Monday, October 20, 2008
I was fortunate enough to be in Brooklyn this weekend. Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, was also there and gave a general Q and A at the end of the first day of the seminar. He presented a very interesting insight on an existing model of fitness that CrossFit has used for some time. Put your math-hat on for a second and dig in:
Imagine that you have a graph with percentage of total potential Power that you can generate running down the Y axis and Time running across the X axis. Taking different exercises at different times of duration and plotting the points will start to develop a curve. The area under this curve is a snap-shot of your overall work capacity, or your total fitness. Quite simply it is representative of 'how much shit you can get done'.
The goal of CrossFit programming has always been to elevate all areas under the curve and therefore increase your work capacity in a broad range of modal and time domains. This is nothing new and something CrossFit has been espousing for years.
Now, the new insight that Mr. Glassman shared with us is that we can extend the graph along the Z axis using age and create the general three dimensional shape of your fitness over the course of months/years/decades etc. Using this method, an elevated curve in the above-mentioned 2 dimensional snapshot is only useful if the trend continues across the Z axis. If the curve is elevated temporarily, but is then side tracked indefinitely due to injury, lifestyle imbalance, the catching-up/side-effects of pharmaceutical aids used in the elevation of the curve (Vitamin S anyone?) or anything else, true fitness is not reached, only glanced at.
This distinction is an important one as it implies that any factor that allows the shape of the curve to diminish substantially over-time, or any method that will only temporarily or drastically elevate the curve is not in line with true fitness. Read: True Fitness is Health and the long-term shape of the graph must be considered. If for whatever reason you can not maintain the general shape of your fitness over time, it was at best, a temporary fix.
Now, there are certainly more 'human' elements to consider in this equation such as long-term interest in a program and the (arguable) element of aging, but nonetheless it is a very interesting proposition. Think about it.
And, as I mentioned aging and the very arguable impact it has on fitness, take a look at the photo below:
From left to right we have Shane, David, myself and Jacinto, all of CrossFit South Brooklyn (David is the owner of the affiliate). Jacinto is 69. Let me say that again so you're sure it's not a typo. Jacinto is 69. On Sunday afternoon we had the participants complete the following WOD:
15 Rounds for time:
7 Medicine Ball Cleans
There was a 12minute cap to the workout, meaning if you didn't finish in 12 minutes you just recorded how far along you made it. The day previous we had done Fight Gone Burpee (FGB with burpees instead of rowing). Despite FGBurpee, Jacinto finished the above workout in 9minutes and change. The fastest time of the day was 7:56. Many didn't complete the workout. Later that day I witnessed Jacinto in the corner by himself cranking out burpees. "He's catching up on his burpee-challenge day" came the answer to the dumbfounded look on my face. Simply amazing.
To tie these two wonderful things together:
If we could take a look at Jacinto's work-curve at say, age 20 and compare it to the one he has today I would wager that we could conclude Jacinto has not aged markedly in decades... I highly doubt the general shape of his graph has decreased dramatically over the years. Don't rest on your laurels, kids, and may you all be as young as Jacinto!
It's good to be back home.
at 6:08 PM