitter and Friends with Justin LoFranco, Founder and CEO of the Morning Chalk Up

On this episode, hosts Cat, Amy and Scott talk with Morning Chalk Up’s own, Justin LoFranco. During the conversation, LoFranco discusses how his experiences in high-level political campaigns and in Congress have shaped the Morning Chalk Up and how a simple newsletter has become a bona fide multi-media company.

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Chipotle Chicken Tostadas with Pineapple Salsa

Try these delicious chipotle chicken tostadas topped with a colorful, fresh pineapple salsa. They are healthy, easy to make and have an incredible sweet and savory flavor from chipotle chicken, sweet pineapple, creamy avocado and a kick of heat from jalapeño. A fun and flavorful weeknight dinner!



Congratulations to Sarah H., who was the first to correctly answer who has won the most Sanctional Individual Events (male or female). The correct answer was Tia-Clair Toomey, she has won 17 Sanctional Events.

  • Today’s question: Which Games Individual Podium was ordered by country as the following: Women – Iceland, Australia, Iceland / Men – USA, USA, Canada?

Submit your answer.



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