Last Thursday I started myself on a new path in regards to my nutrition. I am going to be working with a coach. It is super exciting and scary at the same time! For the past 5 years I have followed a paleo approach to eating. There has been no tracking, weighing or measuring but just a focus on animal protein, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. I haven’t been perfect by any means, and if I felt like eating ice cream or a doughnut then I have.

When I first starting eating this way, I was about 6 months into starting CrossFit and I literally melted away. It was amazing! Within 30 days the transformation was very noticeable. I felt great and my workouts were great, and then over time they weren’t and I didn’t feel so great. It definitely is not only attributable to my nutrition, I was intensely studying to become a Chiropractor and working and trying to have a life (I’m pretty sure that contributed to overall wellbeing!). But since settling into life in Missoula and really getting into consistent training again, my paleo way of eating is not cutting it for my goals anymore. I tried making modifications myself, only to realize that I am not the best person to hold myself accountable. That is why I am going to be working with a coach. This person that I may never meet except via email and Facebook, is invested in me and my goals. They are working with me in my best interests, but they can only be as helpful as I allow. If they don’t have all the information or the correct information about what is going on, it is hard to help. By not being honest and upfront with my concerns, trials and successes, their hands are tied.

The same goes for you and our coaches in the gym. If there is something that you are concerned about or you aren’t achieving what you want or getting the help you need, reach out. The coaches are yours and are there to help you. We are invested in you. If our members (that’s you!) aren’t achieving their goals and having their needs met, then yes, it is a reflection on us, but we can only work with the information given.

Feel free to ask me how my nutrition journey is going! I would love to share it with you.

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

3 Reasons to Sign Up for Open this Year

3 Reasons to Sign Up for Open this Year

Open season is upon us. Some of you are counting down the days till the first workout is released, some are dreading it and others are oblivious to this even occurring… “Open? What Open?”

For those of you who haven’t heard, the CrossFit Open is the first step on the road to the CrossFit games. Everyone must compete if they want to a chance at becoming the fittest in the world. It comprises of 5 workouts spread out over 5 weeks that you complete. For the second year the powers that be will include a scaled option for a more inclusive competition. I mean, not everyone can bust out handstand pushups, muscle ups and double unders, now can they? If you haven’t heard a coach talking about in class urging you to sign up, I am going to do it now. Here are 3 reasons why:

It is really really, like, really fun! We will do the workouts as a group on Friday nights and you will be able to cheer each other on, meet members that you haven’t seen before because maybe they only workout before the crack of dawn, and after you finish you can spend some time socializing! Each member that signs up will get to be apart of the 5VCF team, and teams are fun. 🙂 It is a great way to test your fitness. Competing is a great way to push yourself to a new level, get PR’s, and maybe, just maybe, surprise yourself by how fit/strong you actually are. The intensity at which you will complete the Open workouts will generally be a step above the regular classes because not only will you have your own personal judge counting your reps, you will have an even more supportive cheer squad. If that doesn’t get your booty moving a bit faster, then I don’t know what will.

The workouts will expose any weaknesses you may have. At first glance this may not sound like a compelling reason to sign up, but it is! The workouts are fairly well rounded with most of the movements you use each day in the classes. This means you will get to test them all out and then will know what you need to work on to be a more well rounded athlete. Because the workouts and weights are prescribed you may surprise yourself in what you can or can’t do.

Like I said up above there is scaled options for the workouts and we will scale further if we need to, but everyone can test their mettle if they choose! I highly recommend it and hope that many will sign up. Go to to register and then start visualizing your successes!

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor


Over the Christmas break, Ian and I got to spend a few days in Fernie, B.C. It was pretty awesome! We went snowboarding, saw a minor league hockey game, ate some really great food and hit up CrossFit Fernie. We may have overdid a little bit, trying to workout and snowboard back to back to back days, but it was worth it. It is always fun to check out how different gyms are run and be able to just show up and get a workout in.

The workouts were tough! I joked with the owner that I was pumped to actually finish the workout on the last day, because I failed to finish the first two days (both of those days were time capped). In the past, not finishing a workout especially in a setting that wasn’t my own, would have made me upset. I probably would of been a bit embarrassed and been worried about what the others were thinking about me. Not anymore! I am much more aware that everyone, including myself, is on their own journey. Comparing myself to others or trying to live up to some fabled ideal that I have in my head does not help matters. I knew that during both those workouts I did my best, while also realizing that I have a lot of things still to work on (handstand push-ups, I will master you!).

Really, isn’t the challenge of improving yourself, one of the reasons why CrossFit appeals to you? I know it does for me. Not only do I get a great workout in but each and every day I can improve upon a new skill, build strength, create relationships, all while having a kick ass time. What more can you ask for?

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

Are Your Goals Just Wishes?

