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

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Old 06-15-2009, 05:00 PM   #61
Ryan Whitley
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Robert D Taylor Jr View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical (WFS) definition of empirical. (Not intended to be condescending, just establishing a baseline for the term.)

Now I refer you to the studies involving the Canadian Forces implementation of CF, and the BUD/s 1st phase implementation of CF (by name not "ish") which are easily available on this site. I don't expect you to accept this, I'm sure it's not scientific enough, but it is indeed empirical proof.
It is not empirical proof...it might be an empirical observation, though. Neither of your examples are what I would consider scientific. Here are a few reasons:

1. Lack of any type or variation of implementing the scientific method.
2. Too small of a sample to derive any real information.
3. Lack of a control group.
4. Lack in uniformity among subjects (people) being tested.
5. Lack of a test used to prove that there is a "significant difference" between control and test group that falls within statistical significance.
6. No evidence that the test can be repeated and expected to have the same results.

That is why what you have cited is merely anecdotal evidence...which isn't really a bad thing.
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Old 06-15-2009, 05:15 PM   #62
Sean J Hunter
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

agreed
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Old 06-15-2009, 07:53 PM   #63
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Ryan Whitley View Post
It is not empirical proof...it might be an empirical observation, though. Neither of your examples are what I would consider scientific. Here are a few reasons:

1. Lack of any type or variation of implementing the scientific method.
2. Too small of a sample to derive any real information.
3. Lack of a control group.
4. Lack in uniformity among subjects (people) being tested.
5. Lack of a test used to prove that there is a "significant difference" between control and test group that falls within statistical significance.
6. No evidence that the test can be repeated and expected to have the same results.

That is why what you have cited is merely anecdotal evidence...which isn't really a bad thing.
Ryan,
In the absence of a double blind scientific study this is what we've got. two fairly large groups of people demonstrating similar results. One had a control group running concurrently, the other has 40 years of control group. I'd say the BUD/s injury rate is fairly telling,they all met a similar standard prior to starting, to the point where as I look at your list, I would say they were met.

Sigh. I knew it wouldn't be sciency enough.
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:46 PM   #64
Michael Bruce Mailman
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert D Taylor Jr View Post
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empirical (WFS) definition of empirical. (Not intended to be condescending, just establishing a baseline for the term.)

Now I refer you to the studies involving the Canadian Forces implementation of CF, and the BUD/s 1st phase implementation of CF (by name not "ish") which are easily available on this site. I don't expect you to accept this, I'm sure it's not scientific enough, but it is indeed empirical proof.
Hey Ryan,

Like Ryan, I don't agree it's "sciency" enough to prove much, but that info does provide some initial indications re injury rates anyway.

Cheers for going to the trouble of providing the info.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:01 PM   #65
Andrew H. Meador
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

You can't control for motivation...


Also consider this: VO2 max is not even the leading indicator of endurance event results. Movement efficiency is at least as effective an indicator. And maximal power in a movement breeds greater efficiency. The most important lesson I've learned from CF is that power derived in complicated, functional movements like gymnastics and olympic lifting is highly transferable across the spectrum of time and mode, to the point that with some concurrent training across the energy systems by means of short, intense metcons, one can achieve a very broad physical capacity. It is because I am training my weaknesses, not my strengths, that I am becoming more capable across a variety of different pathways and exercises, from activities as varied as max deadlifts, 5 mile runs, marathon ruck marches, wrestling, sprinting, rowing, and rope climbing. It isn't the snatch, the front squat, box jumps, rope jumping, pull-ups, or rowing that I'm training for, it's the demands of life. Some of us have jobs where our fitness can literally mean the difference between living and dying, and I'm sure as hell not going to trust the results of a microscopically-specific laboratory result such as a cycling ergometer VO2 max to indicate whether I'm fit for the job.
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:48 AM   #66
Ryan Whitley
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Robert D Taylor Jr View Post
Ryan,
In the absence of a double blind scientific study this is what we've got. two fairly large groups of people demonstrating similar results. One had a control group running concurrently, the other has 40 years of control group. I'd say the BUD/s injury rate is fairly telling,they all met a similar standard prior to starting, to the point where as I look at your list, I would say they were met.

Sigh. I knew it wouldn't be sciency enough.
I am not saying that either of your examples are invalid. I am simply stating that they don't provide empirical evidence. Double blind (or preferably, triple blind) scientific study would be the best, but that isn't going to happen.

Meeting a specific minimum standard is not indicative of uniformity within group. Though they have all met the minimum standard, some will far exceed the standards in certain areas (i.e. strength, endurance, mental toughness). This makes it difficult to compare them as subjects. When comparing injuries all subjects need to have a similar medical history to ensure that the program isn't simply aggravating an injury prior to the study. And if you want to say that "running" is the culprit, then all subjects need to have the same foot strike, footwear, nutrition, etc. before you can start making accurate observations.

In regards to "40 years of control group", that doesn't cut it. Those 40 years of experience are helpful in making observations to develop a hypothesis, but that is the extent of its usefulness. If you do not have a control then you have no way of rejecting the null hypothesis, or for that matter running any statistical test to determine if there is any statistical significance.

You might think these tests have fairly large test groups, but you are wrong. Example...Back when I was working in the lab as an undergrad we were testing how crayfish react to a specific chemical in the water that was given off by organic rotting material. We used over 10,000 crayfish. That is what is considered a large test group.

