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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 05-17-2006, 05:39 PM   #1
Michael Forge
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Let me start off by saying I do indeed love Crossfit-style training. I discovered the site last December and it has truly changed the way I think about fitness, and has reignited my enthusiasm for working out.

However, my initial almost euphoric reaction to Crossfit as my fitness true calling has begun to mellow. I think no less highly of it than I ever did, but I no longer see it as THE way to train, replacing my previous weight and cardio activities.

After many years of body-building-style weight training and running, I had pretty much reached the limit of my body's ability to advance. Working out had lost its challenge and sense of accomplishment.

But Crossfit presented a whole new world of challenge and room for improvement. It still does, but as my body has adjusted after five months of training this way, I'm now realizing that I will eventually reach a point where I'll have advanced pretty much as far as I'm capable of advancing here too. There will always be room for improvement, of course. But it will be incremental rather than monummental.

My point? When something is new and different, it's easy to get so caught up in it that you cast aside everything else as unimportant or inferior. But, eventually, the novelty wears off and you can put things in better perspective.

I've recently started reintegrating traditional weight lifting, running and boxing back into my training, and now only do one or two WODs a week. I find the variety refreshing and the variability of intensity makes it much easier for me to keep from getting burned out and chronically exhausted, physically and psychologically.

I'm curious how many others have transitioned over time from a CrossFit-exclusive training plan, to a more integrated approach?
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:41 PM   #2
Don Stevenson
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I guess i'm a little like that.

I had a period of about 6-9 months where i did the WOD pretty much as posted. Then through crossfit I was encouraged to start doing weightlifting and have changed to a weghtlifting based program with 2-3 crossfit workouts a week.

If I was still training for MMA or if I was going to go back to the military or the police then I'd go back to doing the 3/1 WOD without a question but since i'm competing in weightlifting I'll stick to my current program.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:33 PM   #3
Jeff Haas
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I truly believe it depends on what your goals are,sometimes the hard part is finding out what your true goal is and sometimes your goals change.Bodybuilders want to look good in front of a mirror,strength trainers want to be able to be as strong as they can for a short period of time,endurance atheletes have a different agenda than sprinters etc.Find a training program to fit and maximize your goals,I love XFit and its real good for me for where i am in life at this time.Honestly one of the things that I don't like is the judgemental attitude that members have(at least at times)that the only right way is their way.Maybe i have the wrong attitude but what I care about is if if works for me, I have espoused the xFit methodology to some of my mountain climbing buddies ,they looked at me like I was from Mars.Maybe someday I'll do something different if for example if all of a sudden all I want to do is to ride a bike,I'll train for bike riding. My philosophy is I don't care what you do ,just do something
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:47 PM   #4
Charlie Reid
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Great Post, Jeff. I also started out doing Crossfit exclusively and have now moved on to experimenting with hybrid programs. I think that is the beauty of crossfit being "open source", because like any form of art (and i shall consider crossfit an art of fitness), it is important to take what you know, digest it, and create something that is uniquely your own. Your fitness should be indicative of who you are as a person. Crossfit allows one to not ignore weaknesses, but people will ultimately do what they want to do. I happen to love competing in strength athletics right now, and if Crossfit is dead center on the spectrum of strength and endurance, i'd like to be 60% towards the strength side. This is partly because strength and power can contribute to CV Endurance, but cardio really contributes nothing to strength. But most of all, i love doing it, and one of the most important catalysts for fitness is staying power. It doesnt matter as much what you do, in certain cases, as it does how long you can stick with it. I've been experimenting with hybrid crossfit routines for about a year now and i've seen great gains in both work capacity and absolute strength and power (something i dont truly believe would exist if i just did the CF workouts as Rx'd). I guess the point is to do what you ultimately love to do, whether it's triathlons, weightlifting, gymnastics, parkour, etc....but dont forget to eat your vegetables (crossfit conditioning). I do about 2-3 strength workouts a week and 2-3 crossfit conditioning workouts depending on my hectic college schedule. Crossfit can be a great program by itself, but it can also be a potent conditioning program for those that seek all-around conditioning and increased work capacity for their respective sport(s).
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Old 05-18-2006, 01:02 AM   #5
Andrew Cattermole
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I understand where the comments are coming from, and I agree with Jeff that like everything its about admiting trully what your goals are and devising a method to maximise achievement of those goals usually in the shortest time possible.

That Said I see Crossfit WOD as posted an ideal condtioning program that if given a time gap of 5-7 hours working perfectly with Sport Specific training.
I understand That most have Time constraints within life,and fitness goals that may dictate what they want to concentrate on.
But I don't really understand seasoned Crossfiters not being able to handle an afternoon session of SS work after a morning of WOD.Use WOD or Similar as your ongoing conditioning work(and what I have found injury prevention work)eat well get enough rest and tailor your sport specific work to fit in.
Those that have been on the program a while should have experienced adaptation to the exercises that allows for other training, in particular skill based work.Fatigue that is intially experienced on first attempts at for example Linda or Fran should no longer be restricting enough to stop other activities.

