Elite Sports Insider: All About CrossFit in Aromas

Good afternoon and welcome to this weekend’s live stream episode of Elite Sports Insider. We’re a weekly live show telling you all about the important news and happenings in the magical land of CrossFit and the CrossFit Games.

I am your host, Ben Garves, and just a quick reminder that we’re doing this live and I one hundred percent expect myself to typo from my mouth unit twelve times during this broadcast. 

Today we’re going to go through what it means for the CrossFit Games to be moving to Aromas, an amazing fitness coloring book for your kids while you’re in quarantine, I’ll unbox the WHOOP Strap 3.0, we talk about a piece on CrossFit written by the Independent, and catch up on CrossFit happenings via social media.

It’s true. I really did shave my legs for this. Okay. That was a lie. Onward!

Reebok Nano X Recap

It was a wild week of news about CrossFit, kicked off by the release of the Reebok Nano X, the tenth edition of the only official CrossFit shoe. Because you’re probably drowning in pictures of the only two colorways Reebok has leaked or shared so far, I’ll give you the spark notes:

  • The Reebok Nano X release date is May 5th
  • People who sign up for Reebok’s free Unlocked program get access to the shoe one week early and free two-day shipping.
  • We’ve only seen leaks of the shoes in black and white with red and blue accents, but Tal Short (the Senior Product Manager overseeing the shoe at Reebok) has been very clear there will be more colorways available at launch.

That should get you all caught up on the new shoe, and now we can get back to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

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Games >> Aromas

CrossFit announced via a press release and social media on Thursday that they are planning to move the CrossFit Games from Madison, Wisconsin to its original home at the CrossFit Ranch in Aromas, California. This includes a caveat that there will be no spectators allowed, but CrossFit was very clear that all tickets and packages purchased by fans and vendors will be fully refunded.

What CrossFit also covered was that media will be included in the event and they’ll be moving forward with providing a digital fan experience. If we use last year’s world feed as a baseline, it sounds like y’all could be in good hands. And, if all else fails, it sounds like CrossFit is intent on having some form of remote competition between athletes.

Let’s talk about the CrossFit Ranch. It’s family property of Games Director Dave Castro and was home to the first CrossFit Games in July of 2007. We even dug up the flyer from the CrossFit Games that year. 

The Ranch hosted the event for three years before it moved to Carson, California in 2010. The event just simply outgrew what the Ranch could host and was zoned for. In fact, athletes (and athletes only) returned to the Ranch for a day of activities in 2016 for the tenth anniversary of the CrossFit Games.

According to Zillow, the Ranch is about 64 or 65 acres of land. You can actually make a pilgrimage to the site and schedule a drop-in for $75 on crossfitranch.com, although I’m willing to bet those are not a real thing during COVID-19. CrossFit still actively uses the Ranch as a place to hold seminars, like the L1, L2, and MDL1. 

Let’s dig into this, you and I. The main differences between Aromas and Madison: here’s a comparison. The Alliant Energy Center is 164 acres with indoor and outdoor event space and seating for 10,000 spectators. According to Expedia it has 79 hotels within a ten mile radius, and it is a little over eight miles from the nearest major airport. 

Alternatively, the Ranch is about 64 acres, mostly outdoor with no spectators allowed, Expedia lists only three hotels within ten miles, and while there are municipal airports nearby, the nearest major hub is San Jose International, which is 53 miles away by gas pedal. 

I know that, deep down, Dave Castro has some things he really wants to do there, so that’s a perk.I also know that we (the media) are getting better and better with our digital reporting and coverage, so we’ll still manage for this year’s streaming experience to grow upon last year’s.

Anything I say right now about California state laws during COVID-19 and how it could impact events, how people will be quarantined and tested, how travel will work, especially for international athletes…all of that would be purely conjecture right now with the event more than three months out. So…I’ll save you the time.

Now, if you’ll meet me in the bedroom, I have something special I want to share with you. No, not that. It’s a book by CrossFit coach, gym owner, and author-illustrator Marcus Lowther. Marcus has put together two amazing fitness-oriented books for kids called B is for Burpees and The Lost Bikes. Gather the kids, grab the pajamas. It’s story time.

B is for Burpees

I think one of the most genius parts of this book is that it’s also a coloring book. So parents who are stuck at home going a little bit nuts because of your kids, here’s a great way to keep them busy and at the same time teach them healthy habits.

