Definition of Fitness and Measuring Results

CrossFit defines fitness as increased work capacity across broad time and mobile domains. But what does that mean? It’s really just a fancy way of saying we’re going to move objects, our own body and external objects, through space as fast as we can. The heavier an item that we move and the further that we move it in a shorter period of time, the more work we’ve done.

Just as in physics, work (mass times distance) divided by time, equals power. Power, we find, correlates to fitness. It’s logical. If you can move a bigger weight further and faster, you’re by definition fitter.

But what do we do in order to record our results? If we create a graph with work output on one axis and time on another, we can chart our results. We can test, for example, how many squats you can do in one minute. That’s going to be a relatively low time domain, but a pretty high work output, so it will be in the upper left of the graph. How about if we run a marathon instead? That will be a really low power output for a very long time, moving the data point down and to the right. Eventually the average of all the results of all our workouts follows a curve from top left to bottom right.

As we age is that this line, the average of our workout results, will start to move down and to the left. This is a natural process in all of our lives is that as we age we’re going to lose the capacity to do more work. But in CrossFit we endeavor to push this curve up and to the right. We’re going to increase our capacity to do work for longer periods of time and the only way that we know that we’ve actually made that change, the only way that we can be certain to say that we have become fitter, is to record these measurements and get our “graph.”

Here at Sequoia CrossFit, we use a tool called Beyond the Whiteboard. It’s a wonderful application that works nicely on mobile or desktop, and it allows us to record all of our workouts very, very specifically. Because we know how tall we are, and we know the depth of our squats, we know our range of motion for a squat. We know how long our arms are so we know what our range of motion is for a press. We put the two together, we know the range of motion for a thruster. If we know the weight that we did a thruster and we know how many times we did it in a period of time, then we can calculate our actual work and power output for that given workout.

The more we graph this information, the more data we have, and the more we can compare our previous results to our current results and shoot for future results to see our progression of fitness over time. When we do CrossFit, constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity, we find that our work output, our actual results, improve faster than with any other fitness system in the world. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of your workout results every single day.

Again, Beyond the Whiteboard is an excellent solution but it’s not the only one. We happen to like it here. But I don’t care if you write it down on a piece of paper, if you use an app, or if you memorize it in your head. As long as we know our results, we can empirically track our progress and our fitness journey, ideally moving that curve up and to the right. That’s what we do and we hope you’ll come and join us to do it.

Join us anytime! We’re here seven days a week at Sequoia Crossfit. Our full schedule is online at We’re located at 4030 International Blvd. and we hope to see you soon. Thanks so much. Have a great day.

Natalie Pavlovsky