Saturday, August 15, 2009

How Crossfit are you?

I was inspired for this post by the combination of a stupid facebook quiz, Months of thinking on this topic and some questions after todays WOD at CFNQ.

Crossfitness or indeed fitness as defined by a work capacity over broad time and modal domains lies on a spectrum or scale as do most things where you sit on this scale has to do with a number of factors 3 of which I think are the most important they are:

Training Age and Quality
Crossfit Training Age and Intensity
Psycological Factors

Training Age is important because regardless of your genetic heritage(which is arguably another factor) someone who has been training for significantly longer than you has potentially acrued a level of improvement in the qualities of fitness you desire and there is no short cut to this investment of hard work over time.

This leads to quality. Only quality training really counts toward your training age in my opinion I have yet to see firebreathers who after 10 years of 30 min walks thrice weekly convert to crossfit and tear up a Fran. I have seen AFL/Soldiers, Long distance Runner/Soldiers, Rugby Players, SERT Policemen, Special Ops Soldiers and recently a fernwood fitness trainer devour crossfit workouts without really converting to crossfit. (It could be argued by the particularly zealous Crossfitters out there that these individuals already trained Crossfit but didn't know it but I find that argument too obnoxious and arrogant to pay more heed)

Crossfit Training Age, I think in light of the previous stanza it is important to note that I believe Crossfit is the only training methodology for anyone who comes to the realisation that they will benefit from being pretty fit at most things rather than very fit at one thing.

The question is often asked what sort of athlete transitions best to crossfit? and the answers vary but none of the answers should sound like a recommendation to stop crossfit see if you can become a state level triathlete and then start crossfit again.

To illustrate my point imagine to twins trained as triathletes since birth then one is introduced to Crossfit at 15 and the other at 20 it is fair to guess that the athlete who stayed with triathlon for the extra 5 years will own his twin at triathlon comps but get beaten by him at anything else.

Lastly Crossfit is often see by some as a badge of superiority - it is not. If you are lucky enough to have your definition of fitness more sorted than a specialist that you know then that is the extent of your superiority it is quite possible that a non crossfit trained specialist could own you on a given WOD.

It would be a challenging and pointless exercise to try to matrix the training age of long term Crossfitting housewife to a longterm elite sportswomen turned crossfitter but I believe they would exist on the same continuum just not at the same training ages.

Psychological factors = Mongrel
You have got to want it and to be happy going to that dark painfull place... not everyone has this I am not sure it can be taught.

Thats all for now please post to comments and I will edit this so it makes more sense when I am less excited.


Chris said...

I think what I get from this post Brett is that we should not; a) become elitist due to doing crossfit, b) don't compare too closely our performance to others especially if their physical age is noticably different c) don't compare too closely to others who clearly have superior skill sets in specific areas. We should be looking closer to our own technique to perform the exercises correctly first and then chase better times and higher loads. We should keep our performance in perspective. And finally when it's really hurting, remember that it's ownly going to be for a short time and then it'll be over. But then some of us are not built to do that last thing mentally so cut yourself some slack if this is so.

Finally I get the felling you should be published in some magazine or newspaper as you write convincingly and articulately.

Correct me if I am off track

Brett_M/30/181cm/84kg said...

On track mate but it is training age rather than physical age so if you have been going hard for 4 years training age is 4 regardless of if you are 21 or 41. But Physical age is another factor.

Scotty.A said...

I think everyone has the mongrel in them but the mongrel drops off as the intensity increases. For me the mongrel can be broken down into two parts, the will to win and mental toughness. I think the mental toughness is what brings most unstuck and I’m not sure it can be developed with training Crossfit.

A lot of the people you mentioned are soldiers or special ops. The military installs a degree of mental toughness through the use of mind games etc as I’m sure you can remember. So these people should already have some degree of mental toughness.

I think if you want to increase your mental toughness you need someone to take you to the dark place so you know where it is because most won’t find it on their own, especially with something like Crossfit that has so many techniques and movements to be learnt.

That’s my take on it anyways :)

Interested to hear others...

roadrunner73 said...

OB1 - wonderful words indeed.

Chris - I think one day you will be reading this mans comments in print.

robin said...

How much is Physical age a factor, Brett? At the Hard'n up Challenge last weekend I did a quick poll and it seems I was the oldest Competitor by at least 7 yrs, possibly the only one, male or female, aged 50+. (Matt is going to post some age/performance statistics over the next few weeks to clarify this). I was suprised that I competed so well against others 20yrs younger and wondered had I not been injured (rotator cuff) and been able to do the wods RX, ie lift overhead, just where in the rankings I might have finished.

I remember watching Kieran Perkins being interviewed leading up to the Atlanta Oylmpics. He was defending his "percieved slow training times" or so the media thought, and the fact that he had not competed in one particular major leadup 1500m race. He said he only had maybe 2 or 3 BIG 1500M performances left in him and he felt he had to pace his training and racing accordingly.

That's the way I feel. I like to train with consistency concentrating on form, recording every little bit of improvement but save myself, ie some mongrel, for when it REALLY counts.

IF I train and compete this way, I should be able to keep going for many, many more years into the future.

What do you think?

I have tried to find info on the over 50's population group. The Baby Boomers are the largest group world wide, the ones with time and money to focus on themselves, ie get fit again, kids grown up etc, doing CrossFit but there doesn't seem to be much published, apart from Jim Baker.

Brett_M/30/181cm/84kg said...

Physical age plays a part but it is often over used as an excuse, Data shows decreased performances and at some point tissues will start to break down but for the most part the body will respond to stimulus very similarly in its 5th decade as it would in its 2nd.

Obviously listen to your body and your physicians but be careful that "too old" as an excuse isn't just too lazy.

robin said...

I dont think I've ever considered myself LAZY but as you said, I do listen to the body. Often the mind is more than willing but the body is screaming NO. Every WOD, at some point, I have to push past the NO.

roadrunner73 said...

Robin - the benifit 'us' more mature aged athletes have (we are all athletes it is just the degree that varies)is that we have had life experiences. Even if you are new to competition chances are that througout your life you have faced numerous challenges that have taught you ways to deal with things - younger athletes although on paper more talented have not yet learnt the 'mongrel' as Brett explains. We often know our limits and how to pace our bodies to get the best results when younger people will often ease up when they get close to the edge. Sorry for Hjacking your page OB1.:)

Brett_M/30/181cm/84kg said...

Hijack away mate :) I am glad you found your password.