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

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Old 01-03-2003, 12:56 AM   #1
Tyler Hass
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All CrossFit athletes should check out Coach Glassman's interview in the new issue of Girevik Magazine, www.girevikmagazine.com. It is an amazing interview! Also, there is a free issue of the Crossfit Journal, "What is Fitness?". Big thanks to Coach for letting me distribute it.
Also, do not miss Robb Wolf's article on the Push-Kick Lunge. You will finally get a chance to put a face to the name of one of this forum's most prolific posters:-)
There are a lot of other cool articles in there including one on garage gyms.
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Old 01-03-2003, 04:46 PM   #2
Dan John
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Excellent stuff here. Thank you for doing all this work. I will offer my garage gym up for examination some time...I may qualify for the cheapest best equipped gym in Utah.
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Old 01-19-2003, 11:15 AM   #3
Coach
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Thanks, Tyler!

In the wake of that interview I heard from dozens of you that, Mel Siff, PhD, took great exception to a reference in the October CrossFit Journal of his heart attack and “junk science” diet. He responded in part with “Interestingly, I cannot recall anyone by the name of Glassman ever staying in the Siff household or studying me in the laboratory to examine my eating habits, so I am intrigued to know where he found this inside information.” He then elaborated that his diet has been, “for many years comprised of 50-60% lipids (no fried foods, no transfats, non animal fat, plenty of fish), and under 30% carbohydrate” to which he added, “I have never been a fan of high carbohydrate diets.” Dr. Siff concluded his remarks on this subject by asking, “Where on earth does he obtain that nonsense from about my diet?” and “I’d like to know what “junk science” I have fallen prey to.”

“That nonsense” comes from page 258 of Siff’s Facts and Fallacies of Fitness, 1998, which states, “Nutritional scientists now recommend a diet whose calories (kilojoules) are derived from approximately 75% carbohydrate, 15% protein and 10% fats (presuming of course that such calorie counting is accurate!)” Siff then continues with, “Such findings are relatively well known nowadays.” There is no criticism of this diet (in fact, the text continues with some advice on implementation), which can only be taken as a tacit acceptance in light of the theme of the book, which is to dispel fitness fallacies.

Never a fan of high-carb diets? Hmmm. Interestingly this was written when the medical literature was teeming, rife, with studies associating high-carb diets with hyperinsulinism and the coronary heart disease to which Dr. Siff nearly succumbed. Dr. Siff missed the literature and so did the bulk of the nutritional and fitness community. Why? Where did the 75-15-10 split come from? “Junk science” is the answer. There has never been a scintilla of credible evidence for this formulation (http://nasw.org/mem-maint/awards/The...%20science.pdf).

From drinking several glasses of pineapple juice daily (for the Bromelan) and advocating brown rice and breads over white while eschewing animal fats to attacking Dr. Atkins, Dr. Siff’s nutritional acumen is clouded with junk science. If he is currently following the 30-55-15 diet, as he claims, his likelihood of reoccluding his grafted arteries will be substantially lessened though he could use more protein (twice as much). If he’d eaten that way all along he would have been exceedingly unlikely to suffer atherosclerotic disease in the first place.

For the record, I am an admirer of Dr. Siff. His Facts and Fallacies is an informative antidote to popular misconceptions on fitness, yet like me, like Dr. Siff, it is not perfect.

Dr. Siff had other criticisms of my work to which I’m eager to respond, point-by-point, if anyone is interested.

Finally, among other things Dr. Siff referred to me as “Procrustean.” I had to look that one up. About this I think he’s right, but I’m taking it as a promotion because many who know me well call me an “*******.”
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Old 01-19-2003, 01:46 PM   #4
Robert Wolf
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Right on Coach! My friends have a distinction between "*******" and "dick". If one is the former it is by choice. If the later it is not a conscious thing. Count me in the ******* camp.
robb

ps-Id be very interested in a further analysis of Dr. Siff's comments.
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Old 01-19-2003, 05:53 PM   #5
james nash
 
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Coach, let me second Robert, I'd also like to see
your point-by-point response to Mr. Siff. I'm
only a layman, but I was puzzled by some of his
criticism. Your definition of fitness as well as
your approach to improving it both seem logical
and reasonable to me, so I don't understand why
Mel was so negative. }
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Old 01-19-2003, 08:31 PM   #6
Tyler Hass
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Coach, a very classy response and substantive as well. I too had to look up "Procrustean":-)
Let's definitely take a look at his criticisms, point by point. It should be an interesting discussion.
I think Mel is a professional critic, he rarely has the balls to actually put out his own thoughts on a topic. He is more comfortable in the world of citing peer reviewed references, so as to detach himself from any personal accountability in what he writes. Of course that's just my opinion... I could be wrong. I really do respect his knowledge and I love his Supertraining book and I even hope to attend one of his training camps, so don't take this as a slam against Siff, but I thought his treatment of CrossFit was not objective, scientific or even correct.
Tyler
ps. I just ordered the CrossFit journal!!
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Old 01-21-2003, 09:36 AM   #7
Dan John
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I just finished reading your longer rebuttal in the "Corner" and I also would like to add one crucial thing: this "urban myth" that the Soviets were using Space Age/Cutting Edge Science to build their athletes was a load of crap. I have had interactions with many excellent former Soviet athletes and they always laugh at what they hear coming out of my mouth. First, this gradiose idea that the Soviets had a national plan was not true. They had local coaches who had awful facilities...but, they had facilities. If you improved, life improved. Many of the lifters, according to some excellent sources, were illiterate...so, they couldn't have followed a program anyway. Many of my former Soviet friends told me that the key to the success was simply that they had a full schedule of competitions at easily accessed locations. As an O lifter, I can vouch that this is NOT true in the USA.

