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Old 10-17-2007, 04:25 AM   #11
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

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Originally Posted by John Tuitele View Post
Yea, I probably wasn't clear....what I meant to say was that a fitness program focused on simply "improving health" without periodic measurement of some measure of human performance strikes me as incomplete. I don't mean sports performance, althought that could be the goal, but I mean some measurement that reflects (force*distance)/time. Are you running faster, lifting more, jumping higher, cranking out more reps in less time, etc. If we are not looking to create positive changes in functional performance, what's the point? Better scores on the blood lipid profiles and a lower dress size?
I wonder about that. Clearly each of us has pre-determined limits given our biologic givens. We can aim to train up to those limits. But what about aging?
Let's say you are a Crossfitter, and your numbers keep getting better. At some point the curve's going to go in the other direction, won't it? At some point, you start failing the heavy weights, and your metcon times decrease, right? Should we stop exercising then, because performance isn't increasing?

Four years ago, I was a sedentary 230+ pound woman, I'm still getting stronger and faster, and I'd like to think I'm not near the limits of improvement yet. But as a 52-year-old FFL (formerly fat lady), I am also aware that I ain't bringin' home any medals, yanno?

What's wrong with exercising for health and dress size?

(Not that I care about dress size either, but you might want to know I've gone from a size 22 to an 8....ok, I care...)
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Last edited by Susie Rosenberg : 10-17-2007 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 05:06 AM   #12
Brandon Oto
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

So John, you would say that there's never a point where an athlete will look at one of his benchmarks and say, "that's fine, I'm going to maintain it there"?
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:34 AM   #13
Craig Van De Walker
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

How about a short term focus on maximum unbalanced (fringe) performance is unlikely to be healthy.

Where a long term focus on maximum mulitfactoral performance is very very likely to be healthy.

Consider someone striving with a ten years plan to meet all of the CFN level four standards:

25 pistols, 2x bw sq, 2.5 bw DL, 30" vertical, 1:04 400m, OHS 15 at BW, press bw, clean 1.5 bw, 500m row in 1:25, 15 MU, 40 deadhang pullups, 5min mile, 20min 6K row, 15 rounds Mary, SN 1.25bw, 150 db c&j in 10 min with 35lb db's.

I can imagine this person being fit and healthy, in fact I am not sure how this performance could be met otherwise.

This person would LIKELY have:
1-very healthy diet, adequate or optimal (for them) sleep, recovery etc.
2-Minimal to no unhealthy habits such as smoking, excess alcohol, illicit drug use
3-excellent bone density
4-low bodyfat
5-excellent relative and absolute strength high LBM which is distributed for overall function as evidenced by performance.
6-patience and strong work ethic
7-excellence cardiovascular fitness and health not only from the exercise but from first item as well
8-good coordination and flexibility to perform oly lifts.


Now compare this with elite performance in any monostructural element/task.
marathon, powerlifting, at the elite level in either of these sports you COULD be very lacking in one or many of the above numbered items. In fact your performance would be better if you purposely minimized selective aspects. In many cases a runner and powerlifter would emphasize and minimize polar opposite items (I know that is kind of a "captain obvious" statement)


I know Jack Lalane is starting to get old, but he struck me as an overall (but very extreme) fitnes guy in fact I assume most would consider many of his feats were at the "elite" level.
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:52 AM   #14
Craig Van De Walker
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

Susie and John,
It depends on how you look at it.

I have already reached the point where I will not surpass some of my strength levels of 20+ years ago, but I am improving in other areas. I'm also not taking home any medals at this point!

I figure I can always figure out something I have not done and work towards it while minimizing the effects of aging. I plan on training till I drop, even if my performance is sliding.

My competition will still be mainly with myself as in how functional and fit can I be at 50, 60, 70 ,80, etc. Compared to where I might otherwise be, even if on an absolute level my Fran time is not decreasing. I figure if I can stay healthy at 80 I'll still be able to beat the average gym lifter at Fran, and that sounds kind of fun.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:35 AM   #15
John Tuitele
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

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Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
So John, you would say that there's never a point where an athlete will look at one of his benchmarks and say, "that's fine, I'm going to maintain it there"?
Good question. My answer is "it depends."

On one hand, I think there is a point where we could be satisfied with our scores......a 2x's bodyweight deadlift, for instance. I've been CF'g about a year, have just rolled past 50 years old, and have almost hit 1.5x's bodyweight. If I can lift 2x's bodyweight at my age, I'm going to be pretty happy with that, and I may work to maintain it rather than increase it.

