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Why Don’t More People Do the Open?

Morning Chalk Up

February 13   |   POWERED BY

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Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up.

In today’s edition:

  • Gabriela Migala is back in Poland with her boyfriend-coach Kristof Horvath and is ready to rock for the 2023 season
  • Why don’t more people do the CrossFit Open?
  • Stroke survivor Jill Weinreb talks taking up CrossFit during recovery from health scare
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“Life lived for tomorrow will always be just a day away from being realized.” - Leo Buscaglia

  Gabriela Migala  

Gabriela Migala "Fitter Than Ever" Since Abandoning Training Camp in Spain

Last summer, it seemed 23-year-old Gabriela Migala had something to celebrate in Madison, WI. She placed eighth in the world, her second consecutive top-10 CrossFit Games finish.

She didn’t see it that way.

“I didn’t enjoy the Games,” Migala said bluntly.

That’s when the four-time CrossFit Games athlete from Poland decided it was time to make some changes in her life, and the first one involved freeing herself from the training camp environment that was no longer making her happy, she explained.

So after living and training in Mallorca, Spain with the Progrm for almost three years, Migala decided it was time to move home to Poland to be closer to friends and family, where she could get some breathing room from CrossFit, something that was challenging in a training camp environment.

“All my friends I had (in Mallorca) were connected with CrossFit, so it was really really hard to disconnect with that sport,” Migala said. “So I kind of felt like I needed change. Change in environment and space (and) going back to my Polish roots seemed like the best idea,” she said.

Back in Poland today, Migala is able to spend more time with family and friends when she’s not training to get her mind off CrossFit, be it going for brunch, or a walk or checking out a coffee shop “and talking about anything but CrossFit with them,” she said.

Another big change Migala decided she needed after last season was a coaching change.

She knew she wanted someone who knew her well, and the person who fit the bill best proved to her boyfriend, Kristof Horvath, Hungarian Games podium finisher Laura Horvath’s brother.

“He knows me so well. He has known me for such a long time, he knows me as a person and as an athlete, and the most important thing is he wants the best for me,” she said.

Thus, since last season, Migala has been working with Horvath, who goes to the gym with her everyday and has been “putting everything together,” she explained, but the training program itself is based on Ben Smith’s Krypton Athletics.

So far, so good: Most recently in January, Migala traveled to Miami, FL, where she and her team—Laura Horvath and Jamie Simmonds— took the title in a jam-packed women’s team field.

“It was actually so much fun. I think it was the perfect way to start the season,” Migala said.

Next up for Migala is to go head-to-head against Laura Horvath in this season’s first live Open announcement on Feb 16 at Caja Mágica Stadium in Madrid, Spain.

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The Open is here!: The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open is now just three days away and we got you covered. Keep an eye on our newsletter for all the breaking news, our competition hub for updates and leaderboard, and our social media for everything you need to know.

HQ update: More athletes have been granted region exemptions for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games season, including Katrin Davidsdottir, who moves from Europe to North America.

Get the popcornGENESIS: A Mayhem Nation Film, which will tell the story of the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games, will premiere next week on Feb. 15. 📺

Much love: Did you forget about Valentine’s Day? Last chance to get your fella or your lady a gift they’ll love in our gift guides for your swolemate!

Industry news: Lift Big Eat Big has acquired Good Times CrossFit, which is located in Camino, California.

  Why Do So Many CrossFitters Not Do the Open?  


Why Do So Many CrossFitters Not Do the Open?

“Nah, the Open isn’t for me. I’m just not interested in competing like that.”

“I honestly have no desire to make it to Quarterfinals or go to the CrossFit Games.”

“I could care less about beating other people in workouts.”

“And honestly, $20, for what?”

  • People who don’t want to sign up for the Open, probably.

Sadly, historically athletes from within our community have avoided signing up for the Open intentionally. They choose not to sign up due to the perceived inconveniences of pressure, external stress, investment of both time and money, risk of embarrassment, risk of failure, fear of being judged by others. For some it’s the simple statement of, “I don’t want to.”

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  Stroke Survivor Takes Up CrossFit While Shedding Anxiety from Health Scare  

Stroke Survivor Takes Up CrossFit While Shedding Anxiety from Health Scare

Everything changed for Jill Weinreb on Thanksgiving in 2013.

“I woke up in the middle of the night with an intense, thunderclap headache. It was painful, but I managed to fall back asleep,” said the 49-year-old Newark, New Jersey teacher. “I felt off the

the following day, not quite like myself. But I could not identify the problem.”

Weinreb said instead of her symptoms normalizing, they got progressively worse, and she found that after a few days, completing basic tasks was difficult.

“This feeling did not dissipate, and over the next few days I experienced a loss of motor skills, a loss of balance and coordination, and I found it hard to walk in a straight line. I would pick up a pen and immediately drop it. While driving, I would make extremely wide turns, feeling out of control. None of these behaviors made sense to me. I did not feel sick, but something was wrong.”

Weinreb had a doctor’s appointment for the end of the week already scheduled and decided to wait until then to inquire about what could have possibly happened to her. Her doctor suggested she go for an MRI scan and the results showed that she had an ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blockage in an artery that supplies blood to the brain. The blockage reduces the blood flow and oxygen to the brain, leading to damage or death of brain cells. If circulation isn’t restored quickly, brain damage can be permanent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 40 seconds in the US, someone has a stroke and one in six deaths from cardiovascular disease were due to stroke. Every year, more than 795,000 people in the US have a stroke.

Shocked at first, Weinreb, who has made fitness and working out part of her life since she was young, was determined to try a new workout regime she had thought about before her stroke – CrossFit. Although she never found the cause of her stroke, Weinreb did get clearance about five months later to resume normal physical activity.

Having done everything from step aerobics, spin class and kickboxing to Zumba, Weinreb admits she found CrossFit a bit intimidating at first, but finally got out to her first class in 2012 at a now defunct gym in the New Jersey area. Weinreb remembers doing a chipper workout with a large number of lunges and box jumps, and like most who try the sport, was instantly hooked.

“What I remember the most is that I would be back the next day and the day after that, I

was in love. I came back the next day and a consistent five to six days a week from that time forward.”

Of course, Weinreb was still dealing with the after effects of having a stroke and the mental side of worrying that she might have another one, but she was able to press forward.

“For at least the first year following my stroke, I had many instances during a workout when I experienced a headache and immediately thought I was having a stroke again. It took an immense amount of self-talk and support from coaches and members who became like family to me to help me realize that those thoughts were conjured up in my head and I was going to be alright.”

Now a L2 coach for both CrossFit Bacon in Matawan, NJ and CrossFit Barbending in East Brunswick, NJ, Weinreb has some sage advice for those who are hesitant to try the sport given they have an outstanding health issue.

“I will say that a health scare can definitely cause anxiety,” she continued. “There have been moments when my heart is racing or I feel a little headache and I get scared. But when I complete a workout, stand up, get in my car, drive home and am alive, I know that I caused the anxiety. The mind is powerful and can make you think things that are not true.”



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

  • ⭐️ Congratulations Tim Paulson on passing the CF-L3 exam.
  • Congratulations to Colleen Lehane from Crucible CrossFit in Jacksonville, FL on the max set of 24 unbroken bar muscle-ups.
  • 🐾 Milo, a black lab from Tolland CrossFit in Tolland, CT, got his WOD in with Coach Ashley Frazier on the Assault Runner.
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