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

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Old 01-23-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
Paul Weston
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Crossfit Games

I have read and heard many of the words and videos describing what the Crossfit games and "fittest person" title is supposed to mean. I watched the video today about the crossfit games and p90X and it leads to many questions in which I wonder if people are interested in discussing.

They are inviting people to show "your **** works or it doesn't." Has anyone gone to the crossfit games using other "****." From what I'm understanding they are saying the winner of the crossfit games proves that crossfit works best. And all the winners of the games are crossfitters. But what does that mean? Did the winner of the last games follow the crossfit.com wods in their training? If they did not, then is that still crossfit? If they did not, how then can you say your "**** works." If you win the games and follow your own program, which includes squat, clean, snatch, sprints, interval work, box jumps, push ups...then what has that proved for crossfit? I guess a separate question is where does crossfit and non-crossfit work outs differ? When are you no longer doing crossfit? If you do P90X and some crossfit wods, because after all, you are going to the crossfit games and that's what you will be competing in, are you now a p90X'r or a crossfitter?

"We are going to prove it scientifically." I just don't see how this is possible. For that matter how can you prove the winner of the 1st crossfit games is any fitter then the winner of the 4th. Every time is different work outs, different locations, different standards, different every thing. You have to repeat work outs under the same conditions in order to even begin to prove anything. There is no way to prove any crossfit games winner of any year is fitter then any other, let alone "fittest in the world."

These are just some thoughts that came up watching the video, and I'm interested in hearing other opinions.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:22 AM   #2
CJ Kim
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Re: Crossfit Games

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
Did the winner of the last games follow the crossfit.com wods in their training?
It doesn't look like it. http://games2010.crossfit.com/blog/2...-holmberg,637/ (safe)

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
If they did not, then is that still crossfit?
Depends on how closely they followed the core principles of Crossfit.

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
If you win the games and follow your own program, which includes squat, clean, snatch, sprints, interval work, box jumps, push ups...then what has that proved for crossfit?
Again, it would depend on how closely you were following Crossfit. Crossfit isn't just about the exercises, some are fairly unique but a lot of people do the stuff you listed above. It's more about how it's put together into a program.

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
I guess a separate question is where does crossfit and non-crossfit work outs differ?
Crossfit is constantly varied, functional movements performed at high intensity. Our specialty is in not specializing.

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
When are you no longer doing crossfit?
When you get too far from the above principles. If your programming is too specific, or it repeats exercises and set/rep schemes, or it follows a traditional periodization plan then it is not Crossfit.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:58 AM   #3
Adam Carlson
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Re: Crossfit Games

Paul, these are all very good questions, and they do need to be asked.

CF is more of a philosophy of fitness combined with principles. If an affiliate creates their own WOD, it is still CrossFit even if it isn't featured on the mainsite. Timed workouts and such are typically looked at as 'that is what CF is all about', but that isn't the case either. It's the combination of 'constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intensity'+'moving large loads across long distances'+'increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains'. P90x is a video series that is repeated over and over again, and while (from my understanding) the workouts are varied during the time using the program, the program is the same overall.

Doing P90x will make you fitter than if you did nothing at all. It will help you get 'shredded', since that is the main focus. Yes, you will see strength gains and such too. BUT, doing only p90x will make you very good at doing p90x. It will have some carryover, but not quite the same as what we are trying to go for. Have we achieved the perfect training yet? Nope, but I think we're working hard towards it.

As for the science behind it, if you make things a standard, then you can train for that standard, specialize to that standard, and then be lost in everything else.

What I'm looking forward to seeing is who will be the first to repeat as a champion, and who will be the first to pull off winning multiple times in a ten year period. That person would have very serious rights to 'fittest man/woman' on the planet.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:46 AM   #4
Shane Skowron
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Re: Crossfit Games

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Originally Posted by CJ Kim View Post
Crossfit isn't just about the exercises, some are fairly unique but a lot of people do the stuff you listed above. It's more about how it's put together into a program. When you get too far from the above principles. If your programming is too specific, or it repeats exercises and set/rep schemes, or it follows a traditional periodization plan then it is not Crossfit.
Can you explain in a quantifiable, evidence-based way how you determine whether a program is "Crossfit" or "not Crossfit"?
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:16 AM   #5
James Withington
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Re: Crossfit Games

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
I have read and heard many of the words and videos describing what the Crossfit games and "fittest person" title is supposed to mean. I watched the video today about the crossfit games and p90X and it leads to many questions in which I wonder if people are interested in discussing.

