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Which FitFest 2023 Team is Primed to Take the Bragging Rights?

Morning Chalk Up

November 8   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • FitFest 2023 features three stacked teams of elite athletes. Learn more below
  • The Open is coming. What can you do now to get ready?
  • How much do you need to deadlift to compete against elite CrossFitters?

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

QUOTE OF THE DAY + Send us a Quote

“Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.” - T. Alan Armstrong

  FitFest 2023 Teams Are Stacked, But Which is Best?  

FitFest 2023 Teams Are Stacked, But Which is Best?

December is going to be packed with tons of CrossFit action, but perhaps no competition will be as exciting as the Pro CrossFit Athlete Showcase at FitFest 2023 in the UK.

In this article, we’ll be comparing the incredible elite teams that will be squaring off against one another for bragging (remember, this is a “showcase”), but before we do that, let’s take a look at all that is happening at FitFest on the weekend of December 8-10:

We have already been spoiled with an incredible off-season so far, and now we get another chance to see many of the sport’s elite athletes compete once again before the end of the year.

Three elite teams have been drafted by team captains Emma Lawson, Danielle Brandon, and Ella Wunger, and they are stacked with talent.

Since the teams are all so solid, let’s dive in a little deeper to see how they compare:

Team Brandon

  • Danielle Brandon
  • Arielle Loewen
  • Dallin Pepper
  • Thuri Helgadottir
  • Jayson Hopper
  • Bjorgvin Karl Gudmundsson

Total CrossFit Games appearances: 30

Total CrossFit Games podiums: 3

Every single athlete on this team has not only been to the CrossFit Games but has actually been there two times or more. This is without a doubt the most experienced team in the field and they are going to be the favorite to win it all heading into this event.

Team Wunger

  • Ella Wunger
  • Patrick Vellner
  • Jelle Hoste
  • Alex Gazan
  • Jack Farlow
  • Kels Kiel

Total CrossFit Games appearances: 18

Total CrossFit Games podiums: 5

The makeup of this team is super interesting because it’s being led by a 2023 CrossFit Games rookie Ella Wunger, while also including another two rookies Hoste and Farlow. With Patrick Vellner on this team, they also have more Games podium finishes than any other team.

Gazan and Kiel are two of the strongest women in the sport, likely giving this team’s women a slight edge in any strength event.

The battle for all the bragging rights looks like it will be between this team and Team Brandon.

Team Lawson

  • Emma Lawson
  • Brent Fikowski
  • Nick Mathew
  • Jennifer Muir
  • Lucy McGonigle
  • Enrico Zenoni

Total CrossFit Games appearances: 13

Total CrossFit Games podiums: 3

Emma Lawson and Brent Fikowski are likely going to be the leaders of this group as they attempt to upset the more experienced Teams Brandon and Wunger. Jennifer Muir and Lucy McGonigle don’t yet have Games experience, but they will be strong additions to the team, nonetheless.

Some final thoughts: Although the competition is expected to have more of a friendly, “local throwdown” vibe, these athletes always play to win. We are probably going to see a pretty intense push in each event.

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 🎙️ 🎙️ The Weekly Buzz: Check out our news brief collab between the Morning Chalk Up and Kettlebells and Cocktails and get caught up on some of the top community, affiliate, and sport stories of the week.

  • On this week’s episode: Joe and Niki make sense out of the CrossFit competitions and pro athlete showcases lined up for this December and then highlight stories from the affiliate community this week, including 26.2 CrossFit and training marathon runners, avoiding burnout in training and more.

🏋️ 💪  🏋️ Burgener Strength unveiled the 2024 dates for its weightlifting seminars and courses. Check the schedule and get signed up now.

Joshua Al-chamaa announced that he plans to return next season to compete on a CrossFit Invictus team, although he noted: “I can confirm there is a change in members…” Al-chamaa and his new team will attempt to defend the Affiliate Cup and keep it in San Diego.