I don't think that CF needs to do a huge scientific study...the anecdotal and observational evidence is enough. But when CF claims to have empirical evidence that they can make you the fittest person in the world they are essential lobbing a slow pitch across the plate of the scientific community. It's going to get hit out of the park every time.
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Old 06-16-2009, 05:17 AM   #67
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Ryan Whitley View Post
I am not saying that either of your examples are invalid. I am simply stating that they don't provide empirical evidence. Double blind (or preferably, triple blind) scientific study would be the best, but that isn't going to happen.

Meeting a specific minimum standard is not indicative of uniformity within group. Though they have all met the minimum standard, some will far exceed the standards in certain areas (i.e. strength, endurance, mental toughness). This makes it difficult to compare them as subjects. When comparing injuries all subjects need to have a similar medical history to ensure that the program isn't simply aggravating an injury prior to the study. And if you want to say that "running" is the culprit, then all subjects need to have the same foot strike, footwear, nutrition, etc. before you can start making accurate observations.

In regards to "40 years of control group", that doesn't cut it. Those 40 years of experience are helpful in making observations to develop a hypothesis, but that is the extent of its usefulness. If you do not have a control then you have no way of rejecting the null hypothesis, or for that matter running any statistical test to determine if there is any statistical significance.

You might think these tests have fairly large test groups, but you are wrong. Example...Back when I was working in the lab as an undergrad we were testing how crayfish react to a specific chemical in the water that was given off by organic rotting material. We used over 10,000 crayfish. That is what is considered a large test group.

I don't think that CF needs to do a huge scientific study...the anecdotal and observational evidence is enough. But when CF claims to have empirical evidence that they can make you the fittest person in the world they are essential lobbing a slow pitch across the plate of the scientific community. It's going to get hit out of the park every time.
Show me some real "exercise science" that meets your requirements. I think BUD/s classes are amongst the more homogenous groups one is likely to find. Ther's probably a lot less spread between BUD/S candidates over fitness domains than most other groups. Unless you use twins, but you'd never get a large enough test group. And the Canadian Forces study did have a concurrent control group. They've approved medications with less of a control study (that may be hyperbole and probably doesn't help my case.) I think the "studies" done are as conclusive as anything else done in this environment. Even Tabata used a far smaller test group. He just did it while wearing a lab coat, which apparently makes all the difference.

Edit: I apologize for unneccesary sarcasm, I realize I'm writing this to people who do and or believe in CF, but the "Where is the science?" would disregard this evidence if Einstein came back and blessed it.

Last edited by Robert D Taylor Jr : 06-16-2009 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:35 AM   #68
Ryan Whitley
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Robert D Taylor Jr View Post
Show me some real "exercise science" that meets your requirements.
Which is why "exercise science" is in most cases an oxymoron.

I am not saying that CF doesn't work...I know from experience that it does. Just like I know Starting Strength makes you stronger than bodybuilding plans out of magazines. I don't need a scientific study. Observational evidence is enough.

My issue is that you CANNOT say that CF has been scientifically proven to do anything, simply because it has not been scientifically tested against anything. Elements that make up CF have been tested, and those findings lend credibility CF. And that is enough.

This conversation reminds me of when I was a TA for the freshman biology course...you don't really understand what we are talking about simply because you haven't done any real scientific research.
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:59 AM   #69
Robert D Taylor Jr
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

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Originally Posted by Ryan Whitley View Post
Which is why "exercise science" is in most cases an oxymoron.

I am not saying that CF doesn't work...I know from experience that it does. Just like I know Starting Strength makes you stronger than bodybuilding plans out of magazines. I don't need a scientific study. Observational evidence is enough.

My issue is that you CANNOT say that CF has been scientifically proven to do anything, simply because it has not been scientifically tested against anything. Elements that make up CF have been tested, and those findings lend credibility CF. And that is enough.

This conversation reminds me of when I was a TA for the freshman biology course...you don't really understand what we are talking about simply because you haven't done any real scientific research.

Wow, I just got called ignorant and dumb on the internet. Have a nice day.
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Old 06-16-2009, 08:05 AM   #70
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: What is "elite" fitness

It's a whole lot harder to do real scientific research on humans than on crayfish. With lab animals, you have absolute control of their environment and often over their genetics. With humans, if you're lucky they don't lie very much in their diet logs. So I'd be extremely surprised if any study anywhere were able to provide the uniformity you're looking for.

And yet, if you have a decent sample group you can still actually get good data. Studies of military units are generally MUCH more accurate than studies of the general population, in part because the minimum standards ensure a much more homogenous starting point while at the same time assignment to any given unit is somewhat randomized. On average, Group A of 100 random recruits is going to have a similar history to Group B. So if Group A gets a statistically significant number of additional injuries relative to Group B, then you can conclude that Group B's training is less injury-inducing.

(Concrete example: One guy with a twisted ankle could just mean that his ankle is weak. Ten guys probably means the training is hard on the ankles.)

Is this a perfect study? No. But perfect studies don't exist outside the lab. To reject a study like this as inconclusive is to reject pretty much the entire fields of exercise science, nutrition, and epidemiology. To claim that Crossfit isn't scientifically proven because studies like this are "all" the evidence that exists is to hold Crossfit to a much higher standard than anything else out there, including the status quo.

Katherine

PS And yes, I have done real research.
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