Last Word? I doubt it.

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There’s no chance of having a last word on this subject, but this will be my last post on it. Perhaps no mind has been changed or opened, but it is exciting to see folks brains working. It is also nice to create giant posts by using other people’s words. I don’t have to write much, simply quote you guys. Like this:

Kurt wrote: ““the best method I have found in 15 years of exercising to develop a level of fitness that allows me to do what I want, when I want for as long as I want better than anything else I have seen or heard of….

…I am not arguing that this is a correct or accurate description of what CF is to the rest of the world, but it seems like a decent interpretation of what you actually DO with GPP.”

Even though the description is more about the experience than the definition, your personal experience report of the outcome is better than ‘a decent interpretation’ of the importance of GPP training. I know Poliquin’s original bitch-piece, which started this entire series of blogs and comments, came from such strong dogma that the bottom line, which you, Kurt, positively expressed, was completely missed. Maybe Poliquin should attempt to discover why this brand of GPP training is being used successfully by so many instead of attacking it sans any experience.

Pete C wrote:

“When I read articles like this I can’t help but wonder where the angst for CrossFit comes from?”

Charles Poliquin’s angst? Combine his dogma with the common critiques that I was trying to outline in my initial post and you have an angry article towards CrossFit. The CF community, despite its attempts to be inclusive, still could have an aura of exclusivity about it to the uninitiated. This always happens with growing communities, so no one should be surprised by it. The majority of propaganda from CF still focuses on the hardcore-ness of it, so the layman journalist could easily walk away with an impression that might come off as something similar to the NY Times piece.

You, Pete, have brought up good points about CF and have seemed to integrate it successfully into your program. And, frankly, that’s what it might be all about. Integrating it into a bigger program. Once again, a quality tool within an effective tool box.

Ian wrote:

“2. That the people who run Crossfit gyms only need to have a Level-1 cert? Again, how many gyms do you know that exist where personal trainers have zero certifications? Experience? This isn’t a problem inherent with Crossfit.”

I’m not a fan of any certification. Book smarts versus hands-on training isn’t the issue, it’s experience, the concept of the full-circle. 2-days does not a thorough grounding in anything make, no matter who the instructor is or what the curriculum is. 2 days is a sample, an introduction for folks to pursue paths that might intrigue them further. My 2 day strength camp has tons of info and hands-on training, but I’d never expect the attendees to then be able to instantly apply it and open their own Bodytribes. They could incorporate some ideas into their program and then educate others as they themselves perfect them. Unfortunately quite a number of CF affiliates are being opened without that self-realization period (of course this isn’t unique to CF, but that doesn’t make it right). Curves can get away with this, not any real physical culture modality.

Now, in my ongoing attempt to reduce my biases, CrossFit does have an education system in place (beyond the level 1 cert) that, frankly, outdoes probably any other community out there. The level 1 cert is grossly lacking in some areas, but the continuing education opportunities, in terms of volume (and, yes, in quality) is quite commendable. No, there really isn’t a strong mobility/flexibility component, (and the Glassman/Sonnon conflict probably burned that bridge), But in terms of having a large schedule of workshops from some pretty impressive instructors, CF has no rivals as an organization. BUT…

We can only hope that the affiliate instructors are keeping up on things. I know MANY who are (several of them posting here, like our friends from Brooklyn and Pioneer Valley), so I wonder if there was a way to add the slightest bit of structure to ensure the affiliates all knew their stuff. I wasn’t lying when I wrote about how many times we’ve had to fix techniques and postures in CFers who came through Bodytribe (as I have for Pilates instructors, clients from other trainers, etc. No exclusivity for CFers, but it is still an issue to discuss).

Margie wrote:

“What I’m wondering is why this discussion elicits such antagonism? Is the real issue here that powerlifters and oly lifters and gymnasts feel that their respective sport is being co-opted by a bunch of yahoos with something to prove?”

Yup. Damn yahoos. The iron heads, who have had something to prove for decades, don’t like folks stepping on their ‘proving stuff’ turf.

“That because CF is a mishmash of protocols, it is ahistorical and cultureless? And that one man seems to get a helluvalotta credit for “bringing to the masses” these sports that DO have history and culture and were doing just fine, thank you very much, before CF came around?”

With big lifts come big propriety. How dare CF intrude into sacred iron grounds! That’s what any rant on T-Nation feels like anyway.

So, I still contend that CrossFit is a community centered around a timed workload (or, better yet, power-output, as D wrote) protocol. BUT, due to individual experiences and interpretations, it can mean many different things to anyone who experiences it. That doesn’t change the basic definition, but it can make each individual definition personal. And that, ultimately, is what our permanent homework should be. It isn’t the protocol or program that we then define, it is our experience, our passion and our goals. Give CF credit where it is due, but ultimately give yourself the final slap on the back.

CF (or any other program) doesn’t define you. You define you, and ultimately define ‘it.’

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3 Comments

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3 Responses to Last Word? I doubt it.

  1. Steve C

    I, for one, am happy with that closing. Twas a fun discussion.

  2. Brett_nyc

    this has been a very interesting discussion to follow. The beauty of CF to me is in the programming; whether it be at the daily wod level, 3 day cycle level, or weekly, monthly, or even yearly. CF borrows tools from all over the place, but at its core it’s more than just a mishmash of really hard stuff set to a stopwatch and death metal (although sometimes very difficult to see).
    It’s how those tools get put together, the intelligence, thoughtfulness, and creativity that I think define CF.
    thanks for hosting this discussion.

  3. Ed Pierini

    It’s all good. We just have to show up and DO IT!

    Happy Thanksgiving all and for us older guys, remember to eat your age and not your APPETITE!

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