With the new year looming, it is that time of year when people start to create goals for the upcoming year – or let’s not beat around the bush, they create resolutions. These resolutions generally surround doing or being better in some way; like eating better, getting to the gym more, losing weight or quitting alcohol. While having a goal like this is not inherently bad, waiting until the new year is not the best way to go about it.

We’ve all heard the phrase “new year, new you”. But why should you have to create a new you, just because a new year started? To me, this says that the former you, from last year, was not good enough. Is that a way to talk to yourself? Would you talk to your children or spouse like that? I would hope not, so why is it ok to beat yourself up? This year I challenge you to not think about becoming a new you, to leave the unrealistic resolutions where they belong – in the past, and set goals that will create a more awesome version of yourself.

Pretty much anything that you want to have, you can have, but you need a plan to get there. This is where setting goals comes in. A French writer by the name of Antoine de Saint-Exupery (don’t ask me to pronounce it!) said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” So when you are thinking about what you want, don’t forget to create the plan to get it. Break down the larger goal into small bite size chunks with deadlines and then break those chunks into even smaller bites with deadlines. Want to lose 20 pounds by the summer? Aim for 10lbs by the end of March. Then break that down even more by a 5lb decrease in 6 weeks. That’s less than one pound per week! This is much more manageable than 20lbs. Once you have broken down the bigger goal, create your plan to achieve it. What do you need to do to keep the scale on a downward trend? Workout more? Eat less processed foods? Drink less alcohol? Probably a combination. If you need help with figuring out your plan whether it be losing weight, gaining weight, or improving performance in the gym, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we are here to help!

2016 is set to be a big year! But, remember that life is not a sprint, and there will be setbacks, hurdles and roadblocks in your way. The way you choose to handle these obstacles will determine whether you achieve what you set out to or if you fall off the wagon after only a couple of months.

Cheers to the start of a new year!

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

A Year in Review

Another year is winding down, can you believe it? It feels like just yesterday 2015 was beginning. But, with only 3 weeks until January 1st hits, 2016 is about to start. I thought I would take this time to reflect on the year that was, and if I forget anything feel free to comment below!

Let’s start at the start shall we. In February, we received a giant package from Rogue and saw the gym gain a bunch of new equipment including a giant new pull-up rig! It has been put to good use ever since. In February the CrossFit Open kicked off and we had 17 people compete as the 5 Valleys Burpee Monsters. After 5 weeks of workouts the Burpee Monsters finished up in 111th place (there were over 700 teams) in the NorthWest Regional. How many more people will compete in 2016?

5VCF was sad to say goodbye to coach Emily in March as she headed to join her new hubby in Savannah, Georgia. Maybe, one day they will be back to visit 😉

In May, 8 peeps headed to Helena to compete in the Spring Fling. We saw PR’s, everyone competed their hearts out, and had a blast! In June, we had an addition to our coaching staff with coach Nick coming on board. The ladies only Barbell Snatcher competition ran in August with 7 ladies competing and crushing some weights. Many new PR’s were hit that night. We also got some new swag in August, cos you have to represent!

Another new addition to the coaching staff came on board in September. Keane started working with the high school athlete program and hopefully everyone will benefit from having him teach gym-nasty skills. October was a big month for the Hellgate high school boys soccer team as they took out the State championship! A lot of the boys had been working hard on their strength and conditioning all year at 5VCF and it paid off.

November was our 1 year anniversary as 5 Valleys CrossFit and we had a great shindig to celebrate! We also celebrated the upcoming birth of Coach Mandee’s baby (any day now!) with a baby WOD on Saturday morning where everyone got to workout with balloons under their shirts. On Tuesday, we got some new hoodies and t-shirts in to round out the year. Make sure you get em’ while they are still available!

Woah! It’s been a big one. There has been a lot of big things happen, but most of all, the year has been great because of our amazing community (that’s you guys!), working hard everyday to improve your health and fitness. While it is always great to look back on what you have achieved, I for one am excited for what 2016 is about to bring!

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

But I can’t do CrossFit I am too…

For those of us that do CrossFit, I am sure you have heard someone in your life say “I can’t do CrossFit I am too [insert excuse here].” They range from too out of shape, too weak, too old, too fat, too lazy, too busy, and too uncoordinated. When I hear all these excuses, it makes me cringe. Most of the time I feel like I hide it pretty well, but sometimes I know this is not the case as I am not the most subtle person in the world!

These excuses are all apart of that person’s fear. Fear comes in many forms and we all fall victim to listening to our own fears. Someone smarter than me once said that fear is an acronym that stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. This couldn’t be more true. The judgmental voice that we have in our own heads is so far removed from how others see us, it should be comical. But, this voice is what stops us trying new things and stepping outside our comfort zone. Sometimes all it takes to overcome your F.E.A.R is being able to recognize that it is happening.

