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Underdog Athletics Star Alex Gazan Talks CrossFit Games Expectations

Morning Chalk Up

June 23   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Meet CrossFit Games rookie and Underdogs athlete Alex Gazan
  • How do athletes cope with starting and ending competitions late?
  • Is Mal O’Brien the biggest threat to Tia-Clair Toomey’s throne?
  • What to expect from the Last Chance Qualifier workouts
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“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” - Desmond Tutu

  Meet Games Rookie Alex Gazan: The Newest Underdogs Athletics Star  

Meet Games Rookie Alex Gazan: The Newest Underdogs Athletics Star

Alex Gazan didn’t enter the Granite Games in Eagan, MN expecting to qualify for the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.

“My expectations were to do well, and ultimately qualifying would be really cool, but if I wasn’t necessarily expecting to qualify,” said the 20-year-old Gazan, who started CrossFit when she was 16 and competed in her first CrossFit Open in 2018. At the time, she could barely overhead squat a barbell, let alone do any of the high skill movements.

Since then, Gazan, who has been training under coach Justin Cotler at Underdogs Athletics in Las Vegas, NV this season, has improved quickly and dramatically.

Heading into this year’s Semifinals, Gazan knew she was fitter than she was when she placed 16th at Semifinals last year, but she didn’t start to really believe she could qualify to the Games until she found herself in the top five halfway through the competition.

“After workout three, I was still in a qualifying spot and I was like, ’OK, I don’t want to fall out of a qualifying spot…so as the weekend progressed, my expectations to qualify progressed,” she said of how she started to believe in herself more and more after each workout.

And by the end of the weekend, there was Gazan: fourth overall and headed to her first CrossFit Games.

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In case you missed it: Our Bottom Line host, Lauren Kalil, was a guest on the Sevan Podcast, where she spoke about how amazing she is. 😉

Onto the next: Samantha Briggs, who just called it a career after Strength in Depth, is moving on to becoming a firefighter. Check out our interview with her about her decision. 👩🏻‍🚒

Masters mastry: The 2022 Legends Championship by Mayhem Athlete is giving away some cash to the gym/afiiliate with the most masters athletes as a part of its community.

Hiring: Juggernaught Training Systems is hiring both full time app developers and a digitial marketing manager.

  Late Starts: How Semifinal Athletes Adjust to Competing Later  


Late Starts: How Semifinal Athletes Adjust to Competing Later

It’s just before 9 PM on Friday night in TCO Stadium—the sun has set, the stadium lights are bright, and the crowd roars with each attempt at the barbell complex at the Granite Games semifinal.

Alex Gazan (who later in the weekend would qualify for her first CrossFit Games) hits a complex PR of 230 pounds and the raw emotion is palatable. Being so late in the evening, how does one come down from that excitement to get to bed on time, and do it all again the next day?

“That was definitely the hardest I think,” her coach and head of Underdog Athletics, Justin Cotler, said. “For her, just being wired —she doesn’t have that competition experience yet, so trying to get her focused and leveling her emotions. Yes, it was amazing; give me a hug, now let’s do what we need to do to ride this momentum the rest of the weekend.”

With late finishes come late starts, and many athletes aren’t used to being restless all day, waiting to give it their all until dinner time.

Cotler says one of the keys is to adjust your sleep schedule leading into competition weekend.

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  Late Starts: How Semifinal Athletes Adjust to Competing Later  

Can Mal beat Tia?

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  What to Expect from the 2022 CrossFit Games Last Chance Qualifier  

What to Expect from the 2022 CrossFit Games Last Chance Qualifier

With the second iteration of the Last Chance Qualifier fast approaching, today we dive into what competitors can expect based on what we learned from last year and what we’ve already seen this year in the previous parts of the season.

2021 LCQ:

The first year of the LCQ featured four workouts and a total of seven movements. Every single one of those movements had already showed up in some iteration at a previous stage of the season:

  • Rowing: Previously seen in the Quarterfinals and the online Semifinals
  • Hang Dumbbell Snatch: DB snatch in the Open, barbell snatch in Quarters and Semis
  • Burpees: Burpee box jump overs in the Open and Quarters, burpees in Semis
  • Double Unders: Appeared in every stage (Open, Quarters, and Semis)
  • Squat Cleans: Heavy clean in the Open, Db hang cleans at Quarters, barbell clean (and jerks) in Semis
  • Legless Rope Climbs: Previously in the online Semifinals
  • Deadlift: Part of the Barbell Complex in the Open, dumbbell deadlifts in Semis

Due to COVID restrictions last season, CrossFit was responsible for programming a complete online Semifinal which took a lot of possible unused movements off the table for the LCQ. This year that was not the case, CrossFit only programmed two of the six Semifinal workouts and therefore has a little more leeway should they want to incorporate unused movements into this year’s LCQ.

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The Best Dumbbells For Heavy-Duty Workouts

Let’s face it, we're a special breed when it comes to dumbbells. No matter the manufacturers’ warnings, we all know that there will be times when you drop them onto the floor of your box or your garage from overhead. That's why we conducted dozens of tests to find the best dumbbells to survive your WOD.




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How Many Calories Tia-Clair Toomey Burns

A day of training with the Fittest Woman on Earth is not the same as your average one-hour class. See everything involved in a day of training for Tia-Clair Toomey and see how many calories she burns in her workouts. We've always wondered how many calories a GOAT burns in a day.



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Your Forward Leaning Dip

Find yourself leaning forward after you complete a push jerk? This is the guide you're looking for. Discover how your form should look, common errors leading to failure, and how to fix your faults in this breakdown.


Share Your CrossFit Story


Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a highlight.

  • Morgan Porter from CrossFit Wildwood in Wildwood, MO completed 50 strict handstand push-ups in 1 minute, 33 seconds, a 26-second PR.
  • Congratulations Daniella Verhoest from CrossFit 908 in Berkeley Heights, NJ on 5 reps of close grip overhead squats at 190 pounds/86kg.
  • ICYMI: Rosalie Belanger from CrossFit Saguenay (Team SAG 1) in Chicoutimi, Quebec snatched 205 pounds/93kg in the Atlas Games team snatch ladder event.
  • Congratulations Wael Harb from Lycans Strength and Conditioning in Beirut, Lebanon on the 485 pounds/220kg back squat.
  • Congratulations to Masters athlete Ryan Calderone from Ocean State CrossFit in Cranston, RI on the 495 pound/225kg deadlift during this year’s Age Group Quarterfinals— a 70 pound PR.
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