Meet a Member – Meredith Rappold

Hi Meredith, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

Hi, well let’s see, I am 20 years old and I was born in San Diego. We lived there until I was 11 and then we moved up here so I probably did most of my “growing up” in Missoula. I am the youngest of 4, with my siblings all living in different parts of the country which is kind of neat. Right now I am just working on getting my undergrad degree and once that happens I really have no idea what I’ll do next but I’m thinking I’ve got some time to figure it out.

While you weren’t able to read my mind after class the other day (which I’m fairly certain your psych degree is for), you did mention that you were hoping to leverage that education to work with Vets suffering from PTSD. That’s fairly specific destination, can you share with us the motivation and inspiration for that journey?

I’ve grown up around the military–both of my parents were Captains in the Navy and I have a brother-in-law in the Army. Also, having lived in San Diego which is a big military city probably helped to fuel this fascination of mine. I have also come to the realization that mental health isn’t always talked about nearly enough as it should be. What initially interested me in PTSD in military vets is how PTSD manifests itself so differently in each individual, making it very unique.

Liz Marshall mentioned that you’re an expert sitter. I’m pretty good myself, but I get the feeling she was referring to something else… tell us more.

What Dr.Liz meant by that is that whether it be kids, houses, pets, etc. I can watch it all, sometimes even all at once but that might be pushing it a bit. I love kids and MOST animals so it makes my jobs easier and more enjoyable, plus it can be acceptable to do some actual sitting on the job.

Let’s talk shop now. How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

Well, as most 5VCF members may know, former coach Emily just happens to be my older sister so as you can imagine I didn’t have much choice in the matter but I am thankful now for her pushing me into CrossFit. She is about as beast as it gets, and she has bigger arms than most guys I know so I have used that as motivation to get my butt into the gym. A year and a half later, here we are.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

Hmmm well in terms of goals for 2k16, there are still certain movements that I would love to be able to do, i.e. handstand push-ups and the ever frustrating double-unders along with others. I would also love to hit some heavy PRs this year just so I can ring the bell. I also would love to do a competition completely RX’d and that goal may take me all year.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside the gym and work?

As cliche as it sounds I love spending time with my friends and family but in all honesty I spend most of my time at school, the gym or busy doing all of my “sitting”. Although I have recently started shooting so I do a bit of that and the sad thing is that my mom has better aim than I do…you go sal pal!

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

I know people talk about going to this so-called “dark place” and to be honest I am not even sure I know what that means, I just think to myself ‘one burpee at a time, or one more pull-up’ because I seem to do better in workouts thinking about getting one rep done at a time rather than the total number of reps. Also the little bit of competitive nature in me helps with finishing a workout.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

Hmmm, I actually really like tire flips even though we don’t do them very often so I would say something with tire flips and heavy barbell work so perhaps either cleans or snatches. We can maybe even throw a few squats in there.

Thanks Meredith!

Meet a Member – Sarin & Taylor

Hi Sarin and Taylor, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

Sarin: I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, but spent most of my childhood in Oregon. I did undergrad and grad studies in Nutrition at the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) and worked as a dietitian for a bit, but ultimately decided I wanted to pursue dentistry and moved to Portland to do so. Taylor and I started dating (conveniently) 6 weeks before he moved back home to Missoula. I moved here 2 years later last June and now we’re engaged and planning our wedding! I’m currently working part-time as an associate dentist in St. Ignatius. My goal is to eventually work in public health as a dentist and maybe dabble a little in nutrition/dietetics. Taylor has recently gotten me into skiing (it was hard to do that in FL.) I also play soccer and golf, love to craft, and have been an avid eBay sellin’ fool lately.

Taylor: I was born and raised right here in Missoula and graduated from Sentinel High School just a few years behind Ian. I then moved West to Tacoma and then Portland in order to get an education. Two and a half years ago, after being away for 10 years, I made my dream come true by coming home to Missoula and opening my own dental practice. Sarin caught my eye just prior to that at the tail end of dental school. I strategically brought her to Missoula for her first visit on a nice summer weekend. I convinced her to move here last summer and we are now planning our wedding for this summer. I love living in Montana and try to take advantage as much as I can. Most commonly that means skiing, hiking and spending time at the lake.

