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

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Old 08-19-2014, 02:06 AM   #1
Alex Burden
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Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

There are an awful lot of average Joe's of all ages and then we have the elite few.

So my question is .. if possible to answer....

How do we know when we have performed something really well?

Example - Grace
What would you call a good time, a great time or a fantastic time?

The elite few can bang it out in 1min to 1:20 but I did it for the first time in 4min flat.

But how do we the average Joe's know what is a good time or not when we perform in any WOD or 1 rep max.

For breaking in barriers in time and weight is made easier knowing what they represent.
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Old 08-19-2014, 03:48 AM   #2
Ludovic Deguy
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

Crossfit Seattle tried to define 4 levels a few years ago : beginner / intermediate / advanced / elite.

WFS
http://crossfitseattle.com/wp-conten...preadsheet.pdf

You may disagree with some numbers here and there, but it is a good starting point.


IMHO a 4mn Grace is very good. A lot of crossfitters can't do it as prescribed in a reasonable amount of time (<10mn).
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Old 08-19-2014, 05:59 AM   #3
Richard Colon
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Burden View Post
How do we know when we have performed something really well?
This has nothing to do with your time on a workout, but that is a long conversation for another time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Burden View Post
But how do we the average Joe's know what is a good time or not when we perform in any WOD or 1 rep max.
I usually just google it. You can find various affiliates that have "standards" like the Crossfit Seattle referenced mentioned but with a google search you will find various other sites and links to standards, averages, etc. As for me, I just try and find out who Rich Froning did on the workout. Then the goal is to get double that time or 1/2 as many rounds. I've found it to be kinda close on many things. Strength wise, I'm A LOT closer.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:32 AM   #4
Andrew Bell
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

There are sites like beyond the white board that track workouts on a bigger level. Back in the old days, you would post in the comments section of mainpage. Those were glorious days.
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Old 08-19-2014, 08:17 AM   #5
Dakota Base
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

The realities of this type of thing:

Comparing yourself to an Elite level athlete is rarely productive, but especially so in a diverse substrate like Crossfit.

1) All athletes have their strengths, all have their weaknesses, so you might be close in one component of fitness, but lacking in another. For example, I have a powerlifting & WL background, so I'm not THAT far off from many of the Games guys in terms of 1RM's. In recent years, I've been training for endurance triathlon (70.3 & 140.6mi) and marathons, so now when I compare my own performance in something like the Triple 3's, it was kinda embarrassing to see Froning WALKING within the first half mile. But even though my 1RM's aren't THAT far behind his, and my slow twitch endurance is likely larger than his at this time, obviously I won't put down a Grace or Fran time, or even manage my way through Frantasy Land, anywhere near what Froning can handle.

2) Scaling yourself using some system of modifiers compared to someone grossly better than you is trivial. What defines "Average Joe?" If you start adding modifiers to your standards, you'll be able to justify anything. If you hold Froning's performance up as the "gold standard - but unattainable for an Average Joe," then it's just a quick jump to say that YOUR performance "isn't Froning level, but it's good for an Average Joe." Then the next extension is, "but it's good for a 40yr old Average Joe." And then, "but it's good for a 40yr old Average Joe that has only been training for 3yrs..." He11, you could eventually find yourself saying that your performance was, "pretty good compared to Froning for a 40yr old Tax Accountant with 4 kids that suffered a high school knee injury from playing tennis, that has only been doing Crossfit in his garage for 3yrs and doesn't do any strength training, lives in the Pacific Northwest, and drives an SUV." Where do the modifiers stop?

3) Looking to the top isn't fruitful. Fitness is a non-linear spectrum. If someone can run a 5k 20% faster than you, it doesn't mean they'll be universally 20% better across all components, and it doesn't mean that all folks within that demographic should be anywhere related to 20% better than all folks within your own.

