“We live in the world when we love it.”- Rabindranath Tagore
CrossFit Games Athlete Rainer Hartmann Describes Battling Through ALS Diagnosis and New Life Outlook
Rainer Hartmann has an athletic career that spans decades: German National Bodybuilding Championships in the 80s and 90s, starting one of the first 100 CrossFit affiliates in 2007, and competing against Jason Khalipa and Josh Everett in the 2008 CrossFit Games. Athletics carried the now 60-year-old throughout life until a devastating diagnosis in 2021 turned his world upside-down.
Hartmann was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) a neurodegenerative disease that progressively shuts down nerve function throughout the entire body. The disease gained notoriety in 2014 for the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” which raised awareness and funds for the condition. There is currently no cure.
Hartmann: “You go in (and get diagnosed) and basically get a death sentence.”
The diagnosis process started for Hartmann in 2019 at the CrossFit Affiliate Summit in Canada. He did a workout that included a run around a lake, during which he experienced extreme pain in his shin, foot and knee. He had to walk back to the hotel by himself, which he says took hours. Hartmann had an emergency physician examine him at the gym, who thought it was a drop foot.
Back in Cincinnati, where Hartmann lived and owned his affiliate CrossFit Cincinnati until April 2021, doctors speculated the pain was due to scoliosis. Hartmann put off surgery because he didn’t want to lose mobility and the ability to exercise until October of 2021. At this point, Hartmann had lost significant weight and couldn’t squat his own weight anymore without his knee collapsing.
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In case you missed it: Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil caught up with Khan Porter to discuss where his head is at when it comes to competing individually.
Join us: Friday on Coffee Break Conversations, hosted by Morning Chalk Up’s Preslie Hirsch, we’ve got Dave Durante. As a multiple-time USA gymnastics national champion, developer of the CrossFit Gymnastics Advanced Course and the co-owner of Power Monkey Fitness, Durante will be talking through how to practically improve your gymnastics and body awareness. ☕️
Local love: Great story in Yahoo News! about how high school girls are benefiting from CrossFit both physically and mentally.
More local love: Another awesome story, this time in Yahoo Life! about adaptive athlete and coach Jesi Stracham creating the Wheel With Me Fitness App to “help wheelchair users develop the mobility and strength they need to live independently and support fitness ambitions beyond improved daily function.”
How Does Australia Get Fans to Show Up for CrossFit Events?
Australia’s major off-season event, the Down Under Championship, was held November 18-21. We saw record-breaking ticket sales and big name athletes in attendance, both on and off the competition floor. How did the Down Under Championship pull it off?
Ticket Pricing Sweet Spot
Finding that sweet spot when it comes to ticket pricing for a major event like the Down Under Championship is a balancing act. Andreas Gloor, Event Director for the Down Under Championship in Wollongong, Australia explains:
“It was definitely risky. Off the back of Covid (the cost of) everything has gone up. We wanted to make sure that it (ticket pricing) was accessible, but also viable for us. We’ve had significant bills and costs come in; bringing international athletes out, making sure there is a healthy prize pool as well, but we didn’t want to over-price it.”
It was important for Gloor and the Down Under Championship organizing team to get ticket pricing right. “What we’ve seen in Europe… and in North America in some of these events where they’re struggling, that made us very nervous,” Gloor explains.
Gloor took a risk and it paid off, with the Gold Reserve Tickets, retailing at $90USD ($135AUD) for a three-day pass, selling out in less than 72 hours after their release. This surge in ticket sales showed just how hungry the Australian CrossFit community is for major CrossFit events like the Down Under Championship.
"Whatever I don’t want to happen, usually happens..." Brent Fikowski
Prior to the Dubai Fitness Championship, Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil caught up with Brent Fikowski to discuss his decision to do more off-season competitions this year. After winning ELFIT just a few weeks prior to DFC, he chats about being away from Canada for about a month — with his wife and new baby daughter by his side.
From the NFL to CrossFit: Rashad Barksdale Talks Career Change into Athlete Management
Rashad Barksdale remembers the challenges of being an elite athlete.
After being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007, he was bounced around to various other teams throughout his short career in the NFL, and along the way he noticed a serious lack of genuine care between managers and their athletes.
“I saw with football that people were often just a number in the agency, and there was no connection,” said Barksdale, now 38, the owner of Mind Over Matter MGMT, an athlete management company he founded last May.
This is why his vision for Mind Over Matter is to forge true relationships with his athletes, to show his athletes he cares about them as human beings, and with the ultimate goal being to help them “build a table big enough so that everyone can eat,” he explained.
“We want to take off as much stress as possible so they can compete to the best of their capacities,” Barksdale added.
So far, so good: In just six months, Barksdale and his business partner Kenya Clark—a former Division I college basketball player—represent nine CrossFit athletes, including CrossFit Games athletes Kristine Best and Meg Reardon.
Best, as well as two of his other athletes—two-time Semifinals athlete Leo Franco and Gabby McClelland, who was seventh at the 2022 Syndicate Crown Semifinals—will be competing at the upcoming Wodapalooza in Miami, FL.