What’s great about both of you being dentists, and what’s tough about it? For instance, is there a 0% chance that you wouldn’t brush your teeth before bed because you know the other person would be looking at you with judgment in their eyes? Have you guys not had a piece of candy in years? That type of thing.

Sarin: The biggest advantage I can think of thus far is that if Taylor gives me a heads up that I’ve got some broccoli between 7 and 8, I know exactly what he’s talking about. You’ve gotta practice what you preach so Taylor and I do brush and floss every day. I do have to confess though (and I know this is true for most dentists) that we all have a pretty wicked sweet tooth. I can eat Sour Patch Kids for daysss! But I don’t. Obviously.

Taylor: Sarin is a floss nazi. She keeps me honest. But hey, I’ve got someone to fix a chipped tooth in case I don’t get my chin out of the way during a thruster.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

Sarin: I joined a CrossFit gym in Portland about 4 years ago while I was in dental school. Previously, I had done P90X a couple times through and lifted some weights, but I needed a little more motivation and the group atmosphere as well as olympic lifting is what drew me to it. I joined the 5VCF community this June when I moved here as I saw great reviews and had great experiences with all the awesome coaches here. I didn’t try to convince Taylor too hard to join since I knew I just needed to plant the seed and he would come around on his own eventually (I like to think that’s how I got him to propose also 😉 )

Taylor: When we started dating, I joined Sarin for a few WODs in Portland, trying to impress her. It got a little embarrassing that she could consistently out lift me. She finally convinced me to join 5VCF this winter once it got too cold for my morning runs. I’ve been at it for a couple of months now.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

Sarin: I seem to have the same goals every year that I have yet to reach: 100# snatch, 200# back squat, and a handstand push up! Most importantly though, I’d like to stay consistent with coming to classes and making healthful choices at home to be my best self – mentally and physically.

Taylor: My goals at this point are probably pretty modest. Mostly I’d just like to stay fit, get more comfortable with the olympic lifts and not hurt myself. Also, I’ve gotta be looking good in those wedding pictures!

Are either of you participating in the CrossFit Open?

Sarin: I’ve done it a few times but I used to get almost too psyched up about it (I actually had nightmares about the WODs before I did them) so I may opt out of it this year. I’m not cut out for competitions apparently!

Taylor: I’m not there yet

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

Sarin:I just tell myself to keep moving and I think about how accomplished I will feel once I’m done. Even on days I’m feeling sluggish and want to fall straight to the floor, I just have to keep pushing at whatever pace I can sustain. Sometimes the struggle is real, but it’s good to know that everyone else is feeling the same pain. At the end of the day, I’m stronger than I was yesterday.

Taylor: I’ve never pushed myself as hard in a personal workout as I do with a CrossFit class. It really is a great community. And, I can’t let Sarin beat me!

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

Sarin: Pretty much anything that doesn’t include running or rowing! Probably an AMRAP with lots of double unders, box jumps and deadlifts.

Taylor: Elliptical training and Bicep Curls!

This was great, thank you both!

Meet a Member – Samantha Arcand

Hi Samantha, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’d like to start out this interview with a shout out to 5 Valleys CrossFit; I have been dreaming about this moment ever since I can remember. Where do I begin? I am a single mother of four boys -two K9 and two feline- not to mention the two fish I look after. I moved here from Minnesota about eight years ago for college. Although many people think that I “don’t have a real job,” I actually have three; I am the Project SUCCESS Counselor for Big Sky High School, the Adolescent Intake Coordinator for Western Montana Addictions Services and I also run the Minor in Position (MIP) class.

From Ryan’s interview we learned that you and he are engaged! What are you most looking forward to in marriage? Any fun details about the wedding or honeymoon you can share with us???

I’m most excited to use the statement “because I’m your wife, that’s why!” it’s going to save me a ton of time not having to explain myself. We don’t have much planned for our wedding yet except that we (I) want to get married in BANNF, Canada. As for our honeymoon, we plan on taking an African safari in Tanzania. I personally would like to go on our honeymoon first and then work on the wedding but we will see how things go.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I started CrossFit about 3 years ago when it was still Emergence; I went out on a limb to try something new. I was in so much physical pain after the first week that I literally thought I was dying. I remember skipping class and calling my mom, demanding that she drives down here and takes me to the hospital. Turns out I was just out of shape. I dropped the class shortly after but was back at it the following semester.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

Every year I tell myself that I will compete in a CrossFit competition and every year I don’t. So I would say that my goal this year would be to compete in a CrossFit competition.

