CrossFit NYC Explained (part 1)

Part 1: Why “Black Box”? Why the CrossFit Open?
by Hari Singh

CrossFit NYC: The Black Box. From the beginning (2005) we have been primarily referred to as The Black Box.  It’s a cool name. CrossFit affiliates are referred to as “boxes,” and this made our aka a great play on words. But that was not the primary intent.

A black box is an engineering concept:Blackbox3D-withGraphs.png“In science, computing, and engineering, a black box is a device, system or object which can be viewed in terms of its inputs and outputs (or transfer characteristics), without any knowledge of its internal workings. Its implementation is “opaque” (black). Almost anything might be referred to as a black box: a transistoralgorithm, or the human brain.”


In the black-box analogy, CrossFIt NYC is not the black box. You are the black box. CrossFit NYC is the input: the programming and the coaching necessary for you to safely and effectively follow the programming.

What is the output? Of the many observable outputs we could focus on (strength, body composition, etc.) we choose to monitor one output above all others: fitness (“work capacity across broad time and modal domains.”)

What is the best measure of your work capacity across broad time and modal domains? Of course, we periodically test (1RM lifts, benchmark WOD’s, etc.). But the best possible measure of your fitness is your results during the CrossFit Open.

Of course there is a downside to doing the Open (taking the test). You’ll get the results, and maybe you won’t want to know them. After all, you’re not going to the Games. Fair enough, but that argument is a bit like saying you don’t want to examine your finances because you’re never going to be a billionaire. Or you’re not going to have a physical, because you already know that you’re not going to live forever. (There are obvious limits to these analogies, among them the fact that your financial and medical results don’t typically make it onto the Internet, but if you’re a CrossFitter, you should be used to posting your results.)

The advantage of doing the Open is that it allows you to get an extremely accurate snapshot of your current fitness level. Seeing that you’re in the tenth percentile or the ninetieth percentile allows you to get down to the real business at hand: getting fitter. That is why you CrossFit.

Do the Open. Take a look inside the black box.