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Why Does it Suck to be a Seattle Gym Owner?

Morning Chalk Up

October 26   |   POWERED BY


Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Marcus Musgrove talks running his own gym and realizing his dream
  • Seattle gyms are taking a pounding due to people working remotely
  • Rich Froning announces retirement from teams on podcast
  • Mia and Dylan Kade share their CrossFit love story
  • Women’s podium picks for the 2022 Rogue Invitational
  • How to watch Rogue and schedule of events
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“We loved with a love that was more than love.” - Edgar Allan Poe

  Round Rock’s Marcus Musgrove on Realizing Dream of Owning a Gym: “The main focus is always just trying to help people”  

Round Rock’s Marcus Musgrove on Realizing Dream of Owning a Gym: “The main focus is always just trying to help people”

Marcus Musgrove, a 29-year-old coach, born and raised in the Austin area, took over ownership of Defiant CrossFit in Round Rock, TX about six months ago. In an inspiring founder’s story, he’s become a business owner much sooner than he thought possible.

As some background, Musgrove grew up playing basketball and was looking for ways to improve his game. In finding CrossFit, he was pleasantly surprised by the challenge.

“When I found CrossFit, just like anyone else, I was totally wrecked afterwards. I was like, ‘Dude, what is this? I need to keep on doing it.’ And I was managing a Globo gym (at the time) and I was doing my best to learn everything about CrossFit, and I would just do it on my own wherever I could,” he said.

He went on to share that at 20 years old he knew he loved helping people but wasn’t in college or planning to go. He then discovered Defiant CrossFit and was determined to be a part of the magic. “I didn’t have a car yet and I told the owners, as soon as I get my car, I’ll be joining this gym,” he said.

Initially self-taught in the foundational movements, Musgrove eventually got his Level 1 certification and began coaching the onboarding classes at the affiliate. Eager to be involved without an open position available, he would substitute coach classes whenever possible and began picking up tasks around the gym until he became a manager a few years later.

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Have coffee with us: If you’re headed to the 2022 Rogue Invitational this weekend, stop by CrossFit Round Rock 9:15AM-10:15AM on Saturday, October 29th where we’ll be giving out free coffee for our premium subscribers, brought to you by Caffeine and Kilos. Not an RX subscriber? Join for just $1 and then come to the meet-up for a workout and cup of joe. ☕️

In case you missed it: Lauren Kalil, the host of The Bottom Line, spoke to Chyna Cho and Jamie Hagiya to get their men’s podium picks for the Rogue Invitational.

Workouts out!: The workouts for the Rogue Invitational have dropped and can we just say yes to monkey bars making a comeback?

Athlete update: Peter Mason and Elena Budz have moved to Vegas to train with Underdogs Athletics.

Sick gym: Warner Bros Studio in the UK employees have access to a super amazing workout space. Should more employers offer this to woe workers back?

Sign up to thrown down: Zelos Games, an innovative hybrid competition with tremendous earning potential and prizes up for grabs, kicks off November 11th and there’s still time to register. Use CHALKUP20 for a discount!

Amazing group: WHOOP has announced its Scientific Advisory Council and it’s a who’s who of key players in the industry.

  Sucks to be a Seattle Gym Owner  


Sucks to be a Seattle Gym Owner

As many gym owners are experiencing a return to what was, and even a period of growth, in the aftermath of the global pandemic, such is not the case for many Seattle gym owners, who continue to see their membership base shrink, something the Seattle Times reported on last month.

What gym owners are saying: Danielle Ullmann, the owner of West Seattle, a gym that’s less than 10 minutes from downtown Seattle, says her membership is down $2,000 a month compared to her 2019 pre-pandemic revenue.

  • “Gyms are losing members, and I would definitely say that’s true across the board,” said Ullmann, who opened her gym in 2006.
  • David Israel is in a similar position. He’s the owner of two gyms in Seattle—Pandora Fitness and CrossFit Felix—both of which are located in downtown. He has lost so many people and so much revenue at Pandora Fitness that he’s closing it at the end of November and will focus on keeping CrossFit Felix alive.
  • Further, Alyssa Royse, the owner of Rocket Community Fitness, said: “I only know of one gym that is ahead of where they were prior to the pandemic, and I think it’s because their neighborhood demographic skews younger.”
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  Rich Froning Announces Retirement from Team Competition, Leaves Door Open for Masters  

Rich Froning Announces Retirement from Team Competition, Leaves Door Open for Masters

Rich Froning revealed he plans to retire from the team competition portion of the CrossFit Games after winning his 10th title this summer, six straight team and four straight individual titles.

  • “I’ve exhausted that point in my career doing teams. I enjoyed it, loved every minute of it,” Froning said on The Sevan Podcast.

The announcement puts to rest speculation this would be his final season first reported by Morning Chalk Up more than a year ago in an exclusive sit down interview.

Going deeper: Froning, now 35 years old, left the door open to competing as a Masters athlete but revealed that he’s going to be taking the next six to eight weeks to rehab a “nagging” shoulder issue hoping to avoid surgery.

  • “If I can get that back to doing good and compete at a level I want to I’ll definitely do the Open, do the age group online qualifiers and then Semifinals for Masters.”
  • “If I feel like it’s not going to take away from the summer with the kids and doing some fun stuff, then from year to year I’ll decide if I want to compete or not.”