You’ve joked around about hardly being in the gym on a regular basis. What keeps you away?

The workouts, lack on motivation, laziness, the cold, naps, Netflix, the list could go on and on.

Crossfit Open – did you compete last year and do you plan to this year?

The Open has always been during spring break for me and if anyone knows me, they would know that I take my vacationing very seriously. Due to this, I have yet to compete in the Open. Oddly enough, this year it is not over my spring break so currently, I am registered to compete… That is if I don’t book a last minute va-cay to get myself out of it.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

Dead lifts and back squats baby. All day erryday! Then of course my second favorite activity, stretching.


Meet a Member – Emily Robideau

Hi Emily, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I was born and raised in Massachusetts and still have a large extended family back that way. I moved to Missoula right after grad school when I found a job that actually put my history degrees to use. I’ve been here since 2008. I spend a lot of time outdoors doing things like backpacking, hunting, and fishing–at least in the spring, summer, and fall. In the winter I’m more likely to be binge-watching shows on Netflix and trying out new recipes at home. I work for a historical and archaeological consulting compaany in Missoula. My job takes me on research trips all over the country, which can be interesting. But I’m always glad to come home.

As a historian for hire you must have learned or uncovered some pretty interesting information. Can you tell us about a particularly cool project you’ve worked on?

Most of the projects I work on are related to environmental litigation–I basically travel around to archives, libraries, and other records repositories to research how specific waterways became polluted over time, and then write up long reports explaining what I found.

The coolest project I’ve worked on was definitely researching the history of a major bourbon brand. They were redoing their visitor center and needed information to use in the exhibits. I traveled to the distillery in Kentucky and did oral history interviews with many of the employees–including the master distiller (a bourbon industry legend). Part of my job was to tour as many distilleries as possible while there. Tough work. I learned a lot about that particular brand of bourbon, and about the bourbon industry as a whole. I came out of the project with a newfound taste for bourbon, and more knowledge about the process and history of bourbon-making than I ever thought I’d have.

What do you hope for the future? Where do you hope this work takes you, or do you want to end up doing something completely different?

For now I’m happy to just keep doing what I’ve been doing! The topics we research are very different from what I studied in school (I mostly focused on the Civil Rights Movement) and I’ve learned a lot in the past seven years. I’d like to eventually feel like I have a really solid expertise in the topics I research now. I could also see myself doing something completely different in the future–maybe something in the culinary world.

On to CrossFit, how did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I think I’ve been at it for about 5 years now. I’d been hearing about it and reading about it online and was curious to try it out. Before CrossFit I did some group exercise classes, workout dvds, and running. I was bored and looking for a new challenge and CrossFit definitely fit the bill–it’s never boring and it’s always a challenge.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

I’d love to improve a lot of things–I’m pretty uncoordinated and struggle with anything gymnastic. I’d like to get comfortable being inverted and kicking up into a handstand. And I’d really like to see improvements in my pull-ups and toes-to-bar. I also need to start trying to use double unders in workouts rather than defaulting to singles!

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

If I’m on my 50th burpee, I’m probably in a pretty dark place in my head. I’m not always great at pushing myself, and tend to do best when I have a coach encouraging me to keep moving. But I can usually keep myself going by just focusing on the next burpee or pull-up rather than focusing on the total number. And being surrounded by other people who are pushing through the same workout definitely helps. Seeing other people knock it out makes me want to work harder.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

Probably some kind of EMOM involving power cleans and/or shoulder-to-overhead. And maybe some rowing intervals. I would definitely avoid anything with burpees, gymnastic movements, or running.

Thanks Emily!

Meet a Member – Brent Dodge

Hi Brent, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

Originally from sunny southern California, I’ve lived in Montana since 1992 and in Missoula since 2000. I married my high school sweatheart, Liz, in 1980, a mere 35 plus years ago. We have four children ages 19, 17, 7, and 6. Our three daughters are from China, and my 6-year-old son is from Haiti. You could say we’re an All American Family!

I started Alpine Physical Therapy 12 years ago and watched it grow from a solo practice to now three clinics with 18 PTs. I continue to own and operate the company, and I still see patients two days a week.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

Back in 2005, I happened to click on a link at the bottom of a doctor’s email, which took me to the CrossFit headquarters website. The next morning I started doing CrossFit by myself in my living room 5 days a week. My wife wasn’t too happy because my antics often woke her up.

