“Rudy, you are going to win the CrossFit Games.”- Scott Panchik to Rudy Berger, during a Zoom call before they had ever trained together
10 Books to Add to Your 2024 Fitness Reading List
It’s that time of year when spring is still a distant two months away, the Open isn’t quite here yet, and the nights are dark and long. That means it’s the perfect season to curl up with a good read.
We’ve compiled an abbreviated list of 10 recommended books (plus a bonus) for you to add to your 2024 reading list. While some of these were released within the last year, we also threw some classics in the mix in case you missed them.
In no particular order, here are our 10 recommendations:
HWPO: Hard Work Pays Off by Mat Fraser – Written by five-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser, HWPO: Hard Work Pays Off is a combination autobiography, training manual, and cookbook. Published in a very digestible format, this is one you’ll be able to get through quickly and won’t be able to put down.
Fraser discusses his background in the sport, his training partner Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr, and how he had to take stock of and train his weaknesses (his deadlift, high-rep toes-to-bar, and sprinting) to achieve greatness.
“Pain is dangerous. Discomfort is where you get better. That’s not all it takes, but you can’t keep improving in this sport without it. So, sorry, CrossFit never becomes easier,” Mat Fraser, HWPO.
Check out the Morning Chalk Up’s original review to read more about the book and glean further takeaways.
Built to Move by Kelly and Juliet Starrett – This is the latest book written by the Starretts, which takes a holistic approach to “rewilding” the body by keeping it in motion. They promote daily habits and routines that can aid in the body’s mobility and encourage simple routines to make frequent movement accessible to everyone of any age and circumstance.
We reviewed the book when it was released last spring, so refresh yourself if it has flown under your radar. It’s a great read for anyone looking to add extra movement into their days and helps the reader take actionable steps regularly.
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – Written by the owner of Jocko Fuel, Jocko Willink, this book explores the theme of leadership and the role of an effective leader. Willink falls back on his life and the lessons he learned as a U.S. Navy SEAL, sharing his personal insight on what it means to fail and how we must be willing to seek guidance and ask for help in order to succeed. He discusses self-discipline and how we can practice that daily, as well as holding ourselves accountable for our actions.
Is Your Hydration Strategy Affecting Your Performance?
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Congratulations to William Leahy and Sydney Michalyshen on winning the Men’s and Women’s Pro Divisions at The Fittest Experience 2024 at the Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor, TX.
NOBULL Evolves?: A cryptic IG post yesterday by the former title sponsor of the CrossFit Games, NOBULL, said “01.30.24 / Tomorrow We Evolve” and “Where we are going is rooted in where we’ve been.”
👑 Queen of Hustle Swag: If you missed it, Sherpawerks had limited stock of Lauren Kalil “Queen of Hustle” gear at the Fittest Experience in Austin, TX, over the weekend. If you want to get your hands on some, it will be available online soon.
GoFundMe for CrossFit ATR: Last week, San Diego experienced significant rainstorms and flash flooding. As a result, CrossFit ATR-Mission Valley was destroyed with over three feet of water filling the facility. A GoFundMe has been established so community members can help the gym.
ICYMI: Get to know TYR WZA women’s Rx winner Lydia Fish.
Train Hard, Recover Well: Essential Strategies for Athletes
Each week on Chasing Excellence, we answer questions from our listeners across the “Five Factors of Health”– movement, nutrition, connection, recovery, and mindset.
We got a question on a recent episode about optimizing recovery from a rugby player who wants to train more between weekend games. We’ve edited the conversation for clarity and brevity.
Patrick: Mathias, who’s over 40, trains rugby twice a week for two hours, does CrossFit two times a week, and strength trains once weekly. He says after a game on the weekend, he’s sore for 2 or 3 days and is wondering how to improve his recovery so he can hit the gym more between games.
Ben: Mathias is a badass.
It sounds like he’s already doing a lot, so instead of adding more training, I’d focus on the speeding-up recovery part of his question.
Two-Time CrossFit Games and Wodapalooza Masters Champion Rudy Berger Shares Success with Wife Lynette and Mentor Scott Panchik
Turning 40 can be daunting for many people. For Rudy Berger, it was an opportunity.
His wife and now coach, Lynette, asked him how he wanted to celebrate his 40th birthday. He replied that he wanted to do “something fitness-related.” Lynette got creative and bought him a “Scotty P and Me” training session with CrossFit legend, Scott Panchik.
While on a Zoom call, after asking Rudy for a few benchmark numbers, and before ever meeting him in person, Panchik proclaimed with a smile, “Rudy, you are going to win the CrossFit Games.”
Some background: Rudy Berger started doing CrossFit in late 2014 at the age of 32. To make his wife happy, he joined Chalkdust Fitness, which had recently opened in Powell, OH. He was a little skeptical about group fitness classes. To ease his mind, Lynette promised that it was far from Zumba. He felt “out of shape” after his first class, but stuck with it. And the Bergers quickly felt a bond with the community at Chalkdust.
“It didn’t take long to feel at home at Chalkdust. While it was still a small community, our bond has been strong from the early days,” Berger tells Morning Chalk Up.
Rudy progressed rapidly, learning new skills and increasing his strength numbers. He entered the Open in 2015 and got a taste of the competitive side of the sport. He enjoyed pushing himself to the limits, but it would be years later that he would decide to go all in.
The turning point: After hearing Panchik tell him he would win the Games, Rudy laughed and thought, “He’s really nice. Can’t wait to meet him.” But after training together for a full weekend, he too was convinced.
“There was a lot of fitness and coaching, not only physical but also mindset coaching. He told me: ‘If you want to go after the Games, you have to say it and commit.’ And there it happened. Sitting on the turf side of Crossfit Mentality, I said, ’I am going to the Crossfit Games.’”
Panchik could see the potential immediately, not only from Rudy but from Lynette as well, who started coaching CrossFit in 2017.
“From the minute they came out here, I could tell they had something special, what they had set out to do. It meant just as much to her as it did to him. Lynette is a great coach.” Panchik tells Morning Chalk Up.
There were, however, a couple of holes in Rudy’s game, one more glaring than others.
“I had never used a ski erg before and Scott will tell you that it was obvious, and my skiing looked like a bad dance,” Rudy says.
“I asked him if he knew how to dance,” Panchik chuckles, “Lynette must’ve gotten him some salsa lessons after that.”
The Bergers took what they learned from the weekend and got to work. A few months later, they returned to CF Mentality for another session. The progress was substantial. At that point, the Bergers and the Panchiks were becoming friends, and Panchik started sharing his personal workouts, confident that Rudy could handle them.
“I wanted to help him pursue this goal, at the same time working hard to compete as well…It was fun, and it reminded me of when I was working with my brothers, and Fee Saghafi at CrossFit Mentality. It was like a brotherhood.” Panchik says.
Wild Health takes a unique approach to wellness, combining precision medicine with advanced lab testing and personal health coaching. By understanding your unique genetic blueprint, they craft a path to optimize your nutrition, exercise, and recovery, tailored just for you.
We saw them in Quarterfinals last year, and there's a good chance they're coming back. Try these drills to help with wall-facing handstand push-ups, building from a basic scale and getting more complex as the athlete gets more comfortable at each stage.
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