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

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Old 06-29-2007, 11:58 AM   #1
Patrick Henry
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I am still fairly new to CF, but have gotten so much valuable and USEFUL training and fitness information from this site that I have decided to try to get in "the best shape of my life." The problem in this goal is 2-fold. First, I have a fairly high bar to overcome, and second, I don't know how to measure the achievement of my goal. I am looking for suggestins on measurable goals that will allow me to say (to MYSELF, most of all) that I am in "the best shape of my life."

My situation:
I am 30, 5'5" @ 161 with ~10% BF (and I say approximately to allow for error in measurement). In the past, I have been an NCAA Div I (All-conference) and 2x All-State wrestler, have been a state-ranked CC runner (sub 5:00 mile in track), have on numerous occasions benchpressed, squatted, and deadlifted 2x my bodyweight (in the same time period), have completed a no-sport-specific training sprint triathalon, and have had and maintained sub 5% bodyfat (measured for safety under HS and NCAA wrestling rules).

Not all of these were simultaneous accomplishments, of course, though ALL of these were at some point between the ages of 16 and 25. With the progression of LIFE, however, I have struggled to maintain fitness that I had a year, two years, ten years prior. Finding CF has rekindled an internal competetive drive to get back into the kind of shape that I have always been proud to have had. But no longer am I satisfied with being a has-been, even though I am still in better shape than 99% of people that I know.

So with the challenge of getting into the best shape of my life looming before me, I am looking for measurable accomplishments as suggestions and goals for my quest.

I am too old to relive the glory days of competetive wrestling (which is my true passion), though I do still coach, and I do still compete every once in a while, just for fun. Also, I have broken my nose 2x in the last year wrestling with my guys, and I am on my 7th shoulder dislocation, so the old joints are revolting. I also have an ulnar nerve injury (think funny bone) that flares up every 6 weeks or so...

So far, I plan to complete another no-sport-specific training sprint triathalon and to benchpress 10x my age for the 15th consecutive year (I am up to 290 at present). I HOPE to bench/squat/DL 2x my bodyweight once again as well.

I don't know what else to put on the list. Suggestions?
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:14 PM   #2
Skylar Cook
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Max reps for Pushups, pullups, etc.

WOD times, varying length run times (sprints to 10k).

I wouldn't compare yourself to your old running times just yet. Measure your times now, and work on beating them. Striving to match or beat your personal records from the peak of your athletic career is one hell of a goal.
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Old 06-29-2007, 02:47 PM   #3
Craig Loizides
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I like the Crossfit North athletic skill standards:
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Old 06-29-2007, 04:06 PM   #4
Robert Olajos
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I don't know if I am in the best shape of my life, but I certainly FEEL like I'm in the best shape of my life. I spent (I won't say wasted) most of my 20's drinking and smoking and having a lot of fun. Now that I'm 32 and a year into CF (hey, I just checked, and I did my first WOD on June 29, 2006!--Happy Anniversary to me!) I feel great. I won't tell you how to measure your fitness, Patrick, but for me the measurements aren't important, it's how I perceive my body, my progress, my health, my life. As long as I feel great I don't (much) care what the numbers say. No matter what you decide in terms of measuring fitness, don't lose sight of how you feel, both physically and emotionally.
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:33 PM   #5
David Sailor
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You've done some really strong stuff in the past. I think the first thing to do is define "best shape of my life". If it's all around fitness following the 10 components by Jim Cawley found under "What is Fitness" PDF available here, then the Crossfit North standards that Craig linked to above is a great start. If it's more specific, than a more focused effort needs to be spent on that endeavor.

A lot of the exercises, lifts and movements are totally new to me so my focus is increasing my deadlift, squat and press while still maintaining a good metcon side. I could eschew the running and focus on the powerlifting aspect but I'm more interested in a more general GPP type of program. While I want to increase my deadlift, for example, it's going to come by doing Crossfit as rx'ed, not picking and choosing my WOD's to focus on the deadlift. I have come to view Crossfit as a "sport", which has certainly been stated by the Glassman's. So when Diane, Murph or Fran come around, I view it as an opportunity to better my time and measure my progress that way.

I guess if Crossfit, the Crossfit North standards and the benchmark workouts are able to help define the best shape of your life, then I would focus on them. David.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:14 PM   #6
Michael Winker
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I know one thing. I've never been stronger. That's for sure.
But I doubt my work capacity is greater that it was when I was 20. I'm 38 now and there is no way I could play full court hoops for 3 or 4 hours; basically non-stop. My body couldn't handle it. To say nothing of the suffering I would experience the next day if I did it now. 18 years ago, I could play for 4 more hours the next day. Crossfit is great, Crossfit is the best, but nothing can replace youth.
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Old 06-30-2007, 05:52 AM   #7
Ben Kaminski
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When you're in the best shape of your life, you can just know it.

You think about a workout you did last week, and realize "I have never been able to do that before" and you can say that for more than one workout! It is a great place to be, easy to maintain (with CF), and a fun journey to get there too!

There are a lot of ways to measure it, especially when you consider different people's goals, priorities, etc, but in the end it is the PR performance coupled with the realization that you are doing the best you've ever done.

It's a great feeling!
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:28 PM   #8
Wayne Sauve
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First time I have seen the Crossfit North athletic skill standards.

Great guide!

Thanks Craig
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Old 06-30-2007, 01:31 PM   #9
Alex Nisetich
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Under the section called "Trophy Case" on this site, there is a link to the CrossFit Challenges. If you can do those, I'd say you're in really good shape. I'm not sure how well you'll be able to relate those to what you did in wrestling and track years ago, but they are all pretty impressive if you can do them. Also, try to take care of joint health and flexibility. Even if you can do ten consecutive muscle-ups, can you really say you're in the best shape of your life if your elbow keeps flaring up and your shoulder pops out whenever you hit the mat? That's something that might be hard to fix after years of competition, but it's worth a shot.
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:02 PM   #10
Simon Bowley
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Thanks for that - useful for tracking progress and getting an overall understanding of my fitness and where the weaknesses are!


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