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

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Old 02-17-2005, 11:56 AM   #61
Paul Theodorescu
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You've just reiterated what I've been saying :-)
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:41 PM   #62
Eric Moffit
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the one thing i think you miss when you think in terms of overtraining is that the body is constantly adapting. at least when i think of overtraining, i imagine the body is capable of only a certain fixed amount of work per time period in order to continue working. go over that amount and youre done, work up to that amount and your fine. as i construe it (and im not just trying to build a straw man argument, correct me if ive misconceived it), this model doesnt really factor in growth.

with the recovery model, the body is understood as reacting to stimuli. this reaction takes time, and the amount of time is dependent on the quality of the stimuli (intensity, duration, etc) and the quality of the recovery (type, duration, etc). so any given amount of work requires a specific amount of time to completely recover. this is not to say that you MUST fully recover before working out again. but it is to say that in order to perform at ones peak level, he ought fully recover (do not read 'recover' here as 'rest' because it is possible to lose the benefits of training by taking too much time off).

one of the beauties of Crossfit is that it incorporates a way to recover extremely efficiently so as to achieve a great amount of growth (of course everyone tweaks it in their own way). and here is my and i think others point (though i dont mean to put words in their mouths)...**not allowing enough rest to efficiently achieve the greatest amount of proximate growth DOES NOT equal overtraining** (by proximate, i mean relatively quick). training is a spectrum of which overtraining would, in my opinion, be on the extreme end. overtraining is literally 'going til you cant go no more', NOT going until my immediate returns have diminished. theres a big difference there.

this also reminds me of Dan John's strong stance in support of quality workouts. if i can only afford a certain amount of time to recover from working out and i want to achieve the greatest gains possible, i ought to focus my energy on the most important portions of my workout...i should be very efficient w/ my choices of work. and this is bc i want to spend my recovery time recovering from the hard stuff not all the little easy things that i already do well.
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Old 02-17-2005, 12:59 PM   #63
Don Milliken
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The SEAL example that Eric raises is interesting, but I think it actually argues strongly for the concept of overtraining. Every single SEAL candidate overtrains and under-recovers during hell week. The only reason they don't end up sick or injured is that it is only 5 days. I would guess that their physical capacities (strength, CV endurance, etc) are actually severely diminished at the end of day 5. While the intensive training they undergo may lead to improvements in a number of physical capacities, these will only manifest themselves after a period of rest. The other major point that was missed is that many of the candidates DON'T complete hell week, and end up ringing the bell. In these cases the candidates are typically ill, injured, or have lost the will to continue. In other words, they're overtrained!

That's not to say that most people on this board are training at a level approaching hell week. Most of us are nowhere near it, and most of us are getting a lot more sleep/rest as well. I personally train 1.5h/day 6days/week and I train HARD. For a lot of people this might constitute overtraining - it might break them down. But I'm only 25 years old, I've built up to this level of activity and I take care of recovery factors. Never underestimate the restorative powers of mass quantities of food - I recently had to do a food diary for a nutrition module at my university, and found I average 3600kcal/day. Eat up! I should also note that my training load is nothing compared to, say, a world-class rower. But then, they have more time to devote to recovery. It's all relative.
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:21 PM   #64
Justin Jacobsen
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Paul,

Think outside the box, bro. Contrast showers, a 20 minute nap during the day, self massage (use mom's rolling pin for a roller), a few minutes of meditation to help relieve mental stress. These things cost very little in both time and money, but return a lot in recovery capital.

