Yesterday, I saw this post shared on my friend’s facebook page. And while I am not a regular user of Twitter, conversation about this post saturated my Twitter feed when I logged on this morning. Further, it seems as though the blog of this post (A Fitness Critic) was created solely to host this “op-ed” and related comments. To summarize, the author of this post argues that the winners (or should I say qualifiers) of the Reebok Crossfit Games aren’t truly the fittest people on Earth, but rather are the best at crossfitting. This level of ignorance reminds me of one of the most hilarious lines from one of the most hilarious sports-related television series to air (Eastbound and Down on HBO).
To summarize, “A Fitness Critic” found that his year of experimentation with crossfit actually made him perform worse at rowing, running, and standard military calisthenics, of which he intensely pursued prior to crossfit. He attributed this lethargy to weight gain and a subsequent decrease in VO2 max (although he never measured his V02max at any point in an appropriate experimental setting). If you recall Exercise Physiology 101, there is a CORRELATION (not causation) between running performance, weight, and VO2 max. Hence, there’s a physiological explanation for why the best marathoners and other highly-trained endurance male athletes of the world weigh no more than a female supermodel; gravity is more forgiving to lanky vs. bulky runners. But the glaring fallacy of his argument (aside from more minor ones such as the “argument from authority”) is that his opinion is solely based on anecdotal and not empirical evidence. Yes, he was a varsity athlete at the Naval Academy and did exceptionally well on military fitness tests, but couldn’t there be a genetic attribution to his freakish athletic abilities? We will never know because the sample size is one. Not even sufficient for a no-name, open-access scholarly journal. Perhaps this person has seen my most recent post in which exercise physiologists have studied classic work output parameters in elite crossfitters to EMPIRICALLY determine that they among the fittest people on Earth.
But I will say that A Fitness Critic’s argument against crossfit, with fallacies masked by his verbosity, falls apart when he mentions that those competing at the 2012 Crossfit Games should be embarrassed by their times in the about 800 m swim, 11 mile bike ride, and 6 mile run at Camp Pendelton; an unforgiving, grueling landscape where the Marine Corps train. I’m pretty sure, even without any quantitative numbers to support my opinion, that the best triathletes in the world couldn’t or didn’t finish a triathalon in a comparable time with NO training, let alone no knowledge of the task, whatsoever.