In CrossFit, we use three standards to define and evaluate our fitness: the 10 general physical skills, the ability to perform well at a wide variety of physical tasks, and our cumulative proficiency in the three metabolic pathways.
Three metabolic pathways fuel you for the variety of tasks you perform; they are the phosphagen, glycolytic, and oxidative pathways. Short, hard effort, and high powered work that lasts 10 seconds or less utilizes the phosphagen pathway. An example of this is a 3 rep max deadlift. Stretching a hard effort into several minutes of work causes the body to utilize the glycolytic pathway and includes efforts such as Fran and a single round of Barbara. Longer efforts lasting more than several minutes and characterized by a comparatively low-powered effort fall into the oxidative pathway. The Filthy Fifty and a 5K run are examples of oxidative work.
Training and proficiency in all three metabolic pathways is vital for every athlete. Check back tomorrow for Part 2!