They are inviting people to show "your **** works or it doesn't." Has anyone gone to the crossfit games using other "****." From what I'm understanding they are saying the winner of the crossfit games proves that crossfit works best. And all the winners of the games are crossfitters. But what does that mean? Did the winner of the last games follow the crossfit.com wods in their training? If they did not, then is that still crossfit? If they did not, how then can you say your "**** works." If you win the games and follow your own program, which includes squat, clean, snatch, sprints, interval work, box jumps, push ups...then what has that proved for crossfit? I guess a separate question is where does crossfit and non-crossfit work outs differ? When are you no longer doing crossfit? If you do P90X and some crossfit wods, because after all, you are going to the crossfit games and that's what you will be competing in, are you now a p90X'r or a crossfitter?

"We are going to prove it scientifically." I just don't see how this is possible. For that matter how can you prove the winner of the 1st crossfit games is any fitter then the winner of the 4th. Every time is different work outs, different locations, different standards, different every thing. You have to repeat work outs under the same conditions in order to even begin to prove anything. There is no way to prove any crossfit games winner of any year is fitter then any other, let alone "fittest in the world."

These are just some thoughts that came up watching the video, and I'm interested in hearing other opinions.
The Crossfit Games winner will be the person who, on that particular weekend, is the best Crossfitter. Calling anybody 'fittest man/woman on earth' is just a nonsense. It's un-provable and un-quantifyable (think i just made that word up!).

Are the Crossfit Games winners going to be exceptionally fit athletes? Yes, of course they will be. But can you say with any confidence that they are fitter than the Olympic Decathlon/Heptathlon gold medallists. No, of course you can't. And there are dozens of other athletes from different disciplines and sports all over the world that are equally exceptional at what they do.

Saying 'our athletes are the fittest in the world' makes for great publicity, and the debate over who's the greatest athlete are great topics of debate down at the pub, but it's just hot air as far as I'm concerned. The question of who is the fittest man/woman on earth is unanswerable.

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Originally Posted by CJ Kim View Post
If your programming is too specific, or it repeats exercises and set/rep schemes, or it follows a traditional periodization plan then it is not Crossfit.
So all those Games competitors that use classic, periodized strength training along with their conditioning workouts are no longer Crossfitters? Or those that choose to focus on certain aspects of their armoury (gymnastics/oly lfting etc) for certain months of the year, ie plan and periodize their training year, are no longer Crossfitters?

'Periodization' simply means planning your training. And if you don't approach your training with any sense of planning or forethought and just do whatever the hell you want or whatever a website tells you to do, then you're crazy and will progress slowly and poorly with your training.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:05 AM   #6
Tamara Cohen
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Re: Crossfit Games

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Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Can you explain in a quantifiable, evidence-based way how you determine whether a program is "Crossfit" or "not Crossfit"?
If that was possible, I think it would solve a lot of problems.

Alas, it is impossible.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:45 AM   #7
Justin Z. Smith
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Thumbs up Re: Crossfit Games

Here's some related info about the decathlon that may apply to CrossFit as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decathlon

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The modern event is a set combination of athletic disciplines, testing an individual's strength, speed, stamina, endurance and perseverance; it includes five events on each of two successive days. The emphasis of the first day is on speed, explosive power, and jumping ability; the second emphasizes technique and endurance...
and

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The decathlete does not have to be amazing in all events to be a champion in the sport itself. But he must range from adequate in his weak events to good or better in the other skills. Because he must do well in the four runs and six field events, he has little opportunity to perfect any one event. A decathlete trying to improve performance in one specific event is likely to deteriorate in another, because the physical demands of the various events are conflicting. His training is necessarily different as he strives to improve all techniques, gain strength without losing speed, and acquire the stamina to perform through a competition that lasts anywhere from 4 to 12 hours per day during the Olympics.
So a 100+ year history, title of "World's Greatest Athlete", the Olympics, international recognition, major $, and can measure issues of specialization vs generalization.

Justin
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:11 AM   #8
Paul Weston
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Re: Crossfit Games

That information about the decathlon speaks to the point presented in the video, "We are going to prove it scientifically."

