by LT Claus Ullstad
US Navy SEAL, ST2 Class 178

This is the number of US Navy SEAL’s who have died in combat since 9/11/2001. When you compare this figure to Vietnam, it's heart-breaking when in Vietnam there were “only” 46 KIA (Killed in action). Having come from this remarkable high-speed-low-drag community, this body-count rocks all members of our group and gives us pause. We reflect on the hardships, the training, the blood sweat and tears we all shed in becoming a Navy SEAL. We think about the times we shared, both good and bad, and the camaraderie that we’ve lost.

One of the first killed in Afghanistan was one of my first platoon mates, Chief Petty Officer Matthew Bourgeois. Having heard of his death stopped me in my tracks. Of all my brothers, I never would have thought he would be killed. This was especially hard for all my brothers as we had just had another die in combat, Petty Officer 1st Class Neil Roberts. We all had thoughts, what would have been, had any of us been there to watch his “six.” All “Team Guys” go through this when a “brother frog” dies. Even when it's not in combat. Likely more so when it's not in battle as we’re all trained so heavily and consider it a waste of a Naval Special Warfare Operator. Nevertheless, it's just as humbling and painful of a loss as to have lost a very close family member.

With this said, I’m writing about another brother frog, LT Michael Murphy. Whom I never met, but would have considered it an absolute honor to have done so. What I wrote about Matt, could just as well be said about Murph, or any of the other frogs who have died. His actions during Operation Red Wings exemplified the very ethos that a SEAL lives by. And in doing so, is forever immortalized in Naval Special Warfare history.

Those in the CrossFit community may, or may not know about Murph or the sacrifices he and many others have made. All they may know is the Hero WOD that they’ve been prescribed to do, which is named after him (Murph called it “body armor”) encompassing a mile run, some pull-ups, push-ups, air squats with another mile run while wearing a weighted vest. Yeah, embrace the “suck”.

Now The Murph Challenge raises funds in favor of the LT. Michael P. Murphy Memorial Scholarship Foundation, aiming to provide critical support and college scholarships for the children of Fallen Men of Operation Red Wings among other initiatives.

Some may have seen the movie, Lone Survivor, where Marcus Lutrell is the sole survivor of the four-man team that LT Murphy led. But here is what may not be known. He gave his life on 28 June 2005 after he left his cover position and went to a clearing, exposing himself to a hail of gunfire to get a clear signal to contact headquarters requesting immediate support for his team. He dropped the satellite phone after being shot multiple times but picked the phone back up and finished the call. While being shot, he signed off saying- "Thank You." He then continued fighting from his exposed position until he died from his wounds.

Those that think the WOD is too hard, too painful, need to remember it is being done in honor of not only Murph but those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. And had they not, they’d be right here doing it with us, encouraging us, leading us, pushing us, to be the best we can be.

If you feel extra-giving after The Murph Challenge, consider contributing to the Navy SEAL Foundation in their efforts assisting the Naval Special Warfare community and its families.

LT Claus Ullstad had the calling to serve our country since very early age. He has fought along his brothers for our freedom and rights. He is a father, a husband and a Navy Seal. Claus is currently living in Bethesda, MD where he is completing his education to specialize in dental surgery.

United States Navy SEAL Ethos

In times of war or uncertainty, there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed. Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life. I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men. Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders, I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me - my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed.

I will not fail.


CrossFit Homeward
Five Ways to Add Community to Your Physical Fitness --And Why It Matters

We do very little by ourselves these days. We seek out community within our neighborhoods, our religion, in new mommy groups, adult sports leagues, within our schools -- heck, thanks to book clubs, many of us don’t even read alone. 

So why should tackling health be a solo mission? 

Perhaps it’s the deeply personal nature of it, but when it comes to health we put all the weight (and blame) on our own shoulders. If we don’t yet feel or look our best we automatically assume we should just try harder or be more disciplined. We take it completely on ourselves and try to figure it out alone. But when does isolating ever get you where you’re trying to go in life?

When it comes to meeting your physical goals, seeking out community will directly impact both your level of effort and your results. Here’s how to start building relationships around your physical goals:

Start by joining forces with your friends
Chances are you are already friends with one of two types of people: 1) someone who’s super healthy and active or 2) someone who wants to be more healthy and active. Your fitness-loving friend just loves to talk about their favorite workout classes, instructors, and gyms and would love nothing more than to bring you along. And your other friend who wants to get active would definitely love a partner in crime to try that workout they’ve been a bit too shy to try solo. Join forces and get moving together. Accountability, especially when it comes to fitness, is the good kind of peer pressure. Plus, going with friends is way more fun.

Try Group Fitness
Energy is contagious. How often have you gone to the gym only to lie on a mat just stretching and never really feeling like doing much of anything? By attending a group fitness class you’re ensuring that you won’t have to create your own excitement. Instead, you’ll be swept up in the madness and therefore guaranteed a great workout. You also don’t have to decide what you should do and ensure you have good form so you don’t get injured. In a class, you’ll put yourself in the safe hands of a professional instructor who knows what’s what. Group fitness is also scheduled, ensuring that you can’t sit on the couch putting it off or let a late night at work get in the way of your workout. Not to mention that you pay when you sign up. And not wasting money might be the best motivator of all.

Virtual Community
Not all of us have healthy friends. Some of us might not even know people who want to improve their health at all. And in many parts of the country, there aren’t workout studios popping up on every corner as they are in big urban centers. So how do you build community when you’re kind of going it alone in your world? Time to tap into the wonders of social media! We all devote plenty of time (maybe too much) to our online social media communities. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever the next big social network may be, there is a fitness-minded community just waiting for you to join and lots of fellow online followers for you to befriend. Thanks to social media there are tons of fitness personalities eager to gain your following and guide you towards health success. And studies show by tapping into online encouragement can actually propel you further towards your goals. Be sure to find the organization or personality that fits your own and ignore all the rest. You have tons of information and inspiration right at your fingertips!

Sign Up for an Event and Join a Training Group
Putting purpose behind your training is one of the best ways to keep you moving and connecting you with a community. Whether it’s the CrossFit Open or a local road race, by signing up you’re ensuring that you’ll do the work it takes to prepare and aligning your workouts with a whole group of people also on a mission towards the finish line! Whether you’re following a shared training schedule or physical training with a group, you’re not going this alone. Remember, it’s very common to feel some level of fear or anxiety when you sign up for a fitness challenge. The point of it all is to push you a little bit outside of your comfort zone. You’ll never regret that you did!

Join a Workout Challenge
Speaking of virtual fitness, there are tons of online group workout challenges out there including one that I host and that you can join right now! The MYBx22 Workout Challenge simply challenges you complete twenty-two workouts in one month. By joining and tracking your workouts all together on our Group Workout Log, you’re automatically creating a structure around your workouts, no matter your workout of choice or your level of fitness. Watching others also tracking their workouts will inspire you to keep up with your fellow challengers and cheer each other on. Aiming to hit the twenty-two workouts helps you avoid that mental battle over whether you should or shouldn’t work out that day. Often we spend so much more time thinking about working out as opposed to actually working out. But if you’ve got a clear workout goal to meet then it’s an automatic go and you’re out the door! All types of workouts count and every first of the month, the slate is wiped clean and the challenge begins again. 

Our communities reflect who we are and what we stand for -- including health. If your current community doesn’t reflect where you want your wellness to go, feel free to explore what else is out there. One of the biggest challenges we all face when it comes to fitness is sticking with something. Instead of blaming yourself, turn to your peers who are there to cheer you on -- and vice-versa. 