So for this upcoming week I challenge you to identify when your F.E.A.R is stopping you from doing something and then do it anyway. Don’t let something that scares you hold you back from trying it. As we start bring a buddy week next week I am sure you will hear all the excuses I mentioned above. Ask your friend or family member what they are afraid of and what do they have to lose besides an hour of their day. At the very least they will hate it but get a great workout, and at the most you will convert them into a CrossFit junkie. Most likely it will be somewhere in between, but only if they can overcome that little voice inside their head.

I am looking forward to meeting all your buddies! Thanks for reading.

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

Meet Coach Keane!

You’ve likely already seen him around the gym but we wanted to officially introduce our newest coach Keane Hamilton.  Keane will be heading up our Young Athlete Strength and Conditioning Programs and is a bit of a gymnastics guru. He has been training Liz and I weekly on our gymnastics and we have seen major improvements. Be on the lookout for some workshops and training opportunities to work with Keane and take your handstands, pull-ups, muscle-ups, toes to bar etc. to the next level. Here is a bit more about him.

Keane was born and raised in Missoula. He grew up doing a number of sports, mainly soccer and gymnastics. His parents are the founders of Bitterroot Gymnastics, which lead to his love of coaching and the gym atmosphere. He attended Fort Lewis College where he received a bachelors degree in Exercise Science and played soccer for the Skyhawks. After graduating in 2011 he did a 6 month internship at CrossFit Durango and has been coaching and training ever since. In 2014 Keane moved to Ireland for a year where he played soccer and completed a masters degree in Coaching & Exercise Science at University College Dublin. He especially enjoys working with young athletes in helping them maximize their potential. Keane is CrossFit Level 1 Certified as well as an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer.

Degrees & Certifications:
MSc Coaching & Exercise Science
BA Exercise Science
CrossFit Level 1
ACSM Certified Personal Trainer

Why we Strength Test…

At the end of our strength testing week, every one of us has pitted our previous self against the person we are today to see if we have improved. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons.

Number one it motivates us to get better. Whether you hit a personal record (PR) for every lift tested or you didn’t get any this week, you can use it to push yourself further. PR’s are proof that your time and commitment is paying off. If you weren’t able to get any records, I encourage you to be reflect back on the past couple of months and be honest with yourself about how often you actually worked out and how much regular sleep you were getting. Was your nutrition consistent and your stress levels relatively low? All these play a part in excelling in the gym (and out of the gym). If you want to get stronger, fitter and leaner use the disappointment of not improving this week to spur you into a better routine, and I can guarantee that the next time strength testing rolls around you will smash new PR’s.

The second reason comes from the coaches perspective. Testing is a way to hold us accountable for what we are programming. By looking at the results of our members we are able to see what is working and what is not and make changes accordingly for your benefit. Just as an FYI it is for your benefit even if you are cursing Ian’s name for programming burpees (or insert most hated exercise here)… again!

Whatever happened this week, I challenge you to use it to your advantage and make your future self even better!

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

Do you have an immature squat?

When I got my CrossFit certification nearly 5 years ago (Woah, time flies!) I was learning the mechanics of teaching the squat varieties, starting with the air squat. Now, the cert is very hands on so everyone in my group was performing the exercises while the instructor was talking about cues etc. Next thing I know I am being pulled in front of the group and being told I have an immature squat! What does this mean I hear you ask? Basically, it is when you can get your hips below parallel but not without compromising something else, for example rounding your back and breaking at the hips or you are unable to keep your weight in your heels.

This is a common problem (I could be just saying that so I don’t feel so alone!) and one that is not easily fixed but can be worked on. While I believe everyone in the gym would call themselves active many of you are actually quite sedentary during the day; sitting while you drive to work, sitting all day at work, sitting eating meals, sitting watching t.v at night before going to bed. All this sitting leads to tight hip flexors and poor ankle flexibility. I see a LOT of people doing great work on loosening up their hip flexors before and after classes but what about those ankles? In my experience it is actually the lack of ankle flexibility the leads to immature squats and not necessarily constricted hip flexors.

So here is a couple of things you can start doing to increase your ankle mobility. Before you start, do 10 air squats and pay attention to how it feels, where in the movement you break at the hips or feel yourself move onto your toes.

First, ankle distraction. Loop a band (ideally a green one) around the bottom of the pull-up rig, place it around your ankle and step forward so the band is trying to pull you back towards the rig. From there bend your knee and stick your butt out a little all while keeping your heel on the ground and feel your ankle joint being pulled backwards while you try and move it forwards (this is distraction, in the medical sense). Hang out here for 90 seconds to 2 minutes doing some little pulses in different directions – towards the big toe, towards the pinky toe etc.

Next, turn around so you are facing the rig and do the same thing. This is going to increase the ankles ability to move forward to the toe because the band is pulling it the same way that you are moving. Same time frame, same little pulses.

