Monday, October 20, 2008

Insights


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
7 Pushups

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.

Stay young,
-Boz

9 comments:

Petr said...

Interesting stuff with that Z axis. Makes sense, there are no shortcuts (in long term).

Anonymous said...

Great post, Boz! Jacinto is the man!

David Osorio said...

This realization that coach came to is really quite significant to our understanding of CrossFit. The funny thing was that it's been staring us in the face the entire time. The most common anecdote you hear when talking about Jacinto is that people want to "be like him when they grow up". What they're talking about, in the physical sense at least is that we want to maintain significant work capacity well into their lives. They want a Z axis like Jacinto. Great stuff, Adrian.

Also-
I've decided that a ping pong table would be a nice little addition to CFSBK. Let the games begin.

Anonymous said...

Adrian, you are throwing alot of math jargon at me that I dont understand. Because I dont understand it, im gonna take it as disrespect. Watch it, and help me move more shit faster ok. I got a B- in Math so reading this stuff gives me a headache. Welcome Home Boz!! JAson Khalipa won the Crossfit Unlimited Challenge I did. Suprise Suprise.

Lucas

Rob said...

Great post, Boz.

Before I forget let me thank everyone at CFSF for their hospitatlity last week. Anne and I had a great time with you guys and "the chief".

There are many great things about Jacinto. His Z axis, his enthusiasm, the infectious love he has for hitting it hard day after day. He's all heart and yes I want to be like Jacinto when I grow up.

Nick said...

Cool story Boz. I would love for you to be writing that about me in 40 years. On another note, did anyone see the picture of kevin floating above? Craziness!!

Adrian said...

I believe those socks give Kevin a +5 levitation bonus. Maybe even +10...

-Boz

Anonymous said...

Old strong guys/gals rule!

Steven

Anonymous said...

That should be something to get the "high intensity ages you" naysayers.