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

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Old 07-23-2008, 11:32 AM   #1
Rob Lorenzini
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Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

I have a background in science. I worked as a Microbiologist in a lab while in college, I have a graduate degree (MS) and for about 4 years after graduating from undergrad I worked in a lab doing studies etc… therefore I find empirical data very convincing.

In the Evidence based fitness lecture from CrossFit Journal 64 Coach Glassman discusses how CrossFit is “evidence based fitness”. In the lecture he also discusses a number of outstanding methods one could use to derive empirical data on how the CrossFit methodology is truly superior, he also discussed the anecdote about the Canadian military. The lecture is outstanding and very convincing. My question is where is the empirical data to prove his claims?

Personally my experience with CrossFit has been life changing; my fitness level is incredible right now, not to mention my blood chemistry profile…. I record all my workouts and have seen incredible improvement. But really this is a single case and anecdotal at best.

CrossFit is the best methodology I have used but frankly the anecdotal claims, before and after photos etc… are also out there for P90X, Body-For-Life and all kinds of other crap that one can find in the fitness industry.

Are there any published studies which are specific to the CrossFit methodology? Are there any papers or published documents discussing improvements that occurred between cohorts of individuals following different methods and following the CrossFit method? Is the anecdote about the Canadian military written up anywhere in detail?
 
Old 07-23-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
Anthony Bainbridge
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

There are studies that prove foundational pieces (lifting heavy things will make you stronger, etc), but there are no "official" studies that take into account the entire system, structure, nutrition, etc.
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:53 AM   #3
Bill Patton
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

one of my dreams (nightmares maybe) is that the data that logsitall.com is accumulating (32,000 workouts over the past several months) will someday be used to answer this (and other questions like it) by identifying correlations between performance across a variety of activities and measurable health benefits and/or performance in other categories.

The logic would be this:
1. identify people who consistently show up in the top percentiles in a variety of crossfit related activities
2. look to see how this same group compares against those who have not performed any crossfit activities against a wide variety of measures.

There is an obvious bias possible - in that cf'er are a self selecting group who are much more likely to be fit than those who haven't any interest in CF - but i'm betting that there will be a way to account for this statistically.

if you or anyone would like to be involved in this approach - i'd welcome thoughts/contributions. We have a variety of XML feeds available that can be used to perform external analysis. Currently in proto is a system based on so called "fuzzy logic" that is starting to look for these correlations - so far we are restricting input too much for the data to be meaningful - but we believe in the next couple of months we may have something of use for the community at large.

regards,
-bill patton (stats fiend, former physics geek and logsitall.com guy)
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:10 PM   #4
Brian Bedell
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

Just my two cents, but all these discussions about the "scientific" proof of cf's value are a lil silly. It's just a program that people like and that seems to work for most, beyond that it's like trying to prove that exercising more and eating better is good for you. It's pretty obvious. I think if the people doubting CF did more CF'ing and spent less time trying to prove CF, they'd come to their own conclusions. IMO
 
Old 07-23-2008, 01:24 PM   #5
Gant Grimes
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

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Originally Posted by Brian Bedell View Post
Just my two cents, but all these discussions about the "scientific" proof of cf's value are a lil silly. It's just a program that people like and that seems to work for most, beyond that it's like trying to prove that exercising more and eating better is good for you. It's pretty obvious. I think if the people doubting CF did more CF'ing and spent less time trying to prove CF, they'd come to their own conclusions. IMO
If the question relates to the effectiveness of CF, then you're right. However, as Rob pointed out, CF touts itself as "evidence-based fitness" and has made many claims about what CF athletes can do compared to other athletes. If you're going to promote yourself as an evidence-based program, it's not inappropriate to ask for a little evidence, is it?
 
Old 07-23-2008, 01:26 PM   #6
Scott Mahn
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

There is a problem with perfectionsism. It's not enough to enjoy something and get good to great results from it, some people need to be certain they are doing "The Best" program, as if there is such a thing.

And imagine the conundrum they face if they get great results from program A and enjoy it but program B tests better yet their results are less compelling and they hate it? How do they reconcile the science?

Diet and excercise work... if one does the work. Find the diet and program that satisfy you enough to maintain it and give you the results your looking for. That will be the best program.
 
Old 07-23-2008, 01:54 PM   #7
Gant Grimes
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

Here we go again.

***

CF: "This is evidence based fitness."

Newb: "Cool. I like it and have improved my fitness immensely. By the way, where is this evidence you speak of?"

CF Community dog-pile: "You don't need to stinking evidence! Shut up and enjoy your elite fitness!"

Newb: "Okay, I was just wondering if there was anything to back up the claim that..."

CF Community dog-pile: "When the great flood comes and you have to stack 90# sandbags over your head, the BBers will be washed away. Only you and have your family will live. The earth will be repopulated with CFers and everyone else will burn in hell."
 
Old 07-23-2008, 02:08 PM   #8
Nick Hanson
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Here we go again.

***

CF: "This is evidence based fitness."

Newb: "Cool. I like it and have improved my fitness immensely. By the way, where is this evidence you speak of?"

CF Community dog-pile: "You don't need to stinking evidence! Shut up and enjoy your elite fitness!"

Newb: "Okay, I was just wondering if there was anything to back up the claim that..."

CF Community dog-pile: "When the great flood comes and you have to stack 90# sandbags over your head, the BBers will be washed away. Only you and have your family will live. The earth will be repopulated with CFers and everyone else will burn in hell."
hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
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Old 07-23-2008, 02:15 PM   #9
Scott Mahn
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

Gant, coach makes some claims I consider little more than slogans or hype. But for people who've been on these boards for a while, is their any doubt that if one does functional exercises 5 days per week and eats a great diet it'll be "effective"?

I have zero problem with someone asking what is the evidence coach speaks of; but is there a certain "Scientific Study" that needs to be produced? Do the hundreds of satisfied customers who post here daily (and their logs) not constitute body of evidence? Or what if coach is speaking from 20 years coaching experience? Does his experience count for nothing? I'm just asking.

I too hate when the kool-aid crew comes out and piles on whenever a valid question is asked, I just don't get why this question comes up so frequently here, even among long time posters. For instance, how often does Rip get asked for "evidence" his program works? Not often, the testimonials speak for themselves. Why is it that for his program the legions of satisfied customers speaks for itself ,but for CF it's always as if it can't really work, so there must be an inside angle.

It's just 5 days per week of solid exercises - what's there to be so incredulous about? I mean even in the event it's not the greatest, or someone can "prove" it's no better than a 4 day split routine and treadmills, does that mean it hasn't been effective for the people who find themselves more motivated to do it because it works better for them and they like it?

I don't know, if it's just a question about what is coach's evidence, why not an email to coach?

Last edited by Scott Mahn; 07-23-2008 at 02:20 PM..
 
Old 07-23-2008, 02:37 PM   #10
Alexander Kornishev
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Re: Studies to confirm/prove CrossFit efficacy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post
Here we go again.

***

CF: "This is evidence based fitness."

Newb: "Cool. I like it and have improved my fitness immensely. By the way, where is this evidence you speak of?"

CF Community dog-pile: "You don't need to stinking evidence! Shut up and enjoy your elite fitness!"

Newb: "Okay, I was just wondering if there was anything to back up the claim that..."

CF Community dog-pile: "When the great flood comes and you have to stack 90# sandbags over your head, the BBers will be washed away. Only you and have your family will live. The earth will be repopulated with CFers and everyone else will burn in hell."

this is the funniest comment ever...
on the other hand, would the program work if it was not "evidence based"?
maybe it should be changed to self-evident...
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