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

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Old 08-02-2007, 09:04 AM   #21
Gant Grimes
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Dale, this is a little off-topic, but I think most baseball records are a joke. Balls are juiced (maybe), and all the players are juiced. Before steroids, players used amphetamines. That goes back to the 40's. Did Hank play every double-header without taking a greenie? I don't know.

Many ballparks are now configured for home runs. How many times did Mickey Mantle hit 450-ft. fly-outs to center field? What if he had played at Coors Field or the Ballpark in Arlington? Would he have 850?

I guess what bothers me most about the Bonds bashing is the hypocrisy of baseball. Baseball created Bonds. As you said, he was a HOFer before 2000. He was a true 5-tool player. Hell, he might be one of the best ever. But he got no attention for his play because hacks like McGwire and Canseco were getting press for the long ball. Not justifying what he did, but the writing was on the wall...

The new record will come and go. When Hank broke Ruth's record, his mother hugged him at home plate because she feared he might be killed. Bonds won't be the first hated athlete to break a home-run record. It will be interesting to see how history treats him (and interested to see where the game is in 30 years!). Hopefully Bud Selig's hypocritical comments won't be part of that history.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:24 AM   #22
Mark Cotton
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I've been watching this thread for several days, but really haven't had the time to respond, but I did want to put in my two cents!

I'm very involved in the bodybuilding world as a trainer prepping bodybuilders for shows, as a judge and in an administrative capacity as the New Jersey Vice Chair for the NGA-we sanction tested bodybuilding events.

I think when it comes to steroid usage one needs to step back and take, what I think is, an objective view.

My perspective might be a bit different than yours based upon my experiance. These are of course by personal beliefs and opinions.

First, I was a judge for the NPC for years, but walked away from the organization because testing would not be put on the table as a protocol for all shows, not just a selected few. I felt I had to take a stand on the issue.

I now judge for the OCB and NGA two tested organizations with very clear policies on drug testing and banned substances and the PDI which is putting drug testing in place. This includes very detailed lists and protocols for testing. In accepting the position with the NGA I hope to send a clear message to my fellow colleages in other federations.

I think it is important to push the issue in this sport. Every day we here about our athletes getting ill and suffering health issues due to AAS usage. The issue that scares me more than anything is the attitude that the sport is nothing without AAS. Really? Have you seen some natural physiques?

MLB, NFL, USTFA...all of these organizations aside, could you imagine the IFBB/NPC answering the questions of Congress? Hey, we get this way from hard work, diet, gym and legal supplements. Really? Are you sure? Remember you're under oath? Oh, yes....we all have good genetics.

AAS may be out there for medical issues and that's fine. But, please don't insult my intellect by telling me that it's good for you if you take 3000 mgs a week for your test levels (women too?) In this country possessing and or trafficing AAS is a class 3 felony. I never understood how law enforcement can stand by and clearly allow usage.

And if you are an athlete that uses what about all of the ancillary drugs you need to use to keep your blood work in line? Blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, liver meds, kidney meds....yeah....and what about all the side effects those drugs have?

I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That's not my intention. Drugs in sports does not make sense. Being an athlete should equate to being in great shape which should equate to being healthy.

As time moves forward we all have the responsibility to not use drugs, but work hard in our training, diet and legal supplementation.




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Old 08-13-2007, 02:01 PM   #23
Bill Russell
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Dale,

I've always enjoyed reading your posts here and on the WOD pages. Could you please tell me if you know when/where Bonds made that comment about Babe Ruth? I've searched a bit but can't find the source.

Great thread.

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Old 08-14-2007, 11:50 AM   #24
Patrick Haskell
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Barry wrote: "It is not necessary to be THE best in order to be YOUR best. It is not necessary to allow the perceptions of others as to whether you are a winner or a loser to dictate your behavior."

