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

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Old 02-04-2006, 02:28 PM   #101
Robert Thompson
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Some more links to ponder:
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Old 02-04-2006, 04:03 PM   #102
Neal Winkler
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I've been reading a few articles from the first link, very interesting stuff. Thanks!
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Old 02-04-2006, 06:39 PM   #103
Rafe Kelley
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Just wanted to make a couple comments. One the statemenent that nature punishes the specialist struck me as coming straight out of biological theory not fitness. In biology is quite clear that generealist species have longer evolutionary life spans and larger populations. Generalist including things like rats, canids(wolves, coyotes, jacals), Baboons, Humans. Basically a generalist is a species that survive a in broad range of enviorment utilizing a broad range of resources.

Secondly to John walshes comment about life being brutish nasty and short for our paloelithic ancestor. Honestly its time to put hobbes to rest. The fact of the matter is that according to most anthropologist's foraging societies had the highest standards of living prior to modern western societies. Foragers had very high infant mortality rates that about the only thing that holds true and is largely the cause of their lower average life span stastically.

Amongst foragers from the lower paleolithic to the last century if you lived past five you were likely to live into your fifties even sixties. The had extremely healthy diets, lots of leisure time, low levels of diseases(many diseases are the result of animal husbundry and concentrated populations allow diseases to survive much better). Which is not to say that the paleolithic was some utopic eden. Its very true that arthritis was consistent problem as were the loss of teath in old age. I personally was a c-section child so would not have made into the world under paleolithic conditions.

But if we are going to make arguments about how we should live based on how our ancestors lived, we need to abandon the outdated ideas of both Hobbes and Rousseau.
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Old 02-04-2006, 07:04 PM   #104
Ross Hunt
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Or we need to realize that Hobbes never intended the 'state of nature' to be understood anthropologically...

In what sense is Rousseau's conception of nature dated?
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Old 02-04-2006, 08:34 PM   #105
Mike Yukish
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This should be termed the 'too much naval-gazing' thread.

I like to think of it as drunken ballroom dancing (are you leading, or am I?). In that vein, I offer the following thoughts. Any fitness program, to generate maximum benefit, needs to be taken to some maximum level, and no more. Exceed that max by some no-too-big amount, and much like angle of attack in generating lift off of a wing, you stall and crash (see avatar).

Lots of folk do not come close to approaching that max limit, and so never know what their limits are. It is hard to do 100% full-on crossfit and not find the limit of training. I did, and that is valuable information. It is probably one of the least time consuming methods to overtrain.:happy:

I bet there's also not another method that lets you do as much total effort without overtraining, thanks to spreading the work out across fuel pathways and body parts.

Whenever I crank up a great crossfit workout I often think of a t-shirt I saw when running the Marine Corps Marathon...

"There's a thin line between being hard and being stupid, and we're just the ones to cross it."
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Old 02-05-2006, 01:11 PM   #106
Barry Cooper
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If they think they need a shrink, I'm going to sit them down and play Hank Williams, George Jones, and Johnny Cash. Cheaper, and much better. Never try to solve a problem with someone who makes money creating problems.

[warning: rant alert. It becomes topical towards the end]

Having said that, there is method in my madness. The core thing I'm trying to teach them is that problems have solutions. Sometimes, the solution will fall short of ideal, but good enough is good enough. The task with Killer Bees is to get inside as quickly as possible, or cover about 150 yards as fast as you can. They kept asking me, "but how do you kill them?", and I told them you need special poison, which they likely wouldn't have. Incomplete solution, but the best you can do.

I'm trying to cultivate a mindset of control. If they don't have the answer, I want them to have the faith that an answer can be found if they think clearly and persist.

Rates of depression in this (and likely other) countries are at all-time highs. We have kids shooting up schools--or did for a while, before schools learned to take the warning signs seriously--and we have kids listening to music that makes ME want to shoot myself. What is so damn hard about kids lives nowadays?

The answer is: nothing, except that they expect life to be easy, and they quit easily when it isn't. There is this simplistic idea that began getting propagated in the 60's that by removing responsibility and its' associated pain from kids lives, that they would be happier. Deduct difficulty, and achieve greater happiness. Just compliment them on everything, and they will thrive. But it doesn't work like that. Kids have to have self respect to be happy, and self respect cannot be given, it must be earned through behavior.

Another simple minded idea is that pain is always bad. It's not. It's often the only possible way to learn certain important lessons. And an important aspect of this, which most therapists either can't grasp, or don't want to, is that pain is not cumulative. It doesn't last. What lasts is our RESPONSE to pain. How we think about the world and others, and to the extent that therapy "works", it doesn't encourage endless whining sessions, and regressions to when you were 3. It facilitates more accurate perceptions of current possibilities. You have to live NOW. There is no other place to live. Mourning has its' place, but self indulgent self pity is a short route to drug use, depression, alcoholism, etc. etc.

