What is Meaningful

By Lon Kilgore Ph.D.

In ExPhysiology

April 01, 2007

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To the objective observer, it should be fairly obvious that CrossFit methods of fitness training are proving themselves in the field. Out in the real world, the average Joe who sees results like those typically seen by their CrossFitting friends are swayed by success. This is why the CrossFit community is growing and thriving.

But there is always a cadre of exercise scientists and physicians who don't necessarily believe results from the field (after all, "there were no controls"). There is an adage in the sciences that "you can prove anything with a single case example," so anecdotal reports of success from the field are frequently assigned a merit and validity best suited for File 13 or Area 51. If the testing didn't happen in a controlled laboratory environment, the thinking goes, the results cannot be the product of an evidence-based system and therefore must be the worst kind of popular and faddish trash or fiction.

But does it really matter what exercise scientists say? The disregard some academics have for practitioners is a two-way street. Most exercise scientists know that the research reports or theoretical papers they publish are completely ignored by actual practitioners. In a very recent conference keynote speech, Dr. William Kraemer, putatively one of the most recognizable and respected figures in exercise research, said "Coaches don't listen to sports scientists."

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