The New Three Dimensional Definition of Fitness Part 2


You with me? OK, now … … something else happened here. Along the way in playing with these three models —turn the hopper and pull out skills and
drills. Let’s balance these 10 general physical
skills so that your well, do you have balanced and breadth and depth in capacity of
cardiorespiratory, endurance, stamina, strength, all that. That model, and the balance of the
molecular approach here. We had observed along the way something
that was kind of a curiosity at first, and in the original “What is CrossFit,” “What is Fitness” document, that has been
kind of a capstone CrossFit document, brought a lot of people that brought you into this
movement brought them in. We had observed as kind of a curiosity that there is a continuum, it’s called,
between sickness, measures of sickness, wellness and fitness. That is we had absorbed that if I could quantify any measure, if it was truly a measure
that I could put numbers to, something would be of
interest to say a physician or an exercise physiologist, potentially, whether they’re interested or not, I guess it’s true. What we’d find is we’d sit well ordered in this pattern. Let me give you examples. Let’s look at body fat. OK? You understand that if you’re 40
percent body fat, that’s considered pathological, you got a
problem—you’re morbidly obese. There’s numbers floating around—I
don’t know what they are—15 percent, make it up, every community seems to have a
different one—that’s well or normal. Five percent is more consistent with what you’d see in
the elite athlete. Bone density. Same thing. There’s a level of
bone density that is pathological. It’s osteoporosis or osteopenia in the
early stages. There is a value that is normal—they say yes you have normal
bone density. We find gymnasts with three to five times normal
bone density. I can do this with resting heart rate,
with flexibility, with all of the 10 general physical
skills. Even some subjective things where we can put numbers to it through analytical methods like
mood state. There’s a sense of well-being that’s normal that athletes, who are a
different breed all together, they kind of hang out with Superman complex, and then there’s the depressed. I do not
know of a measure, even something loosely obtained through like subjective kind of analytical psychological methods,
I do not know of a metric that runs counter to this. This led us to believe that fitness and health were varying different measures of the same
reality. Suggested that rather strongly, and so
we’re on the road lecturing and we’re dealing with these three
operational models, and this fourth curiosity, weren’t sure what this fourth piece what
it’s significance quite was or not, but we did understand this: If there’s anything in your lifestyle, in your training regimen, in
your in your recreational pursuits—take that
broadly— if there’s anything in your life that
has one of these metrics moving in the wrong direction, I want you to seriously
entertain the possibility you’re doing something profoundly wrong. Because what we find when you do CrossFit, when you’re doing constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements, and eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, and getting plenty of sleep every
night, that we don’t have this spectrum of what we’d call “side effect.” I don’t have “Wow, everything’s going great but this one value’s just going in the wrong direction and quickly.” And that is not
the exception but it’s the rule is to be expected with medical intervention. So your physician
might have a plan for you for body fat but it might reduce your bone density or
your muscle mass. And it may be that your doc has a
a solution to your cholesterol problem, but the drug gives you a stroke. It has happened, still is happening, and we didn’t see that phenomenon. We didn’t see that, wow, everything’s been great except this one
thing went to shit since we’ve been working with you, never saw that. And so we knew there was something
significant here, we knew this could be kind of another test in assessing what you were doing. And I
was watching Pat Sherwood struggle with the presentation of this
in Brooklyn back in November, and he was doing a brilliant job, but I
was like, come on, I go “Man, this is the fuckin’ part I hate is trying to explain
how these three models interface with this bit.” And this is
important enough to us again because it showed that fitness and health seem to be varying degrees of
the same reality. You know, not different facets, but just
different measures. Lousy value, good value and an excellent one. And we didn’t want to
get rid of it but we needed it in there and where it logically tied in we weren’t quite seeing it and we were going on with
this, and I’m watching him hit this thing, and all of a sudden it just came to me in a
flash and it looks like this: I apologize for anything technical
that might be here. But the problem lies with me not
you, I’m going to try and draw here. So, we got this fitness, remember? We got power on this axis and I’ve got
duration of effort here, and we made the claim that that curve
here would represent your fitness, you with me? Well check this out, if I add
a third dimension here, and the real measure of this is, do you see 3D, you get the corner of the room there? You got that? We’re looking at a little corner. And what I’m gonna to do is forget this line, you don’t see it, it’s just gonna help me to do something kind of real. Look what I’m
