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

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Old 07-29-2010, 03:29 PM   #1
Jonathan Vechet
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Is WOW the new WOD?

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/simpl...ss/#more-13823 WFS

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The Cost of ďPerfectionĒ

What does it take to achieve fitness perfection (if there is such a thing)? Or posed in a more personal way, what would you have to do to reach your ultimate genetic potential? Consider that for a moment. What comes to mind? Enormous time commitment. Steely resolve. Pain. Suffering. Sacrifice. Blood, sweat and tears. Yes, if you want to be a pro athlete, make the Olympic team, keep up with Lance or Phelps, or even just make a 1400 pound powerlifting total (bench, squat, dead), youíll probably have to give your life over to the pursuit of your goal. Youíd give up free time lost to the gym and the track. There would be missed opportunities at spending quality time with friends and family. Not to mention the injuries, the physical wear-and-tear and the toll of applying constant stress to a compromised immune system.

Hereís the thing, though. For most people, all that hard work is largely unnecessary and there is a more effective, balanced, and simpler approach to fitness.

For most folks, the ones who want to bang out consecutive pull-ups, climb several flights of stairs without losing their breath, go on a three-hour hike for fun, run a few miles if they feel like it, keep up in pick-up games of [insert sport here], go skiing/snowboarding/surfing/waterskiing, or just generally be comfortable dealing with the physical demands of everyday life, a little bit of efficient, targeted, concise activity goes a long way. Iíd even say that most people have far more to lose than they do to gain by throwing themselves into a hardcore fitness regimen Ė the type that monopolizes your time, inhabits your thoughts, and forces you to reconstruct your life to accommodate its presence.

My whole outlook on health, fitness, and nutrition is founded upon the notion that it doesnít have to be difficult to be healthy. Iíd even say that obsessing over eating and exercising turns the process into just another stressor we have to deal with, and reducing stress is just as important to our health as staying active and eating right. In my opinion, then, keeping things simple isnít an option for Primal folks; itís the only way to do it. Itís the whole game. It has to be easy, simple, and effortless to work. Thereís no point in making yourself miserable just to lose weight or pump out a few more reps, when following a few simple fitness rules, eating right, and tinkering with some easy lifestyle hacks will get you most of the way there. To break it down further:

* 80 percent of your genetic potential for body composition is determined by what you eat. Youíve probably heard me say this in the past. Eat Primal and youíre almost there.
* Five more percent of your body composition can be further influenced by how much sleep and leisure time you get and how you moderate your stress levels. Lifestyle stuff.
* 10 more percent of your genetic potential for body composition will come from smart exercise: Lifting Heavy Things, Sprinting, and Moving Frequently at a Slow Pace.

With minimal effort and time commitment, conducting a Primal Blueprint Fitness routine of bodyweight exercises, sprints, and low level movement will take you to the next level of your genetic potential, after achieving tremendous results through Primal eating and lifestyle. Sounds easy, right? It is, and thatís the whole point!

* The final five percent of your potential body composition/physical performance is achieved with more advanced training and highly specialized athletic goals. Weíre getting into hours-long gym session, pain and punishment territory.

Can we really call our conventional ideas of physical perfection perfect if they come with so many downsides for so many people? What good is ďeliteĒ if maintaining that level of performance means youíre not available to enjoy the rest of your life? Is that last five percent really necessary? Do you need that eight-pack, or is the six-pack good enough?

The point here is that you can get huge results with minimal effort and that incremental improvements beyond that demand a disproportionate amount of effort and commitment, and a come with host of other downsides.

If elite performance is your ultimate goal in life, then sure, go that extra mile and give it all youíve got. Some people truly derive happiness and fulfillment (and, if theyíre lucky, a living) from the pursuit of extreme physicality, and to those folks, I say godspeed. I was one of them for many years, but that changed when I realized the cost-benefit ratio of my endurance lifestyle was becoming severely imbalanced. Donít let me stop you, but heed my words of caution all the same.

In just a couple weeks, Iíll be releasing Primal Blueprint Fitness (for free, of course). It will flesh out all the things Iíve hinted at in this post and in the past by presenting a fitness plan that is sustainable, simple, effective, and smart. Itís designed to work for the people who want a good strength-bodyweight ratio, to look good naked, and be fit enough to go for a long hike or run a 10k at a momentís notice. It will provide steady, measured progression, but also variety in the form of constantly shifting Workouts of the Week (WOWs) to be posted each Monday here at Markís Daily Apple. It will make you work hard, but you wonít work long. It will stress intensity over volume and quality over quantity. In short, itís designed to get the most people the fittest they can be in the shortest amount of time possible. PBF may not make elite athletes out of you, but, along with diet, lifestyle, and stress-mitigation, it will get you 95% of the way there. From that point, you can take things up a notch to reach that elite level, or you can chill out and enjoy a long, active existence.

And so, I ask once more: Is attaining elite physical performance worth the costs incurred along the way? For me, for most of you, and for anyone who just wants to be healthy and stay active for life, the answer is a resounding no.

Donít give into the same flawed Conventional Wisdom for your fitness plan that youíve already rejected with regards to Chronic Cardio Ė that more is necessarily better. In my estimation, there is a better way. One that defines fitness in the broader context of overall health and life quality. One that delivers impressive results with simple, novel hacks. And Iím confident all this can be achieved through PBF. In the coming weeks, youíll have the chance to try it on for size. Until then, Grok on!
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Old 07-29-2010, 09:19 PM   #2
Tim Nakashima
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

Quote:
10 more percent of your genetic potential for body composition will come from smart exercise: Lifting Heavy Things, Sprinting, and Moving Frequently at a Slow Pace.

