When winning is everything

by carney on February 1, 2015

Niels front squatting.

Niels front squatting.

The truth of violence is that it takes violence to stop violence. Yes, at times, situational awareness, negotiation, empathy, and walking away are effective strategies for de-escalating or avoiding violence. And that works, in most situations, with sober, sane individuals, most of the time. When it doesn’t, and you find yourself faced with certain, unavoidable violence, you’re going to have to decide if your life is worth more to you and your family then theirs.

Florida Sheriff Grady Judd captures this attitude perfectly at a press conference stating “If you surrender peacefully, that’s the way we prefer it. You start pulling guns on us . . . You can guarantee that we’re going to shoot you.”

The force you bring to a violent, or even potentially violent, situation must be greater than the force you are facing. If someone is verbally aggressive, then you must win them over with a greater level of presence. Preferably, not with aggression, but with your attention to the situation and intention to prevent it from escalating to brutality.

If someone intends to harm you, and you believe that you or someone else “is threatened with bodily injury or loss of life” then you must strike earlier, faster, and stronger than they.

The following quote from Bruce Lee, a true martial arts master, captures this self-protection mindset and approach perfectly.

“Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin, and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh, and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones, and you take his life. Do not be concerned with your escaping safely – lay your life before him!”

At first reading, it may appear that Bruce Lee is suggesting a reactive approach to dealing with an attack. That we wait until our attacker smashes into our flesh, before we fracture his bones. However, this interpretation puts us behind the curve and too late should our opponent wish to take our life, or the damage inflicted leaves us no way to prevent further injury. Not only does this interpretation conflict with Bruce Lee’s martial arts philosophy, but physics as well.

Instead, if we take into consideration our natural ability to read the intention of others and conclude the action, we can respond more effectively to a threat. Consider the implications of Bruce Lee’s words if we take them to mean we should “Let your opponent [show their intention to] graze your skin, and you smash into his flesh.”

Then it follows that when a person moves towards you with clenched fists raised, that their intent is to “smash into your flesh.” That if someone comes at you with a baseball bat raised and loaded to strike as confession that they intend to “fracture your bones.” And as Sheriff Grady from Florida implies, when a person pulls a gun, there is but one intention, and that is to “take your life.”

Your response should be appropriate to the level of the threat, not only to be effective, but also for legal and moral reasons. And in a fight or die encounter, there is no second place. Winning is everything.

WOD 31 Jan 2015

Three rounds for time:
32 deadlifts, 85 kg
32 hanging hip touches
800 m Farmer carry, two 15 lb dumbbells


Train for effect

by carney on January 30, 2015

Chad catching the barbell overhead for the snatch.

Chad catching the barbell overhead for the snatch.

At CrossFit Missoula, we score every WOD. That’s part of the deal when you join our program. The scores are measured by load, time, and reps. It’s the rigorous aspect of the program that marks your progress and lets us know when you’ve plateaued. Your focus during the WOD should be on the movement position, coordination, and range of motion. The intent of the WOD is to maximize the stress stimulus, not win the workout. You can game a workout (e.g. shortening range of motion, miscounting reps, sandbagging one movement in favor of another, etc.) so much that you sabotage the intended training effect. Save that for competition, when fame and fortune are riding on your victory. In training, go for effect.

WOD 30 Jan 2015

In teams of two, two rounds for time:
75 burpees
20 stone cleans, 142 lb
50 pull-ups

One person working at a time.


Fitness for life

by carney on January 29, 2015

Learning fundamental movements mixed with play make fitness a lifetime pursuit.

Coach Dave running alongside Lincoln in a relay race

Learning fundamental movements mixed with play help make fitness a lifetime pursuit.

CrossFit Missoula Kids
Winter Session Two
Thursdays, 4:15-5:00 PM
March 5 – April 23

For more information, and to register your child, email Coach Dave or call (406) 317-1988.