gonna do here: Can you see that? Can you see that I
produced a solid coming down and forward out of the
corner? Good, because that’s not a
beautiful graph. It ain’t bad either but hey, it’s worth it, this is entirely determined on those of you who go, “I see 3D” then, fuck, it’s a good one, OK? Here we are, look, this is fitness. I’m just gonna work back into that. I don’t
want to hang out in the third dimension too long and make anyone dizzy. Come back here to two space, this is fitness. Let’s look at some of the things that the
exercise science community—let me tell you a problem with exercise science. It is very, very rarely scientific that would meet the rigors of anyone who’s actually studied science, real science—chemistry, physics,
engineering. And it’s almost never about exercise. Isn’t that interesting? So exercise science is neither science nor about exercise. And we look at things that that crowd looks at and one of them is VO2 max. I’m gonna tell you right now, you hear
anyone talks too much about VO2 max, I’m gonna tell you, they’re very likely not doing science and do not understand exercise. That’s just a fact, it’s a dead-end, bullshit thing. VO2 max, let’s take lactate threshold, and let’s even look at something that isn’t bullshit: strength. Here’s what I’m gonna tell you: These things are correlates, may be components, but absolutely,
positively subordinate to what happens here. Who would take an increase in VO2 max for a decrease
in work capacity across broad time and modal domains? Let me tell you what that translates to. When we hook you up to the tube and pinch off your nose and run you on a treadmill, man, you’re using more air than you ever have before. But you’re gonna lose the race. Lactate threshold, I’m going to improve
your lactate threshold but you’re gonna get choked out in your
fight. Because of a lack of work capacity. Is that
a good deal? OK, if you’re winning, if your performance is there, if you can demonstrate high levels of
fitness, I don’t really care about these things. That being said, let me tell you what
we’ve been doing at CrossFit. By using constantly varied, high intensity,
functional movements, designed to elicit a broad, general,
inclusive fitness, a fitness that’ll protect you from the unknown and the unknowable, by looking at a curb like this, what we
found is that we have made very significant improvements in these things
in almost every athletic community without ever looking at them. Without ever looking at them. And I’m gonna tell you—and I can make a list of hundreds of these things— and no one has ever produced a great
athlete by taking those things one at a time and building back up to something that looks like an athlete. Doesn’t happen, doesn’t work that way. The place that works is hanging out at university avoiding
athletes and coaches with a tremendous effort getting a bunch of silly little
bullshit degrees in your name—generally non-science degrees— and feeding off the public, eating out of the
government trough. It’ll work there, but not in the real world.
Sir? They are correlates that are somehow connected by mechanisms you don’t understand, or they are components, essential, but the bottom line is they are
subordinate and that I’m not gonna develop fitness by advancing them. I’ll let those nuts measure them and go, “How you doing that?” You know, they tell me they’re important, I say they’re
not. Then they find out that I can move them better than they can. I can move them best by working constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Doing things that look like Fran, Diane, Helen, turning fitness into sport by working with fixed workloads and trying to minimize the time by
making every workout a competitive effort amongst the cohort. And when I do
that, what we find is that these metrics do spectacular things but fuck ’em, I
don’t care. What happens is I’m maximizing the area
under the curve. Now let’s go back to 3D. Here’s the shocker. This piece here is
fitness, this here, I hope you see a three-dimensional
solid. That’s health. It’s health. And I have the same relationship to
things that seemingly matter: HDL, the good cholesterol, ejection fraction, how much blood the
heart can empty in each pump. I can play this game all day long. Just
about anything that the doctor will tell you is important to your health, what we find is the hypotheses here is that we can
maximize this volume by maintaining our work capacity across
broad time and modal domains through the ages as you get older and
older and older. And I can play the same game, I can ask
are these things just correlates? Are they components? And are they indeed just entirely subordinate, too? Well there’s a compelling body of evidence, it is my belief, my thought, I think where we’re headed, and look, right or wrong, this still needs to be
measured. I want you to understand that. It still needs to be measured but I’m
of the opinion that health, that this volume will be
maximally held by maximizing your area under the
curve and then hold that work capacity as long
as you can. In other words, eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, no sugar, learn and play new sports, do CrossFit in 100 words or less, do the constantly varied, high intensity exercise throughout your life on a good diet. And that will buy you more health
than will trying to, “I’m gonna fix my cholesterol,
