It is my belief that a good trainer or coach should always avail themselves to whatever source of knowledge and information that is out there which will further their cause, improve their end product, and make athletic training and human performance a constantly advancing form of art and science. I know many good trainers in the CrossFit community, including Coach Glassman, also believe this. To that end, I do subscribe to other publications, peruse various internet sites from some very knowledgeable folks in different areas of athletic training and development, and read various books from sources outside of CrossFit. Being closed minded is a recipe for a lack of forward advancement.
Trust me, I am not saying I agree with everything I have read, but I have found and taken some stuff, tried it on myself and clients, found it to work and kept it in my repetoire. We all know there are some serious detractors of CrossFit out there. They label it “dangerous” and “lacking scientific evidence to support their claims”. I think we all should know we can pretty much call “bullshit” on these negative views and notions, but still I tend to dig around their nationally acclaimed Strength & Conditioning sites, as well as some other organizations, to root out the occassional tid bit of info that I can use. I even subsicribe to a couple E-zine publications that are designed to promote functional fitness for tactical personnel and conditioning for athletes. Much of the info can be discarded, as it tends to be very weak in true athletic conditioning and stronger in injury prevention and rehab, as well as lacking any discussion of properly implementing programming into training. These publications and the articles therein are written by some smart folks with a lot of initials after their names, most of which I have no clue as to their meaning.
Today, I read a couple things that I liked. One in regards to certain variations on sports conditioning. I saw some good potential there that with a couple tweaks, could really do a helluva job in tuning up athletes for SST or GPP work. Then a few pages back, I read a few things that I had to shake my head at.
Allow me to digress to the statement above where I mentioned the full frontal assault CrossFit has endured from many outside sources that decry the CF program and it’s results as “lacking in scientific research and evidence to support it’s claims”. In today’s publication I could only shake my head and smile as I read a few articles in which large sums of money and time had most likely been invested into research projects to tell us what we pretty much have already been told about CrossFit and it’s capabilities in health and performance for the past 8-10 years.
Today I read about scientific studies in which it has been postulated that lipid oxidation is elevated after performing high intensity intervals, High Intensity Interval Training increases fat metabolic capcities in skeletal smscle, and this one (which ought to make you grimace in pain), that carb sources such as grains and legumes help prevent disease, maintain body weight, and optimize athletic performance. Yikes!
Well, if you have been around the CrossFit community for any time, you may have already discovered that yes, high intensity interval based workouts and similar high intensity continuous exercise programs tend to burn a lot of bodyfat and yield dramatic results in health, performance and body composition. We know this, or at least we should, so I am not even going to into the “how’s” and “why’s” or this post will never end. We’ve seen it firsthand without the use of randomized, double blind studies, beakers, and white lab coats. Coach Glassman proved this point many years ago in the corner of several funky gyms in Santa Cruz, garages and ultimately, in the lab of CrossFit HQ, sandwiched between bumper plates and pull up bars with the likes of Eva, Annie, Greg, Dave, Nicole and a host of other athletes of all abilities and ages. Hell, Coach even proposed that lactic acid was a fuel source for the body after a certain point of maximal physical exertion and capacity. Recently, that study was done and proven in a sterile test envoronment. Hmmmm, maybe Coach is onto something here?!?!
So, how about this carb rich diet issue? Are we really misguided in the CrossFit community when we see massive changes in health and body composition in our clients and athletes? Are the nationally acreditted strength and conditioning folks right after all this time? I think you know the correct answer to that question. Ask Robb Wolf how he used to eat and what changes occurred in he and his family members upon making dramatic changes. Remember, Robb is a former lab kinda guy, but he proved all his points outside of that environment.
So what the hell am I getting at here in this rant?
It is simply that we are blessed by some incredible minds with in the CrossFit community. Glassman, Rippetoe, Rut, Burgener, Wolf, Starret, Mackenzie, Josh and Greg Everett, the list goes on. Each one of these people have come from very scientifically grounded, structured and rigid training organizations and ideals to CrossFit and they have remained here. That should speak volumes. The fact that Mark Rippetoe, one of the original members of the NSCA and member of the board of directors, chose to resign from the organization due to it’s lack of clarity, organization, and true allegiance to strength and conditioning. The fact that he is an integral part of the CrossFit community is a testament to what really works. The same can be said for all of the other aforementioned coaches and their respective contributions to fitness and health through CrossFit and it’s various modalities.
This is a funny community in the sense that it does have an “underground”, avant garde, and rebellious feel to it at times. But, the amount of knowledge and information that exists in those ranks is staggering. Beyond that, the instant availability of that info is unparalleled. And all of this information has been tried, tested and proven without the use of expensive studies, ridiculous notions, and continued and unwavering retention of bad information. That and no one has a full line of crazy initials after their names….
What CrossFit has done is proven what works and what doesn’t work. Everyday, in every gym, trainers should be trying and tweaking the “black box” to find out what works. That’s how we got here and that’s why I truly believe this to be one of the most gifted and trusted communities in the realm of fitness. It is the reason my other fitness certification and education courses cannot hold a viable candle to what we have insofar as knowledge, theoretical and practical application of training in the CrossFit community. We are pretty damn lucky, folks.
When you read about things that did or didn’t work on the pages of CrossFit sites, I implore you to trust that notion and run with the ideas and concepts. I also would remind everyone that it would behoove you to continuously educate yourselves with other sources of information regardless of where they originated. Also, don’t shy away from other S&C coached and CrossFit trainers out there. You will learn something regardless of your views and ideals, I can guarantee it. Every once in a while, you will find a gem of info therein to make you, and subsequently, your clients better. What you don’t like, you leave behind and move on.
Open minds and the ability to sort out the wheat from the chaffe is what will make you succesful. That and having faith in the folks in the CrossFit community as we continue to advance the world of fitness and health.
Take care, stay healthy and stay smart! – Ian Carver – OMG, CIA, CHP, WTF, ABC, DOG, LMFAO…… 😉