Shortly after I started CrossFit, I introduced a personal trainer friend of mine to it, and nearly immediately, he started CrossFit Missoula. I joined their group here and there, but for the most part I continued to go solo in my living room.

In ’08 I discovered there was a group of 15 CrossFitters that were hitting it at 5 AM at the Peak 5 days a week. By then I was getting tired of working out alone, so I joined their group and absolutely dug working out in a group. Ultimately, this group went on to become CrossFit Montana, then CrossFit Emergence, and now 5VCF!

This is a two-partner:
1. What types of injuries are you seeing common to CrossFit athletes that they should be aware of when working out? Particular areas of the body affected, particular movements exacerbating stressed areas, etc.?

In 9 nears, I’ve suffered one injury doing CrossFit. Back in ’08, I was completing Grace. As the bar dropped to the ground, I was reaching down to grab it for another ground to overhead. The bar bounced up as I reached down for it, and it yanked my right thumb, spraining one of the thumb ligaments. My fault!

Quite frankly, I know of very few injuries among our members. And contrary to what so many on the “outside” say about “all those injuries,” our CrossFitters are not laden with injuries. I attribute this to the incredible attention to detail and form on the part of our coaches.

That said, here are two precautions I offer. The first is the need to remain diligent about your form, even when it’s late in the WOD and you’re fading fast.

The second is to take pain seriously. You’re body may be trying to tell you something. Don’t ignore it. Working through pain and injury can lead to even bigger problems. As a starting point, talk to your CrossFit coach for some ideas on what to do next. They know when something needs more attention than they can give, so for sure they can point you in the right direction.

2. Same question, but this time for knowledge workers, desk jockies, etc. What are the biggest issues you’re seeing from those types of folks?

Hemorrhoids. Kidding. But not really. For people who have to sit for long hours are at a huge disadvantage. Sitting, they now say, is the new smoking. It’s not only a pain in the butt, but it’s deadly to the human body.

Discover ways to alter posture at work so you’re not stuck in one situation, like sitting. Consider a standing or treadmill desk. Or simply kick your chair away and kneel on one or both knees (funny, I’m doing exactly that as I type this). Doing so puts your back in a posture as if you’re standing. You might need knee pads, and you coworkers will confirm what they’ve always known about you. You’ll see it in their faces!

As a general rule, be sure to take breaks, hydrate, move, breathe, and mix up your work postures.

What I love about 5 Valleys CrossFit is that it has a good gender mix, as well as a great age mix. What advice would you give for successful aging to various age groups? For example what we should be watching out for, what we should ease up on, etc. at ages 20-30, 30-40, 40-50, …?

I’m not sure what our 20 to 40 year olds need other than adequate sleep, good nutrition, and a balance of strength, agility, flexibility, and conditioning.

Any one over 40 . . . and especially over 50 needs to shift the mindset to maximize mobility, functional strength, balance, and butt-kicking conditioning. The science is clear that strength wanes after 50. When strength wanes, a loss in balance isn’t far behind. You lose balance, you lose longevity. By that, I mean you die well before your time.

As a guy who is over 50 and who happens to be a physical therapist, I can tell you that our current programming creates an ideal fitness approach for aging adults (not that I’m one!). By this I’m referring to the programming at 5VCF in which we see a healthy balance of mobility, true functional strength, and incorporation of an interval model of conditioning that wages war against the dreaded reality of strength loss that occurs in less active aging adults.

This phenomenal approach sets the stage for people (visualize older folks) to keep whooping up on the young bucks and to ensure that we can crank out all the recreation that Montana has to offer . . . well into our platinum years!

What fitness goals do you have for 2016?

My aim for 2016 is to realize the greatest fitness of my adult life. How? Consistent presence at 5VCF, clean eating, and logging a million meters on my new SkiErg from Concept2. Doing so will ensure I can keep up with my 6 and 7 year old kids for the long haul.

Do you have any other non-fitness personal goals that you’re excited about for 2016?

Attain blue belt in American Kenpo Karate. Celebrate 36 years of marriage in June.
Archer a 6 x 6 elk. Fly fish the Bulkley River in British Columbia for monster steelhead.