Roman Khrennikov Shares his Number One Recovery Secret
You roll out of bed and the first thought that pops into your head is: “Oh shit. How am I going to be able to compete today?”
It’s a thought any CrossFit athlete who has competed in a multi-day competition has likely had at one point in time when they have woken up way more sore from the previous day of competition than they ever imagined they would be.
So they hit the foam roller, lacrosse ball and airbike, hoping and praying their sore muscles will loosen up before they have to find a way to do squat snatches and muscle-ups in the first event of the day.
Yes, CrossFit is about being as fit as possible, but when it comes to competition, it’s all about recovery.
And who better to corroborate that statement than the second fittest man on the planet, Roman Khrennikov. (In case you don’t remember, Khrennikov started the final day of competition at the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games with an event win, followed that up with a sixth place finish, and ended the competition with a second place performance, clinching his podium finish. So, it’s safe to say his recovery must have been on point).
Khrennikov’s secret recovery sauce?
Remind me: Unbroken RTR is a supplement made from fresh Norwegian salmon that comes in an effervescent tablet that can be added to your water bottle.
What makes Unbroken RTR particularly powerful is how fast it can be absorbed by the body. This is because the hydrolyzed protein has a molecular weight of 375 Dalton, compared to an average protein source that sits between a molecular weight of 20,000 to 30,000 Dalton. The lighter weight, due to it being more broken down than a regular protein source, means it gets absorbed into the body immediately.
This is especially important to an athlete like Khrennikov, who needs to recover as quickly as possible to hit another event, because the post-workout period is often considered the most critical time to enhance recovery.
Khrennikov’s Unbroken experience: Khrennikov’s manager Snorri Baron first introduced him to Unbroken RTR after his other athletes Sara Sigmundsdottir and Bjorgvin Karl Gudmunsson raved about the product.
“So I gave it a try,” Khrennikov said.
He noticed the benefits right away.
“The first time I ever took Unbroken was in Ireland during the Filthy 150 competition in 2019 and I instantly felt the effect. I just felt great the next day, and fast recovery,” he explained.
So he began taking two tablets before going to bed, and today he has increased that to four tablets a day, usually two after each training session.
“And during competition days, I take two tablets immediately after every event,” he said, adding that he’s always recommending the product to his friends and family, as well as other athletes.
He added: “I feel that my recovery is quicker with Unbroken and I feel great during the day. It has 100 percent bettered my performance in CrossFit and my everyday life.”
The Gifts the CrossFitter in Your Life Will Love
Christmas is getting closer each day… have you done your holiday shopping yet? Thinking of gift ideas can delay our shopping, but use our guide to get some ideas for the fitness fanatic in your life. We make it easy, so you don’t have to leave your couch to get them the best gifts!
Three FREE Pairs of FITAID Socks When You Spend $75+
You're buying your FITAID Energy anyways... might as well get your new favorite socks at the same time! For a limited time, FITAID is offering three pairs of FREE FITAID crew socks to all who purchase $75 or more of their amazing drinks online. Get energized in your new socks!
After you hold a handstand or do handstand walks, does your lower back hurt? If so, odds are you are overextending your back in your handstand position. Learn how to fix it and your lower back will be a lot happier.
Ready to feel like a viking or a caveman? For a limited time, new Butcher Box members will receive a FREE Tomahawk Steak. Nothing says manly man quite like a box full of meats, and a Tomahawk. Plus, you’ll get the high quality, 100% grass fed meat at a great value right to your door! But act fast so you don’t miss it caveman.
If you are traveling and only have access to a set of dumbbells, don’t let your strength work get skipped! Try this full body strength training workout for a simple yet effective workout when you don’t have access to a barbell.
Celebrating a PR, hosting a fundraiser, this, that, or otherwise. Send us a tip.
Congratulations Ricky McAuley from CrossFit Fallen in South Australia on 6 reps of 152kg back squats (335 pounds).
John Ashley from CrossFit 845 in Wappingers Falls, NY took first place in the RX division of Zelos Games Workout 1.3 with a 275 pound/125kg snatch.
Caleb McClure from CrossFit Blono in Bloomington, IL also took on Workout 1.3, winning the 16-17 Boys division with a 255 pound/115.5kg snatch.
Christine Middleton from Ocean State CrossFit put up a 3RM thruster of 215 pounds/97.5kg.
Ashley Jerue from Cornerstone Fitness in West Chester, OH adds a little volleyball to her CrossFit for this pull-up wall ball trick. The 26-year-old stars in the upcoming Kaleidoscope Pictures film “Strong Enough” releasing December 27 on streaming platforms.
CrossFit Zitterd in the Netherlands was completely destroyed in a fire on Sunday, December 11. Insurance will cover a portion of the damage, but according to the member that reached out to the Morning Chalk Up, the expenses of rebuilding are far beyond what is being covered. A fundraising campaign has been created to support the affiliate owners with the rebuild.
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