4) Looking to the top necessary. Looking side to side is all you need. If you can define your demographic, there are plenty of standards out there. If Crossfitters have a stereotype that's classically true, it's arrogance (myself included, although I don't classify myself as a Crossfitter in the least). Crossfitters post results online like crazy!!! All you have to do is google what workout you do and "how's my time?" and you'll find tons of hits.
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Old 08-19-2014, 11:51 AM   #6
Philipp Lendner
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

Well, the easiest way to say you performed really well is to go against yourself, which means that if you retest a workout and you can do it in less time/more rounds in the same time/with more weight you performed well (this is the concept of relative intensity). The good thing about this point of view is that it acknowledges your individual strength and weaknesses.

But to answer your question (the concept of absolute intensity): this has become a problem, because the elite Crossfiter are actually doing totally different workouts than the rest of us. Grace has become a matter of speed (try to do Grace with a pvc-pipe in 1:02 - not easy), some of the things these guys and girls do are just not possible for the majority of us (Frantasyland). The only possibility to rank yourself is competitions with as many participants as the Open, because there are going to be people from all kinds of levels.

The last thing you have to say is that there are in fact big differences for same workouts even within the very best (e. g. Albert-Dominic Larouche has a 2:41 Fran, Cody Anderson a 1:55 Grace). I know that those workouts are a "weakness" for these guys, but hey, even they are just human beings.
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Old 08-19-2014, 02:17 PM   #7
Lance Neumeyer
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

From Beyond the Whiteboard; out of 21,848 total results for RX between men and women (number on the left is the percentile) so 4:00 would put you just above the 50th percentile for those men doing RX. Keep in mind that these are skewed a bit towards higher level crossfitters; and it's only for those doing RX - so including all RX and non-RX you are likely well above average.

Prescribed
Men Women
(mins) (mins)
99 1:43 1:57
95 2:09 2:30
90 2:27 2:52
80 2:53 3:23
75 3:04 3:36
60 3:41 4:13
50 4:05 4:39
40 4:36 5:05
25 5:32 6:00
20 5:59 6:28
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Old 08-19-2014, 04:29 PM   #8
Steven Wingo
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

I tend to think comparing yourself to others is much more complex than just looking at average times.

If you do Grace in 4:00, and your form looks impeccable so that you have Level 1 staff members giving you the thumbs up and shaking your hand, how does that compare to someone who did it in 3:45 but their form was terrible with a poor position for the start of the clean, pulling with the arms, and shoulders rolled forward in the overhead position with a hyperextended spine? I'd say you are clearly the better CrossFitter despite having a time which is 15 seconds slower.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:37 PM   #9
Alex Burden
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

Allot of really good comments and I am not going through all of them

No matter who we are we do compare to something or someone, its in our nature. As in the spread sheet it would be nice to know if we are well rounded beginners, intermediate athletes, advanced athletes or an elite athlete.

CF HQ has a list of world records for different WODs and it would be great if they published it.

I have been doing CF for a year now and I am 44 and have trained all of my life so I have moved on from the days of a 1 rep max (at my best when I was 22) so having other goals and times to compare gives me the inspiration. I train at a globo but they have bought in Rogue gear and the whole 5 yards which makes it even more exciting everyday but also means they have seen something in CF.

I always compare my WODs and try to beat them and I did all of the open work outs which was really good because I had something to compare too... and being above the 45th percentile in the world (for my age) was great.

Maybe this is something for CF HQ to look into in the future.... we can log times and see where we are in the future but also track how CF is evolving, even they have seen a massive change over the past 3-4 years.

I think just knowing if i have done something really well would be fantastic.
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Old 08-19-2014, 10:58 PM   #10
Mauricio Leal
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Re: Average Joe vs the Elite few - when do we know we are good at something?

Beyond the Whiteboard is probably as good as it is going to get for a long time. The main problem with self-reported data (besides dishonesty, bad reps, etc.) is the selection bias. Those who report their scores on websites are a very small subset of people. There are probably more CrossFitters that can't even squat to depth than people who can Rx a single benchmark workout.

I would guess that those who regularly track on BTW are mostly in the upper middle class of "exercisers" since they're proud enough of their abilities to report at all. This may diminish over time as more gyms encourage diligent tracking at all levels, but the cohort who can actually do Rx level workouts will be even smaller as a result, further skewing the meaning of the percentiles.
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