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

Aside from a ridiculous Turkish get up WOD a few years ago that almost killed me, I’ve learned over the past 9 years of CrossFit that even when it gets hard and I begin to wheeze and whine, there’s a high likelihood that I will in fact live through the WOD. So I push through till it’s over. And after I catch my breath I congratulate myself on the powerful effects that WOD will have on my physical and mental fitness.

Where might someone run into Brent while walking around Missoula? Where would you be and what would you be doing?

They’d probably find me in line at Rosauers or the Good Food Store purchasing a bottle of Cannonball wine, which is our favorite Cabernet Sauvignon. My wife and I haven’t confirmed our experiences with it, but we think it contains some kind of aphrodisiac. Not kidding!

Meet a Member – Zach Shearer

Hi Zach, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’m a 23 year old recent college grad who lives in his parents basement, doesn’t have a job, and spends way too much time on the internet. Basically, I’m the reason everybody hates millennials. With that being said, I am going to start putting my degree in Creative Writing to use next week when I’ll start a part-time job delivering food. Gotta make that green somehow. Just so I don’t give the impression that my life is terribly depressing, I do have some longer term plans in mind. In a month or so, I plan on moving to Seattle where I hope to find work somewhere in the non-food service realm and to get out of my parents basement. I’m also currently working on a variety of writing projects and will continue to work on them in hopes that one day something will get published or filmed or even just read by somebody not my parents/close friends. So, yeah, I’ve got some things going for me.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I first heard about CrossFit, like, three or four years ago, when my dad started to do it after getting introduced by some friends. From that point on until I actually started attending, I routinely mocked my dad for going to CrossFit and incessantly talking about it at the dinner table. In my defense, when you use words like WOD, pood, box, split jerk, and snatch, CrossFit sounds both hilarious and ridiculous to the uninitiated. Whoever’s in charge of naming things for CrossFit, the Chief Namer or whatever, should be fired.

Anyway, I just started CrossFit a couple months ago in November. I finished hiking the Appalachian Trail in October and my upper body strength had all but disappeared. I was the most physically weak I’ve ever been in my adult life. My dad invited me to bring a buddy week and I figured it was time to start getting strong again. I’ve had to eat some of my words but mostly my dad is just super pumped to have someone in the family to talk to about Crossfit.

What’s it like to work out with your dad? How would you describe your relationship when you’re in the gym, are you competitive with each other?

Here’s how this works: right now, my dad, despite being super old, is a lot better at CrossFit than I am because he’s being doing it for a few years and I’m pretty new. We don’t really compete because he’s gonna beat me every time and he just wants me to keep working out with him so he’ll have someone to talk to about it. When we work out now, we encourage each other, give each other high fives, and often partner up on the Saturday WODs.

Now, lets fast forward about 6 months to a year. At this point, I’ll have inevitably become stronger than he is and will start getting better times in the workouts. When this happens, and it will happen, it’s gonna get real competitive. I’m gonna make sure to always lift weights at the rack across from him just so he can see exactly how much weaker he is than me. When we do AMRAPs, I’ll keep count of my reps with poker chips and whenever I finish a rep, I’ll flick one at him so he know just how far behind me he is. At some point, even though it’s not exactly a CrossFit exercise, I might set up a basketball hoop just so I can dunk on him. So yeah, I’m looking forward this.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

I can’t do pull-ups for the life of me. I guess my main goal is to get through a workout that involves pull-ups without having to use a band.

Another goal of mine is to look as ripped and roguish as Chris Pratt does in Guardians of the Galaxy. This is a less concrete goal but I can sorta start seeing some defined abs when I flex in the mirror, so I feel like I’m getting pretty close.

What is your favorite way to spend your time outside the gym and work?

As I mentioned before, I was a Creative Writing major in college, so my biggest hobby is writing. I try to spend at least an hour or two a day working on some sort of project whether it be the novel I’ve been struggling with for a while, a script for a short film, or a long, involved Facebook post ranting about the Philadelphia Eagles or why the new Star Wars movie is awesome.

I’m also a big fan of the outdoors. I’m pretty proud to say that I spent about half of the nights in 2015 sleeping in the woods or the desert away from civilization. I haven’t been able to get out as much recently because of the weather but I’m really looking forward to going on some more backpacking trips this summer.

You recently completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, which in 2015 was 2,189.2 miles. That journey is too much to capture in this interview, but can you tell us about a stand-out memory or moment from that trip?

