Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Strength in Depth is over, but we’ve got more analysis of the leaderboard. And, two profiles in courage and conviction from the global CrossFit community.
The next generation makes a statement in London.
A former regionals athlete uses CrossFit to break cycles of violence.
A long-time CrossFitter uses nutrition to change his life.
“If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” — Thomas Edison
The Youth Movement Takes Over London
One look at the women’s podium from Strength in Depth, and it’s clear that the future of women’s division is bright. Tia-Clair Toomey is undoubtedly the Queen and the throne is hers for the foreseeable future, but this past weekend in London gave us a glimpse into what’s in store for the next generation of female athletes at the CrossFit Games.
How things played out: The top three spots all went to women 23-years-old or younger, giving the Strength in Depth podium a combined age of 63. To give you an idea of how significant that is, there are three women currently in the top 20 on the worldwide Open leaderboard in the women’s 60+ division that are at least 63 years old, highlighting the journey that still lies ahead for these young women.
First Place: Laura Horvath (23) walked away with the top spot, and in the process shook some of the demons that have haunted her over the past year.
This weekend was the first time she finished a CrossFit event in its entirety since her podium run at the Games in 2018. After the first day she was unstoppable, winning four of the five events, reminiscent of the “force of nature” rookie that took Madison by storm and pushed Tia-Clair Toomey to the finish.
Horvath is an athlete too talented not be on the competition floor at the Games on the final day, and Strength in Depth was a big step in the right direction.
Second Place: Gabriela Migala (21) continued her ascent into the elite ranks with an impressive podium in London.
Migala led early on in the competition, and was the only other athlete besides Horvath to win an event after day one — including tying Horvath in an exciting sprint to the finish on event 4 “Creeping Death.”
Since an unceremonious exit after First Cut at the Games last year, Migala has qualified again as Poland’s national champion and finished an impressive 4th place at a stacked Dubai CrossFit Championship where she never finished a single event lower than 8th.
Her season so far is eerily similar to that of Horvath’s breakout year, where at the same age she performed well in Dubai and podiumed at Regionals before finishing 2nd at the Games.
Third Place: Haley Adams (19) added another accolade to her pre-20’s CrossFit career by notching her second career podium as an individual.
Despite starting college this past fall, Adams has shown no signs of slowing down and flexed some improved strength and power output in the process.
At the Games last year, Adams couldn’t lift the 215 pound barbell that started off the max clean ladder and struggled enough with the 195 pound tiebreaker barbell that finished last in the event. On Saturday, the 204 pound final barbell for the Clean Bandit event was an afterthought, and Adams power cleaned both reps without issue.
Improvement at the Games this year will be tough, but Adam’s finish at Strength in Depth solidified her place as an athlete that should be in the top-10 conversation going forward.
Not to be overlooked: Sixteen-year-old Paige Powers also competed at Strength in Depth, finishing 14th overall — ahead of more than a dozen other women.
Powers also competed earlier this month at the Mayhem Classic, where she finished 18th and has had impressive showings in back-to-back Sanctionals. She’s planning on competing at future events, including the Age Group Online Qualifier, and is worth keeping an eye on.
Historically speaking, the women’s Strength in Depth podium was the youngest in the sport since the 2012 Europe Regional women’s podium. The top three spots were occupied by Annie Thorisdottir, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Thuri Helgadottir who have set a strong precedent for performance at a young age.
The three Icelandic “Dottirs,” have tallied 4 championships, 8 podiums, and 22 individual Games appearances among them, as they’ve transitioned from young phenoms to verified stars of the sport.
Good company to keep for these young women.
Tough Road To The Games: How CrossFit Saved Darcia Ondrovcik’s Life
Many top CrossFit athletes have overcome incredible adversity to compete at the CrossFit Games.
Since retiring to focus on her role as a Coach and Mom, Australian Darcia Ondrovcik has turned to sharing her story, hoping to inspire other athletes who may be experiencing their own hardships.
“A lot of people are quite shocked when they hear about my childhood and can’t actually believe you can break the cycle,” she said.
The truth is, Darcia attributes CrossFit to saving her life pulling her away from drugs, alcohol and a cycle of domestic violence. “I regularly witnessed my mum being physically, emotionally and verbally abused by my father,” she told the Morning Chalk Up.
“The hardest situation I’ve had to overcome is when my mum’s life was almost taken by my dad’s hands. My sisters and I pulled his hands off of her neck as he strangled her.”
In her late teens, Ondrovcik left home in a bid to start a better life for herself and escape her parent’s violent relationship.
She was homeless and sleeping in her carat 18 and said that was the turning point. She knew something needed to change and it’s about that point in her life, Darcia found CrossFit.
“We did a workout and I was hooked straight away.” she said.
The former competitive track runner would go on to compete at the Pacific Regional twice on a team and once as an individual – as well as traveling to Carson in 2016 with team CrossFit Torian.
“Not everyone gets to compete at the Games and I’ve been fortunate enough to have experienced this,” she said.
Darcia hasn’t just been successful in CrossFit also dabbling in fitness modeling and competitive track and field — both on a state and national level — in her younger years.
“I have always believed in living a healthy lifestyle and wherever I was on my path that’s what became the priority and it’s just a matter of doing the work that’s required.”
Darcia’s now runs an online program — Beauty In Strength — providing fitness, nutrition and mentoring to clients around the world. She donates a portion of all profits to an Australian charity offering support for domestic violence victims and also travels around the country speaking about her experience.
“My mission is to end the cycle of domestic violence in Australia. To achieve this, I will continue to share lessons from my own background to empower others to take ownership of their lives,” Darcia said.
