Rewarding success

by carney on January 19, 2015

Mike deadlifting for reps

Mike deadlifting for reps

“If I reach my goal of _____________ , I will reward myself with _____________ .”

Do not leave this part out.

Very few people write their long term goals down, break them down into simple, progressive steps, and then reward themselves when they achieve success.

Is it a surprise that only 8% of New Year’s resolution are successful?

Big, long-term goals, should have big rewards, and the short term, mini-goals smaller rewards. Use the things you want to buy and the activities you already want to do to help stoke the motivation to finish what you started.

Want to buy a new pair of weightlifting shoes? Better nail that front squat goal! Want that “cheat day”? Better hold yourself to your meal plan!

What rewards will you give yourself for the goals you have set for this week? This month? This year?

WOD 19 Jan 2015

In teams of two, row 5,000 m for time.

Using a single rower, each person will row 500 m at a time, until 5,000 m is reached.


The test of fitness

by carney on January 16, 2015

Team 0530 putting weight over head

Team 0530 putting weight over head

Registration for the 2015 CrossFit Games Open is live!

There have been some changes to the rules and structure of the Open from 2014. One of the biggest changes that will affect CrossFit Missoula is the addition of a scaled event option. In scaled versions of Open events, the loads and movements will be reduced and simplified. If you were unable to compete in the Open in previous years due to limitations in your strength and abilities, this could be your year to get in on the fun.

As we have done in the past, CrossFit Missoula will incorporate the Open Events into our regular programming. Events will be released Thursday nights. CrossFit Missoula will do them for our Workout of the Day on Friday.

Those who are registered for the Open will have the option of doing it at another time and will have to meet all the requirements of the competition. See the CrossFit Games rulebook.

WOD 16 Jan 2015

Courtesy of

Chest-to-bar pull-up ladder
Recover 5 minutes
1/2 body-weight overhead squat ladder

For the ladder pattern, perform one rep the first minute, two reps the second minute, three reps the third minute, continuing as long as you are able. Use as many sets each minute as needed.


CrossFit Missoula Veterans’ WOD

by carney on January 15, 2015

brett and matt doing pull-ups, unweighted and weighted

Brett and Matt doing pull-ups, unweighted and weighted

Starting this Friday, 16 January at 1900 hours, CrossFit Missoula will be offering a free group WOD for Military Veterans at 1900 hours.

The CrossFit Missoula Veterans Program is the inspiration of Coach Jacob. Veterans themselves, CrossFit Level 1 Trainers, Jacob and Tim, will be heading the program. For more information and to get registered, email Jacob.

WOD 15 Jan 2015

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps for time:
Deadlift, 120 kg
Power clean, two 55 lb dumbbells
Weighted push-ups, supporting 20 kg bumper plate on back


Your brain on Go

by carney on January 14, 2015

Curtis climbing the rope

Curtis climbing the rope legless

“Go”, as it is called in Japan and the West, “baduk” in Korea, and “weiqi” in China is an ancient game of strategy played by two people. The name roughly translates as “board game of surrounding.”

Why play Go? Playing Go, appears to benefit both the structure and function of your brain. By increasing white matter density in regions related to attention, memory, executive regulation, and problem-solving the game of Go may improve self control, working memory, pattern recognition, abstract reasoning and the learning capabilities of children.

We like to think of it as strength training for the brain!

“The rules of go are so elegant, organic and rigorously logical that if intelligent life forms exist elsewhere in the universe they almost certainly play Go.” – Edward Lasker

Other activities, that are known to share this ability to alter the structure of our brains, are navigation, mathematics, music, working memory, learning abstract information, and juggling.

CrossFit Missoula has been home of The Nine Stars Go Club of Missoula since 11 September 2013. We meet every Thursday from 19:30-22:00. No experience necessary. All levels are welcome.

WOD 14 Jan 2014

For max reps:
Tabata row (for calories)
Recover 1 minute
Tabata thrusters, 20 kg
Recover 1 minute
Tabata toes-to-bar


Student Spotlight – Bruce Ammons

by carney on January 13, 2015

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!


WOD 13 Jan 2015

In teams of two, complete for time:
400 double unders
300 kettlebell swings, 24 kg
200 burpees

Only one person can be working at a time.


Pick up a goal setting habit

by carney on January 12, 2015

Lisa front squats

Lisa front squats

We choose habits, or habits choose us. Much of what we do throughout the day are habits. Those habits are either driving our personal growth higher, farther, faster or pulling us down into the murky depth of nothing, nowhere.

“This is the real power of habit: the insight that your habits are what you choose them to be.” – Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

If we are following the guidelines from earlier posts: setting outcome and behavior goals, remaining flexible with your plan, and taking simple steps. Then we could be completing a good number of goals every day.

Success, no matter how small, can generate more success. When something works, we will do more of it. And this helps to turn our goal setting behavior into a habit.

How many SMART, flexible, simple goals will you craft today?

WOD 12 Jan 2015

For max load:
Overhead squat, 5-5-5-5-5 reps


Simple steps

by carney on January 9, 2015

David snatches a barbell overhead

David snatches a barbell overhead

Originally credited to the U.S. Navy, and aircraft engineer, Kelly Johnson, the KISS principle reminds us to “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

But how simple is simple enough?

