Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings 11/2/14

Sunday musings, thinking about fitness (go figure)…

1) Design. “It’s much more interesting to upgrade the ordinary than to design extraordinary things that don’t make sense.” Ilse Crawford.

Functional design.

2) Carbs. The inter webs and traditional media outlets are awash in people not awash in carbohydrates. The most famous among them, of course, is one LeBron James, “savior” of my fair city, Cleveland. LeBron got all lean this summer by supposedly forswearing all carbohydrates. The problem is that every picture of his meals shows a plate chockablock filled with, you guessed it, carbs. Same thing with celebrity chef Michael Selco in Boston. Lost 95 pounds by cutting out carbs and is now famous for his new restaurant the specializes in…wait for it…carbs.

Makes me crazy.

What they mean is that LeBron, Mr. Selco, and all of the ‘B’ list celebrities who have lost weight and leaned up have stopped eating grains such as wheat and rice, and probably dropped most other starches as well. The fact that myriad nutritionists, chefs, and food writers have all willfully, nay gleefully, joined in the misinformation campaign only makes it that much more annoying. Come on people. They’re eating fruits and vegetables. Those contain CARBS! Grrrr.

Ten plus years after the seminal essay “What is Fitness” all of the fancy people have discovered the glycemic index and declared it their own. It’s as if one of the Kardashian’s strode down 42nd St. and planted a flag to claim Manhattan for the clan. Add in all of the wonder in Hollywood at the discovery that fat might be good for you (Bacon. Who knew?) and you have the perfect storm. But you already knew all that. “Eat to promote performance in the gym, not production of fat.”

Seriously. Makes me want to curl up around a bag of Cheetos.

3) Strength. As long as I’m venting my spleen over artificial controversies and fake issues let’s take on the “strength is the most important part of fitness” canard. Again. It just ain’t so. Being strong is important, but if you seek a broad, inclusive fitness you seek to balance all 10 Essential Skills or Attributes of Fitness. If your goal is to maximize Work Capacity Across Broad Time and Modal Domaines then strength is no more or less important that cardiovascular endurance, and vice versa. The various and sundry bleatings and brayings from internet warriors near and far continue to beat against the collective CrossFit brain. Makes my eyes hurt and stomach sore.

I know, I know…you’re probably gonna wonder how a guy who works out in a Box that does supplemental strength work can take this on with a straight face. Quite the contrary, Mon Frere. The reason to do extra work to increase strength of all kinds is not because of some inherent superiority of strength, or because disproportionate strength is necessary to be a good CrossFitter. In reality the vast majority of the denizens of the universe are under-strong relative to the other 9 Essential Attributes. If one advances in all 10 at the same rate from doing a program that could be described as CrossFit, from CrossFit.com or an Affiliate gym, then this imbalance wherein strength continues to lag will be propagated. In CrossFit-speak, ya gotta train your goats, and your goat might not be some highly technical movement like a Turkish Get-Up, it might just be strength in general.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you have a goal for which an over-emphasis on strength is the appropriate training modality then that’s precisely what you should do. But if you seek a type of fitness that prepares you for tomorrow, whatever tomorrow might bring, then you should choose a program that balances all 10 of the Essential Attributes of fitness (this is your cue to download the .pdf). Once balanced, if you continue to put a greater emphasis on all things strength you will necessarily suffer a deficit in one or several other areas. Usually cardiovascular endurance, or perhaps speed. Then, me Druggie, you’ll be forced to do more running.

Now THAT’S simply madness.

I’ll see you next week…


Leave a Reply