Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “fitness” and being “fit” as the ability to transmit genes and being healthy.
CrossFit makes use of four different models for evaluating and guiding fitness. Collectively, these four models provide the basis for CrossFit’s definition of fitness. The first is based on the 10 general physical skills widely recognized by exercise physiologists; the second model is based on the performance of athletic tasks; the third is based on the energy systems that drive all human action; the fourth uses health markers as a measure of fitness.
CROSSFIT’S FIRST FITNESS MODEL: THE 10 GENERAL PHYSICAL SKILLS
There are 10 recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these 10 skills.
Importantly, improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training.
By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice.
Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.
CROSSFIT’S SECOND FITNESS MODEL: THE HOPPER
The essence of this model is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable.
The implication here is that fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks, even unfamiliar tasks and tasks combined in infinitely varying combinations.
CROSSFIT’S THIRD FITNESS MODEL: THE METABOLIC PATHWAYS
There are three metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human action.These “metabolic engines” are known as the phosphagen (or phosphocreatine)pathway, the glycolytic (or lactate) pathway, and the oxidative (or aerobic) pathway(Table 1, Figure 3). The first, the phosphagen, dominates the highest-powered activities, those that last less than about 10 seconds. The second pathway, the glycolytic, dominates moderate-powered activities, those that last up to several minutes. The third pathway, the oxidative, dominates low-powered activities, those that last in excess of several minutes.
Total fitness, the fitness that CrossFit promotes and develops, requires competency and training in each of these three pathways or engines. Balancing the effects of these three pathways largely determines the how and why of the metabolic conditioning or “cardio” that we do at CrossFit.
CROSSFIT’S FOURTH FITNESS MODEL: SICKNESS-WELLNESS-FITNESS CONTINUUM
There is another aspect to CrossFit’s fitness that is of great interest and immense value to us. We have observed that nearly every measurable value of health can be placed on a continuum that ranges from sickness to wellness to fitness.Though tougher to measure, we would even add mental health to this observation.Depression is clearly mitigated by proper diet and exercise.
Done right, fitness provides a great margin of protection against the ravages of time and disease. Where you find otherwise, examine the fitness protocol, especially diet. Fitness is and should be “super-wellness.” Sickness, wellness, and fitness are measures of the same entity. A fitness regimen that does not support health is not CrossFit.
Nutrition plays a critical role in your fitness. Proper nutrition can amplify or diminish the effect of your training efforts. Effective nutrition is moderate in protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Forget about the fad high-carbohydrate, low-fat, and low-protein diet. Balanced macronutrient and healthy nutrition looks more like 40 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat.