November 16, 2012
A Metabolic Analysis of CrossFit's Elite: Part 1

For Team U.S.A., defeating Team Europe at last month’s CrossFit Invitational wasn’t the only challenge. While in Malibu, Calif., team members were subject to metabolic analysis by Pepperdine University during a rowing Helen.

The athletes wore masks covering the nose and mouth, as well as gadgets to track various markers.

“What we look at is the volume of oxygen inspired and the volume of carbon dioxide expired, and it basically tells us how you’re utilizing fuel,” explains Dr. Cooker Perkins, the university’s associate professor of sports medicine.

After being outfitted with the analyzer, Becca Voigt describes the mask as “very uncomfortable.” Once Voigt finishes the workout, Perkins quickly removes the mask.

“It’s hot,” says Voigt, breathing heavily. “I couldn’t breathe normally.”

To the best of Pepperdine researchers’ knowledge, no one has used a portable analyzer on any CrossFit workout, Perkins says.

“What we want to know is what’s happening inside the body when athletes are working at this capacity,” she says. “These athletes know what they’re doing. They’re doing it well, and we kind of want to capture what’s going on physiologically for them as they perform at such a high work capacity.”

Video by Mike Koslap.