Oh man, there are so many great stories and moments from my thru-hike that it’s hard to pick just one. There is one story that I tell the most because I look like a badass man of danger. I’ll tell that one again.

I was hiking one evening through Shenandoah National Park which is one of two National Parks that the AT goes through. Me and the friends I was hiking with at the time had decided to take on the task of hiking about 25 miles that day to make up for the couple days we’d spent hiking very little and instead bumming around in town watching American Ninja Warrior telethons. At around the 20 mile mark, I decided to stop and make my dinner. I had made good time throughout the day and was ahead of my friends and I figured I’d have enough time to make it to camp before dark. As I was ridiculously hungry, dinner ended up taking awhile and by the time I finished all my friends had passed and I was at the back of the pack.

So I found myself hiking the last five miles to camp without anyone behind me and the light starting to disappear. This isn’t necessarily a bad situation. I’d night-hiked before and, while the Shenandoah’s are known for aggressive bears, I carried bear spray and was from Montana where we have Grizzlies and these black bears ain’t nuthin to worry about. I only really started to get worried about my situation when I heard thunder in the distance, rolling towards me. I decided to pick up my pace.

One of the nice things about Shenandoah was that, even though the trail was mostly view-less and through a ‘green tunnel’ of trees, it was pretty flat which was a luxury after hundreds of miles of ups and downs. So, I was cruising along and I could hear the storm getting closer and closer. At this point, I resigned myself to getting wet, but I figured if I hurried, I might be able to make camp before everything I own got soaked.

Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a blur of orange at my foot. Instinct caused me to stop dead in my tracks. I looked down and a small orange snake that was almost definitely a copperhead had it’s fangs about an inch from my big toe. I watched as it reared it’s head back. I jumped back out of it’s range and my heart exploded in my chest. Something I didn’t mention before was that I wore Chacos when I hiked so when I say it was an inch from my big toe, I mean it.

But I still had a problem: the snake wouldn’t leave the trail and the woods were so dense that I couldn’t really find a way around. Thinking on my feet, I grabbed a near-by stick on the ground. I tried to fling the snake out of the way but it didn’t give up so easily. It slithered back and it kept its head raised. Whenever I tried to get the stick under the snake, it lunged at me. And not only that, but just as I started fighting with it, the storm hit. Thunder was directly overhead, rain fell, and the sky brightened with lightning. I was sword fighting a snake while Mother Nature crashed down around me. It was biblical, man.

Eventually, I bested the snake with my Inigo Montoya like skills and flung it off the trail. I threw the stick away and hiked the remaining few miles to camp in the rain. It didn’t really hit me til later that night just how close to death I was. Copperhead poison is really dangerous and I was miles from any road, without cell service, and there was nobody hiking behind me. If the snake had been an inch closer and bitten me, I might not be here right now. Does this story make me a badass man of danger? I dunno, that’s for you to decide.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

I’ve only ever been the best in the gym at one thing and that was when we played the fish game on the rower machines for warm-up. I had the highest score of the day and I was super proud of myself. So I guess my designed WOD would just be a full sixty minutes of the fish game. That’d be dope.


Meet a Member – Madison Schroeder

Hi Madison, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’m originally from Missoula. I live on the Westside now but grew up in the South Hills. Went to Sentinel High School. Played golf in college for Nebraska and Montana.

How did you get involved with Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC)? What was the draw and where do you hope it leads you?

I became involved with the ZACC when I started volunteering with them about 3 years ago. The Rock Camps we hosted for kids became so popular it’s now a full time job. The music program is called the Alternative Music Project, and I am the director of that program.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I went to my first CrossFit with some friends of mine who attend another gym just because I wanted to get back into fitness. I researched options online and was super happy to find Ian, who has an athletic background like I do. I trust him. I have a friend who competes nationally as well, she’s a badass and an inspiration. I started in December before Xmas.

So you’re relatively new to CrossFit. Tell us how CrossFit compares to what you thought it would be like? In what ways is it what you expected, in what ways is it not what you expected?

CrossFit is pretty much what I expected. I like that there’s a set workout of the day and trainers available. I don’t have to think about my workout I just have to start it and get it done. I do think it’s important for people to have a good understanding of lifting technique before they start, but I think Scott and Ian do a good job of explaining and reminding people as they workout.

