Define Fitness and Health
CrossFit Headquarters provides the world’s best definition of both fitness and health:
- CrossFit defines fitness as increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.
- CrossFit defines health as the ability to maintain high fitness across your lifetime.
Let’s break down those definitions for you
Capacity is the ability to do real work, which is measurable using the basic terms of physics (force, distance and time). Life is unpredictable (much more so than sport) so real world fitness must be broad and not specialized, both in terms of duration and type of effort (time and modal domains).
The magic is in the movements. All of CrossFit’s workouts are based on functional movements. These are the core movements of life, found everywhere, and built naturally into our DNA. They move the largest loads the longest distances so they are ideal for maximizing the amount of work done in the shortest time (intensity).
By employing a constantly-varied approach to training, these functional movements at maximum intensity (relative to the physical and psychological tolerances of the participant), lead to dramatic gains in fitness. Intensity is essential for results and is measurable as work/time. The more work you do in less time, the more intense the effort.
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How and why does the CrossFit training philosophy work? What publications support CrossFit’s philosophy? All great questions. From it’s inception, CrossFit prided itself in being an open-source and data driven philosophy. If an idea is introduced to CrossFit and makes athletes more fit, then CrossFit immediately adopts the idea. If the new idea makes athletes less fit, then the idea is immediately eliminated from the CrossFit philosophy.
Some research driven strength and conditioning programs publish research behind expensive and inaccessible research portals. So called strength and conditioning professionals that make their fitness research inaccessible (e.g. expensive subscriptions, peer reviewed only by a small group of people with questionable publish or die incentives, researchers who are beholden to large corporate interests resulting from big time grant money) avoid real scrutiny—that is the scrutiny of the free market. If your strength and conditioning coach can’t provide you free/almost free research designed to be accessible to the entire population then your strength and conditioning coach is likely trying to hide something.
In contrast, CrossFit relies entirely on the free market to survive and thrive. People of all backgrounds find CrossFit, personally observe the safety and efficacy of the CrossFit program, and then return month after month, year after year to remain part of the CrossFit community.
CrossFit publishes readily accessible research in the CrossFit Journal. Many articles are available free of charge. All articles are available to the public for a nominal annual subscription ($25/ year the last time we checked). Be smart. Become better at CrossFit. Read the CrossFit Journal.