But you don’t have to only stick to virtual challenges -- there are great in-studio challenges locally to keep you motivated and moving, too. Check out Chapel Hill Bootcamp for example -- an awesome community challenging you to show up, challenge yourself and then keep showing up some more. Set class times ensure a now-or-never mentality, curated guided workouts won’t let you give anything less than 100% and a group of actual humans awaiting your arrival always helps, too. Because remember, you don’t have to go it alone!

A Certified Health Coach and founder of the @moveyourbooty wellness brand, Emily Newman is a former Food Network executive who is fresh from New York City after more than a decade and back in her home state of North Carolina continuing her work in wellness, food, and fitness. A CrossFit lover, 5-time marathoner and brand new mom, there isn’t a workout or recipe trend Emily won’t try or taste! 
Click //
Follow // @moveyourbooty
Contact //

Open Season is Upon Us!

Congratulations everyone, you made it through Open Prep Season. That is definitely some of the most grueling work to get through-luckily, you won’t have to do again for about another year!

Now we all get to participate in Open Season! Open season is a TON of fun, it is all about those Open workouts which means the regular week programming is a little bit more laid back and focused on making sure you are at peak performance on Saturdays (or whatever day you perform the workout).

There are a few things to be conscious of when approaching the next 5 weeks. Primarily, take care of yourself! There is nothing worse than having a torn hand while trying to do 100 pull ups in the Open or bombing out of a long workout because you were dehydrated. Some big things to make sure you focus on are:


  1. Hand care! Shave down those calluses so you don’t rip!!!!! There are a million different methods of callus care on the market. The easiest is a pumice stone after you shower and then lotion at night. I know Coach Ashley swears by her callus shaver ( and I love my Sandbar (

  2. Nourish yourself! This should be year round but is definitely important if you want to stay ready to take on those long WODs. Make sure your intake of carbs, protein, fats, and micronutrients are high enough to support your activity levels. Many CrossFitters are busy individuals and it is really easy to forget to eat during the day-don’t let that happen! Also, be sure you eat enough around your workout times. Carbs and protein are necessary right before big workouts (although make sure it’s not too close to the workout, you don’t want anything coming back up) to help support high intensity training! If you are unsure about how much (or what) you should be eating talk to one of your coaches, hire a dietician, or look into one of the really cool online services that many CrossFitters use. Some that have great reviews are Renaissance Periodization, Avatar Nutrition, and Working Against Gravity.

  3. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE! This (along with adequate sleep) is one of the most overlooked part of athletic self-care. Here is a nifty hydration guideline to look over ( Remember, hydration matters throughout the day-not just when you are working out!

  4. Sleep! As mentioned above, this is one of the most overlooked aspect of recovery and  athletic self-care. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and make sure your sleep is restful-stay away from screens right before bed and make sure your bedroom is as quiet as possible. Let your busy brain power down.

  5. Mobilize! Make sure your range of motion is as good as it can be and you have control in your range of motion. Foam roll, stretch, come to Coach Sarah’s Durability classes, do those banded exercises you are always told to do. If sometime is hurting or doesn’t feel right-schedule a session with one of our in-house Physical Therapists, Fascial Stretch Therapist, and/or Massage Therapists! Don’t let an ache turn into an injury.

Whole30 Beet Dip

Homie Sarah is helping us kick off the start of Homeward's 2018 Whole30 with an awesome compliant recipe! (find out more about Whole30 here) This dip is a beautiful color and is chock full of vitamins that will help fuel your Open domination.

Beet Dip 

  • 3 Beets 
  • 3 Tablespoons Tahini 
  • 1/2 - 3/4 lemon juice 
  • Salt to taste
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)
  • Olive Oil 


  • Cook beets until tender - about 15 minutes in the pressure cooker.
  • Once cooked and peeled, place in blender with tahini, lemon juice, and salt. Blend till smooth. 
  • ***Leave out about half a beet for decoration.
  • Use  extra beets (cubed), black sesame seeds, and olive oil to decorate.