I’m going to improve my bone density.” Likely, the medical approach here would be
pharmaceutical intervention. So I’m gonna take a drug for my cholesterol, I’m gonna take a drug for my bone density, I’m gonna take a drug for not sleeping well. And I am of the opinion that it’s a failed
approach much as this is a failed approach. And it
makes sense to me that if I’m really interested in maximizing the solid, I would take the two-space model and
hold it as high, for as long as I can. But let me ask you this: Suppose you think
good cholesterol is really important—I want my HDLs up. Suppose I had a guy who at 90 years
old, has 65 percent of the work capacity he had when he was 25, which was also in about the the top 5 percentile of all
people your age. And now, at 90, there’s not one in a
thousand your age. In other words, here you are, 90 years old, you’re running up and down
steps, your successfully engaging the
ladies, and if someone tries to take your wallet
from you at the ATM you’re gonna fuck ’em up, alright? And you’re 90! You picture the guy? Suppose I tell you he’s not in good health because his HDLs are low. Would you right then and there go, “Hey, I’ll tell you what, man, you can have my wallet, and my dick won’t work when I meet the
ladies, and I need help getting up and down the steps but my cholesterol’s fucking beautiful.” Do you want that deal? Of course you don’t! Of course you don’t. I can look at longevity, even this single axis, here. Is the goal to live forever? Or is the
goal to maintain as much functional capacity for as long as humanly possible? Theodore Dalrymple is an editor for “The
Wall Street Journal” and a physician—that’s a pseudonym for, who
knows what his real name is? Doesn’t matter when your as famous as Theodore Dalrymple. He says that the overwhelming
majority of the increases in longevity that
occurred over the past— you know in the modern era—over the past few hundred years, that medical science can take almost no claim for. It can almost all be attributed to
hygiene and sanitation. He also says that the way forward—the big
gap, the big improvements—are not going through a pharmaceutical intervention, not through surgery. The MDs aren’t gonna
provide it. He says it’s gonna come through fitness. That’s what’s gonna do it. He’s
looking at exactly what we’re looking at from a very different perspective, from
the perspective of a physician who’s in a
great position to understand what I see as deficient in trying to
take a pharmaceutical intervention to fix these components our correlates with
the subordinate measures and think you gonna build back up to a
good life. If I look at longevity alone, there’s an instant problem here. Can you imagine if this curve, if this blanket, if it goes way low so you never have any work capacity but it is stretches out
to 200? Is that a life that any of you want? I’m not here to say yes or no. I’m not here to say that. My personal view is that was a resounding “fuck no,” but that’s for everyone to determine, that’s a normative kinda thing. We’re not just talking science
when we’re talking about that, but let me tell you this: It is imperative, it is essential for
doing science, for making meaningful assertions, that it be measured this way. The metric
is important. Not what outcome you’d like to see.
I have this fear that someday medical science is gonna get average life
expectancy to 150. And yet, still at 75, you go into the
nursing home and they’re wiping your fucking ass, and feeding you with a spoon and you’re watching “Oprah” all god damn day long, you know, for 75 years. That to me was
like dying at 75 and going to hell. If someone wants that, there’d probably be a time and place where that can be arranged, but it’s not what I’m looking for, and it’s
really not what CrossFit’s about. This is about vitality, it’s about
capacity. Capacity, capacity. “What can I do?” Getting things done. And what would that be? Stop someone from taking my wallet at the ATM, successful engagement of the ladies, right? And to be ambulatory, I wanna go up and down the steps, man, without help, without help. What we have here is a unification of
fitness and health, it was hinted at by this continuum—
remember the values? Everything sat well ordered where the normal or well value sat between the pathological and the fit. By the way, that continuum also
tells me something else. If you are fit, you have a whole bunch of
qualities— blood pressure, cholesterol levels, bone
density, resting heart rate, body fat—that before you can become
pathological, you’ll have to be well. Fitness is a
hedge against sickness with wellness as an intermediate value. That’s how profound it is. Questions? The exercise science community—people neither doing science nor exercise— They’re of the view that these are
entirely different worlds. Cannot be bridged, cannot be unified. Look, whether there’s fruit to it or not, I’m gonna tell you right now, here’s a metric that proves
otherwise. What significance comes will remain to be
seen, but if we are going to develop a science of
exercise—and CrossFit is leading the world in that— we’ve got more scientists, PHDs, MDs,
trainers, coaches, athletes, and more money and greater reach than any organization in the world today
studying fitness, doing fitness. Questions? Stunning, huh? How about lunch? Is that next? Thanks for your time, guys. Thank you, coach! (applause)

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