:yeahthat:

Just pausing to offer a golf clap on that whole post.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:27 PM   #25
Alex Nisetich
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Been away for a week or so, I thought I'd just chip in my response to some of these posts. First off, I realize steroids are illegal and banned by the governing bodies of most sports. I realize as well that someone who uses steroids in an environment where they are prohibited is cheating, and I strongly disapprove of such behavior. However, that was not the question I was trying to raise. I was asking whether or not steroid use is FAIR, regardless of whether or not it is allowed.
I don't think anyone has given a solid reason why steroid use would be unfair at ELITE, PROFESSIONAL levels of competition. I also think that the impetus to use at that level is much stronger than the moral argument against them, which is reliant on degree and semantics.
Steroids are different from other forms of supplementation and training. However, the way in which they differ is crucial. An athlete takes a vitamin pill, protein powder, or creatine because they will help him perform better -the same reason an athlete would choose to use steroids. This is not cheating in the same sense as bribing referees, sharpening your cleats, or throwing juiced balls. It is cheating simply because it is against the rules, a method that falls just beyond what we consider acceptable because it is ostensibly far more effective than others.
Acceptability is a very fickle thing. Like I said before, practice used to be considered cheating, back when amateur sports were for the well-paid upper class and only poor immigrants went pro. No one today would be taken seriously if they said that somebody had cheated by practicing for a match. Indeed, why are steroids so bad when literally hundreds of supplements are perfectly legal? Why is it okay to take ZMA to increase testosterone levels when just taking testosterone is intolerable?
Ultimately, I believe the antipathy toward steroid use, at least at the professional level of athletics, is temporary. As techonology and knowledge continue to progress, steroids will look more and more ordinary, and become increasingly tolerated by society.
That said, I do not use steroids, and I will not use them in the forseeable future. I don't even use supplements like protein or creatine(for financial reasons more than anything else), and I take pride in the fact that I can outrun, outlift, and outplay the supplement-laden competition. If my teammates, friends, or opponents were to use steroids, I would be very angry. I cannot explain why steroid use bothers me at the personal level, and that is one reason I started this thread. I think there are many good explanations for that feeling in the prevoius posts. Yet I still believe that these feelings, even my own, will give way in the future to a general acceptance and tolerance, and I welcome the time when we can worry about more important things.
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Old 08-15-2007, 12:25 PM   #26
Peter West-Oram
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Hi Everyone, a really interesting thread and one I have been thinking about for a while. I am a philosophy graduate and in my final year I wrote my dissertation on the ethical significance of performance enhancing drug use in sport.

The main things that I considered were the infringement of rules that drug use represented, the fairness or otherwise of such use and the potential harms that arise from drug use.
The main drive of my argument was to look at the the reasons that we may feel drug use to be wrong and evaluate those arguments. Generally looking at the first two, as has already been stated, does not provide a convincing argument against steroid use. This is because (IMO) if we object to drug use because it is against the rules then we leave ourselves open to the response that by changing the rules we would no longer have a problem with the use of drugs, obviously leaving this unacceptably weak as an argument against drug use. An example would be the shift from wooden pole vaulting poles to those made from fibreglass, before the shift the latter where illegal as they conveyed too much of an advantage, now everyone uses them.

Further when we look at the issue of fairness it is possible to see that sport is unfair for a variety of reasons be they economic, physiological or whatever. Of particular interest is the way in which certain rules give an unfair advantage to richer athletes - the use of altitude training or hyperbaric chambers can be more expensive than certain drugs that would have the same effect such as EPO, though the latter is illegal whilst the former is not. It is also possible to look at the ways in which differing genetic makeups can have an effect on performanc. I know that "genetically gifted" is somewhat of a swear word but it is easy to see that a someone with the traditional endomorph body type will have a harder time training for the marathon than an ectomorph would (extreme generalisation i know) but they may have the same dream of an olympic gold in long distance events. Though of course if they win that medal that achievement is all the greater, but why not allow them to use drugs to "rebalance the scales?"
Harm is an interesting issue as it provokes a conflict between the view that elite athletes are adults who can decide what they want to do with their bodies, as has already been stated many sports are inherently risky and we allow athletes to compete in them anyway. The other side of the argument is of course that we dont want to see athletes die aged 40 and we should ban harmful performance enhancers in the same way that we legislate to make heroin or cocaine illegal. This of course ignores the issue of the influence that athletes may have on others and the role models that may be. However, taking the athlete as athelete, independant of anything else, this seems to be the main issue.