With minimal effort and time commitment, conducting a Primal Blueprint Fitness routine of bodyweight exercises, sprints, and low level movement will take you to the next level of your genetic potential, after achieving tremendous results through Primal eating and lifestyle.
It will be interesting to see how he goes about this with his programming...

Tim
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Old 07-30-2010, 05:04 AM   #3
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

The post is spot-on, more fitness is not necessarily better for health unless

(a) Your job/life-style requires it
(b) You enjoy it.

A curious argument: stressing out about health/fitness makes you less healthy (fit?).
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Old 07-30-2010, 08:48 PM   #4
Jonathan Vechet
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

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Originally Posted by Dimitri Dziabenko View Post
The post is spot-on, more fitness is not necessarily better for health unless

(a) Your job/life-style requires it
(b) You enjoy it.

A curious argument: stressing out about health/fitness makes you less healthy (fit?).
I think that putting too much emphasis on any one thing that causes you to ignore other important aspects would be considered unhealthy.
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Old 07-30-2010, 09:07 PM   #5
John Stone
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

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* 80 percent of your genetic potential for body composition is determined by what you eat. Youíve probably heard me say this in the past. Eat Primal and youíre almost there.
* Five more percent of your body composition can be further influenced by how much sleep and leisure time you get and how you moderate your stress levels. Lifestyle stuff.
* 10 more percent of your genetic potential for body composition will come from smart exercise: Lifting Heavy Things, Sprinting, and Moving Frequently at a Slow Pace.
Call me a fuddy-duddy stickler, but anytime people start throwing out %'s I start smelling PR-marketing bullcrap.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:32 PM   #6
Alexander Martin
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

I couldn't agree more John. I like Mark's Daily Apple but business is business for him and he knows people like to see numbers, truthful or not. I try to take most stats I see or hear with a grain of salt.
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Old 08-01-2010, 04:06 PM   #7
John Harris
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

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Originally Posted by John Stone View Post
Call me a fuddy-duddy stickler, but anytime people start throwing out %'s I start smelling PR-marketing bullcrap.
Brings to mind a Todd Snider lyric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Snider
64 percent of all the world's statistics are made up right there on the spot
82.4 percent of people believe 'em whether they're accurate statistics or not
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Old 08-01-2010, 09:09 PM   #8
Brent Sallee
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

80% of athletic performance is dictated by nutrition? Awesome, I'm gonna eat myself to a 500lb squat. Although Mark has some good articles, some of his statements are a joke with no bases behind them.
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Old 08-02-2010, 01:31 AM   #9
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

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Originally Posted by Brent Sallee View Post
80% of athletic performance is dictated by nutrition? Awesome, I'm gonna eat myself to a 500lb squat. Although Mark has some good articles, some of his statements are a joke with no bases behind them.
The exact quote was "80 percent of your genetic potential for body composition is determined by what you eat", which should be interpreted as "most of your body composition comes from nutrition."

If anybody wants to waste time arguing on whether it's 80% or 73% or 53%, then they are missing the point of the article and arguing trivialities.

His argument is that normal people shouldn't worry about training like athletes since it adds nothing to their health beyond what basic exercise gives you, but cuts on the time spent with family. He is arguing you don't need a 500lb squat to be healthy or mobile.
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Old 08-02-2010, 04:16 AM   #10
Meghan Reid
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Re: Is WOW the new WOD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Sallee View Post
80% of athletic performance is dictated by nutrition? Awesome, I'm gonna eat myself to a 500lb squat. Although Mark has some good articles, some of his statements are a joke with no bases behind them.
Brent, I respectfully disagree.

A 500 lb squat is, IMO, "elite" levels of fitness compared to what the average Joe Schmoe is aiming for. When I think of what Mark is going for with this program, I think he's aiming to get people from a completely sedentary lifestyle into a functioning amount of shape. I think of my mom, who is 54, overweight, and still hobbling on a knee injury, who is scared to exercise because everything hurts. A standard Crossfit program, even scaled, does not appeal to her. Also, she is miles away from me and the nearest CF box (for now). She's definitely not going to teach herself to squat, snatch, clean, etc at the risk of reinjuring her knee or hurting herself in any other way. I haven't read Mark Sisson's new "official" training, but from what I've seen in his book, his workouts are based more on natural, instinctive movement than highly technical lifts.

I mean, it's really the same exact concept as "Primal" eating versus strict Paleo or Zone. It will take you 85% of the way there but it allows you wiggle room for some pleasures like good cheese and good chocolate - things that strict Paleo and Zoners will definitely eschew. But to take someone who's got heart disease and is overweight because they're eating a horrible SAD and tell them that "here's a new way of eating where you can still OCCASIONALLY eat some dark chocolate and amazing cheese and drink wine but generally cut out all the bad stuff," they're going to be much more willing to respond to those little gives than by telling them, okay start measuring blocks of spinach and oatmeal. And they will get results doing this.

Don't get me wrong, he's definitely selling himself and his "product" (although to my knowledge he's releasing this fitness program for free although I suppose he is getting advertising and selling the book and the supplements). But, as we've thrown around on these boards a lot, the most effective fitness program (and diet) is the one that fits in your life, that YOU can stick to, that allows you to achieve optimal health and fitness for YOUR life. I think what's he's talking about is a really effective springboard for the general population to get off their asses. I don't really care what will get my mom lifting heavy things and sprinting as long as she STARTS DOING IT. Once she does, hey, maybe she'll love it and maybe she'll start going to Crossfit. But if she never gets past a 100 lb back squat she will be doing more than either of us ever expected.
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Last edited by Meghan Reid : 08-02-2010 at 04:19 AM.
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