WOD 29 Jan 2015

For max load:
Two hands anyhow, both right and left hand starts


Testing the limits

by carney on January 28, 2015

Anthony catches the barbell in an overhead squat during snatch work

Dr. Anthony catches the barbell in an overhead squat during snatch work

Anyone interested in fitness should have a subscription to the CrossFit Journal. There is no other resource like it anywhere, and for $25 a year, it’s a steal. Before going to an online, searchable forum, the CrossFit Journal was delivered via email as a PDF.

When I went to my CrossFit Level One certification in 2006, we were given a  CrossFit t-shirt, and a printed and bound copy of all the CrossFit Journals published up to that point. My bound copy contains the first forty-one issues, from September 2002 to January 2006.

Occasionally, I pull out my bound copy and reread the early Journals (they are all archived in the online Journal). A Theoretical Template for CrossFit’s Programming from 2003 caught my eye today.

There’s no denying that the capacities of today’s top CrossFitters are superior to those of the past. And though these athletes train with heavier than standard “Rx’d” loads and at higher volumes, it has been our observation, over nine years of CrossFit training, that four to five days a week of “intense” (high powered) workouts are about as much as people can handle before the “wheels start falling off.”

That is to say, that the five days on with two days off, or the three days on with one day off training cycle, recommended by Coach Glassman, is tolerated well by most people. And, we’ve also seen many make steady, long term progress with as few as three days a week.

You have to find what works best for you through trial and error. You want to test the limits of your ability to recover, and the only way you’re going to do that is to get to know what it feels like to be over trained. You don’t know how much you can do, until you try to do more than you’re able.

WOD 28 Jan 2015

Courtesy of CrossFit.com

For time:
30 strict muscle-ups


Student Spotlight – Tony Gamell

by carney on January 27, 2015

Tony, back in the old box, deadlifting for reps and not giving a "Mcshit"

Tony, back in the old box circa 2008, deadlifting for reps.

Where are you from?
Great Falls but I’ve lived in Missoula since college.

When did you first start training at CrossFit Missoula?
2005 at the Peak with Daniel when it was “CrossFit-like” training and then officially at Daniel’s first CrossFit Missoula box since it opened in 2006.

Tell us about your sports & fitness background:

I’ve engaged in some sort of rigorous physical activity almost continuously since I was about 12 years old. As a kid I played hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and ran both track and cross country. I took my first weight lifting class during my sophomore year in high school. I started karate when I was 14 and practiced karate, taekwondo, and judo off and on for the next 10 years. I studied gung-fu with a Chinese master on the shores of West Lake during my year as an exchange student in Hangzhou, China (very, very humbling!). I learned to play racquetball in college and competed in several tournaments. I love to snow ski, water ski, hike, trail run, and play in the ocean. Sports and fitness continue to be an integral part of my life.

How did you first get exposed to CrossFit?

From Coach Daniel Carney at the Peak. Once he opened his own box I dropped my Peak membership and never looked back.

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

My first official CrossFit work out was Angie – the 100’s. I thought I’d never get through the pull ups! I couldn’t do a kip – I’d pull up to my chin or maybe only my nose…..forehead toward the end! It was one-by-one! I felt that work out for days afterward.

What’s your favorite workout?
I don’t have one favorite workout but I’d say any workout with my fellow CrossFitters and friends where we all show up and work hard together. The group energy is very powerful and motivational.

Least favorite workout?

Anything with overhead squats. Those kill me!

What sort of changes have you seen in your body, health and fitness since starting CrossFit?
The changes are profound. I’m in my late 40’s and I feel stronger and better overall than I did in my 20’s and 30’s.

What sort of unexpected changes in your life have you experienced out of taking on something like CrossFit?

We all know CrossFit is great for the body (we should anyway!) but I think it’s also powerful mind training. Not only does your body and brain change physiological from CrossFit but your overall mental state improves significantly too.

Please share with us any favorite CrossFit Missoula moments:
Too many great times to mention. Of course, the Spartan Beast was a blast with Daniel and my CrossFit buddies! It was a great test of our training! We all passed the test because we all finished! Recently we had a picnic and WOD on Salmon Lake which was a lot of fun. I also love playing Hoover Ball with our CrossFit Missoula crew.

