Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Sunday musings 6/22/14

Sunday musingsā€¦

1) Bruce Lee. “Obey the principles without being bound by them.” Now there’s something to chew on for a bit.

2) Simplicity. Travel advice to young people on the road: If hungry, eat. If tired, sleep.

Reminds me of the 3 essential rules of a surgery residency: Eat when you can, drink when you can, and don’t [mess] with the pancreas.

3) Participate. My friend Scott has been bitten by the CrossFit as Sport bug. He’a a former wrestler and 400M runner, so the guy has a history of physical suffering going way back. He seems to enjoy this new competition, enough so that he headed to the far, far side of the other side of our city for a competition. His pre-comp jitters notwithstanding (I can’t figure out if this is a good part of the experience for him, or a bad part), he came away victorious.

The pre-game jitters are an indication that my friend was preparing to compete, not just to participate. Me? I’m done with true competition against others, at least athletically. I occasionally jump into events, but for me it’s for the purpose of participation. Kinda like the Open, I’m there for the camaraderie, to be part of an enjoyable conversation. CrossFit for me is a means to an end, a vehicle to drive me to a healthier, more fit version of mid-life bingo. When push comes to shove I am no longer willing, or maybe even able, to do what is necessary to really try to win at CrossFit, the sport.

Is Scott right, or am I? The answer, of course, is “yes”.

4) Essential. There were, once upon a time, epic conversations that took place here about all manner of topics. The most memorable ones were about CrossFit. Back in the day folks who were there at the beginning, some from the original CrossFit Santa Cruz including Coach himself, would weigh in on fundamentals, programming, progressions and the like. It could get pretty hairy at times; there were some awfully strong personalities hanging around. These conversations are now occurring elsewhere, which is a shame, but they still go on. I’d like to share my thoughts on one of them.

The issue of programming is always on the table. Is there an optimal version of CrossFit programming? People take turns at supporting and denigrating the programming here on the Main Page, and countless efforts are made to “improve” on the model you see here. Some of these alternatives make sense, while others IMO are not really alternative CrossFit programming but alternatives TO CrossFit. Most of these, indeed most of the conversations in general, have to do with strength and strength training. Are you (is anyone) strong enough? Will CrossFit.com or another version of CrossFit make you strong enough?

Here’s a little bit of homework for you: look up “The 10 Essential Elements of Fitness.” They can be found in CFJ #2, “What is Fitness”, and they are also posted on 030530 ( ironically on a day when heavy Deadlifts were prescribed). Pretty much all of the conversations noted above revolve around the premise that strength is somehow more important than other elements of fitness. Reasonable people can disagree on this point, but as a premise in discussing CrossFit the notion that strength is a, or the, primary element of fitness has no standing. There are 10 elements of Fitness, each no more and no less important than any other if we are seeking a broad, inclusive general physical preparedness that we call “fitness”. Full stop.

Whoa, wait a minute there bingo, aren’t you the guy who co-wrote an article called “Strong Medicine” introducing a programming alternative called “CrossFit Strength Bias”? Isn’t that statement there just a bit, oh, duplicitous? Forked-tongue typing?

Nope. Not at all. You see, if you read the article you will see that CFSB is one way to address a DEFICIT in strength relative to the other 9 Essential Elements, not a program meant to gain strength at the EXPENSE of the other 9. As such it, like some others, is a program for the common CrossFitter who perceives a hole in his/her fitness that needs to be addressed, not at all unlike a CrossFitter who does supplemental work in gymnastics or Oly lifting or mobility. Additional Element-specific work, be it strength or agility or whatnot, that drives continued balance and improvement in all 10 Elements is very much CrossFit.

CrossFit is outcome based. The outcome desired is a broad-based fitness comprised of equal quantities of each of 10 Essential Elements. What goes into the left side of the hypothetical Black Box should produce Work Capacity Across Broad Time and Modal Domains if the Black Box is a CrossFit athlete of any type. An increase in your Deadlift should be accompanied by a decrease in your 5K run and your “Fran” time.

Programming for CrossFit should aim for CrossFit outcomes. Full stop.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at June 22, 2014 5:34 AM

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