If you want to order a copy of this or The Lost Bikes, which I’ll read a part of on the show next week, you can find them at cartoonfitcomics.com

On the site you can also watch a video with clips of how Marcus animated these things, and it’s fun to watch. What these books do, on top of just being flat out entertaining and cute, is they also give your kids a window into why mom and dad, dad and dad, mom and mom, just mom, or just dad, or aunt, uncle, grandma and or grandpa is so  in love with fitness and gives you a way to share it with them.

WHOOP Strap 3.0

Now, this showed up in the mail this week and I’ve been waiting to open it so we can have this beautiful moment together. If you’re a fan of the WODDITY Podcast (5 minute episodes with news about CrossFit, Monday through Friday, found anywhere you get your podcasts…I think) you know I’m a hardcore fan of the WHOOP Strap. I’ve had a WHOOP Strap 2.0 for I think three years now. It’s been my best friend, not counting the dog, and it’s gone everywhere with me, including the 2019 CrossFit Games. 

I’ve had it so long that I was actually grandfathered into WHOOP’s old pricing model, where I owned the device and didn’t have to pay a monthly subscription. Well, after three years of crazy abuse, I finally broke my 2.0. It was a sad and glorious moment for me. I’m sad I lost an old friend, even if it was starting to smell like pepperoni pizza. I’m sad I’m going to have to start paying a subscription, but was pretty surprised at how cheap it was. I’m impressed with all the abuse I’ve given it that it took three years to break, and I was TOTALLY pumped to get the third edition of the WHOOP device, which has a five-day battery life and can now report real-time data to your phone.

So, here we go.

Now, I’m paying out-of-pocket for this, which reinforces how important I think a strain and recovery tracker like the WHOOP Strap is. I prepaid for a year, which was $288. I think I paid $500 for the 2.0 when I first bought it, so I feel like the new subscription price is a steal. If I remember right, when they rolled out the 3.0 they actually swapped people to the new device for free. Could you imagine if Apple did that with the iPhone? Just saying. Take notes, Apple.

Okay, find more information at WHOOP.com, ya filthy animals. 

Couch Opinions

I said during my intro piece today that CrossFit had a big week in the news. Between the move to Aromas and the release of the Reebok Nano X, a great piece of writing was lost in the fray. 

So, let’s go to our special segment, Opinions from the Couch to talk about it.


Thanks, Ben. The article in question is a special report in the Independent by Vithushan Ehantharajah, titled “Why not even coronavirus can halt the relentless rise of CrossFit”. And yes. That took me somewhere between 35 and 60 attempts to get right. Good thing my couch is comfy.

So, how does Ehantharajah think CrossFit’s rise defies the pandemic? Well, it all starts with CrossFit’s base. He writes:

“CrossFit is now an ingrained part of modern society. Neither new or unknown. What started out as just another fitness fad, based on high-intensity interval training to strengthen and condition the body, has morphed into a movement.”

And we’ve seen CrossFit as a movement for a long time now, in both positive and negative lights. Positives being the incredible growth and the strong community, the negatives being the falsified study from the NSCA and the negative public perception fallout from it.

On this, Ehantharajah writes:

“Yet while the coronavirus lockdown has clipped CrossFit’s wings at the height of its popularity, its traditional values of togetherness, adaptation and sacrifice – the same values that see it derided as “a cult” – are carrying it forward.”

I’ve spent the last week talking a lot about the fundraisers we’ve seen to support gyms forced to close temporarily because of the pandemic, along with at least one story about a gym closing indefinitely. This is captured perfectly by the story:

“…athletes have come together to support their affiliates, which take on the feel of a local town hall albeit one built on relentless grind and sweat. With the majority independently owned, each week moves them that little bit closer to going out of business as memberships are frozen or cancelled outright.”

And we’ve seen this strength aplenty. CrossFit announced with the release of their third Support Your Local Box workout this week that they’ve raised over $2.5 Million in support of local affiliates, along with groups like United in Movement and the Community Coalition raising combined nearly half a million dollars in combined support. 

I don’t think I can close this segment out nearly as succinctly as Ehantharajah did with his piece, so I’ll refer back to him. He writes:

“By now, it is clear the doubters are further entrenched, and it is clear CrossFit’s brazenness in the fitness world has created some unnecessary enemies. But amid the challenges of coronavirus they are taking pride that its founding pillars of community and physical betterment are being shared further and wider. Even as the world stands still, CrossFit continues to stride forward among all people in all shoes.”

