Student Spotlight: Bruce Ammons

Bruce does dumbbell shoulder presses

Bruce doing dumbbell shoulder presses

Where are you from?
Missoula, MT

When did you first start training at CrossFit Missoula?
August 2013

Tell us about your sports & fitness background:


  • Judo, age 6-11
  • Competitive swimming, age 8-20 (soph in college)
  • Volleyball, Duke University men’s team, 4 years, 1980-1984
  • Lots of globogym workouts, always cardio and weights
  • Mountain trail running
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Mountain biking
  • Backpacking
  • Hunting deer/elk

Felt very out of shape when began CrossFit but my body remembered a lot, it seems.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?

First read about it in about 2003, son Jeff started doing when he went to college and we talked about the ideas a lot. I was very familiar with many of the ideas from other studies on my own: HIIT, “surprise principle”, overtraining, energy systems, etc. In fact, it was really fun to see how much of the stuff I’d tested and hung on to over the years was foundational in CrossFit. That certainly added to my comfort with it.

What was your first workout and how did it go? How did you feel after?

Can’t recall my first workout but I remember being pleasantly surprised at (1) finishing it and (2) how it just HAMMERED me! I knew I was going to get fit doing this stuff.

What’s your favorite workout?
Any with Olympic weightlifting. Better even yet if it has some kind of serious metabolic work too. Across broad time and modal domains is ALWAYS good!

Least favorite workout?

Anything with burpees and running! (gotta make those a strength in this next year)

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit?

  • Loss of body fat, increase in lean body mass
  • Increases in flexibility, range of motion
  • Complete cure of lumbar problems
  • Hugely increased strength
  • Increased confidence
  • Constantly increasing desire for greater fitness, knowledge, sharing
  • Blood lipid profile steadily improving
  • Resting heart rate dropped 30 beats/min
  • More realistic about everyday demands on my body and what to do to prepare for these as I age

What sort of unexpected changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit?
I picked up a very heavy stove with a young friend and found it easy to do. Just as I was thinking this, he remarked on how heavy it was! Made me smile to myself. It has encouraged me to dig more and more deeply into the psychological and neuromuscular aspects of fitness.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit Missoula moments:
I love the community, the support for one another’s drive toward health. It is about desire and work, not who is “best” as measured by amount of weight moved, etc. I love that we cheer for the last place, hardest striving person.

I remember doing a max front squat, losing it and just sitting gently down, the bar slowly descending to my chest under comfortable control, then doing several “bench presses” with it like a meant to  do that. Daniel came over looking surprised and said, “Did I just see some presses???” Made my day… big smile.

A favorite kind of moment for me happens every time I can actually compete effectively with the younger guys. They really bring out the competitor in me and that helps me do more work.

Any advice for people just getting started or new to CrossFit?
Decide to commit for a year to give it a fair test. That is long enough to get to face some of the most difficult tests (all between your ears, by the way) and master them with real support. That is also enough time to see lots of positive change and see that it is worth doing. Really worth doing.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I really appreciate all the skills that Daniel brings to teaching at his gym. His ability to help us find our way through big and little fears that arise in this difficult work is no little thing!