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It I was hoping for a better researched article on the lineage of various workout philosophies. Crossfit as an offspring of circuit training, the large family of aerobics including Tae-Bo and many other forgotten ideas.

I also found the tone towards all those excercises a little negative; working out and staying fit is clearly good, and establishing and popularizing excercising in the first generation in human history that had technology to really help with many physical tasks is a difficult and noble task.

The consequence of insufficient excercise on human health is too severe than to belittle the attempts or to focus only on the gender issues of the past.






Indeed. I get a little tired of the sneery tone many journalists take towards the past, giving themselves an implicit pat on the back for being sooo much smarter.

Cynically, that sort of tone is much more newsworthy than "exercise is good, health science is tricky and slow, so fads are probably bunk and anything is better than nothing". Write one timeless article like that and you're finished, but attacking the idiocy of whatever trend came before the current one is a stable opportunity.

(Even more cynically, it's the same dumb presentist instinct that shows up everywhere from film styles to foreign policy. "We've got to arm this faction because the stupid idiots before us armed that faction because the idiots before them armed the other faction...")


Yeah, all the little jabs at outdated cultural norms pretty much killed the article for me. We get it, people from 50 years ago had unrealistic beauty standards, you don't need to point it out every couple sentences

That’s not a journalist’s sneering tone towards the past: it’s the sneering of someone who has never understood exercise towards those who do it.

I can't speak to other methodologies, but if you're interested in the lineage and philosophy of Crossfit, the old journal articles by Glassman et al. are a gold mine.

https://journal.crossfit.com/article/what-is-fitness <- 2002 piece (with updated pictures) that really sums everything up

http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf/CFJ_2016_05_Pegboard-Wa... <- "Best of" index


I agree completely. This is just a superficial overview of the most obviously ridiculous manifestations of fitness trends, focused on ridiculing people's tastes and motivations. I'm personally frustrated by the quality of information that my friends and family get from various unqualified sources seeking money or attention, and I would love anything that would help them get a better critical perspective, but "isn't it all ridiculous" is not a critical perspective. It's easy to expose how people's concerns about physical fitness are wrapped up in vanity and arbitrary social norms, but you can do the same with food, shelter, and human relationships; does the author have anything interesting to say about what that means?

The closest the article comes to hinting at a more interesting point of view is when it points out in relation to a "Ms. Prudden" that "the paper’s honorific [in 1982] for the author was Miss; The Times was notoriously slow to accommodate Ms., adopting it only in 1986, 15 years after the founding of Ms. magazine." The purpose of mentioning this would seem to be to point out that fitness trends are not unique in reflecting contemporary social mores. But if we're already aware of this, then I'm not sure what the article has to offer except transtemporal voyeurism, trotting out the past to serve as a freak show for the present.

The history of fitness trends could make for an interesting way to see changes in popular ideas about health in gender roles across time. But this article is not a history; it is a catalog of mockery that happens to span a few decades.




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