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Student Spotlight: Cara Hutchins

Cara doing double-unders at CrossFit Missoula

Tell us a little about you: Where are you from? What do you do for work, hobbies, downtime, etc.?

I was born and raised in Missoula, graduated from U of M, and moved to Seattle. While in Seattle I worked in events and then for a business consulting firm, spending most of my days at Microsoft.

I met my husband Kyle; we traveled a lot and then had three little girls. After 13 years in Seattle, we decided to move back to Missoula to raise our kids.

We moved, built a house and shortly thereafter had a baby boy. Phew!! It’s been a whirlwind and continues to be.

Now, I’m at home with four kids ages 8 to 1. It’s crazy, it’s fun and most days I feel completely insane. We keep very active with various types of outdoor recreation, kid activities/sports and as much play as we can get!

Tell us about your sports & fitness background:

I grew up in an active family with three older brothers and played various sports. Later in life, I became a runner and continued to play intermural basketball. I have always hated working out at gyms and prefer to be outside as much as possible. [click to continue…]

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Hit the deck: Workouts using a deck of cards

Have you ever found yourself needing to workout, but unable to get to your gym, because of travel or a scheduling SNAFU?

If you have a deck of cards, then you have the tools to program a kick-ass WOD. If you’ve got someone you can pull into the mix, now you’ve got the makings of kick-ass WOD with competition-grade intensity.

deck of cards

Designing workouts using a deck of cards is nothing new. Often the workout is simply to work through a deck, one card at a time, completing the number of reps represented by the card of a chosen movement (e.g. burpees, push-ups, squats). [click to continue…]


Following the birth of my daughter, my family’s second child, it became apparent that we would need more room in the house. As a consequence, I sacrificed my home office for a bedroom.

As I was going through the items that had accumulated over the years, I came across many journals. Some contained my thoughts, written hastily, margin to margin, to get at the root of my mind. Others held notes from classes I had taken or books I had read.

I picked out one of the older ones, from 1997, and flipped it open to a random page. On that page were goals. Future goals. Things like a move to the mountains, build a private practice in massage therapy, teach massage therapists, become a black belt in Aikido, get married, raise a family. What was interesting, is I had accomplished ninety percent of the things on that list. [click to continue…]


Winter WOnDerland: Your Holiday Workout Plan

The question I get asked the most in December goes something like this, “I’m leaving town for the Holidays. What should my holiday workout plan be?”

If your plan is solid, and your willpower steady, not only will you be able to keep from losing ground over the Holidays, but you can make significant gains in weak areas of your fitness.

The first hurdle you need to overcome is where you’re going to work out. The truth is, everything you need to get a good workout is already with you. You. So you can workout anytime, and anywhere.

Body weight movements have been a staple of athletes and warriors for as long as homo sapiens have roamed the earth.

Running, pull-ups, push-ups, and sit-ups have been primary PT for militaries for thousands of years. If it’s good enough for the soldiers, it’s good for you, at least until you can get back to your gym.

Here are two body workout examples that require no equipment, other than you.

Complete the following for time, and  in order:
Run 1 mile
100 sit-ups
100 push-ups
100 squats


Complete four rounds of the following for time:
Run 400 m
25 sit-ups
25 push-ups
25 squats

Even though they have almost identical total work volume, they will have a different impact on your body. You could create an endless variety of workouts with these four different exercises.

However, add in a pull-up bar, and a few items like a jump rope, dumbbell, or twenty-pound backpack and the variability increases exponentially.

No work, no school, and no alarm clocks usually mean self-discipline melts away like butter on a dinner roll. Plan to workout every day, even if it’s just twenty minutes.

Take no training days off when you’re on vacation. Do something every day. The earlier, the better. Do it right when you wake up, and you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day.

Sound simple, right? Well, it is. However, the inertia is working against you once you leave your gym and your community.

To help our students stay motivated and engaged through the Holidays, we created CrossFit Missoula’s Holiday Survival Guide.

And I’m offering it here on the webs to the general public under one condition: that you don’t mess yourself up by getting into something you’re not ready for yet.

For the people who train at CrossFit Missoula, they know the material and methodology. They get it. But if you’re new to training in general, or CrossFit methodology specifically, you will probably not want to start with our workbook. Instead, just go with what you know.

Now, if that didn’t scare you off, and you’re still interested in getting your hands on a copy of CrossFit Missoula’s Survival Workbook, then, by all means, enter your email below, and we’ll be happy to deliver the workbook to your inbox pronto.

Holiday Survival Workbook


Assuming you’re training with consistency, the next three things I want you to lock down on is the amount of sleep you’re getting, the amount and quality of food you’re eating, and the amount of water you’re drinking every day.

