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

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Old 07-12-2008, 07:25 AM   #21
Jack Gayton
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
but instead might end up doing WiiFit.
I smoked my 6 year old nephew in WiiFit boxing last weekend. I attribute this entirely to my metabolic conditioning.

I just outlasted him.

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Old 07-12-2008, 08:09 AM   #22
Scott Mahn
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

I'm still a novice at fitness and CF, and in truth, while I occasionally do a mainpage WOD, and pull inspiration from CF in all my workouts, I don't think I can call myself a crossfitter.

That said, CF seems great at teaching people what are sound (functional) exercises and the virtues of intensity (be it heavy, fast, or otherwise exhaustive). In short, CF, and it's community, seems fantastic at getting people fit fast. I guess the question becomes, once a person is fit what comes next.

IMO, "constantly varied" certainly allows for time away from CF and inclusion of other modalities without it being in defiance of, or rejection of, CF.

One has to decide for themselves if CF is one of their tools in fitness or their entire tool box.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:14 AM   #23
Wade Smith
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

I'm still in my first year of CF, so I offer my below suggestion with relative noob humility. However, it would be how I would want to see the direction go for me personally if I had to do it over again... turning back the clock for me to last August.

My personal opinion is that the mainpage WOD ought to include a couple different "tracks" possibly based on CFT and maybe a girl or hero or more. Possibly a level score to show ability level to move on.

Track 1: CFWU and Starting Strength
Track 2: Burgener WU and Metcon/Hybrid/MEBB scaled and/or w/ subs. NOT with demeaning names "buttercups and daisies and puppies" and such. Folks need to start somewhere w/o the pressure to begin beyond their ability.
Track 3: Burgener WU and Metcon/Hybrid/MEBB as rx'd
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:19 AM   #24
Dave Campbell
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

I've been "Crossfitting" since 2003. I often do the WOD, but I make up some of my own stuff and occasionally go through power phases. While I don't think CF invented anything, it certainly has redefined working out (at least for me). Prior to CF, I had never combined heavy lifting and sprinting, for instance. I have a hard time going slow now when doing workouts other than CF. For instance, I might be doing heavy deadlifts and I feel like I have to be doing something between sets, so I'll do pull-ups. Those 2 exercises would be done for time in CF, but bodybuilders would just call it supersetting (although they wouldn't time it).

I haven't experienced the burn-out that others have mentioned and I'm 44. CF has introduced me to Ross Inamait, the Performance Menu, and Dan John. It's not the end-all,be-all, but it's damn good. While I feel I could put together a better fitness plan for me, it would require more of my time to achieve those results. In my opinion, that is the real strength of CF: it is very time efficient. In not much more than 15-20 minutes per day, I can keep myself in pretty damn good shape.

In the last week, I've seen just how fit I am compared to the average joe (not the monsters who post here). A buddy of mine took up biking a few years ago to lose weight and get in shape. I actually let him borrow my old bike (which I hadn't ridden in 15 years) to get used to a road bike. He asked me to go for ride with him on the 4th of July. He pushed himself farther than he ever really rides to kinda show off a bit. I could've left him in the dust at any time and later that night he was complaining about his tight legs and lower back. I felt fine. Two days later, my sister-in-law asked if I wanted to run 7 miles with her. She was running a 15K in a week and wondered if I wanted to come along on her training run. She is simply a runner; she doesn't place or even really compete. I hadn't run 7 miles since about 1986 (honest to god) and I always skipped the 10K when they came up on the WOD. I'm naturally built like a runner and it comes easy, but it makes me scrawny and I find it boring, so I don't do it beyond a 5K. I ran with her and she took 7 minutes off her best time. I was taking it easy for her, but it turned out she was running harder to impress me. She was so psyched by her better performance that she asked if I'd run the 15K Boilermaker Race in Utica, NY tomorrow. I agreed so I'm taking a rest day today. I won't set any records (they're aren't many 15K races; this one is a big deal), but I'm sure I'll have no problem even though my "cardio" since 2003 has been in the style of CF.

I could've achieved the same level of fitness without CF. I don't think I'm any fitter now, but I maintain my fitness in much less time. As a father of 3, I can't spend my life working out. I've always been in good shape and was able to straddle the strength/endurance line pretty easily even though I was built more endurance. I was an Ranger (Airborne), 1/75 from 82-85. I now laugh at some of the claimed fitness needs of elite soldiers. We pretty much did standard PT and shorter runs (2-4 miles) with an occasional 10 miler. My platoon played tackle football at least once a week. The idea of a platoon lifting weights or doing a WOD is foreign to me, but I would've liked it. Regardless, the most important strength a soldier needs is mental strength.

I found CF in 2003 when someone on Hardgainer mentioned it. I liked it as it was intense and fit my body type. I know all types do CF, but it seems like it might favor middleweights. I remember back when pull-ups where pretty strict. I have the old CFJ Pull-Up Issue. Not once is kipping mentioned. Kipping seem to come along later when the competition to lower times got crazy.