One big thing: Froning’s exodus from team competition leaves a large hole to fill in the team division, which has been dominated by Froning since he switched from individual competition in 2015. Since then, Mayhem has only lost one Games.

  • CrossFit HQ is adjusting the rules for teams next season that will allow for the return of super teams which could make competition more interesting.
  CrossFit Games, Life-Changing Illness and Marriage Before 22 For Mia and Dylan Kade  

CrossFit Games, Life-Changing Illness and Marriage Before 22 For Mia and Dylan Kade

Michigan has been a longstanding contributor to the teen CrossFit world, claiming more than 30 of CrossFit’s 440 Games teen division tickets handed out over the years. Within this Great Lakes state, young competitors are provided with a training environment unlike anywhere else in the world, surrounded by like-minded teenagers in such close vicinity.

In 2017, following his second CrossFit Games appearance, 16-year-old Dylan Kade took advantage of this. He DM’d elite-level athletes in his area looking for a training partner. What he got out of it though, was quite a bit more?

A life partner.

Admittedly, Dylan wasn’t immediately thrilled by 15-year-old Mia Nightingale (now Kade). The gap between the 14-15 and 16-17 divisions felt insurmountable. Nightingale, on the other hand, was all in from the get-go.

  • “I knew from the day we met that this was the guy I wanted to marry,” Mia said.

For the following three years, the pair continued together, training and growing through high school. Both had set their eyes on another CrossFit Games appearance, they spent most of their days together in the gym, which they both agree played a big role in their bonding.

Between celebrating PRs, cheering each other on, and a healthy dose of competition (though Dylan says it was mostly competition) the couple knew they were meant for each other by the time high school ended.

Then, in 2020, tragedy struck. During the early days of the pandemic, Dylan was diagnosed with a severe case of meningitis that kept him in the hospital for a month. The condition led to inflammation in Dylan’s brain, which resulted in seizures, and was given a 70% chance of having permanent brain damage.

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  CrossFit Games, Life-Changing Illness and Marriage Before 22 For Mia and Dylan Kade  

Women's Podium Picks: Rogue Invitational

We’re just a few days away from the Rogue Invitational in the greater Austin, Texas area, and Morning Chalk Up’s Lauren Kalil, Jason Khalipa and Jared Graybeal reveal their podium picks for the elite women’s field.

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  How to Watch the 2022 Rogue Invitational and Schedule of Events  

How to Watch the 2022 Rogue Invitational and Schedule of Events

The Rogue Invitational returns to Round Rock, Texas (just north of Austin) this weekend, and will include four days of competition: Thursday, October 27th through Sunday, October 30th.

How to watch: The live stream for both CrossFit and Strongman events, including the full schedule of events, are now available on Morning Chalk Up’s website.

At this time, there is no live stream for Thursday. Check back here for updates throughout the week.

Who’s competing: Here’s the full roster of athletes throwing down this weekend.

Planning on going? Weekend passes and single-day tickets are still available if you want to catch the action in person in the Lone Star state. And, don’t forget to check out our suggestions for where to eat, drink, play outside, workout and caffeinate.

The Morning Chalk Up team will be providing onsite coverage of the competition including athlete interviews, highlights, photos and daily recaps on YouTube channel and Instagram page.



Some Free Morning Chalk Up Swag

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This Burpee Checklist

Burpees hold a special place in our hearts… just kidding most of us want to cry when we see them in a WOD. But, doing them more efficiently can help you stay smooth and steady on big sets. Mayhem Athlete gives you the burpee tea.



Your New Fall Favorites During Reebok’s Sale

The weather is cooling down, but your wardrobe is heating up. Reebok is having a sale on their seasonal steals. Get ready for the colder weather and do it in style.



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

  • 🎂 Happy birthday, Travis MayerKelley Jackson, and Nicole Roggow.
  • 💍 Congratulations to Games athlete Joshua Al-Chamaa and Amber Rose Charlton on tying the knot Monday night.
  • In case anyone was doubting, Ben Smith‘s still got it. This CrossFit Games legend just added 30 pounds to his deadlift PR for a total of 550 pounds/249.5kg.
  • 11-year-old Emily Ibanez from Quebec snatches 157 pounds/71kg at a bodyweight of 55kg.
  • Games athlete Lucy Campbell shared an encouraging reminder of her first bar muscle-up and her sets of ten at this year’s CrossFit Games, four years apart.

CrossFit Orillia in Ontario and Mr. Sub (owned by long-time CF Orillia member and new co-owner Marcus Sadeghi) partnered to donate $20,000 to local Orillia Soldier’s Memorial Hospital, the majority of which will go to personalized care for senior citizens.

  • According to the Muskoka411, “The generous contribution will directly impact Soldiers’ Integrated Medicine and Rehab Services (IMRS) that works predominantly with seniors.”
12/9 - 12/10: Space Coast Classic (West Melbourne, FL)
12/9: Wodamania (Singer Island Riviera Beach, FL)
1/27: REPS AHEAD Switch Winterfest (Broomfield, CO)

See all upcoming events

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