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

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:21 AM   #171
Bryan Kemper
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

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Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
BMI is not used for individuals but populations. Until a sizable percentage of people begin serious weight training, the BMI will continue to useful for what is was designed for.
Jamie,

I totally understand the epidemiology basis of BMI in that it a descriptor of populations. But it is used as an individual descriptor. As long as it is used to describe individuals, it is a flawed data point and the use needs to be discontinued. It is used by healt personnel in annual wellness visits, the USAF will give a person max pointsfor thier ab circumference measurement if they are <24.9 BMI regardless of ab measurement, my Wii fit uses it to define your character's appearance, etc, etc.

My original point was to describe how an apparantly fit and strong individual regular person would be described as Obese. There have been other discussions of muscular pro athletes and thier respective BMI calcs.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:25 AM   #172
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

"I totally understand the epidemiology basis of BMI in that it a descriptor of populations. But it is used as an individual descriptor. As long as it is used to describe individuals, it is a flawed data point and the use needs to be discontinued. It is used by healt personnel in annual wellness visits, the USAF will give a person max pointsfor thier ab circumference measurement if they are <24.9 BMI regardless of ab measurement, my Wii fit uses it to define your character's appearance, etc, etc."

Brian,

We are completely on the same page. The tool is not the problem, the tools that use it are. THe problem with bf is that it's hard to measure accurately.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:38 AM   #173
Bryan Kemper
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Jamie,

Good point on the "tools". I look forward to my next physical when the tech tries to counsel me on being overweight (according to my BMI). I will try to resist the urge to strangle....
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:50 AM   #174
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index WFS

I would bring in information regarding the use of BMI for population studies and not individuals. Since you are an individual and not a population, the BMI doesn't work for you.
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Old 02-01-2010, 01:47 PM   #175
Alex Europa
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Josh (and anyone else in agreement with Siff's definition),

So you are content to call an elite level powerlifter (i.e., with an Elite total), "fit" if he has trouble walking up stairs? If yes (which is perfectly acceptable, I have no problem with people having an educated opinion such as the one you laid out in your post), then how do we as trainers come to odds with this disparity? What should we call this preparedness for life (and I'm not talking about the extreme, burning building examples, but just simply life's demands)? Does it not need a qualitative and quantitative definintion as well? I would argue that it does, especially when one considers that the vast majority of people in this world are not athletes at all, much less elite athletes.

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Old 02-01-2010, 01:50 PM   #176
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

I only know a few power lifters but I know alot of weightlifters. THey never train for endurance, yet don't have trouble walking up several flights of stairs.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:07 PM   #177
Josh Briggs
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

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Originally Posted by Alex Europa View Post
Josh (and anyone else in agreement with Siff's definition),

So you are content to call an elite level powerlifter (i.e., with an Elite total), "fit" if he has trouble walking up stairs?
- Alex
No, I wouldn't call the powerlifter fit. But I would also say that, for example, Josh Everett lack's Siff's fitness. (No offense to Josh, but his sandbag run and stake pound @ the 2009 games illustrates my point, as well as his discussion of how he needs to "practice things to be good at them.")

To avoid confusion, I'm going to switch to using the the word athleticism to describe Siff's definition of fitness:

Quote:
"Work capacity refers to the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity and duration using the appropriate energy systems of the body. Fitness refers to the specific ability to use this work capacity to execute a given task under particular conditions. In general terms, fitness may be defined as the ability to cope with the demands of a specific task efficiently and safely. Preparedness is the ability to express fitness at any given instant. Base preparedness, or simply preparedness, is the resultant of the interaction of the body's long-term fitness increase stimulated by training and the opposing short-term fatigue after-effects of training, excluding the effects of any other modifying factors such as exaggerated mental state or illness."
The powerlifter has excellent work capacity in a very specific realm, but lacks general work capacity (or ABTAMD, if you prefer). Josh Everett, on the other hand, displays somewhat reduced work capacity (compared to the powerlifter) in the specific realm of absolute strength, but excellent general work capacity (or, again, ABTAMD, if you prefer).

Both of them, however, only display athleticism (Siff's fitness) insofar as they display the "ability to cope with the demands of a specific task efficiently and safely." So, in the powerlifter's case, both his general work capacity and his athleticism would be lacking. In Josh's case, his general work capacity is superb, but his struggles to "cope with the demands of a specific task efficiently" (in the sandbag & stake pound events) indicate he could benefit from focusing on increasing his athleticism.

Leaving aside body composition / "looking good" goals, I would suggest that most folks want to increase their athleticism-- their ability to throw a ball, go skiing, paddle a canoe, hike through the mountains, skate, swim, etc.(in other words, their ability to cope with the demands of a specific task efficiently- without taking ages of practice to learn how to cope)-- as well as increasing their work capacity. Most tasks require a blend of both abilities-- athleticism and work capacity-- so developing both is important. Personally, I'd rather be the good basketball player with poor "wind," the slow hiker who is really stable on his feet, the tired mountain biker who rides really well, etc. The opposite, the superfit guy who is athletically inept-- can't catch a ball, can't stand on feet, can't stay on his bike-- is just the buffed out bodybuilder wearing different clothes: looks good in the gym, but not very useful.

My initial point was that crossfit-style training, while definitely increasing work capacity, only serves to develop athleticism to the degree that the trainee is challenged by how to do a workout. Once the challenge comes solely from increased intensity (via greater load or faster time), the workout is serving only to develop work capacity with minimal (not zero, just much less that other possible activities) effect on developing athleticism.

In my opinion, the best way to develop athleticism (to the degree that it is possible) is to "learn and play new sports." Exactly what these may be will differ with the individual. Someone suggested gymnastics would have greater return than weightlifting. Perhaps. Perhaps playing basketball would have greater return than both. Depends on the person involved.

In summary, I would suggest that increased work capacity alone will not result in an increased capacity to cope with the "unknown demands of life." The ability to cope with the unknown will be a result of both increased work capacity and increased athleticism. Once you are familiar with the task, decreasing your "Fran" time or increasing your max deadlift will have minimal development effect on your athleticism.

Last edited by Josh Briggs : 02-01-2010 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:40 PM   #178
Alex Europa
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

Josh,

I pretty much agree with everything you're saying.

I just wanted to say: you do realize that Josh's poor showing on the sandbag run wasn't really due to a lack of athleticism but simply a mistake and poor handling of the sandbag. I actually feel that he would've done REALLY well at that event if he hadn't dropped his sandbag. As an aside, Pat Barber, who is VERY athletic, also dropped his sandbag, but a false-start granted him a second chance, which he capitalized on.

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Old 02-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #179
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

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Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
Saying the BMI isn't useful because because it says a particular person is fat is like saying the lottery is a good investment because someone wins every week.
Insurance companies use the BMI to decide who to insure and how much to charge them. "Useful" tool or not, I'd be pretty unhappy if I were on the losing end of that determination.

Katherine
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #180
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Is Crossfit right about fitness?

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Originally Posted by Alex Europa View Post
I just wanted to say: you do realize that Josh's poor showing on the sandbag run wasn't really due to a lack of athleticism but simply a mistake and poor handling of the sandbag. I actually feel that he would've done REALLY well at that event if he hadn't dropped his sandbag.
Perhaps "doesn't drop sandbags" is part of a working definition of athleticism?

It *is* potentially part of a definition of coordination and balance, both of which are included in Crossfit's definition of fitness.

Katherine
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