You don't always have to be kind to be kind. This point seems clear enough.

The creed I try to live by, and which over time I would like to inculcate in my kids, is that at any time you can be killed. I could get sandwiched between two semi's tomorrow. However, no force on earth can compell me to panic, submit, or become paralyzed. There is always something you can do. Where there is life, there is hope.

My oldest has read all of the Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events"--which is about 3 orphans who are transferred endlessly from one home to another, while an evil relation tries to kill them--and commented to me the other day, that there is always someone kind everywhere they went. I liked that. There is evil in this world, but there is also good.

Now, to do my Arlo Guthrie impression (regardless of the politics, I've always liked "Alice's Restaurant"--which, incidentally, is about Alice Waters of Chez Panisse), I would like to come back on topic.

One important thing I cannot remember being mentioned on this thread is the aspect of mental toughness. Whenever you begin something new, there is a breaking in period while you get used to it,then it becomes relatively easier. When you first start back squatting, for example, it is hard, then you get used to it. You habituate to it. Although the actual exercise may be hard, you are at least familiar with it.

In the WOD format, we never know from day to day what is going to happen. Not only are known exercises constantly spun around in new ways, we periodically, even now, have brand new things thrown in, like Snatch Balances. We have to attack workouts we've never seen before on a regular basis, so we have both the difficulty of the WOD itself, which is considerable, combined with novelty.

Over time, in my experience, a net result of that is a complete cessation of fear. When I first saw Murph, I knew I could do it. I didn't know how long it would take, but I knew I could do it. I had a track record.

Now, the transition from exercise to "normal" life is obviously not exact, but I can say that an observation of mine is that almost every small business owner I know was an outstanding High School or College Athlete. According to a Zig Ziglar tape I have, roughly one third of American CEO's are ex-Marines. That may have changed, with the current infatuation with the "Wunderkind", but still shows something, even if dated.

Thus, in my view, there is a subtle psychological benefit to the randomness of what we do, as well as to the intense difficulty of the workouts themselves. Anyone who doubts this should do Helen, or Chelsea, or Dianne, and compare times with top finishers. Pukie is the mascot for a reason, and is liked as a mascot for a reason. A lot of us think Uncle Rhab is pretty cool, too, although obviously no one is eager to get that particular ailment (although, I will mention again, no one has EVER died using this protocol).

OK, I feel better. I think the Metamucil is working too.
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Old 02-07-2006, 05:34 PM   #107
Jeremy Jones
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Ahh yes, just getting up to date on this Navel-gazing.

Liked your rant Barry.

Good points all around for everyone, although I would like to pose this one for y'all.

Do (most of us) think CrossFit that is the best program to 'fitness' we have seen so far because it shows the most potential for progress?

I would rather have stock that went from $0.03 to $2.00, than stock that went from $2.00 to $8.00.

As far as "Elite" goes. . . I think that one of the strong points of this program is to use "Elite" training methods (Oly lifting, power lifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, etc) to take ordinary (see: non-professional athlete, apperently non-gifted physically) people and make them better at operating in the physical world.

It doesn't take a special program to take someone like Ali, Lee, or Nanu* and make them special. It takes a supreme program to take a disabled person, the elderly, or the overweight-unmotivated-parent and make them great.

* "The World's Greatest Athlete" -1973 Disney

CrossFit does this in half the time as almost every other fitness program I have heard of (that ROM thing in the magazines doesn't count).

We can sit here and talk about Proffesional Athletes, Bears, Cavemen, Random Tasks, the end of the world etc. But what makes me think that this is the best 'fitness' program to date is the fact that it shows the most gains for the lowest comon denominator, in the shortest amount of time. Regardless of your defition of 'fitness'.
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Old 02-07-2006, 09:59 PM   #108
Motion Macivor
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This is by far the best fitness program I've ever seen. The results to time ratio is incredibly high and it's flexible enough to work for an amazingly broad range of athletes. If I came off as sounding critical earlier in this thread it was only in the interest of spurring debate. To be honest I think crossfit represents a paradigm shift in the way people exercise, and I'm stoked to be on board!
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Old 02-08-2006, 06:05 AM   #109
Larry Lindenman
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Barry, truly amazing...great, great post.
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Old 02-08-2006, 08:43 AM   #110
Petr Ruzicka
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I second that, Barry's post is great.
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