On the other hand, I took up CF a year ago to get back into shape. Without boring you with the specifics, I'm there. I'm in shape. Now I find myself doing more than I've ever done before in different areas (20 pullups nonstop, for instance) and I'm wondering what my limits really are. I'm thinking that 2x's bodyweight deadlift could be too low a goal, and maybe I can get to where I can do 40 pullups nonstop. Never mind pushups, 5K time, squat, OHS, snatch, etc, etc, etc.

I guess, for me, the answer is that I'm never satisfied with maintaining, and I'm always looking for a way to make it even better. Even if I am aging. I'm getting the impression that most of our limits are created more by our perceptions instead of by reality.

In both cases, I'll continue to look at my performance whether I want to improve them or maintain them. With clients, I'll always look at some measurement of performance, whether they want to improve it or maintain it.

I won't look at my dress size. But, Susie, 230 lbs to size 8 is a helluva accomplishment. Way to go, girl. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, while your body changes are satisfying, I bet you would not be happy if there were not physical performance improvments that accompanied them. In other words, you could have done the stomach stapling thing and dropped to a size 8, but being a FFL would not be enough. I'll bet it is more accurate to say that FFL now stands for Functionally Fit Lady.
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:54 AM   #16
Susie Rosenberg
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

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Originally Posted by John Tuitele View Post

I won't look at my dress size. But, Susie, 230 lbs to size 8 is a helluva accomplishment. Way to go, girl. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that, while your body changes are satisfying, I bet you would not be happy if there were not physical performance improvments that accompanied them. In other words, you could have done the stomach stapling thing and dropped to a size 8, but being a FFL would not be enough. I'll bet it is more accurate to say that FFL now stands for Functionally Fit Lady.
Awwwwwwwwww, get on wi' ye now, laddie. You flatter me.

I do know what you mean, though, about wanting to snatch the brass ring, especially when it weighs twice your bodyweight. Summer of '06, I got an enormous thrill from being able to cycle across New York state (www.fanyride.com if anyone's interested in this w/f safe site about the ride).

But while I loved the ride this past summer, and will do it again next summer, God willing, it wasn't the same thrill, because I already knew I could do it. What I needed was to tackle something I hadn't already done. So when I kvetched to my personal trainer about needing new challenges, he started me on Crossfit. Every day is a finish line.

It's so much fun. And I'm not unhappy with my lipid profile, either.

Susie
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:25 AM   #17
Brandon Oto
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

Nice points, John.

My instinct is that it falls out in this way: if we were gods and could look at our personal "data sheets," we could see that the numbers we were capable of in, say, the deadlift will reach a practical maximum. Well, that's not quite right; it seems fair to say that you can almost always increase it SOMEWHAT, but if you plot those stats on a curve, you'll see diminishing returns for your investment, and moreover, diminishing performances in other realms.

So while we can never practically say "I have maxed my deadlift," we might be able to say, "That's as high as I need it, and as high as it's going to go without me specializing in the deadlift and ekeing out a few more pounds at the expense of my swimming speed, so I'm not going to try to raise it anymore." I think that is totally reasonable.

The TROUBLE is that it may take you ten years to both reach and realize that number. Because you not only need to hit it, you probably need to overshoot it to discover that the extra 20 pounds you added over the past year has been overall not worth the candle. We can't just say, eh, I think I'm done, because you really never know. You don't know if you'll pull more next week, or if that new creatine cycle will change everything.

But it's a nice goal. If I could hit advanced numbers in all categories and be healthy doing it, I would be pickle pleased to maintain them until I die. Maybe just learn some new skills periodically. Some people might find that boring. I'll toast to them from the pub.

Another angle would be to set a goal, train for it, reach it, then deprioritize training that particular skill while you move to another goal. For instance, 2xBW deadlift -- you DL a bunch, you reach that, then you say, "sub 1 minute 400m!" and start training for that, merely ensuring you maintain your deadlift number rather than worrying about improving it. I think that's totally reasonable as well.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:48 PM   #18
John Tuitele
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Re: Elite training is the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle?

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Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
Another angle would be to set a goal, train for it, reach it, then deprioritize training that particular skill while you move to another goal. For instance, 2xBW deadlift -- you DL a bunch, you reach that, then you say, "sub 1 minute 400m!" and start training for that, merely ensuring you maintain your deadlift number rather than worrying about improving it. I think that's totally reasonable as well.
That approach seems to me to hold a great deal of wisdom. Well said.
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