There is another aspect to the 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; i.e., genuine fitness.
For example, a blood pressure of 160/95 is pathological, 120/70 is normal or healthy, and 105/55 is consistent with an athlete’s blood pressure; a body fat of 40 percent is pathological, 20 percent is normal or healthy, and 10 percent is fit. We observe a similar ordering for bone density, triglycerides, muscle mass, flexibility, HDL or “good cholesterol,” resting heart rate and dozens of other common measures of health. Many authorities (e.g. Mel Siff, the NSCA) make a clear distinction between health and fitness. Frequently they cite studies that suggest that the fit may not be health protected. A close look at the supporting evidence invariably reveals the studied group is endurance athletes and, we suspect, endurance athletes on a dangerous fad diet (high carbohydrate, low fat, low protein).
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.
(As a note of interest, Siff, whom we often respect and admire, holds his atherosclerotic disease and subsequent heart attack as anecdotal evidence of the contention that fitness and health are not necessarily linked because of his regular training and “good diet.” When we researched his dietary recommendations, we discovered that he advocates a diet ideally structured for causing heart disease — low fat/high carb. Siff has fallen victim to junk science!)