The main conclusion that I reached was that if certain conditions apply then certain drugs may be used fairly and within the rules of sport. The main conditions that I argued for were safety, though with a different approach than the current blanket ban. In the case of EPO i would argue for a set level of Haemoglobin that was acceptable for the competition and ignore how that was achieved. focusing on the safety aspect would thus allow other factors to be overcome, the poorer athlete can compete on a more equal footing with their richer counterpart who can afford to train at altitude by using the cheaper alternative of EPO usage. By limiting for safe levels of Haemoglobin in this case we no longer discriminate against poorer athletes and remove the issue of athletes with naturally high levels of haemoglobin having an "unfair" advantage.

Of course safety does leave a problem for steroid use which I dont really have an answer for but again if "safe" levels could be established then limited use may become acceptable.

There is also another issue of what is wanted from sport and whether drugs help athletes to achieve taht goal, for the amateur who competes for fun probably not, for the proffesional who competes to win prize money probably steroids would help them achieve their goal. As an audience, society needs to have an understanding of what is wanted from sport, and what would help these goals get realised.

Anyway thats my two cents worth, I suppose my main point would be that if something is safe (even under certain restrictions) and it enhances or improves the ability of the athlete, the governing body and society in general to get what is wanted from a sporting endeavour then its legalisation should, at least, be considered.
I would be interested to know what people think.
all best
Pete
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Old 08-15-2007, 01:04 PM   #27
Gant Grimes
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Pete, congrats on finishing your dissertation. I'd be interested in reading it once you've defended/published it, etc. Please PM me if that's possible.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:31 PM   #28
Peter West-Oram
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Hi Gant, Thanks for the enquiry, It was interesting to see the thread as it is something I was (obviously)thinking about a lot at the time and still do.
I havent really had much opportunity to get opinions from outside of my University, those from other people doing crossfit would be especially interesting.
The Dissertation was only for my undergrad (12,000 words) and in the U.K they dont generally get published. While I didnt have to formally defend it I did send a lot of time debating it with my supervisor and it was marked as a first and I graduated with that degree classification, so it was at least academically acceptable.

I dont see a way to attach the file here but I can copy the text into the email if you would prefer or let me know your email and I can send it as an attachment, let me know.
Thanks once again for the interest
all best
Pete
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Old 08-16-2007, 08:18 PM   #29
Dale F. Saran
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Bill - it will take me a while to find that one. I think I got it from an article on Bonds, but it was quoting from an interview he gave earlier.

Alex - I think I gave quite clear reasons why it's "unfair" or morally wrong and I don't see how your analogy addresses those that I gave. Namely, if we accept the scientific evidence that classified steroids as Schedule III, then we now are saying that elite athletes are ALL compelled to take the health risks in order to stay competitive in their profession. Again - if I am an elite athlete and I know I have health risks for cancer or other diseases that might be "expressed" because of unnatural use of steroids, why isn't it unfair for me to have to be tackled by some guy who doesn't care about the health consequences or having grandkids? (I'm turning your casuistry around on you).

Why is it fair for him to use and me to choose not to simply because I am unwilling to take the risks to my health that he is willing to take? That seems rather unfair to me. This argument does not depend upon "acceptance" of steroids or "rules of the game" that forbid their use. I am talking about the state of science that says steroids are illegal because they're harmful - potentially very harmful.