Nutrition is a huge one in this regard. You have to eat enough food to fuel your recovery. If you are trying to cut weight, you aren't going to be fully recovered until you finish with that. It just puts a lot of stress on your body. All other nutrition debate aside, eat clean, but EAT! You have to fuel the machine.
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:47 AM   #65
Eric Moffit
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Don-
my point w/ the whole SEAL thing was to show exactly what overtraining is. i dont think anyone was denying that overtraining is possible, im just saying its not likely for a typical athlete. overtraining is the very extreme of training, i.e., you would actually have to workout in a similar fashion to Hell Week w/ no rest to overtrain. your point about physical capacities improving only after rest is enlightening bc it tells us even after training this hard, virtually to the point of complete failure, one can become stronger w/ effective recovery. even w/ days of straight work, one can still perform (i.e., not technically overtrain) and actually become stronger if the work is balanced (or eventually balanced) w/ an appropriate amount of quality recovery time.

as for the candidates who drop, id say most have lost the will to continue, which i would not consider an effect of overtraining, more the result of personal reasoning. as for the injuries of DORs (Drop On Request), i would say that particular part of their body was not adequately prepared for the stress of the workload...not that they are overtrained. i say this because overtraining ought not be measured by one's inability to do work bc of a fractured shin but by one's inability to do work at all. just bc it hurts to work doesnt mean the individual is not capable of doing more work.

my last comment is that i dont think typical athletes (Crossfit included) ought to talk in terms of overtraining but rather in terms of insufficient recovery relative to the work they did prior. its not that we overtrain, its just that we allow insufficient recovery to achieve non-diminished gains from our training. so if youre dragging one day, youre not necessarily overtrained (since you couldve easily done more work), you just needed more rest to fully recover from what work you did do.
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:57 AM   #66
Graham Hayes
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I agree fully with Eric's last paragraph, I think it hit's the nail on the head!
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Old 02-18-2005, 03:28 PM   #67
Pat Janes
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Exactly what Eric said...

I think some people tend to look at their individual performances in single tasks as an indicator of progress. While doing the WOD as written every day, this can be misleading, as we are rarely performing *any* task fresh.

We may run a 5km a day or two after heavy deadlifts, so is this a fair indicator of our peak performance in the 5km?

The same goes for our pullup numbers, after 2 days of oly lifting and dumbbell swings.

CrossFit (and the WOD, as a reference implementation of CrossFit) is training a well-rounded athlete, capable of stepping up to *any* task and performing well. That is performing well at every task, not necessarily performing optimally at any task.

Again, we're deviating a bit from Don's original post. But I guess what I'm saying is that I would continue with the plan; WOD every day for GPP and specific practice outside of the WOD for SPP.

As for overtraining:

"Does my contention that undertraining is much the greater monster than overtraining imply that I think overtraining is rare or impossible? No, no, no, and hell no, but I do believe that the biggest factor in overtraining is not under-recuperation but inadequate ramp up to higher intensity levels. Nowhere is this more apparent than with our Workout of the Day (WOD).

We have counseled in 'Getting Started' and repeatedly elsewhere that the WOD is designed to exceed the capacities of the world’s fittest humans and that starting CrossFit by throwing yourself at the WOD 100% will result in devastating failure. We’ve recommended that anyone attempting CrossFit first get through a month of 'going through the motions' before diving in with full intensity – 'establish consistency before intensity'. Countless bad-asses from sporting and special operations communities, long regarded as bullet proof, have been burned at the stake of ego and intensity. More or better rest could not have helped."

-- Coach Glassman (re-printed without permission; sorry)


Which basically reflects my view; providing a sufficient ramp-up in intensity, the WOD + quite a respectable volume of sport practice is nowhere near enough work to lead to overtraining.
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:10 PM   #68
Paul Theodorescu
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Now we're getting somewhere.

When speaking of overtraining I've been referring to a too rapid ramp-up in intensity/volume.

What this suggests is that it is often appropriate to back off and build back up in a more progressive and systematic manner.
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Old 02-18-2005, 04:26 PM   #69
Peter Galloway
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Pat, I think you've cracked it! The bottom line is that we are all responsible for are own training, and each know our own capabilities and limitations better than anybody else. What is key is that we ensure that we are working just within the boundaries of these capabilities and limitations, but constantly striving to push them further and further back. This requires the honesty to assess our own abilities, the intelligence to plan a route to our very limits, and the courage to take ourselves there.
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Old 02-18-2005, 05:54 PM   #70
Larry Lindenman
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I think we could all agree with this point! Good job Pat.
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