ICYMI: Get an inside look at an elite teen competition with “The Crown” documentary.

  What Can You Do Now to Help You Crush the 2024 CrossFit Open?  


What Can You Do Now to Help You Crush the 2024 CrossFit Open?

There are about 100 days until the CrossFit Open begins.

I’ll say that again for those of you who don’t want to believe it–the Open starts in about 100 days.

The Open is the start of the competitive CrossFit season. Whether this is your first year competing or you are a Games veteran, it currently begins with three weeks of workouts in February and early March.

In this article, we will cover a large range of areas of opportunity to improve on with regards to your nutrition, training, and recovery to help you crush the 2024 Open. We will get into more details about nutrition advice, but for the training and recovery tips, I had to reach out to the pros. Two experienced, renowned, and successful CrossFit coaches, Kyle Ruth and Adam Rogers from Training Think Tank.

Continue Reading...
  How Much Do You Need to Deadlift to Be Competitive Against the Best?  

How Much Do You Need to Deadlift to Be Competitive Against the Best?

Remember a decade ago when 300 pounds was a big deadlift for CrossFit women, and when team athlete Sam Dancer was in a league of his own when he deadlifted over 600 pounds at the CrossFit Games?

It’s 2023 now, and deadlift events start at 300-plus pounds for women, and if you’re a man, well, if you’re not knocking on the 600-pound door, you’re not going to factor in at an elite-level CrossFit competition.

At least, that’s what the one rep max event at last week’s Rogue Invitational in Austin, TX told us.

The Dirty Deadlift Details

The women: Half the field at the Rogue Invitational—10 of 20 athletes—hit 375 pounds or heavier, while 70 percent of the field listed at least 355 pounds in the event that was won by Alex Gazan at 425 pounds.

Putting this in perspective, let’s compare this to the 2018 CrossFit Games, where the athletes did a one-rep max deadlift during the CrossFit Total event.

  • That year, 11 athletes—28 percent of the field—hit the 375-pound milestone, while 21 athletes—53 percent of the field—hit the 350-pound mark during the CrossFit Total event. Meanwhile, Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr and Brooke Wells both hit the heaviest lift at 415 pounds.
  • And in 2016: Only six athletes—15 percent of the field—hit at least 375 pounds, while 32 percent of the field hit the 350-pound milestone during the Deadlift Ladder at the CrossFit Games.

The men: Sixty-three percent of the field—12 out of 19 athletes—hit at least 545 pounds, 79 percent of the field lifted at least 525 pounds, and Chandler Smith topped the event at 610 pounds at last weekend’s Rogue Invitational (his winning lift was 605, but he went for a PR at 610 as well).

  • At the 2018 CrossFit Games: Ten out of 39 athletes—25 percent of the field—lifted at least 545 pounds, while 43 percent of the field lifted at least 525 pounds. The heaviest deadlift was put up by Pat Vellner at 595 pounds.
  • At the 2016 CrossFit Games: Eight athletes—20 percent of the field—hit the 545-pound threshold, while 40 percent lifted 525 pounds or more.

Noteworthy Individual Improvements: Not only has the field as a whole advanced its deadlift game in a big way each year but so too have some of the individuals who competed at the Rogue Invitational last weekend. Three noteworthy improvements include:

  • Travis Mayer: 575 pounds at Rogue, compared to 525 in 2016.
  • Pat Vellner: 595 pounds at Rogue and in 2018, compared to 525 in 2016.
  • Brent Fikowski: 515 pounds at Rogue compared to 485 in 2016.

The big picture: Making strength gains can be slow and requires serious patience even when you’re 100 percent committed to the cause. So the fact that experienced elite CrossFit athletes, who are simultaneously trying to improve their endurance, speed, power and gymnastics ability, can still see such big gains speaks to the power of CrossFit.

And if you want to keep up with them in 2023, 375 pounds is the new 300 as a woman. And if you’re a man, it’s not out of the question that you should be working to join the 600-pound club.



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