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

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Old 07-16-2007, 02:59 PM   #11
Gerhard Lavin
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It about progression. Your body adapts to the demands placed on it. That's why training must be progressive. If you're not dropping the time on WOD or upping the weight then your spinning your wheels. Same thing for construction workers, or farm labourers or cycle couriers. Once they have adapted to the initial demands of the job (no matter how demanding) it doesn't get much more challenging. Diet off course lay a major role in body composition.

You should pitch bodybuider versus construction worker as a new reality TV show. Round 1 MMA, round 2 bricklaying and round 3 a pose off. I'd watch it :cheeky-smiley-022:
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Old 07-16-2007, 04:53 PM   #12
Ben Kimmerle
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I work a full-time summer job on a farm, so like Greg I know how hard a long, hot, labor-intensive day can be. I've also noticed that a lot of the guys (men) I work with have guts and certainly aren't "fit" in the way an athlete is. A few things to consider (a bunch of which have already been mentioned)

1. Getting up really early and doing manual labor all day really wears you out, and there have been many days where I've had to skip workouts because I've just been too beat.

2. A lot of times lunch break is pretty short, so there isn't much time to eat "good" food. Also, since there are no stoves, microwaves, and rarely fridges around, your options of healthy foods are fewer.

3. Many construction workers, farmers, and all types of laborers are built kinda like the guys in World's Strongest Man competition. That is to say that they may not be trim or able to do aerobic work, but their grip, lower back, pulling/pushing strength, and many times their leg strength is phenomenal.
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Old 07-16-2007, 07:35 PM   #13
Elliot Royce
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I think this is a bit like a mouse asking why an elephant has a pot belly and stubby feet. These guys are able to put out far more force per day than most of us "elite" athletes and do it day after day, year after year, for a lifetime.

I'm reminded of the Breton soldiers in World War I who were known for their tenacity and resilience in the face of miserable conditions, dysentery, poison gas and machine guns. Not one of them would be on the cover of Men's Fitness but each had more guts than anyone I can think of today, Lance Armstrong included.

Let's get a grip here. We're just posers compared to most of the generations who have come before and, for that matter, anyone who has to do all day heavy manual labor for a lifetime.
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:32 PM   #14
George Mounce
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"Heavy" is subjective. Most of the manual labor in the U.S. since the invention of the cotton gin is not "heavy", it is repetitive, uses some sort of machinery and once someone acclimates to it, it becomes more and more efficient. I said most, there are always people who do not fit this, so I'm not saying everyone.

I spent 2 years in landscaping picking up 100 lb key stones all day long and while it sucked, I got used to it. I also smoked 2 packs of Marlboro Reds daily while I was doing it and ate fast food crap. Sure I had no fat and looked in shape, but I wasn't in shape by our CrossFit standards, not even close. Even a simple Cindy would have killed me during that time.

Those Breton soldiers, while tough, were exactly like my landscaping job. Could do it, were mean and could fight, but overall they were not more "fit" which is what the discussion is about here. Guts doesn't make one fit, it makes one brave, it makes some insane, it gives courage to those who need it.

We aren't posers, we are involved individuals looking to make ourselves better. There are plenty of people who work really hard and are in great shape because of it. There is a vast majority while seemingly doing hard work, who are very out of shape people. This in no way correlates to the "greatest generation".
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Old 07-16-2007, 09:47 PM   #15
Jason Needler
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I think it all comes down to adaptation and, to a lesser extent, diet.

Sure, your body gets stronger after a day of picking up 100lb keystones. But the second day day you do it, and the third, and the fourth, you get less and less gains from it (maybe even negligible because you get no recovery). The more you do it, the more your body adapts, and the less your body improves from it (darn that whole "varied" principle).

Add to that a typically poor diet (manual laborers generally don't have the time, the money, or the concern to eat correctly), and you get an unhealthy body: too skinny if they don't eat much, too flabby if they eat too much.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:12 AM   #16
Tom Fetter
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I have vivid memories, when I was a scrawny 12 year old, of walking with a retired construction labourer to where my dad wanted to put a bridge over a small creek.

The guy was in his mid 60s, about 5'4", looked small and flabby with absolutely no "beach muscles. We had about a 150# chain to try to get to the creek. I was predictably hopeless.

Pat laughed, wrapped his fingers into the links, and carried it to the creek one-handed while carrying on the conversation. I'm sure he'd have completely gassed out on a Fran or Diane, but there was a whole lot more functional strength there than met the eye.


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Old 07-17-2007, 10:53 AM   #17
Wade Miller
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The thing is ....
On a scale from 1 - 10 (1 being in the worst general physical preparedness and 10 being elite levels)

Ranking folks like ....

Office type worker
Sales people
Factory worker (operating a machine)
Retail employee
Managers of whatever
General construction worker

If you took all types of professions, jobs, and careers. And did a study of these people that do not pay attention to diet, rest, or any type of physical fitness. Same demographics - age, weight, sex.

And asked any of them to do a scaled or rx'd crossfit type workout to completion.

I can nearly promise you, that the general construction worker would last longer (do more reps, rounds, better time).

Are they the example of elite fitness, NO. but if put onto a scale 1-10 with the over all population. They would score closer to a 10.
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:17 PM   #18
Elliot Royce
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I think this is another one of the excessively self-congratulatory threads that periodically pops up. If you want to look down on the peons who mow our lawns, so be it. I would agree that "toughness" is not identical to "fit". Then again, if we all had to survive in a pre-historic world based solely on our wiles and strength, I'm not sure that the peons would lose out to the "elite athletes."
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:31 PM   #19
James R. Climer
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It seems to me that strenuous, progressive
exercise makes strenuous labor easier,
but no strenuous labor I have ever
had to do makes exercise along the lines
of Crossfit easier.
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Old 07-17-2007, 01:33 PM   #20
John Seiler
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I used to work with guy who did demolition. I remember someone saying, "that must make you really strong." He replied that over time it just broke you down. Of course he didn't get enough sleep, ate like crap, and drank too much. Really hard, prolonged labor without good food and rest is not a good thing.

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