Any advice for people just getting started or new to CrossFit?
Just know that YOU WILL IMPROVE regardless of where you start. Accept where you’re at with with your fitness the first day you walk in the gym, leave your ego at the door, and just show up ready to work regularly and the CrossFit “magic” will happen!

Anything else you’d like to share?
I plan to be doing CrossFit in my 90’s! I might take a break in my 100’s . . . probably not!


WOD 27 Jan 2015

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes:
5 right arm snatches, 55 lb dumbbell
1 right arm Turkish get-up, 55 lb dumbbell
5 left arm snatches, 55 lb dumbbell
1 left arm Turkish get-up, 55 lb dumbbell
10 box jumps, 20 in


Every day, move

by carney on January 26, 2015

Brett doing weighted dips

Brett doing weighted dips

Every day, move. Stretch, climb, play. Explore movement. Be curious. Sit, squat, cartwheel. Hang on things. During the WOD, “intensity” (work/time) is sacrosanct, and we select movements, loads, and volume to maximize power. However, it is important to understand the WOD makes up a tiny slice of our movement potential. Sports, dance, martial arts, yoga, parkour, and play are all joyful expressions of humanity in motion. Use your fitness, your strength, and conditioning, to explore your world through movement. Every day, move.

WOD 26 Jan 2015

Ten rounds for max reps:
20 sec Double unders
10 sec Recovery
20 sec Cleans, 60 kg
10 sec Recovery
20 sec Jerks, 60 kg
10 sec Recovery

Score each movement. Do your best to hit max reps for every interval.


Cultivating grit

by carney on January 24, 2015

Mike rowing strong

Mike rowing strong

Grit can be cultivated and developed at any age. Like the 10 General Physical Skills, grit too is a skill. We believe movement, training, and life provide rich opportunities, everything we need to build an indomitable spirit that will not crumble beneath any hardship. But you have to choose to do the work. You have to pick yourself back up when you fall. You have to have the grit to come at it again, and again, and again, until you’ve mastered whatever “it” is that you’re trying to gain control over or change. We have found CrossFit to be a powerful tool for building our indomitable spirit. Through the body, we strengthen the mind.

Mens sana in corpore sano

WOD 24 Jan 2015

30-20-10 reps for time:
Back squats, body weight
Bench press, body weight
Strict pull-ups


What’s you “why”?

by carney on January 23, 2015

Kent climbing the rope legless

Kent climbing the rope legless

“Why” your goals matter to you, is as important as what your goals are. If our goals give us direction, our why’s give us the drive and motivation to work towards them, especially when we’re having doubts and feeling weak. You’re going to have failures and setbacks along the way. And when you do, if your “why” is not strong, you’re going to quit before you’ve reached your goal. Every goal needs a why. What’s your “why”?

WOD 24 Jan 2015

For max load:
Dip, 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 reps


CrossFit Missoula Kids – Session Two

by carney on January 22, 2015

Coach Dave leading CrossFit Missoula Kids through a game

Coach Dave leading CrossFit Missoula Kids through a game

CrossFit Missoula Kids
Winter Session Two
Thursdays, 4:15-5:00 PM
March 5 – April 23

For more information, and to register your child, contact Coach Dave.

WOD 22 Jan 2015

For time:
30 snatches, 60 kg


Two solid reasons

by carney on January 21, 2015

Terra doing weighted push-ups

Terra doing weighted push-ups

Here are two solid reasons why you should stay away from the gym when you are feeling sick:

  1. Your energy is being used to fight an infection. Doing an intense WOD is going to stress your body’s ability to recover from the workout, possibly lengthening the duration of your illness. Get some rest.
  2. Many contagions, like influenza, are spread through the air and direct contact. Having you and your illness in the small space of the gym, gasping, spitting, and coughing all over yourself, and everything and everyone are only going to help facilitate its spread. And that’s not very polite.

If you need to take some time off, we are happy to put your membership on hold until you are well enough to rejoin the teams.

WOD 21 Jan 2015

Five rounds for time:
75 double unders
7 muscle-ups