I was a chef for years and have taught cooking the last 14 years. I like food way too much to eat Zone and I'm too practical to count out 17 almonds for a snack. My fitness/build have probably suffered because of it, but food is one of the great pleasures of my life and I'm willing not to achieve "world class fitness" if it means I can eat what I want. BTW, here's the response to pretty much every zone diet question on this board: "Up the fat blocks!"

The last few years, the CF forum has gotten nuts. A lot of name-calling, cult mentality, and a tendency for any other type of workout to be labeled a copy of Crossfit. I tell alot of people about CF, but warn them to ignore the fanaticism. The quote yesterday from the Navy Captain about CF and the terrible responses by Crossfitters made me ill. I didn't agree with his remarks either, but the responses were out of line. My unit didn't CF either and we were ready to go anywhere, anytime. The original idea of CF was to enhance your ability in other sports/activities, but most now seem to consider CF their sport.

Crossfit is good stuff, damn good stuff. There are other damn good fitness programs too. Crossfit is not everything for everybody.
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Old 07-12-2008, 08:49 AM   #25
Maddie Melnick
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

This thread has helped put CF in perspective for me. I was in the process of becoming a CF "fanatic" and almost religious about it as previous posts have described. Reading these posts has opened my eyes and made me realize that there are definitely other legitimate ways to become fit and that not everyone should do CF. Thanks for starting this thread.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:24 AM   #26
Nick Gagnon
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Jack Gayton View Post
I smoked my 6 year old nephew in WiiFit boxing last weekend. I attribute this entirely to my metabolic conditioning.

I just outlasted him.

It just feels great knowing that you can own little kids.





Personally, I like metcons. Usually heavy metcons. You might get a little stronger and the metabolic effect just scorches fat off your body. So you build a little muscle and your body fat stays low. Couple this with some extra strength work and you will be set. All this can be accomplished without really spending that much time working out,
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:20 AM   #27
Chantal Brien
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

I'm a CF newbie so take the following for what's it's worth.

While I agree that building the elite level of fitness that some CFers aspire to takes far more time and dedication then the average person will, or even should, commit to training, I don't think that this detracts from the value of CF as a general-use training program. Most training programs are essentially watered-down versions of the regimens used by elite athletes and the ability to scale CF makes it very useful for those who want to improve their level of physical fitness but aren't striving to become elite athletes. Brandon stated that you do not need elite fitness for general health, longevity, or "life" (the classic examples of picking up your sofa, going skiing, or responding in an emergency), but while my grandmother might never need the very high level of non-specific conditioning that CF develops, she's also not very likely to put in the kind of work required to achieve that level of fitness. However, an increase in her level of non-specific conditioning would help her live her life as she chooses with a greater degree of independence. I don't think the program needs to be followed, or should be followed, to its ultimate destination in all cases.

While there are other programs that could increase a person's level of physical fitness, CrossFit (IMO) is more fun and engaging than a large number of other programs and therefore increases the potential that similarly minded people will stick with the program long enough to achieve their goals. I do agree with Brandon's point about customizing your program to meet you needs; clearly if your aim is not to develop an increased level of non-specific conditioning then following the WODs is probably not your best option. However, if your goal is to increase your level of GPP, then CF can do that for you.

Brandon, you stated that you thought CF was the best option for anyone too retarded to develop their own personalized GPP program but I think this should be expanded. Developing a program takes time, effort and knowledge. Not everyone's life goals are compatible with dedicating the time required to do this for their fitness. It's not just a question of lacking the mental capacity to develop a program, it's a question whether the effort required to do so would result in a program with benefits substantial enough to merit the time and effort required. While some would argue that 'easier' programs would be better for those who just want to get in better shape, I think CF has an edge over those both in terms of time required and level of mental fitness built. Far too few people actually have something in their lives that pushes them to find and expand their limits; one of CFs major strong points is that it forces people to do this. I think that's one of the reasons that so many of the women on the boards describe CF as being empowering. I also think that the benefits of the healthy competition, both virtual and at group workouts, shouldn't be overlooked. While this can be built into other programs, CF's format lends itself to adding an element of competition and this is helpful for many people.

I am strongly in agreement with those who feel that there is far too much name-calling/talking down to people outside the CF community on the boards. CF was built as an open-source program and derives a lot of its strength by incorporating aspects that worked well from other fitness communities. Continued growth and improvement is likely to be stagnated if people refuse to consider the positive aspects of other groups and 'outsiders' who could potentially have contributed to further improvement and thoughtful discussion will be driven away by the hostility they encounter.

I'm going to keep mulling this one over. Thanks for the food for thought Brandon.
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:43 AM   #28
Jared Ashley
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

I've seen it said before... bottom line: CF is a state of mind, it is NOT the WOD. Even Coach says so. And, so long as the goals are similar and implemented in an intellegent, effective manner, non-CF programs can be just as good (i.e. Rosstraining). Why? Because if you took an Rosstraining workout and made it the WOD, nobody would notice (and vice-versa)!

