What do you think of when you imagine a typical CrossFit gathering? You probably think of the latest trends in Crossfit culture. There are many trends in CrossFit: board shorts, barbell strength specialization, CrossFit football, using ridiculous quantities of chalk, and lululemon pants. With the constant changing of style, how are we to distinguish truly superior methodology from passing trends?
The mark of superior methodology is consistently superior performance. Within the realm of CrossFit, we should recognize superior methods by the superior work capacity across broad time and modal domains which they consistently produce. In other words, for us to consider board shorts a superior method of fitness, then the athletes who wear them must consistently and significantly outperform those who train in sweat pants, regular shorts, jeans, and even those who train naked.
We will recognize improved methods by data such as faster run times at all distances, heavier clean and jerks, higher quantity and quality of bodyweight exercises, and better benchmark workouts such as Fran, Elizabeth, and Murph.
Note that efficacy does not imply superiority. Many methods improve fitness, but that does not necessarily mean they are superior. We often see examples of how a CrossFitter used Method X and got fitter. What is missing is how the results of Method X compare to the results gleaned from other methods.
Performance data, and not exercise physiology theories, is the basis for intelligent discussion of fitness methodology. The best available test of fitness as CrossFit defines it is the CrossFit Games. We look to the Games as a valuable source of performance data, though it is by no means our exclusive source. At EYF we also consult our personal experience as athletes and coaches, as well as much outside performance data as we can get our hands on.
Unfortunately for the proponents of popular CrossFit trends such as ultra low-carb diets, lululemon pants, and barbell strength-focused routines, few recent claims of superior methodology have met the above standard. It is hard for us to see the difference between advising Starting Strength for CrossFit and getting tribal tattoos.