What is Fitness? Ep. 2

In the last episode of the series, we introduced you to the different models that explain fitness in CrossFit. This episode will continue with the second and third model. If you haven’t read the previous episodes, please do so before continuing.

The Hopper Model

The second model is based on the performance of randomized athletic tasks and is called the “Hopper model”. CrossFit describes this model as: “Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges, where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform feats randomly drawn from the hopper”.

This model suggests that your fitness can be measured by your capacity to perform well at these tasks in relation to other individuals. In practice this encourages an individual to disinvest in any set notions of sets, rest periods, reps, exercises, order of exercises, routines, periodization, etc., this because nature frequently provides largely unforeseeable challenges; train for that by striving to keep the training stimulus broad and constantly varied.

The Energy Systems

The third relies on the energy systems that drive all human performance, they are the the phosphagen (or phosphocreatine) pathway, the glycolytic (or lactate) pathway and the oxidative (or aerobic) pathway. All the pathways produce energy in different time domains, from short (10 seconds) to moderate (minutes) to long. 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.

In Perspective

Our first model evaluates our efforts against a full range of general physical adaptations. In the second, the focus is on breadth and depth of performance. With the third, the measure is time, power and consequently energy systems. It should be fairly clear that the fitness CrossFit advocates and develops is deliberately broad, general and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist.

At CrossFit AKA we make sure that our day-to-day programming adheres to these principles and through that we make you more fit. This also means that on some days you might have to perform a workout that you do not necessarily enjoy, or a class contains movements that are not your stronghold. It is important to realize that on these days you will probably make the most improvement.

So for all of our dear “METheads”, enjoy the fact that a single modality weightlifting day will also make you better at your favorite metcons. To all our “Powerlifters”, remember that a better endurance will help you recover better from your 5RM deadlift. To all of our beloved cherry pickers: Just. Show. Up. And enjoy your journey towards fitness.

In the next episodes, we will get into specific programming at CrossFit AKA. Stay tuned!