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Old 11-20-2008, 11:56 AM   #432
Robert Wolf
Member Robert Wolf is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chico  CA
Posts: 2,669
Re: T-Nation, Shugart and the Truth About CrossFit

Originally Posted by Christian Mason View Post
I have to disagree here.

I have a ton of respect for Rob, but both he and Coach are responding with Ad Hominem attacks on Phil G, who is just pointing out that further scientific verification would be useful. Attacking the messenger seriously damages your credibility.

To be clear, it's my understanding that Phil is an advocate of Crossfit, I certainly am. I'm also convinced that what Rob Wolf says is true - the brains behind Crossfit have been tweaking their approach for years, with thousands of points of data.

None of this changes the fact, that for it to be accepted in a rigorous academic setting, we need to see carefully controlled studies, performed by people not directly associate with the community.

There seems to be a community attitude here of "burn the witch!" when someone questions the dogma. When I first decided to start eating paleo I read what I could get my hands on about it, especially the effects of grains.

I came across a thread here where someone, who was practicing the paleo diet, asked Rob Wolf about scientific studies supporting the harmful effects of grains, and the response was much the same "you don't get it", "try it for yourself", "how dare you question Rob, this is why he doesn't come here", etc... The guy responded that he HAD tried and WAS personally convinced, but wanted to see some of the science behind it.

Just to be clear:
I am an advocate of both Crossfit, and the Paleo diet. I've had good results with both. I strongly suspect that when there are some strictly controlled, publicly accepted studies of both are published in peer reviewed journals the community will look at them and say "I told you so".

That doesn't change the fact that we should still do the studies.
It is not my intention to squealch discussion OR conduct some kind of straw-man/ad-hominem attack. BUT...if someone asks me for science behind the paleo diet I can offer them to:
1-the peer reviewed research at
2-numerous studies from the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
3-an opportunity to experiment on a sample size of N=1
The observations possible with #3 include:
a-How a person feels
b-how a person looks
c-how a person performs
d-easily tested bio-markers

This is a fairly beefy list, folks (who just want to argue) will ignore all of this...and it's still somewhow left to me to "prove" this. Proof in these circumstances is a very dicey thing. Every day, there are thousands of coronary artery bypass graphs (CABG) performed in the US. CABG has never been shown to improve survival or reduce angina. But they continue to crack'em and rack'em. I'm a bit jaded I guess towards the notion of academic legitimacy.

So...oftentimes i become terse about some of this it's because if folks want info I offer it in plenty, I provide a simple framework for self analysis...and if that's not good enough I just can't help the person.

Now, with regards to Phil, when he first jumped into this it was to the tune of "you guys need don't know what you are doing". I argued that point and told him "If it's "Science" you want, go generate it. We are already doing this every day, but have at it". So, that either makes me an idiot or I might have some kind of insight into this. Or, maybe Im an idiot with an monkeys at keyboards making shakespear's collected works. Whatever the case there is something afoot here that people are not getting:
The sentiment sniffs of Liberitarianism and Anarchy...but the reality is with the advent of the internet and the simple access to virtually ANY bit of information the distinction between "experts" and lay-folk is disappearing. Steven Levett talks about this at length in Freakonomics. Oftentimes the best informed individuals, those who have the most timely and accurate information and understanding of a situation....happen to be EVERYONE EXCEPT THE ACADEMICS.

The past summer norther california, for all intents and purposes, burned down. Our trainer, Adam Lambert is a Cal-Fire Captain. When fighters are called out to an event they do not check the Cal-Fire website for intel...they check a private blog that has the goods on what is happening. Over time, the fighters have found that this "non-academic, non-professional, Non-institutionalized" blog has FAR better information, is updated more frequently and is more accurate than any governmental agency. It is maintained by a couple of geeks who crack-out on fire info and these guys have become integral to the fighting of fire in california.

Do we need a study of this to prove the private blogers are better? Again, it might be an interesting social science graduate project, but how much thought and time do the fire fighters need to devote to this? They have better information, it works, lets roll.

This is the same situation as crossfit. Y'all are the experts, you just need to get in and tinker, see what works and run from there. An academic evaluation of this program would (my opinion here HQ may not agree but I suspect it would mirror this sentiment) provide little of merit.

"Oh Robb! That's preposterous! You are getting kool-aide enemas! You need to step away from the CrossFit Cult and get some perspective..."

Academics are not going to know WHERE to start. This is evidenced by Phil's intense desire to find somekind of outside validation of the programming:
vertical jump+800mrun+CrossFit total=best analysis of CrossFit. Perhaps...I think it's not a bad one, what about simply tracking the WOD and noting changes in specific benchmarks? I think this tells us much more, lends itself to much more rapid development...and is completely inappropriate for a reductionist approach to fitness.

If someone want's to study this stuff, by all means do it. I'll be busy trying to help as many people as I can.

If I've been a dieck I apologize. A little. But I've stated the case as clearly as I can, provided an opportunity to be PROVEN WRONG...yet the merry-go-round continues.

Garcon!! Check please...I'm done.