Next is the East German myth. I will admit the DDR was solid in women's swimming and track...but there is no question that this was from the anabolics. There is a book called "Fool's Gold" or something like that which outlines the massive amounts of anabolics the women were given. I was told once that if you took out kayaking, canoeing and one other smaller event, the DDR total was shocking low when put into terms of the allocation of finances towards the sports.

You know, every so often I just want to scream about this supersciencesports idea. I remember going to a clinic where the speaker was raving about a Polish shot putter who shocked the world. A day later, a buddy of mine takes me aside and told me that he and his coach lucked into taking an anabolic that was untested during this rather huge meet. He was juicing while everybody else was cleaning up.

The Bulgarians were getting half their calories from fat (mostly animal fat) back in the late 1980's and the Romanians did a study about MASSIVE amounts of protein to help strength around the same time. Yet, go back to any Western book or article written at that time and you will get the Pritikin promise for lifters and throwers: graze like a cow.

I'm not so much angry as frustrated.

And, by the way, you can come to my house anytime and watch me eat. I will share with you, too. We eat a lot of meat, fish and eggs...toss in a little salad with lots of olive oil and something nice to wash it all down.
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Old 02-22-2003, 07:44 AM   #8
Coach
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Gentleman, thank you, kindly.

I'd really like to respond point by point to Siff's problems with our program.

Maybe someone would be willing to play interlocutor (Robb?, Tyler?, Dan?) and lob a fat one over the plate. I'd like to address those issues that hold greatest interest to our crew.

Coach
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Old 02-23-2003, 01:01 AM   #9
Tyler Hass
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Firstly, I'm sorry that I opened up this whole can of worms. I think CrossFit came out of it looking pretty good and I'm glad Coach is willing to turn the whole fiasco into something productive and educational.
I'm curious what you think about this comment from Mel regarding Conjugate training. I'm not too familiar with it, but from my understanding it was a sequenced coupling of training cycles, each of which emphasizes a specific quality. The example Mel gives in Supertraining is to enhance speed endurance and he gives the following training program for developing speed-endurance: cardio endurance > strength > speed > speed-endurance. The emphasis shifts to a different component of the final training goal in each cycle. I'm curious how this method can be applied to all-around fitness and athleticism, like CrossFit? CF seems to integrate rather than separate the different components of fitness. So I'm curious what comparison Mel sees between conjugate method and CrossFit?
********************
"By the way, that CrossFit approach is not at all original or novel because it
is simply a Westernised approach to what has been known for many years as
general complex training in Russia and Eastern Europe. A far more balanced
approach involves what Verkhoshansky called conjugate training (see plenty of
detail on this approach to "Cross Fitness Training" in "Supertraining."
**************************
Mel takes issue with Greg saying that Olympic lifting develops power and speed like no other activity. Here is Mel's response:
***********
"While Olympic lifting develops great power (strength-speed),
it does not necessarily enhance speed "like no other training modality" - the
movements in weightlifting are by no means as fast as those in table tennis,
badminton, baseball pitching or any throwing or striking action and in many
cases the most competent performers in these activities have not all trained
with Olympic lifts. As a weightlifter, I would prefer not to admit these
facts, but it is time that this myth be abandoned that weightlifting on its
own automatically develops some form of universal "speed" that applies to
all sports. The speed developed in an athlete who uses weightlifting depends
on how competently the lifting skills are used as a foundation or adjunct to
the sport specific speed skills."
*****************
Since Greg mentioned strength in the hips, shouldn't we assume that it is hip speed as well? While true that ping pong requires speed, playing ping pong will not likely improve an athletes speed in as wide a variety of conditions, such as running, jumping, tennis, football, etc. I think Olympic lifts would be more appropriate for the development of power and speed in these cases.
Coach, what do you think of Mel's criticism of your recommendation of Bob Anderson's stretching book?
I'm also curious what you think of his closing statement:
**************
*****************
Thanks,

Tyler

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Old 02-23-2003, 01:03 AM   #10
Tyler Hass
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Oops, here is his closing statement:
***********
If we really wish to set up a SuperFit programme then we should undoubtedly
include mental, physical and spiritual qualities, for all the holistic
physical fitness in the world is not going to compensate for grave deficits
in the realm of the brain, for, as you age, the latter can persist at a
level which rivals that of the young, while your physical fitness never will.
******************

Somehow it got cut off. Thanks.
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