What CrossFit class do you typically attend?

I usually go to the morning classes, I like to get it done before I start the rest of my day.

You’re very involved with music. What is your top choice for workout music while you’re at the gym?

I like to workout to any music that is tough, doesn’t matter what the genre is. Could be rock, rap, or country.

Do you have any specific fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

For 2016 I just want to be healthy. I’m not focused on how much I weigh, I care mostly about having good balance and functional strength. Even though I just started I already have felt better skiing which is really nice.

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

When I feel like I can’t do anymore I just zone out and try to remind myself that it will be easier next time if I finish today. When I feel like I’ve maxed out I always try to do one more.

Thanks Madison!

Meet Our Newest Intern, Katie Schermele

Hi Katie, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I am 22 years old and am from Great Falls, MT. I grew up playing basketball and softball and, admittedly, was a bit of a tom boy. My first two years of college I played softball at MSU-Billings and transferred to Missoula last fall. I am currently a student at UM and will graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science this coming spring. After I graduate I plan on applying for physical therapy school and hope to work with athletes and sports injury rehabilitation. I work part time at Alpine Physical Therapy as an aide and love it.

You’re going to be joining 5 Valleys as an intern soon. Can you tell us what you’ll be doing during your internship, and what you’re hoping to gain/learn?

I am so excited about getting to intern with everyone at 5 Valleys! I am looking forward to learning the fundamentals each movement and how to communicate and help others with form and technique. I know that getting to watch the different coaches will expose me to so many new and different ways to explain movements and how to motivate others. And, thanks to the support of Ian and other coaches at 5 Valleys, I am also looking forward to taking the CrossFit Level 1 Certification Course at the end of January! My goal is to become certified, gain confidence, and eventually get to coach!

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I first tried CrossFit the summer of 2013 to stay in shape for softball. It was hard at first because I am extremely stubborn; it was hard to be a “beginner”. I had to put in extra time to work on so many movements. Once I could see progress, it was so amazing and rewarding! I have been loving it ever since.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

One of my goals for 2016 is to participate in my first CrossFit competition. I have considered competing ever since I started the sport in 2013 but I just haven’t felt 100% ready. I want to feel confident in all Rx movements before I compete (including muscle-ups!) and I am hoping to compete sometime this coming year.

How is CrossFit different than other fitness programs you’ve been a part of in the past?

The things I love about CrossFit is that it is different every day and that it brings an exciting, competitive edge to exercise. With other workout classes or programs, I would find myself getting bored or worn out doing the same thing. I feel like CrossFit faces me with something new every day and challenges me to better myself.

What pushes you in CrossFit? When you’re about to drop down for that 50th burpee, or do that 30th pull-up, what keeps you going? Where do you go in your head?

I have always been extremely competitive and hard on myself. Whenever I am in a tough spot in a workout, I always tell myself to be better. I think, “Come on.. you’re better than this. Keep going!” Not the best positive self talk, but it seems to work for me!

You never know what music will be playing at 5 Valleys, it all seems to depend on the coach and the day of the week (and I’m thinking perhaps the weather as well). If you were in control, what would your top choice for workout music be?

I like a huge variety of music, depending on my mood. During a workout I like a few different genres. I could work with 80’s rock like ACDC or Def Leppard, old school hip-hop like NWA or Biggie, or today’s rap like Kanye or G-Eazy.

If you were put in charge for a day at 5 Valleys, what WOD (workout of the day) would you design, assuming you yourself had to participate as well?

I like wod’s that are descending in reps (ie 21-18-15…) I know once I get through the longer rounds that it is all down hill from there! I don’t dislike a lot of movements. Some of my favorite movements are pistols, pull-ups, and almost all Olympic lifts.

Thanks Katie!

Meet a Member – David McEvoy

Hi David, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, job etc.

I’ve lived in Missoula with my wife for about 25 years, went to graduate school here, have been unemployed here, and like most people I know in Missoula cobble things together to have the privilege of living in such a beautiful place. We have two wonderful daughters, one at Hellgate HS and the other at Washington MS. I’m a medic for Missoula’s ambulance service and run a small business.

How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

Our younger daughter used to take fencing in the room next to 5 Valleys CF, and dropping her off there I used to think, “who are those nuts jumping on boxes?” I had never seen or heard of it before. That was three years ago.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in the coming year?

