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

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Old 02-23-2009, 11:31 AM   #11
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
True. But advancements for who? If a team finds that Workout X brings them a championship year after year, do they really need a scientist to say "yes that works"?
No, but knowing why helps tune the program.

Suppose Workout X includes five different exercises. The team gets fabulous results, but also has a worryingly high injury rate. The exercise scientists are the people who show that exercise A and exercise B actually work the same muscle groups in the same way, so only one of them is needed and using both raises the risk of overtraining.

Katherine
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:32 AM   #12
Phillip Garrison
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Athletes and coaches try something and decide empirically whether it works or not. Scientists test it in the lab under controlled conditions and figure out why it works (or not). That knowledge allows athletes and coaches to more intelligently apply the underlying principle outside of the original domain. Exercise science also helps protect less gifted coaches (and their athletes) from the dangers of bad training.

People were building things for thousands of years before the development of a science of structural materials and structural mechanics. That doesn't mean structural mechanics is useless: we just don't hear as much about the cathedrals that fell down because the builders didn't know what they were doing.

Katherine

Exactly!
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:37 AM   #13
Nick Cummings
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Re: Exercise "Science"

The disdain for exercise and nutrition science comes from the value it offers. Something close to 90% of exercise and nutrition science examines minutia that offers little actionable ideas and its largely lacking predictive abilities. Is it really worth examining the effects of a weight loss diet on large groups of individuals if after a years time they have lost 4 pounds. I can do that in a week on accident if I get working hard and forget to eat.
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Exercise "Science"

FWIW, it's pretty funny for someone who bases his entire training program around "maximizing work capacity" and "training multiple energetic pathways" to scoff at exercise science. The whole program demonstrates the value of a scientific approach.

Katherine
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:42 AM   #15
Shane Skowron
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
FWIW, it's pretty funny for someone who bases his entire training program around "maximizing work capacity" and "training multiple energetic pathways" to scoff at exercise science. The whole program demonstrates the value of a scientific approach.
I'm not scoffing, I'm just being skeptical.

Isn't there a difference between empirical evidence and exercise science? They are both scientific, but one has a direct impact on training outcomes.
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:42 AM   #16
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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The disdain for exercise and nutrition science comes from the value it offers. Something close to 90% of exercise and nutrition science examines minutia that offers little actionable ideas and its largely lacking predictive abilities. Is it really worth examining the effects of a weight loss diet on large groups of individuals if after a years time they have lost 4 pounds. I can do that in a week on accident if I get working hard and forget to eat.
Yes, because a large study is how you show that the diet is useless.

For example, a study referenced here on the boards recently showed that four or five different diets (South Beach, Atkins, Weight Watchers, I forget the others) all had identical results. Individuals who actually followed the diet lost weight. Individuals who didn't, didn't. That's tremendously important information for, for example, dieticians trying to convince their clients to stick with one program instead of hopping on the latest fad.

Katherine
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:44 AM   #17
Phillip Garrison
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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I'm not scoffing, I'm just being skeptical.

Isn't there a difference between empirical evidence and exercise science? They are both scientific, but one has a direct impact on training outcomes.
Both are exercise science. Empirical data is a key component of it. Getting results is the end goal of exercise science. Knowing the why, affects outcome as much as the how.
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:45 AM   #18
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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I'm not scoffing, I'm just being skeptical.

Isn't there a difference between empirical evidence and exercise science? They are both scientific, but one has a direct impact on training outcomes.
Before telescopes, empirical evidence said that the sun orbits the earth. Useful models can still be wrong, and eventually their flaws will trip you up.

Katherine
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:51 AM   #19
Barry Cooper
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Re: Exercise "Science"

I think an overarching--and in my view empirically well supported--assumption is that most scientists are not scientific. By this, I mean that they lose the forest for the trees. They are not fully open to all the potential sourcs of information in their environment.

They look not for what works, but for what they can explain. And what can be explained is a subset of what works.

Moreover, the need for precision in explanation necessarily makes the topics of focus progressively smaller and smaller, to where the big picture--increased human performance--is lost entirely.

How can one rationalize a failure to define fitness in a way which is measurable? How can it be that CrossFit, seemingly, is the first system to stumble on the retrospectively obvious idea of "work capacity"?

How can you rationalize long term failures to diagnose any number of errors, like the low fat diets, and the overemphasis on aerobic exercise?

As Coach says, the magic is in the movement, the art is in the programming, and the science is in the explanation.

You don't really need someone to tell you after the fact that what you just did is possible. And you certainly don't need them to tell you it is impossible, which in point of fact has been a claim made against CrossFit.

Add to this the arrogance of many of the top people in the exercise community, and his disdain is in my view well founded.

Exercise Science is not useless. It is just not in general useful. It adds little to the debate that anyone really would want to know or use. When I was an NSCA member, I got their journal, and there were probably 300 articles I could have read. I read maybe three. I would scan the article titles, and most of the time in 40 articles, I couldn't find one that interested me at all.
 
Old 02-23-2009, 11:55 AM   #20
Shane Skowron
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Re: Exercise "Science"

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Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire View Post
Before telescopes, empirical evidence said that the sun orbits the earth. Useful models can still be wrong, and eventually their flaws will trip you up.

Katherine
Yes, but the goal of those astronomers you mention was to explain the universe. The goal of a coach is not to explain how his athlete runs, it's to make his mile time go from a 4:13 to a 4:10. In many cases, it's just a matter of "how can I change this number?"
 
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