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November 13, 2014

What We Do and Why We Do It, Part 2

By Coach Chris Kerr

In the last post, we discussed what Fitness is. Work capacity, across broad time, and modal domains. We pushed past the idea that Fitness is being ‘healthy’ or ‘in shape’ and defined it in terms of measurability and repeatability. And again, let’s revisit the idea that CrossFit is exercise. It’s meant to make you happier, healthier, live longer, live stronger, and of course, look good naked. Everything we do at CrossFit Lynchburg is geared towards increasing our fitness. Every wall stretch, every snatch, every squat, every bench press, every double under.

Where we will now turn our attention to in our examination of ‘What we Do, and Why We Do it’ is the best Fitness program to increase our work capacity across broad time and modal domains. So okay, let’s look out into the world. What is there currently out there to increase our Fitness?

Zumba. Dancing, a high heart rate, burning calories, group exercise. Okay not bad. However when in Zumba do you ever put stress on your bones to increase bone mineral density, aka lifting weights? When in Zumba do you work on explosiveness? Or proper movement and positioning to get you ready for daily tasks of life like picking up your toddler or a box full of junk? So when we look at Zumba it doesn’t really increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Yoga. Stretching, posing, getting super limber and supple, hitting positions even gumby would be jealous of. Amazing core strength, balance. Okay really not bad! However, when in yoga do you go for a run? Or lift heavy objects? So when we look at Yoga it doesn’t really increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Distance Running, Jogging. Cardio, healthy hearts, increased ability to utilize and process oxygen. Calories are being burnt, weight is being lost possibly. Awesome, yeah give me some of that. Also though, give me some of the chronic knee pain. And give me some of the ‘Ethiopian can’t lift a teddy bear look’. Not to mention without a coach runners can be destroying their limbs with every step if they do not have great running form. So when we look at Distance Running, Jogging it doesn’t really increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

Bodybuilding, Globo Gym Hero. You are jacked. Yoked. Chiseled. You are Gaston. You walk into the gym and have a looming presence only rivaled by Mufasa on the African plains. A typical Globo Gym Hero routine involves utilizing very ‘safe’ machines (more to come on those later but for now one word, stabilizers), and combines weight training with walking on a treadmill at the end to torch body fat. This is more or less the typical Fitness approach taken by most Americans. However, does your routine focus on agility, stability, coordination, and balance? Do you have an emphasis on stretching and mobility? Or do you do chest and biceps three times a week? And are you truly increasing your fitness across all modal domains? How well can you jump rope and walk on your hands and keep a stable core and dare I say it, overhead squat? So when we look at Bodybuilding, Globo Gym Hero it doesn’t really increase your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.

The entire point of what has been written above has been to get you in the mindset that no one style of training is the best. However, and hopefully you noticed this, if we combined everything that is out there, if we took the very best from distance running, bodybuilding, gymnastics, weightlifting, powerlifting, yoga, strongman, etc. and combined them, well hey, we would have something quite potent there. By taking the best of everything and not focusing on only one thing we would have a Fitness program that was all inclusive, not exclusive. We would have a program that has a purpose in our lives and gets us Fitter as per the terms we described in the last post.

Now, to really hammer the point home, to have an overall Fitness you want a program that focuses on functional movements, that you perform at high intensity, and that you switch up often, or where you don’t spend too long emphasizing one aspect. And that ladies and gentlemen is CrossFit in a nutshell. CrossFit is defined as:

Constantly Varied, Functional Movements, Performed at High Intensity

There is no one particular area of focus in a CrossFit gym. CrossFit has taken the best parts of everything out there and put them together. It is all scientific and logical. In a CrossFit gym we are not trying to be the strongest, or the fastest, or the most flexible, or the best looking naked. But we are trying to be a little bit of everything. We do not want to be amazing at only one thing, but kind of good at everything. There is no specialization because then we would lack in an area, and therefore have a lower fitness level. Now, doesn’t that make sense? If you only focus on strength all other areas will suffer. If you only focus on cardio all other areas will suffer.

In Part 3, we will explore the definition of CrossFit in much greater detail. For now, I want you to understand and start thinking about the concept that no program before CrossFit covered our definition of Fitness. No other program increased work capacity across all modal domains. If you do not currently do CrossFit think about it. Is what you are doing really increasing your health and Fitness? More to come.

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