Lastly, grab a kettlebell we have and put it next to a wall or the pull-up rig post. Stand on the kettlebell so your toe is under the handle and let your heel curl down the bell. Keep your knee straight and try and push your bodyweight forward while keeping the heel as low to the ground as possible. Hold for up to 2 minutes. Stay on the same leg, this time bend the knee and repeat the same bodyweight and heel position. You should feel the stretch move a little lower around the achilles tendon. Hold for up to 2 minutes and then switch legs.

After you have finished all this, retest your air squat and notice the difference. Can you keep your chest up higher? Is your weight more in your heels? Do you feel more stable?

As for my squat, it is still a work in progress. It is still a little immature, but maybe one day it will grow up!

Dr. Liz Marshall – Chiropractor

Meet a Member – Corey Regini

Hi Corey, tell us about yourself, where you grew up, work, school, family etc.
I was born in Pittsburgh, Pa and I’m the oldest of four kids. I went to HS in Milwaukee, Wi and moved to Missoula to go to college. In HS I was on the soccer team and also on the football team! I was the kicker. I graduated from UM in 2009 with a BS in chemistry. I started working at the KettleHouse that July and I’m still there. I’ve worked most of the jobs on the production side of the brewery: canning line, filter operator, packaging manager and brewer. Currently, I am the Lead Brewer at the Northside which is our production brewery. Every KH can gets brewed and canned at the Northside. My original recipes include Sapped Out Maple Stout, Female Cream Ale and Cooler Times Kolsch Style Ale. I am also heavily involved in the Pink Boots Society and started the Montana Chapter.

What were you doing before CrossFit and what made you want to get into it?
Before I starting doing Crossfit I was just a runner. My brother introduced me to Crossfit and I’m hooked. I took a break from crossfit in the spring of 2014 when I was training for the Missoula marathon. I ending up finishing the marathon in 6 hours flat. I broke my foot between miles 12 and 13. I have a little bit of a competitive spirit and was determined to finish my first marathon. I did not know my foot was broken. After missing a month of work and 6 months of exercise I rejoined crossfit and haven’t looked back. I completed my second half marathon in July in a new personal best of 1 hour and 59 minutes.

You’ve been seeing some awesome results the last few months can you talk a bit about what those are and how you got there?
After the half marathon I upped my crossfit membership to unlimited. I’ve been coming five days a week for the past two months. I did see improvements coming two days a week but recently my gains have been exponential. I’m down 22lbs and 8.5% body fat. In the spring I completed the drop it like its hot challenge and that helped me get back on the mostly paleo eating train. I also am so much stronger now. I recently PR’d my back squat, push-press, snatch and power clean!


What keeps you motivated and training regularly at 5 Valleys CrossFit?
I keep coming back to 5 Valleys Crossfit for so many reasons! First off, I have seen such an improvement in not only my physical appearance but my mental health. I am so much happier. I’ve found its easier to succeed with the amazing support 5 Valleys Crossfit provides. Ian and Liz are great coaches and resources when I have other questions. I love how the workouts are constantly changing and always challenging. All of the coaches are great! They are constantly encouraging, providing technique tips and pushing me to lifting just a little more. I would not have seen the improvements I made with out the coaches! I also really enjoy the other members of the gym. Everyone is constantly encouraging each other and providing tips or personal experiences. 5 Valleys isn’t just a gym its a lifestyle and a family.

As lead brewer at the Northside Kettlehouse you’ve got easy access to a lot of beer. How do you keep yourself in check and do you have any tips for avoiding temptation for others?
Working at the brewery can be challenging while trying to meet healthy eating goals. Do I drink beer?! Heck yes I do! However, I have significantly cut down on the number of beers I drink. I could have a pint after every shift I work but instead I choose to attend a crossfit class or walk my dogs. Instead of having two beers I have one and take my time to enjoy it. I also have a terrible sweet tooth. I highly encourage people to participate in one of the challenges that 5 Valleys puts on or even a 21 day sugar detox. Both of these helped me get my sweet tooth under control and I can honestly say I rarely eat sweets these days. I also bought a local Community Garden Share this year. This has forced me to eat way more vegetables. I eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has also made me try vegetables I would never buy. Turns out I like damn near vegetable you can grow in Missoula!


What are your goals for the last few months of 2015?
My fitness goals for the rest of 2015 are to continue to get stronger and get leaner! I know my welcome card to the 200lb squat club is right around the corner as well as the more than five pull ups club!

What would your favorite Pandora station be to workout to?
I am a horrible DJ. I honestly love most stations that are played at the gym, except Country. Rap and hiphop stations are my kind of workout music.

When we can’t find you at the gym or brewing beer at work where will you most likely be?
If I’m not brewing or at the gym you would definitely find me in my kitchen!! I love to cook, pretty much nonstop! And otherwise I’d be spend time with my boyfriend and my two dogs!