Let's take it one step further - suppose a new substance comes out called TGX (I just made that up). It has all the benefits of steroids and more with NO long term ill health effects and no illegality. I can't see any moral problem with athletes using this - those who don't for whatever reason would have to suffer the consequences of falling behind the performance curve. But the problem is that steroids are NOT in this category - the evidence is pretty compelling that steroids cause harm to the body, in the short, medium, and long term, depending upon the user. And that is the essence of the moral conundrum - "clean" guys, who abide by the rules for either health concerns or respect for the rules and the law, have to compete against "non-clean" guys who gain a very clear advantage. Think women's East German swim team of the 1976 olympics. Our women were defrauded out of a fair competition - everyone knows that now. The East Germans did not win (and set those records) "fair and square". Much like Casey Burgener and other top US lifters will probably never break some of the longstanding lifting records because of the era in which those were set - when steroid use was rampant. That seems very clearly unfair to me - if someone could explain how it's "fair" without resort to sophistry, I'd love to hear it.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:46 PM   #30
Alex Nisetich
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Sorry Dale, I guess I didn't fully address your thoughts in that other post (silly me overstating what I've done). I'll take the opportunity to address them now, because they are defintiely worth considering. I'll refer to the numbered sections of your first post.
1) No matter what, steroids are illegal, and anyone who uses under the current laws is a cheater and a criminal in my book. However, laws don't make things intrinsically wrong, they make them illegal --it just so happens that most illegal things tend to be bad. When addressing the question of whether or not steroid use is morally appropriate, issues of current legality in our country are not important, as Peter said very well ("if we object to drug use because it is against the rules then... by changing the rules we would no longer have a problem with the use of drugs"). With regards to safety, I will say that there are many reasons why a drug could turn up on the controlled substances list, and most of those are not due to pure medical virtues. Steroids are not entirely safe, but that is not a good reason to deny people access to them. Like I have said before, life is full of risks, and being a competitive athlete can cause many serious health problems, with or without steroids.
2) The situation of an athlete who doesn't use steroids because of specific risks that may be amplified by medical or family history is an interesting one. No, it may not be completely fair for him if he can't use but his opponents are juiced. However, let's expand the scope of the example: Is it fair competition if one athlete has greater genetic ability than the other? Is it fair if his opponent has better equipment than he does because he has more money to spend? Is it fair if the referee sneezes and misses a crucial call? Is it fair if one athlete comes down with the flu before a game while the other is fine because he was vaccinated? We accept these and innumerable other factors that may have a significant influence on the outcome of a competition, even though it may not be fair. Athletic commissions have no influence over their players genetics, so why should rules be made in reaction to specific (and generally rare) cases? Ultimately, there is only so much that can be regulated, and competition is never totally fair; rules can only go so far.
3) Steroids do not change or soil records more than any other improvement in athletic training. Records are constantly being broken because athletes are always improving their skills. Leagues change constantly and it is really difficult to compare current players with those from other eras. Sports journalists spend a large portion of their careers comparing contemporary players to the all-time greats, and there is seldom if ever a definitive answer to the question of what a record means. Consider Barry Bonds' home run record. Can it be compared to Hank Aaron's? Bonds hit his homers in different parks with different field configurations, different baseballs, different players, and of course different drugs. Take another example, one that is not about steroids. Don Hutson, an NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver, played for the Green Bay Packers in the late 1930s and 1940s. His record for career touchdowns, 99, stood for forty years. Today several receivers have broken Hutson's record. However, their achievments are not really the same as Hutson's, who played in a totally different era when the forward pass was still an "experiment," receivers got very few touches per game, there was no pass interference rule, and players played both offense and defense Hutson himself had 30 career interceptions as a safety, including 8 in one 10-game season, and kicked extra points and field goals. His achievements cannot be compared on a 1-to-1 basis with those of modern receivers like Terrell Owens, Jerry Rice, and Micheal Irvin because the game he played was so different. Yet no one is complaing that the pass interference rule ruined or nullified his receiving records. Of course, records are tarnished if athletes cheat to break them, but steroid use doesn't HAVE to be cheating. If steroids were allowed, it would be a very different debate. You yourself said that in Bonds' case, it wasn't the simple fact that he broke the record, but the way he did it.

I hope that clarifies my feelings a little better on the subject. I hope as well that it will satisfy your request for an explanation without casuistry or sophistry. Please understand that I mean everything I say, and I'm not writing this to try to be clever. I am honestly very puzzled by the issue, and I am trying to reason it out for myself.
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