An Exclusive Questions and Answers for Dummies at the Box about CrossFit® and Italy


The first time we met Justin was during the European Tour of Eric Roza when he met the community at Reebok CrossFit Officine – Milan. Some news, facts and chats came into light and his “creature” is alway ready to report (Read here the previous Article about that).

The “creature” is Morning Chalk Up, the most popular on line magazine in CrossFit® enviroment with more more than 20,000 readers globally who receives their daily newsletter directly in mailbox.

Justin LoFranco has spent seven years working in communications with a strong background in politics campaign. He was digital director for the House Oversight Committee under chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. 

In 2014 election phase he was the Republican National Committee’s creative Director and served in the presidential campaigns of both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. In every situation, he pursue CrossFit training and in 2016 Morning Chalk Up has been founded by him and represent the reference point for CrossFit® eagers and for all Crossfitters around the globe.

After the great achivement for our VideoPodcasting activity – See The Definitve List of CrossFit Podcastwe chatch up with Justin and here below you can find some interesting and funny Q&A.


Ciao Justin, how old Morning Chalk Up is and why exactly this name?

We are just about to turn six year at the end of February. 

I started by writing down a bunch of names that I felt symbolized CrossFit® and that would make sense to an everyday athlete upon hearing it. I had this list of 15-20 names and I nothing really made sense. I couldn’t get the idea of chalking up as the first thing you do before a heavy lift or gymnastics movement. I sat with that for a day or so and then it just hit me – Morning Chalk Up – it’s how everyone should start their day

Why you decided to move in Italy for a certain period?

I was transitioning from California to Texas and for a few months waiting for my house in Texas to be ready I essentially didn’t have a place to live, or rent, so I decided to spend a few months in Italy practicing my Italian and unwinding from a long season. 

I taught English there 15 years ago, and I’ve always loved Italy so what better place to spend the fall.

It was difficult to manage a team and worked for Morning Chalk Up remotely?

From day 1, Morning Chalk Up has been a remote company, so essentially the team is already very used to being on Zoom or Google Hangouts. Obviously, we had to be a little flexible because of the time change, but it took only a week before the team was back in synch again. 

The Gladiator in Colosseo – Italy

Where did you stay exactly in Italy and how long?

I lived in the Monti neighborhood in central Rome. 

Abitavo in Monti, in centro di Roma. 😉

We know that you hang out some CrossFit® boxes in Italy. What was your main box in Rome? 

My home gym was CrossFit Trastevere, in Trastevere, Rome. 

Sono stato iun qualche boxes diverso, ma usualmente frequentavo CrossFit Trastevere. 

After this experience, what do you think about Italian community? Main differences between US?

CrossFit® è lo stesso in tutte le lingue.

I tell people this all the time: CrossFit® is the same in any language. And that’s exactly the same in Italy. Everything from the types of people working out (age groups, fitness levels, etc) to cheering on their peers, making friends at the gym and finding a second home outside of work or family. 

The Italian CrossFit® community is just as passionate and engaged as any I’ve seen across the globe. 

Choose one thing that CrossFit® US should assimilate from Italy, and another one that you should export in Italy from US.

The U.S. definitely needs more pasta! 

3 best places to visit end 3 must do in Italy for your personal experience.

Oh man. WOW. Italy has so much to offer in terms of food and places to see. I could probably write pages on the fun experiences I’ve had over the years. 

If you’re visiting Rome then I have three food recommendations: carbonara from Brazilai in Monti, la gricia from Matriciana near the Opera House, and cacio e pepe from Flavio al Velavevodetto. Bonus points for pre-dinner or after-dinner drinks at Black Market in Monti. You’re welcome. 

Apart from CrossFit®, you are hiking passionate and food lover. What is your relationship with the second one in Italy? Did you miss something in particular now? 

Oh man. I do love food, and I especially love Italian food. One of the great things about staying in one place for so long is that I was able to really try out local cuisine and find variations that I liked more than others. With something like carbonara, for example, you might only get a chance to have one bowl in a trip to Rome if you’re there a week. Whereas, I ate carbonara maybe 10 times from 10 different places. 

Now that we’re on the topic of carbonara, I really miss that dish the most, especially paired with a  very very bold Barolo. Daje! La pasta mi manca tanto appena ne sto parlando! 

The one thing that I did differently in Italy is change my diet to be very local-based. Instead of eating the way I do back at home, I adopted the Italian style of cuisine: longer meals, more pasta and vegetables, less meat-based dishes, and definitely multiple courses. For those two months, I really prioritized enjoyment and trying new things rather than fitness goals. I was working out most days so I was willing to eat more 😉

Thanks CrossFit®. 

Justin Lo Franco – CEO of Morning Chalk Up- for Dummies at the Box
Dave Castro – Justin Lo Franco
About Author

CrossFit lover over years with hystorical passion for sports, analysis and journalism.
Training early morning, working class for an Investment Banking daily, writing something on the blog late.
Founder of Dummies at the Box italian crossfit blog

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