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

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Old 02-18-2010, 09:28 PM   #1
Jay Guindon
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Location: Whistler  BC Canada
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Primal Blueprint Fitness Laws

Just wanted to get some opinions on Mark Sisson's primal blueprint fitness laws as it seems like a great idea coming from a health/longevity standpoint and requires less intensity overall making it easier to do, but may fall a little short of developing functional work capacity.

My goal is to live a long life (90-100) and be fully mobile, self sufficient, healthy, disease free, have lot's of energy, and be able to do everything I want to do up until I die. I know Greg Glassman has stated many times CrossFit as a program has goals along these lines, but I wonder sometimes if the intensity is too high over the long term.

Mark Sisson's fitness rules come from a place of exercise for health and longevity, but I'm concerned it might not provide enough work capacity over the long run, especially in the later years. Here is the link to his fitness laws (wfs) He says lift heavy things as a rule but in his book it says light weight at high reps or heavy weight at low reps makes little difference. Seems contradictory to lift light weight if the rule is "lift heavy things" and may undermine strength over the long term. Can light weight still develop strength or only endurance? I am also wondering about the lot's of very low level aerobic activity and only one sprinting workout/week. If I needed to carry 40, 22kg bags 120feet in less than 15 minutes (my job demands this of me regularly), would I have enough aerobic capacity to do that using this style of traning?

I like Mark Sisson's idea of exercise for health/longevity but question if it is enough work capacity for me and I really like CrossFit's ability to develop work capacity, but wonder if it's too much over the long term for health/longevity. It almost seems like I need something right in between but wanted to get some opinions from some people who know more about training for health and longevity vs training for high performance and how seperate they may or may not be.
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:59 PM   #2
Nic Kirkland
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Location: Terre Haute  IN
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Re: Primal Blueprint Fitness Laws

I've read the Primal Blueprint and think it's a great guide for healthy living. Because of his advice I now incorporate low level aerobic activity each week, either in the form of "play" (sport) or just long walks/slow runs.

His fitness advice is very similar to CrossFit. Lift heavy things, do short, intense workouts, and do sprints. I would say it is just CF programming with a more casual tilt. If you have no specific fitness goals and your goal is just to live happily and independently and maintain a good body composition, CF 3 on, 1 off is more than you absolutely need to do. I think CF tailors more to those individuals who are seeking an athletic challenge. Indeed the vast majority of folks who really buy into and stick with CF come from backgrounds in competitive sports, endurance sports, and LEO/Mil, all of which foster that spirit.

Not to say CF is not for everyone, because it is, but for some folks who are not looking to go "hard core" I think that if they follow all of Mark's Primal Laws, they can live very happily.

Mark himself admits to doing more than just 2-3 intense workouts/week and one sprint session/week because physical fitness and athleticism is a big priority in his life. It all depends on your individual goals.

As far as the high weight/low rep vs. low weight/high rep, just like with CF programming I think there is maximum benefit across both domains when you constantly vary it.

As long as you are doing the exercises with proper form and in appropriate rep schemes and patterns, (i.e. not doing Murph 5 days/week) CF is very sustainable over the long term.

As far as meeting your specific requirement for the capacity to lift and carry heavy objects. It's hard to say if Primal Blueprint fitness would adequately prepare you as it's much more open ended than CF in that there is absolutely no regimentation or specific prescription, just some general guidelines. You can still be within those primal blueprint specs by just doing CF WOD's 3 days/week, a sprint exclusive workout 1 day/week, and some low level aerobic activity for 2-5 hours. If you are following the diet guidelines as well and you're getting a good mix of WOD's in there, I don't see why that would not be adequate training for your job. Doing CF 3 on, 1 off would definitely be enough.
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