Our big goals need to be broken down into mini goals, or “next steps.” We want to bring the things we want to have, do, or be in our future to our present time frame for us to work with them.

The next step needs to be right there in front of you. It should be so easy to hit that you nearly fall onto it with very little effort. If you find that you are not hitting your outcome or behavior goals, then they are either too large a step or not aligned with what you want.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo Davinci

Back to our 400 pounds deadlift goal in three months example. If after two weeks, I accept that I am not doing what I planned to do (my behavior goals) to achieve a 400 pound deadlift in three months. Then I should be asking myself:

  • Do I believe I can deadlift 400 pounds? If not, what weight do I believe I could lift?
  • Is it important to me that I can deadlift 400 pounds?
  • What does being able to deadlift 400 pounds do for me?
  • If it is possible, and it is important, what external obstacles might be blocking me and how can I remove them?
  • Do I need more support from a coach, spouse, or friend?
  • If it is not possible, or not important that I deadlift 400 pounds, then what is?

Most of you will benefit from bringing your goals in a little closer, and making them a little simpler. What is the easiest, simplest thing you can do to move towards one of your goals today, right now?

WOD 9 Jan 2014

Five rounds for time:
15 burpees
9 push presses, two 45 lb dumbbells
3 legless rope ascents, 10 ft, start from the knees


Flexible goal setting

by carney on January 8, 2015


Coach Reed working with Abby’s starting position for the clean & jerk

Goal setting works best when you keep it flexible. A goal is a plan. A representation of a priority in your life, right now. And as we grow, priorities change.

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Again, using our 400 pound deadlift example from Tuesday’s “Outcome vs Behavior” post. Let’s pretend my current best deadlift is 395 pounds. Then I would need to be adding one pound worth of strength every eighteen days (90 days divided by 5 pounds).

Does that sound like a realistic goal? It might be if over the past year I’ve seen similar gains in my strength. However, if I haven’t hit a personal record in over a year, then five pounds might be too much. But who cares, maybe we just go for it. Or maybe we change the outcome goal to 396 pounds.

Which one you decide on doesn’t matter. Remember, this is just a plan. Once you get started. And that is the point, is that you get started (again). You will receive feedback on how the plan is working and can adjust accordingly.

Personally, I use a Moleskine notebook for my life dreaming and planning purposes, and a spiral bound notebook for my fitness planning and tracking. And I review them every day.

There are many smartphone Apps on the market that will help you set and track goals and fitness, and some of them look to work well for people. But I’m old(er) and still like to write, draw, and diagram by hand.

Are you flexible with your outcome and behavior goal setting? Do you review your goals and assess your progress every day?

Workout of the Day
8 Jan 2014

In as few sets as possible:
75 front squats, 55 kg


CrossFit Missoula Kids Schedule

by carney on January 7, 2015


Saturday crew working their deadlifts

CrossFit Missoula Kids (5-9 yrs old) upcoming  schedule:

Session One:  8 Jan – 19 Feb (space still available)
Session Two:  5 Mar – 23 Apr
Session Three:  7 May – 19 Jun

Classes meet Thursdays, 4:15-5:00 PM. Sessions are $49 each ($42 per additional sibling). Each session has seven classes. Email coach Dave for more information and to register your child.

Workout of the Day
7 Jan 2014

Courtesy of

10 rounds on the C2 rower of:
Pull a sub-1:25/500-m pace for as long as possible
Rest 3 minutes

Scale pace as needed so that first interval can be maintained for approximately 1 minute.

CrossFit – Tips From a Silver-Medalist Rower


Outcome vs behavior

by carney on January 6, 2015

Sara snatches as Robby works toes-to-bar

“Outcome goals” versus “behavior goals.” Pulling a 400 pound deadlift in six months would be an outcome goal. Selecting and decisively following a strength program to increase your deadlift for six months is a behavior goal. Both are important in the goal setting process.

You may or may not be able to deadlift 400 pounds six months. There are a lot of variables that go into whether or not you have the potential and enough time. However, there are certain actions you can take, certain behaviors you will have to control and direct if you’re going to have any chance of picking 400 pounds off the ground in six months.

To give yourself the greatest chance for success, you’ll want to choose SMART (wiki) outcome goals, and then support them with SMART behavior goals.

Using our 400 pound deadlift in six months as an example (assuming it is a SMART goal):

Outcome goal:  Deadlift 400 pounds in six months.
Behavior goal:  Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Behavior goal:  Eat four to six meals of 25 grams of protein, 32 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of fat a day.
Behavior goal:  One time a week, warm up to a heavy (no more than 85% of rep max) 5 rep, 3 rep, or 1 rep deadlifts for 3-5 sets. Emphasize position and speed.

A simple formula, I use, is to choose three outcome goals for three months out. Then support them with at least three behavior goals each.

Write your goals down, preferably in your training journal, and look at them every day, or at least every day that you train.

The game has its ups and downs, but you can never lose focus of your individual goals and you can’t let yourself be beat because of lack of effort.” – Michael Jordan

What are your first quarter goals for 2015?

Workout of the Day

For max load:
Sumo-deadlift, 5-5-5-5-5 reps