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“Never take squats for granted,” says Coach Koulchar
Army sergeant Nick Koulchar was deployed to Sadr City, Iraq in 2008 when the vehicle he was in was struck by an explosive device. The driver was killed instantly while the force of the impact caused Koulchar to lose both his legs above the knee.
Koulchar was airlifted to Baghdad. Twenty-four hours later he was airlifted again to Germany where he was stabilized before being transferred to Walter Reed Medical center where he would undergo more than 60 surgeries.
A new way of life.
He also had to learn how to navigate his new life in a wheelchair. He had to learn how to sit up, how to get in and out of his chair, how to support himself using only his arms. “It’s pretty much like starting life all over again,” he said in an interview.
But he did start all over again. Like many veterans, Nick struggled with depression. Looking for a way to stay healthy and lose some weight he decided to return to weightlifting, a sport he had enjoyed when he was younger.
And this led him to CrossFit.
He found Grand Trunk CrossFit in New Hudson, MI in 2015. “The beauty of CrossFit is that it can be tailored based on the athlete’s level of fitness or physical condition,” says Koulchar. “For someone like me, it was nice to know I could do a workout and see real results.” One year later, owners Brooklyn and Diana Netherton approached him about coaching.
Now he’s a familiar face in the gym not just as an athlete, but also as a coach even though he knows some members can be intimidated by his injury. “The next time you attend a WOD and I’m coaching, try not to be too intimidated,” he laughs. “But never take for granted your ability to do squats, no matter how much they might suck.”
Coffee Break Conversations
What to do when no one is throwing a New Year’s Eve party…
Do it yourself. That’s what Amani Manassra, the only female CrossFit coach in all of Palestine, is doing at CrossFit Ramallah. CrossFit Ramallah has 180 members and she estimates that more than half of those are women. “Women started looking up to me and saying ‘you’re representing Palestine. You’re representing women and you’re representing Arab women.’ I felt like I owed it to them so I worked more on developing myself,” said Manassra.
WATCH: On the Minute, Episode 5
Join Morning Chalk Up’s Editor-in-Chief Justin LoFranco and Armen Amirian as they dissect the good, bag and ugly from the first sanctioned event of the 2019 CrossFit Games season.
HEAR: The Man Who Has His Schedule Down to a Science
Jason Khalipa has Gary Vee of VaynerMedia on the AMRAP Mentality podcast. Together Jason and Gary explore the role of family, fitness, and passion in the entrepreneurial space. Gary explains how to show up for your family, business, and fitness with both enthusiasm and happiness.
If you’re in the mood for a hearty, healthy, Whole30-friendly no bean beef chili packed with cubes of tender chuck roast and a smoky, mole-like, bacon-y sauce then this recipe is for you. You can make it on the stovetop, in a Crock-Pot, or an InstaPot. Perfect for weeknight dinners.
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AFFILIATE PRO-TIP: NEW CLIENTS — Finding new clients can be challenging. Here’s how to get your clients to speak up and convince their friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances to try your gym.
NEW BOX IN BULGARIA — CrossFit Serdikais opening in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 4.
FNX GIVEAWAY — The FNX truck giveaway has ended and this lovely family won. “We truly want to thank everyone who participated in both entering to win and also all of the companies who made this a truly life-changing gift! As a company, we were amazed at both the number of entries and all of those willing to donate to the giveaway. This really provides encouragement to us that as a human race we still have a chance to be something special,” FNX wrote.
CHILDRENS CHARITY — CrossFit Leeside held a marathon row fundraiser in November. The Leeside Team Rowed 382,044 meters over five hours and raised almost $2200 for the Cork University Hospital Children’s Ward. Tuesday they presented the check for the hospital.
NINE-YEAR-OLD HOSTS ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE — Every year for her birthday Gowri Pillai turns down gifts and opts for a canned food drive instead. This year she is hoping to collect 600 pounds of food for the Great Plains Food Bank. You can drop food off at CrossFit Fargo or make a monetary donation via her Facebook page.
CHALK UP IN 2 MINUTES(a highlight reel around social media of CrossFit pros and average joes)
Fitness apparel company Human Unlimited is closing up shop • CrossFit Gymnastics instructor Chuck Bennington is doing the 3000 burpees challenge and he’s doing them everywhere • Congratulations to Olivia Vollmar and her
father who are down a combined 270 pounds three years after finding CrossFit • Stephen Howard got a 205 pound clean PR • This couple celebrated 30 years of marriage with a hero WOD • Stacie Tovar is running another New Year nutrition challenge • Congratulations to Darren and Jessica Hunsucker on the birth of their daughter Ivy Lynn
Hunsucker • Lorna Duggan joins the club and gets double-unders • The Cascade Classic and RPM Training Co. are dropping-in to gyms and giving away 100 custom Scout ropes.
CONFIRMED: Lukas Esslinger —Wodapaloozajust confirmed Lukas Esslinger to their athlete roster. The Fittest Man from Switzerland is coming to Miami.
CONFIRMED: Lukas Högberg — Lukas Högberg and his micro-flag are confirmed to the Strength in Depth taking place in London in February.
Kari Pearce Joins O2 Natural Recovery Team — America’s Fittest Woman, Kari Pearce joined the O2 Natural Recovery team alongside Alison Scudds and James Hobart, and to celebrate she’s hosting a holiday giveaway. You can enter to win a My Power Dot EMS tool and a case of O2.
CrossFit Health and Diabetes — In a recent CFMDL1 alumni meeting, Dr. Sarah Hallberg of Virta Health addressed the reversal of Type 2 diabetes and the role physicians play in educating patients, saying: “Fifty-two percent of adults in the U.S. have diabetes or pre-diabetes. Not only is it impacting people’s quality of life, but we’re going broke over it.” She told to the crowd that the disease costs more than $300 billion a year to fight, and that CrossFit has been fighting. Her parting words were, “Science is
on your side.”
We are surrounded by messages encouraging us to exercise. Blog posts, advertisements, doctors, and peers all affirm the emotional and physical advantages of working out. Beyond colloquial wisdom, research shows that in both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric populations, regular exercisers tend to report greater emotional well-being and fewer depressive symptoms than people who are sedentary.
Although the physical health advantages of aerobic exercise likely contribute to emotional well-being, the psychological impact of physical activity is not entirely explained by these changes. Furthermore, results for clinical interventions targeting exercise have been inconsistent in their results and many trials suffer from the potential confound that voluntary engagement in exercise habits may reflect recovery or stable mood rather than be the source of positive change.
Given the numerous studies that have shown general positive associations between exercise and mood, more research is needed to understand the nature of these effects. This work would help develop more targeted, consistently efficacious interventions. To this end, we hone in on individual sessions of exercise and their effect on emotional experiences.