I suck at running and lifting things over my head, so I’d like to run faster and lift heavier things over my head.

What kind of exercise or sports were you doing pre-CrossFit?

In comparison, really nothing. I hike, hunt, and commute on my bike, but if it weren’t for the gym, the great coaches and the amazingly supportive other members, I would never torture myself like this.

I internet-stalked you before this interview and found out that you founded, or were involved in founding Aerie, a backcountry medicine training program. How do see CrossFit making someone more prepared for dealing with backcountry medical emergencies?

Obviously, being fit, having a stronger back and joints, will make it less likely that you will roll, twist or otherwise hurt those areas. More importantly, though, I think CrossFit convinces you that you can do things that you otherwise might think you couldn’t . Most survival situations come down to mental fitness. Not to sound like a motivational speaker (think Chris Farley), but are you going to panic and do something silly because you think you can’t survive, or are you going to hunker down and figure it out? I think throwing an 8 or 20 pound ball over your head, over and over, when you think you can’t even stand up, will have tremendous psychological benefits if you are faced with a dire emergency where nobody is coming to get you. At least that’s what I tell myself and my students.

What does living in Missoula mean to you? What has kept you here all these years?

Missoula is a fantastic place to raise children. We love the community and love the access to wild places.

Winter is almost upon us, assuming we get some snow this year, what does winter look like for you?

Winter will involve a lot of travel for work.

Thanks David!

Meet Coach Scott

Today we are hearing from Coach Scott Johnson! How did you first get involved in CrossFit and how long have you been CrossFitting?

I first got into CrossFit in April of 2014, Kayla and I had watched the CrossFit Games for a few years but never really “pulled the trigger” to go do it. Then we met David, the previous owner, and he got us started and we immediately fell in love!

How did you get into coaching?

I started coaching 6 months after beginning CrossFit. As noted above, it was love at first sight! I got my level 1 just before Liz and Ian bought the gym and Ian really encouraged me to get started in coaching. So, that’s how it all began. Now y’all are stuck with me.

What is your favorite part about coaching?

That’s simple. It’s the people. That’s what this is really all about. I love meeting people and getting to know each and every client at 5 Valleys CrossFit.

If there was one movement you wished people would slow down and really focus on mastering, what would it be and why?

One movement….probably the Snatch. If we all would take the time to master that, the clean will come easy to us. Plus, anytime you’re pulling a weight from the floor to overhead in one movement the danger level is high.

Do you have any fitness goals or targets you would like to hit in 2016?

This may sound a little funny, but I am looking to gain some significant weight in 2016. I have always struggled to keep weight off, so instead of fighting the weight gain I am going to embrace it. God did not give me the genetics of a skinny person and that’s ok. So some number goals, to keep me honest, if I could add another 20#-25# of body weight and 60# to my olympic lifts 2016 would be a screaming success. Lofty goals I know, but when broken down 60# is only 5# per month. So, a little “coaching” here, small numbers add up really quickly in the long run. Take it slow and you may just surprise yourself.

Besides coaching, you’ve got a very interesting business that you’re working to get off the ground. What can you tell us about that, both what the business is, and the motivation behind it?

I am working to get a food truck off the ground. As it stands right now, I need to get a grant written so I can use the money to buy the truck. I don’t want to have to pay myself a wage once I open the truck (see below as to why). My motivations behind it are many. When I was a younger I was not a model citizen. I was extremely blessed to not have gotten myself into too much trouble. So, I am looking to help those in a similar situation I was in. I would like to work with the pre-release center, the Poverello Center, YWCA, etc., to give people “at the end of their rope” a solid place to work and even use the truck as a training tool for others to start their own food truck or restaurant. Really, I just want to help people that need it.

Every time I come to the gym, I see you in here. What’s it like to have the 5 Valleys gym as a second home? Is Ian a pretty good landlord?

Well…living so far out of town, if I come in in the morning I stay until the evening so I don’t have to make two trips. I can’t explain what it means to me and my family how welcoming Ian has been and how open to letting us use his space he has been. It seriously is like a second home and I want to thank the 5 Valleys CrossFit community as a whole for letting my children chill out while you are smashing weights. You all are truly thought of as a second family.

It’s common knowledge that your kids are some of the cutest in Missoula, what’s the secret there?

Marry a hot wife…seriously that’s all I got on that one.

Thanks Scott!