And that’s it from the couch. Back to you, Ben.

Social Media

People need to find better things to do than make crazy social media stuff, because this segment was almost double what it was last week. I had to cut it down. I mean…you’ve gotta stop what you’re doing, but also…keep doing what you’re doing. If you know what I mean.

Links to all of these are in the show notes, slash description thingy below.

  • CrossFit posted the third workout of the Support You Local Box campaign competition fundraiser thingy and also mentioned they’ve raised more than $2.5 Million for gyms so far. 
  • We’ll get to the cool, the crazy, and the wild, but first let’s check in with what’s happening for a couple of Sanctionals. In the last week we’ve seen posts that the German Throwdown is cancelled, along with the Lowlands Throwdown. Mid-Atlantic CrossFit Challenge also mentioned they’re holding in a “postponed” status.
  • Last week I mentioned Filthy150 had a great throwback video featuring Rory McKernan circa 2011, well this time they’ve brought back one of Dave Castro’s many hairdos.
  • And closing out this little Sanctional social media mini-segment, the Dubai CrossFit Championship posted to Instagram that their Fittest in Dubai documentary will be available on Netflix on April 15th. That’s…um…three days ago. You’re late. I’ve put a link to it in my show notes down there. You know what to do with that. Steal your mom’s login info and go watch the dang thang. 
  • One of the many fitnessy gimmicks going around right now is doing push-ups on cans of energy drinks, as demonstrated here by Siri Røhmesmo on four LifeAid cans. The first time I saw this, it was Lukas Hogberg on RedBull cans with some cases of the ‘Bull on his back.
  • But back to LifeAid. They’re running a deal (no, we’re not sponsored by them. We’re not sponsored by anybody. Seriously, I’m making zero money. I’m spending money. Nope. That’s not even true. I’m ot even spending money.) Anyway, LifeAid has a LifeAid Lift program where you get $5 off a case and they donate $15 to a gym of your choosing. That’s at lifeaidlift.com
  • Okay, and now we’re going to go back to us going back to…wait…where was I? Lukas Hogberg did his RedBull thing. Okay. So. He shared what he’s deemed a “Jungle Session” and I’ll leave it up to you as to whether he went too far or not. Warning. There’s a lot of leg in this clip.
  • Zack George is back this week with a special super secret handshake.
  • Danielle Brandon tried her hand at the sweatpants handstand challenge. The first I saw this, it was Alec Smith. Is it just me, or are these CrossFit athletes way better at this than olympic gymnast Simone Biles? Awkward. 
  • This one’s for PETA – Sean Sweeney demonstrated a turkish getup with a dog.
  • Lukas Parker is proud of his hoarding tendencies.
  • Cody Anderson’s mustache is…well, it just is.
  • Everyone wants to tell you the first time they did it in a can. That’s because Good Dude’s Coffee from Rich Froning, Josh Bridges, and Dan Bailey is now available in a can.
  • Sam Briggs joins the growing list of prominent CrossFit athletes with books they’ve authored.
  • And finally, Brooke Ence will be on Ultimate Tag this season, which premiers May 20th.

Okay. That’s too much social. Let’s go back to social distancing. Social distancing pun. Nailed it.

Deep breath. That was quite the show, but that’ll do it for today’s episode of Elite Sports Insider. Thanks for tuning in for our sophomore installment. Two more and we get a diploma and may even go to CrossFit college. Although it would be community college because I’ve never been one for impressing parents. 

Much love, thanks for watching. Use those subscribe, like, and share buttons down there, because YouTube went through all the trouble to make them for you, so you might as well take advantage.

I’ll catch you tomorrow on the WODDITY Podcast for News About CrossFit, or right back here next Sunday at 12 PM Eastern for another episode of Elite Sports Insider. Have a great week.

By Ben Garves

Ben Garves is a digital product expert, author, entertainer, and activist. His portfolio of thought leadership in digital marketing and web experiences has included major clients like Microsoft, Google, Twitter, eBay, and Facebook. He’s also a freelance health and fitness journalist with over 400 stories written since 2018, a podcaster with 200 episodes to his name, and runs a YouTube channel with over 100 fitness and activism-oriented videos and live streams. Ben has founded the Fitness is for Everyone™ initiative to raise awareness about social injustice in both racial inequality and socioeconomic disparity in access to quality fitness and nutrition options around the globe.