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

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Old 06-21-2008, 06:09 PM   #1
Christin Street
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It's All in the Numbers


Fitness. Itís definition has been discussed ad nauseam but thereís one common element across the board. Numbers. What are yours? 400m run PR? Body weight? CFT? Waist size? 5K time? Best Fran? Body fat percentage? Best 5K row time? The list is a long one.

Itís all in the numbers. We tend to get hung up on them. We strive to perfect our numbers. Our PRs! We measure our fitness levels based upon them. We compare ourselves to others based upon these numbers.

At the risk of sounding New Age, what about how we feel in our bodies? Doesn't that count for something? I was beating myself up on my NUMBERS (weight too high by 4 lbs, mile PR too slow by 12 seconds, max number of pull-ups too low by dozens). You get the point.

On the other hand, I feel great inside of my body. I wish it were that simple, but itís not. Instead Iíll get out there tomorrow and try to beat my mile run time or max out my dead-hang pull-ups or maybe Iíll wince as I stand on the scales or try to PR my deadlift. Itís all in the numbers!
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Old 06-21-2008, 06:13 PM   #2
Matt Thomas
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

ooookay.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:53 PM   #3
Stephen Smith
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

I'm totally with you, Christin! We do get caught up in the numbers, I'm as guilty as anyone. When I stop and think about it, though, I'm in better shape after 2 months of Crossfit than I have been for 10 years. Another few months and I'll be in the best shape of my life, and I feel great! even after effectively doing 2 WOD's today, I feel better than on my good days when I was unfit!

That being said, the numbers are a useful metric. They're a way for us to keep track of where we're improving, and where we need to focus. It's fun for me, anyway, to strive to beat my old PR's, or to meet benchmark goals! At least we're using a methodology that'll allow us to keep improving those numbers, instead of any old gimmick program where you plateau out quickly and lose interest. Competition is part of human nature, and competing against yourself is the toughest contest of all...

Keep the faith, Christin! Own the numbers, don't let them own you!
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:43 AM   #4
Ian Smith
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

Numbers -> Competition -> Motivation. I'm pretty sure I remember hearing Coach or someone say that (paraphrasing) men will kill for points.

That, and numbers allow you to set defined goals for future progress, and help you measure how far you've come from where you were. And analysis of such results are a large part of how Coach has determined what works and what doesn't, allowing for improvements in the programming of workouts as time progresses.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:07 AM   #5
Casey Raiford
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

I go totally by how I feel. I keep track of my numbers, but rarely look at them. I treat PRs like a mutual fund. I just make my contributions and leave it alone for a long time. When I look in on them from time to time there's been growth.

I never weigh myself or measure BF%. It makes it too much like work and adds stress I don't feel like dealing with.

I'm totally with ya.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:22 AM   #6
Jason M Struck
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

measurement = science

science > non-science
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:12 AM   #7
Casey Raiford
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

Good thing I'm not a scientist then.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:21 AM   #8
Christin Street
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

Jason- I'll assume you think fitness= a science. I'll go with that. Afterall fitness encompasses a wide variety of sciences (physics, biology, nutrition, chemistry, etc.). Thus the logic follows that if science requires measurements, then fitness must be based on measurements also.

However, I think the well-being aspect (psychological, which is a science also) ) cannot be over-looked. Most great athletes work with coaches and psychologists. If you feel good, your measurements/times improve...if your times/measurements improve, you feel better. Which do think comes first?

I have no idea where I'm going with this. Like Casey and Stephen, I'm just trying not to allow my numbers to own me!

Ooookay, Matt?
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:36 AM   #9
David Meverden
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

Feeling fit, strong, fast, powerful, and looking good are all things we want but I think crossfit has shown that the best most motivating way to reach those goals is to not strive directly for them, but instead to strive for performance. And, of course, if we want to strive for better performance we have to measure that performance some how. We do with numbers (it can be measured other ways, such as in sparring performance, gymnastic routines mastered, etc, but this gets tricky for the breath of fitness we want).

I've always said that I worked out because I liked being in shape. Well, how good of shape was I in really before crossfit? I never strove for performance. I would run three miles with the only criteria being that I not walk during any of it. I would lift weights but not track numbers or have a pattern to my lifting. In short, I worked out, but I didn't strive to perform better than I had before, and didn't track any numbers. The result is predictable: mediocrity.

Bottom line: Whether I like the numbers or not, without them I would not be able to push myself to perform better, and without that I wouldn't feel and look as good as I'd like. Some people, I'm sure, can push themselves hard without numbers, but many can't.
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Old 06-22-2008, 12:33 PM   #10
Matt Thomas
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Re: It's All in the Numbers

Heh. I didn't really get what you were saying the first time around. I guess I was tired. I thought you were saying number numbers numbers, PRs = good. Which I thought was preaching to the choire a little bit. But I feel ya now
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