1. Sleep

It would be hard to say which is more important on this list, because without any of them, for long enough, you’d die. That being said, I believe sleep to be the most critical, due to it’s unique and specific effects on brain chemistry. Sleep is a critical component of both physical health and cognitive function.

A few of the benefits of getting adequate sleep are:

  • the brain is “washed” clean during sleep.
  • the body repairs itself during sleep.
  • working memory is improved during sleep.

Many of the problems that arise with sleep deprivation are:

  • aching muscles
  • confusion, memory lapse or loss
  • depression
  • hallucinations
  • headaches
  • confusion, memory lapses or loss
  • obesity
  • seizures

For more info on sleep and sleep deprivation, visit these Wikipedia pages:

Additionally, the following video offer an entertaining snapshot of the topic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVQlcxiQlzI

Though there is no one-size-fits-all amount of sleep a person needs, it appears that six to eight hours captures the range for what is considered optimal for human performance and health.

2. Food

What you eat, is as important as how much you eat. If you eat the wrong amount of the wrong foods, you’re not going to achieve the health results you’re after.

Though it’s almost cliche, Hippocrates (c. 460-370 BC), the father of modern medicine, nailed it when he said “let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food.”

When talking about food, we’re considering both the quality of food, and the quantity of food we’re eating. Eat too much, and you’re going to get sick and miserable. Eat the right amount for your size and activity level, and you’ll kick more ass in all aspects of your life. Eat the wrong types of food for your biology, and again, you’ll fail. Learn what foods are toxic to your gut and which foods are medicine, and you’ll thrive!

Where to begin? Anywhere. Learning how and what you’re supposed to eat is a process. Do your research. Talk to people – nutritionists, coaches and trainers, and your doctor. Read – books and articles. Then change your diet, and control what you’re eating. Test different protocols on yourself to find the diet that’s right for you.

Here are four worthwhile books to get you started:

  1. The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That’s Destroying Our Health (The Zone)
  2. Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health
  3. The Elimination Diet: Discover the Foods That Are Making You Sick and Tired–and Feel Better Fast
  4. Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It

3. Water

Water, as you know, is critical to your health. But how much are you supposed to drink?

You don’t want too little, because “Under relatively mild levels of dehydration, individuals engaging in rigorous physical activity will experience decrements in performance related to reduced endurance, increased fatigue, altered thermoregulatory capability, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort.”

On the other end of the spectrum, drinking too much water can have deleterious affects on your health, the worst being hyponatremia (low sodium and electrolyte balance).

A fantastic book on the topic of excessive water consumption is Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports

Though there are numerous variables affecting the amount of moisture your body loses in a day – such as activity level, climate, and elevation – a good starting point for anyone is to drink 1/2 ounce per pound of body weight a day. Then start to experiment from there to find your sweet spot.

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Tuesday 160531

Memorial Day Murph Challenge 2016

Memorial Day Murph Challenge 2016

For max load:
Snatch, 1 rep
Clean & Jerk, 1 rep


Monday 160530

The Murph Challenge 2015

Participants of the 2015 Murph Challenge.

Memorial Day Murph Challenge and Potluck schedule:

0900 hrs  Be here, get changed, put food away, write your name on the board, introduce friends and family, chit-chat.

0925 hrs  Open floor. Got something to say, someone to thank, to remember. If there’s someone you’d like to dedicate your effort to, now’s the time.

0930 hrs  Selected reading from “Lone Survivor,” Chapter 8 – The Final Battle For Murphy’s Ridge.

0935 hrs  Two-minutes of silence.

0937 hrs  Playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

0940 hrs  Warm-up for the “Murph”.

1000 hrs  “Murph”

1130 hrs  Potluck social

Run 1 mile
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 squats
Run 1 mile
In memory of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, of Patchogue, N.Y., who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005.

This workout was one of Mike’s favorites and he’d named it “Body Armor”. From here on it will be referred to as “Murph” in honor of the focused warrior and great American who wanted nothing more in life than to serve this great country and the beautiful people who make it what it is.

Partition the pull-ups, push-ups, and squats as needed. Start and finish with a mile run. If you’ve got a twenty pound vest or body armor, wear it.


Friday 160527

Steph single arm snatches during the 0530 group WOD.

Steph single arm snatches during the 0530 group WOD.

Five rounds for time:
Row 500 m
Recover 5 minutes


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Thursday 160526

Scott from Stoneway CrossFit pulls some big weight during a Saturday drop in.

Scott, owner of Stoneway CrossFit, pulls some big weight during a Saturday visit.

Complete as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes:
7 muscle-ups
11 thrusters, 70 kg
14 toes-to-bar

Wednesday 160525

Kate and Rob bring little Grady to meet the 0530 group.

Proud parents, Kate and Rob, bring little Grady to meet the 0530 group.

For max load:
Turkish get-up, 1-1-1-1-1 reps (left and right)


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