By: Jim Goetz
Having the title, "Fittest on Earth" is straight up awesome!!! Being the best at anything on this planet is awesome! Being the fastest on earth is pretty cool. Being the strongest on earth is also cool. But cross fit is a sport that is a combination of the biggest, fastest and strongest all into one. Cross Fit is a sport that measures pure athletic ability. It is athletic ability at it's most raw state. To be the top baseball player in the world, you have to spend countless hours honing your talent and skills to be able to pick up a ball, react to it's movement and future location and move the bat swift and powerful through that path of the ball. It's a learned skill. Cross fit is simply pure and unadulterated athleticism.
What does Cross Fit have to do with BioHacking? Everything!!! As seen in our article on exercise, it's now common knowledge that humans were meant to move. We were hunters and gatherers turned sedentary by our own technology and laze. In order to unlock the utmost in human performance, we must move. Cross fit is movement. Doing it properly will enhance long term ability of movement and health. Doing it improperly will assure injury and poor daily performance.
Perhaps the greatest Cross Fit athlete to date has been Rich Froning. He won the Reebok Cross Fit games in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 and then retired from the open competition and won the team competition in 2015 and 2016. He could be considered the Babe Ruth of Cross Fit. He says that he does not adhere to any strict nutrition regimen and works out multiple times per day. On the surface, it makes him appear to be some alien or someone on insane amounts of HGH or steroids. While allegations in the sport are rampant, I do not think the latter is entirely the case. How then does he not burnout if he participates in multiple workouts daily?
Cross Fit incorporates multiple elements of training from high intensity interval training (HIIT), Olympic lifting, plyometrics, powerlifting, gymnastics, girevoy, calisthenics, strongman elements, swimming, and middle distance runs. It literally incorporates the training elements of all sports and combines them into one. But training for Cross Fit competitions must be done in a manner that allows the competitor to be at their strongest and not fatigued or broken down in any way.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research entitled "Crossfit-based high intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition" followed 54 participants for 10 weeks of CrossFit training. The study said that "...a notable percentage of our subjects (16%) did not complete the training program and return for follow-up testing." The authors said "This may call into question the risk-benefit ratio for such extreme training programs..." This study resulted in a lawsuit by Cross Fit against the NSCA, to which this article and company will not touch with a ten foot pole. The purpose of mentioning this is the idea of overtraining as could easily occur in Cross Fit's WOD (workout of the day) without any variation would appear that burnout could easily happen. Even worse, the disease of rhabdomylosis is present within the sport. This is the breakdown of muscle tissue due to exercise exertion.
Remember that most studies show positive benefits of exercise are achieved through moderate exercise. Cross Fit is a tad bit more than moderate.
On the positive side, Cross Fit has been proven to lead to dramatic gains in fitness in a very short period of time.
So let's take a BioHacker's perspective to this sport to be the fittest you can be and perhaps for one of the few of you, the Fittest on Earth.
First, we must avoid injury. Second we must perform to the highest of our ability while training the body to adapt to changes in exercises while simultaneously experiencing gains whereas the result is an increase in athletic strength and conditioning.
In order to achieve this we must ensure adequate rest, recovery and proper adaptation to the program we participate in. The human body is extremely resilient in how it adapts. The body will adapt to the stresses put upon it. Repetitive and reasonably intense stimulation strengthens the nerve impulse to the muscles involved, creating greater muscular strength and endurance. However, I did say, "reasonably intense". If the stress is too much and too fast, the body will break down resulting in injury.
Another concept to become successful in Cross Fit is practice. Movements such as Olympic lifting, muscle ups, kip up pull ups, rope climbs and the such take coordination and skill. The Hebbian theory is a neuroscience theory that is best summarized by Siegrid Löwel's phrase: "Cells that fire together, wire together." Yes, perfect practice makes perfect.
In order to continue to progress while as the same time rest, it's best to follow a technique called, Periodization, as written about by Tudor Bompa. This technique "mixes it up" while allowing an athlete to peak at the right time. As with Cross Fit one may have to peak over the course of a few days; proper implementation of this will allow for success.
As there are multiple types of periodization (linear, daily undulating and block), using the right one or a combination thereof is crucial. This will allow for increases in performance while allowing the body to rest and recover. Working with a highly trained strength and conditioning coach who is fluent in this is suggested.
Nutrition is key to recovery as well. Without the right ratio of nutrients, the body cannot properly recover and improve. I will get more into this in what will most likely be future BioHacker Talk entries.
If done right, Cross Fit can be a fun and enjoyable way to challenge yourself and achieve new heights of fitness. If done wrong, it can be a miserable way to the hospital.
BioHacking is more than simply taking a pill for a specific purpose and hoping for a biophysiological change. BioHacking is habits and ways of doing things differently than you have done before. Following the proper principles and progressing properly along with adequate rest and nutrition are key to your biohacking success. Who knows, perhaps you may be the next one to be recognized as, "Fittest on Earth".
#BioHackHumans #BioHacker #edtech #BioHackthePlanet #crossfit #sixpack #fitness #training #playground
1. Muscle & Fitness magazine Live Chat with CrossFit Games Champ Rich Froning
2. Dehority, Sam. "The Fittest Man on Earth". Men's Fitness. Retrieved 21 April 2017
3. Smith, MM, Sommer, AJ, Starkoff, BE, and Devor, ST. Crossfit-based high-intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition. J Strength Cond Res 27(11): 3159 –3172, 2013
4. Robertson, Eric (2013-09-20). "CrossFit's Dirty Little Secret: Everyone has an uncle they'd rather you not meet., A Tale of Rhabdomyolysis, Rhabdomyolysis: As Told By CrossFit?, The Impact of Rhabdomyolysis". Medium.
5. The disease attacking super fit athletes. Stuff
6. CrossFit: Can the Popular Extreme Workout Be Dangerous?. ABC News.
7. Hebb, D.O. (1949). The Organization of Behavior. New York: Wiley & Sons
8. Löwel, S. and Singer, W. (1992) Science 255
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