As I said before no one has any idea, or can prove that crossfit games winner 2007 is any fitter or has more capacity then crossfit games winner 2011. (Let alone the world) Every variable for every event changes, making measuring in any meaningful way difficult to say the least. The decathlon has set distances, rules, allowable competition conditions. You can very easily see where Brain Clays gold medal ranks amongst his peers. Even "testing" the same workouts from the crossfit games will not give you any meaningful data, since conditions, location, time of day, preparation time, prior knowledge of events...will all be different.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:22 AM   #9
Rebecca Roth
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Re: Crossfit Games

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Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
That information about the decathlon speaks to the point presented in the video, "We are going to prove it scientifically."

As I said before no one has any idea, or can prove that crossfit games winner 2007 is any fitter or has more capacity then crossfit games winner 2011. (Let alone the world) Every variable for every event changes, making measuring in any meaningful way difficult to say the least. The decathlon has set distances, rules, allowable competition conditions. You can very easily see where Brain Clays gold medal ranks amongst his peers. Even "testing" the same workouts from the crossfit games will not give you any meaningful data, since conditions, location, time of day, preparation time, prior knowledge of events...will all be different.
The variation there is that the CF Games intends to test the adaptability to perform in unforseen circumstances. If the games worked similar to other athletic events with set/predetermined movements, then it a) would no longer measure the athletes adaptability, b) would allow athletes to train those movements exclusively, subverting the intent of the program (to not specialize).
That said, I agree that the "fittest on earth" designation is certainly overblow and highly subjective (which has been discussed to death), but I don't feel strongly for or against the mode of competition though. I see it as an enjoyable, interesting, and unique competition, that certainly results in winners who are extremely fit and exceptionally well rounded athletes.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:46 AM   #10
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Crossfit Games

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Weston View Post
I have read and heard many of the words and videos describing what the Crossfit games and "fittest person" title is supposed to mean. I watched the video today about the crossfit games and p90X and it leads to many questions in which I wonder if people are interested in discussing.

They are inviting people to show "your **** works or it doesn't." Has anyone gone to the crossfit games using other "****." From what I'm understanding they are saying the winner of the crossfit games proves that crossfit works best. And all the winners of the games are crossfitters. But what does that mean? Did the winner of the last games follow the crossfit.com wods in their training? If they did not, then is that still crossfit? If they did not, how then can you say your "**** works." If you win the games and follow your own program, which includes squat, clean, snatch, sprints, interval work, box jumps, push ups...then what has that proved for crossfit? I guess a separate question is where does crossfit and non-crossfit work outs differ? When are you no longer doing crossfit? If you do P90X and some crossfit wods, because after all, you are going to the crossfit games and that's what you will be competing in, are you now a p90X'r or a crossfitter?

"We are going to prove it scientifically." I just don't see how this is possible. For that matter how can you prove the winner of the 1st crossfit games is any fitter then the winner of the 4th. Every time is different work outs, different locations, different standards, different every thing. You have to repeat work outs under the same conditions in order to even begin to prove anything. There is no way to prove any crossfit games winner of any year is fitter then any other, let alone "fittest in the world."

These are just some thoughts that came up watching the video, and I'm interested in hearing other opinions.
Quit while you're ahead...Think of it like a religion...

You are whatever religion you are if you say you are that religion...Now can you be a buddhist and not meditate...?

Can you be a Christian and not read the Bible...?

Can you be a Crossfitter and never do METCON's...?

The right is going to say no, the left is going to allow for lee-way.

To your question about which Games competitor is fitter, you have something there...it's like any other sport...Which NCAA football team is better the '91 Univ of Wa Huskies or the '04 USC Trojans...cool debate but everyone is going to have loyalties to whoever they previously had loyalties too...

The bottom-line, and I hate to be harsh, but your questions have no merit. It's a good way to get people spun up on internet boards...okay...sure...But in the end, you are questioning a marketing slogan. Can you really have it your way at Burger King...? Are you really in good hands with Allstate...? Is the CF Games winner really the fittest in the world...why would we debate that?

Of course the internet weenies (like me) that love to internet argue, over internet BS are going to say it's different with CF...but it's not. But they'll say it is, and around and around this thread will go...to the same conclusion as all the other threads about the same exact topic...eventually this thread will be logged away taking up virtual space for only the most bored of individual to dig up. Then in about 3 or 4 months, someone else, with coincendentally, about 10 posts on this message board will bring up the SAME EXACT questions again.
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Last edited by Aushion Chatman : 01-24-2011 at 11:52 AM.
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