March 2, 2014
Too Big to Fail
By Mandi Lo

“I don’t know if I’ve overcome the obstacles of my weakness in gymnastics, but I’ve definitely gotten better at them.”

Jacob Hutton did not consider himself a CrossFit athlete before the 2013 Open. But the 27-year-old swept in out of nowhere to finish in seventh place at the 2013 South West Regional. 

Always athletic—Hutton was a football player at Utah State University—he’s still inconsistent with his CrossFit training.

“The way I worked out was traditional strength and conditioning, so I was already doing all of the Olympic weightlifting stuff,” Hutton said.

A casual CrossFit athlete, his interest in competing peaked about six weeks before the 2013 Open when he worked out at Ute CrossFit with Erin Bennion and Michael Cazayoux—members of the two-time Affiliate Cup champion team Hack’s Pack Ute. He said he could have done more to prepare for last year’s regional.

“I do regret that I waited too long to get in shape for the Open,” he said. “I was actually using the Open to get ready for regionals.”

“My goal last year was just to make it to regionals,” he continued. “Mike (Cazayoux) pretty much said there was no way I wasn’t going to make it … so I just went for it.”

Hutton, strength and conditioning coach at Southern Utah University, knew his advantage was strength—he holds a 365-lb. clean and jerk, 300-lb. snatch and 620-lb. squat. What he didn’t anticipate at the regional, however, was the difficulty dealing with body weight and gymnastics movements.

“My body weight was too high and I underestimated the gymnastics stuff,” Hutton recounted. “I took it for granted and didn’t practice very much on the gymnastics movements, so I wasn’t good at muscle-ups or rope climbs, and that’s really where I fell behind.”

Hutton’s training looks different than your “typical” CrossFit athlete.

He doesn’t train with a coach, but drops into CrossFit Cedar City anywhere from three to five times a week. To prepare for the 2014 season, he has focused on improving gymnastics. He’s also gotten his weight down from 235 lb. to 215 lb. by doing long endurance workouts and a lot of running.

“I’m pretty comfortable with the body weight I’m at now so I’ve backed off the endurance stuff and getting myself ready for the Open doing more (metabolic conditioning),” he said. “I don’t know if I’ve overcome the obstacles of my weakness in gymnastics, but I’ve definitely gotten better at them.”

He’s able to do more muscle-ups and handstand push-ups—two movements he struggled with last year.

“There was one workout last year where I took third, and if I had been better at handstand push-ups I probably could’ve won that event,” Hutton said. “I know I’m not the best at body-weight stuff, but I think I’ve gotten better. Enough that I will be more competitive.”

Hutton is determined to qualify for the CrossFit Games. 

“I haven’t been training enough CrossFit because I’ve been doing so much endurance … and long-distance running. I’ve been trying to get back into it and I hope I do well."

There’s still a lot of work Hutton has to do to be where he wants to be.

“I don’t feel like I’m where I want to be right now, but I definitely want to make it to the Games this year,” he said. “That’s my goal. … I love competition.”

Correction, March 3, 2014The article stated Hutton never trains at a CrossFit affiliate. However, he trains at CrossFit Cedar City three to five times a week, in addition to Southern Utah University.