I guess this comes down too whether you want to make this style of program work for you and your specific goals.Everything works,Nothing works forever.
But Incremental improvement and the slow grind for success/results is part of anything that is repeated for a period of time.

I also think that those who want a generalized "Cookie Cutter" program who have no real sport or fitness goals would find more then enough in just starting Crossfit due to the amount of skill learning required.Sure put a fitness novice on anything for 4-6wks and you will see some improvements but there are not to many formats that draw from the diversity that crossfit embraces.

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Old 05-18-2006, 04:45 AM   #6
Larry Lindenman
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I'm with Andrew on this. The WOD is a intense GPP program, Crossfit is a training philosophy which allows for, in fact encourages sport training and participation. I just took the O-Lift Club Coach course. The WOD covers all of the conditioning requirements of an O-lift program. This leaves you with SPP for the O-lifts. Additionally, the WOD lasts the average of 20 minutes! 20 minutes for a training program. I would also add, I've been doing CF for three years and have loads of room to improve: O-lifting, powerlifting, rowing, gymnastics, sprinting, KBs, you could take speciality courses for life and still learn and improve.
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Old 05-18-2006, 05:31 AM   #7
Kurt Holm
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While I am new here, I am not a stranger to various physical pursuits. Over the years I've done power lifting, oly lifting, cycling, yoga, and some other odds & ends. Right now, it's all about CrossFit because it's new, it works very well and because I have gotten my teenage son involved which adds additional motivation for me. Looking back, I feel as though I always had plenty of room to improve on what ever I was doing. My conditioning may have leveled off based on the training regime I was following but I could have always improved if I cared to. Looking forward, I envision a time when CF may stall and I will crave some variety. If/when that occurs, I will add back in more cycling and probably some yoga too because for me at 46 it's about more than peak performance. Those days are gone. I want to be fit and healthy but I also want to have fun! And for anyone out there who feels that has trouble finding new physical challenges, I urge you to wait until your 40th birthday. Nature has a present for you.
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Old 05-18-2006, 05:53 AM   #8
bill fox
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Interesting point. I think your point could be taken 2 ways. One, that CF allows for plenty of time to SSP with other stuff, which it does. Another way to look at it, and where I didn't agree with Micheals original post was, you could look at all those areas, O lifting, KBs, gymnastics SSP for CF.

I'm not saying CF is some kind of be all and end all best of all things (I doubt anyone will accuse me of that). I agree 100% that it can work perfectly as 2-3x a week S&C program for almost anything, and have insisted that if you have real goals in other sports CF needs to be heavily modified. But, I don't think there's some inherent "end" of progress if it's approached as a sport in and of itself, anymore then there is for any other sport.

People golf for 40 years and lower their hadicap a few strokes. People run 10ks for decades and get couple minutes faster. As Larry points out there's a myriad of paramiters that can be improved and then "tested" within CF. I can't do all the girls due to certain injuries, but I can treat 4-5 of them as my "comps" and train for them ad infinitum, just in the same way you could for a triathlon or Oly or any other sport.

For me, I'm looking at this kind of training as a sport in and of itself. In that sense, I don't think it's "limited" in any way that any other sport is.
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Old 05-18-2006, 06:02 AM   #9
Steve Shafley
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The whole golf thing always cracks me up.

Your typical golfer goes to the course and golfs. He doesn't bother with technique analysis, and usually holds the local pro in a bit of contempt, and doesn't feel anybody could teach him anything. He thinks doing the same things over and over will get him different results, just because he's putting the time in.

Same way with runners. Train for the 10k the same way, go to the gym and do the same machine-based workout and crunches over and over....Golfers and runners both float in a pool of mediocrity. Greg talks about virtuosity and mastery a lot. This is the direct antithesis of the majority of golfers and runners out there.

Show me a golfer or a runner who's genuinely interested in improving, and willing to do the right things, which will vary significantly from individual to individual, and I'll show you someone who's going to improve.

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Old 05-18-2006, 06:18 AM   #10
bill fox
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I'm not 100% sure about what you're saying, but I think I disagree, and we're going to cross over into the genetics debate a tad. I taught tennis for 15 years. I taught lot's of "elite" teens and adults that "trained", did drills, worked out etc...the same exact way that the pros of the time did. And they "improved", attained virtuosity, to the level that time and TALENT allowed.

Most people that hear of CF will also dabble and wallow in mediocrity. All I'm saying is that there is nothing internally problematic about CFs "fitness" as a sport concept. You can dick around and be mediocre at it, as most will at any sport, or you can try to get better at, and improve, and keep improving, within certain limits, just like with any other sport.

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