In today's computer-jockey world, almost nobody NEEDS to be in the kind of shape that CF is designed for. I don't... do you? It could be argued that even the exceptions (firefighters, military, police, ect) really don't NEED it, because after all there are a whole lot of unhealthy people in those professions who do "just fine". Yeah, they get injured more, might end up on disibility, might even end up dead early... but that's their choice. And while the odds of actually getting killed early because you're a fat firefighter are substantially higher than if you're a metcon beast, they aren't THAT high... really, they're pretty low compared to say the odds of a shorter lifespan due to smoking or eating like crap every day.

So... the WOD is nothing more and nothing less than what Coach says it is: One implementation of the Crossfit Method that is designed to be effective for a wide variety of people. Some people follow the WOD as posted because:

- They're new and still figuring it out
- They're not smart enough (or don't think they are) to make up their own
- They don't have specific goals
- They ARE smart enough to make up their own, but choose not to.... they've got kids, careers, ect and the WOD does an excellent job. "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"
- Lots of others follow it and the competitive aspect makes them push harder (an EXCELLENT reason IMO)

There are many more reasons. Some people, like Brandon and myself, make modifications because:

- They've got specific goals that must be addressed
- They think they're smarter than Coach
- They have short attention spans and get bored easily
- Their goals change
- They have an OCD need to constantly tweak things
- They don't really like authority

and again many more reasons. I'll admit that I have parts of all of the above.

Regarding using scaled CF for "decent fitness" I say go for it. I'd rather see somebody doing puppies-level BrandX 3 days a week than hitting the machines at bally's and then doing 20 minutes of 65% HR "cardio" on the elliptical. Not everyone wants to be "elite" 'cause they're just not that Type A, super-competitive massochistic testostrone-laden marine. Fine with me. Watered-down CF is still CF, so long as that person understands they're going to get "ok" results to go along with their "ok" effort. Most of us I think aren't really trying to be "elite" in the OPT or Josh Everett sense. I'm not... so compared to them my CF is pretty watered down, in intensity if not in weight, reps, or time. But I've still got a 6:02 mile, 2x BW squat, 30+ kipping pullups, and 20 rounds of cindy. "Elite"? hell no! In better shape than almost everyone I know and 99%+ of the general population? Unquestionably!

Oh and Chris... YES, CF should put up scaled workouts (BrandX or otherwise) on the main-page! The main-page scares almost everybody, and having BrandX in the menu bar under "start here" is NOT in-your-face enough for most people to notice. You could call it "Novice, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced" or something a little less ego-crushing than "buttercups".
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:56 AM   #29
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

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Originally Posted by Chantal Brien View Post
Most training programs are essentially watered-down versions of the regimens used by elite athletes and the ability to scale CF makes it very useful for those who want to improve their level of physical fitness but aren't striving to become elite athletes.
But how would you scale CrossFit to a lower intensity? I've never seen a model for this. We scale weight if you can't lift it, we scale reps if you can't do that many pullups, but no matter what, you're still supposed to do the workout as hard as possible. It's not like a "Half Cindy" is twice as easy as Cindy.

It's a serious question. In what way could we scale CF to reduce intensity?

One idea I heard (thanks Brian D.) is the use of intervals. For example, a few rounds of Cindy, rest x minutes, repeat a certain number of times.

And obviously fewer metcon days a week is an option, and seems to be what's being tried by folks like Gant and Dr. G with their hybrid programs.

Quote:
While some would argue that 'easier' programs would be better for those who just want to get in better shape, I think CF has an edge over those both in terms of time required and level of mental fitness built. Far too few people actually have something in their lives that pushes them to find and expand their limits; one of CFs major strong points is that it forces people to do this. I think that's one of the reasons that so many of the women on the boards describe CF as being empowering. I also think that the benefits of the healthy competition, both virtual and at group workouts, shouldn't be overlooked. While this can be built into other programs, CF's format lends itself to adding an element of competition and this is helpful for many people.
This is fair enough. However, I think that while this appeals to many, it turns off just as many, and so by making it an intrinsic part of the program it becomes intrinsically the wrong program for anyone who isn't after such things.

To be honest, even if you do like the challenge, the competition, etc., do you like it so much that you can see yourself doing this -- this same program -- for the rest of your life?
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:02 PM   #30
Brandon Oto
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Re: My current position on CF WoDs

Jared, I don't disagree with most of that (although as I said I believe outright that the current CF programming has too much metcon, no matter how hardcore someone wants to be), but the idea that CrossFit is "not the main page WoD" is this kind of advanced secret that you don't find out unless you spend a lot of time on these forums, or wherever. Look, you go to the website and you see a big workout plastered on the front page. Lots of information is available on how to properly do these workouts. If you go to an affiliate they'll have you doing that workout, or a different but equivalent one. The front page WoD is clearly, obviously the touchstone of CrossFit for the vast majority of CFers not as deeply involved in the community as us. Where are you supposed to find out that you can do something else?

I agree that "CrossFit is not the WoD" in the sense that it SHOULDN'T be, but I disagree in the sense that, for all intents and purposes, for the majority of people, it is.
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