She’s also written a book entitled Beauty In Strength that details her childhood and how she built her career as an athlete and coach.
Darcia met her now husband and biggest supporter John, through CrossFit. Both are determined to build a positive family environment for their daughter Ava.
“My perspective on training, health and fitness hasn’t changed a great deal since becoming a mum,” she said. “What’s changed is the priorities. At one stage, it was all about being a competitive athlete…but now it’s about being the healthiest role model for my daughter.”
Want a free shaker? Use coupon code CHALKUP for a free stainless steel shaker bottle ($24 value) on your first order of $49 or more with XWERKS, free shipping included.
XWERKS is the maker of unique, science based nutrition products designed to optimize performance and health. Whether you’re training for peak performance or long-term health, supplements can be a great way to improve your performance to reach our fitness goals.
Why Nik Kantar Stopped Lying to Himself and Lost 70 Pounds
When 34-year-old Nik Kantar stood on the scale in February 2019 and saw 297.2 pounds, he knew it was time he stopped lying to himself.
He had been a committed member at DogTown CrossFit in Los Angeles, CA for seven years. He consistently worked out three times a week and became fitter over the years, but he never bothered to change his diet. He always justified it, though, because “at least I was working out,” he explained.
So between his regular workouts, Kantar would pound a ton of bread and other high-calorie, low-quality meals.
“I would eat three meals a day the way a restaurant wants you to order. You know, excessive of 2,000 calories each meal … I was doing all this work, working out a lot, but was making negative progress inside of that. I realized that I might as well stop working out, or do it for real,” he said.
The 6-foot-1 Kantar added: “And when I saw that number, that I was 99 percent of the way to 300 pounds, I said, ‘This needs to stop now.’”
It was time to go all in.
Because Kantar had been embedded in the CrossFit community for so long, he knew what proper nutrition looked like. Back in 2013, he even lost 30 pounds following a Ketogenic diet when he did The Whole Life Challenge.
“But the day the challenge ended, I bought some ice cream and returned to old habits,” he said.
This time he wasn’t embarking on a short-term diet challenge. This time, he was committing to making lasting lifestyle changes.
“I went home and tossed out half my fridge and woke up the next morning and didn’t have anything I could eat,” Kantar said about the day of his fateful weigh-in.
Starting the next day, Kantar replaced his usual two bagels with cream cheese breakfast with a high-protein shake. Meanwhile, lunch became a salad with some protein, and he turned to nuts for an afternoon snack.
You gotta find something inside you that’s more important than bad food choices. I wanted to do this more than I wanted to eat the fries or the sandwich
In the first 10 days, he lost 14 pounds, which motivated him to continue.
Nearly 12 months later, Kantar sits at 225-230 pounds. As a result of his 70-pound weight loss, Kantar said his whole life has improved, physically and emotionally.
“Everything just feels easier now. And one of the biggest things I have noticed is that running doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. I’m not nearly as winded,” he said.
Kantar added: “And I just see myself so differently now. It has been fascinating to my friends who have known me my whole life. I’m a different person. I’m annoyingly cheerful.”
His message to others is simple: “You gotta find something inside you that’s more important than bad food choices. I wanted to do this more than I wanted to eat the fries or the sandwich…And for anyone who is struggling, there’s no better pay off than the emotional state change that happens when you make those positive changes.”
Though Kantar made the choice to change his lifestyle on his own, he credits the DogTown CrossFit community with providing an environment to help him stick with it.
“Having the coaches and the gym community has really helped my journey. I wouldn’t be doing anything physical if I didn’t do this. Maybe some bike rides here and there. But there is nothing else I like to do physically. This has become like a drug I have found that has turned me into someone who actually likes being active,” he said.
“I might even be convinced to go for a hike now, and that never would have happened without CrossFit,” he laughed.
Proper Assault Bike Posture
We’ve all been five rounds deep, hunched over the Assault Bike gasping for breath like there’s a limited supply of oxygen left in the room. We get it, do what you’ve got to do to survive, but Brent Fikowski has a few posture tips you might want to consider trying.
Box News and Fundraisers around the Affiliate Community
Here’s a quick roundup of news, notes, and fundraisers across the affiliate community on our radar right now:
The Recovery Gym, an innovative facility in Portland, OR that merges fitness, data and mentorship to help people on the path to recovery from substance abuse and mental health disorders is now offering CrossFit classes five days a week. The staff includes two L-1 and one L-2 CrossFit coaches and best of all, the classes are free for those recovering from addiction, trauma and mental health issues.
In Union, NJ, a new residential development, the Vermella, will feature a CrossFit space among the poolside cabanas, display kitchen for cooking demonstrations, and yoga studio it offers as amenities to future residents.
QTown Fitness,the gym owned by CrossFit Games athletes Jennifer and Sam Dancer, has moved locations to The District in Quincy, IL. Although the Dancers are known for their elite fitness accomplishments, the gym offers programs for people of all fitness levels and levels.
Glenbrook South High School, in Glenview, IL began shifting their physical education programs last week by moving the cardio and Smith machines out to make way for a CrossFit program. The teachers and trainers there are shifting the focus from muscle isolation exercises to HIIT and CrossFit workouts.
Coastal Community CrossFit in Gibsons, BC is expanding. The larger facility allows more room for classes, one-on-one training and a children’s area.
CrossFit Edwardsville in held an inaugural 5k and Fran-K in Glen Carbon, IL last weekend. All proceeds from the fundraisers went to support the non-profit organization, the Good Samaritan House in Granite City, IL. For those curious, a “Fran-K” is the CrossFit benchmark WOD “Fran” with an 800m run in between each transition.