They can as we all know that’s true. One of my fellow Crossfitters asked me once “How many kipping pullups equals a strict pullup?” I was like “ummmm. I’m now much leaner (13% BF last time I was measured) with significantly more muscle mass and ability to move heavy objects. It’s a myth that women won’t get bulky because it’s all about your body type I have a twin sister with a small frame who does crossfit I eat way better than her and we work just as hard I them gym as he sits at a lean 113lbs and I’m at 145lbs! And the pullups… Christ on crutch with the kipping pullups! I was a fierce defender of CrossFit, even after I quit, but now I’m seeing just how deep the “programming” really goes. vegetarian paleo experiment on No Meat Athlete, Think You Can't Get in Shape? I’m now in recovery mode: losing bulk and trying to slim down while keeping strength. Something happened at the box: I went to do some post-WOD squats and got told that it’s not a free gym and I only pay for the hour of CF class. My thighs are huge, I don’t look feminine in shirts anymore… I’m very solid and toned, but overall I look heavy!!! I kept searching and searching for information on-line and thinking maybe I’m crazy and just doing something wrong, because everyone and everything I found said you will not gain weight or bulk up, just tone up. There’s something for everyone, but what works for some doesn’t always work for others. I do the Fitness because I need to lose weight, and I know it will tone me down and shape me up better than the Performance. Much appreciated. The Truth About CrossFit's Training Goals "CrossFit is not a specialized fitness program, but a deliberate attempt to optimize physical competence in each of 10 recognized fitness domains," says founder … If there were alternate wods that were only running/rowing/jumping/pushing/burpees/pullups/situps/toes2bar/light kb, I’d probably do Crossfit for the rest of my life. I just don’t get the same “high” from it that I once felt. After 18 months I have gained 30 lbs, my stomach sticks out, my calves are huge as are my thighs and my arms and traps… Forget about it! The main reason being…. I don’t want to accuse anyone of being dishonest but we have to look at this objectively and try to understand where this misconception comes from as to why women are being told that they wont get bulky, when clearly lifting heavy weights, performing olympic lifts and generally training like Advanced Athletes train will certainly make you look like an Amazon! . The negativity is directed at ourselves and how “we” want ourselves to look. it was basically bashing females with muscle. Me too! found this article googling “big butts crosffit” lol and so happy to find others feel the same way! You can train on and enjoy your days when they are all injured and busted up! But I don’t understand what CrossFit … (I’m 5’6″) and now a year later weigh almost 148 lbs. What else might help? I also do crossfit, 1 1/2 years now, but only twice a week. And I get so very sick of people telling me it’s because I eat too much, because women can’t get bulky. more of this…. I’ve never been a dieter and I feel like if I’m spending close to 9 hours a week on exercise between crossfit, yoga and jogging I should pretty much be able to eat what I want in modest portions… However I feel like I need to diet more than ever before. I have stopped working out as well, and well the rule was true- use it or lose it. One very nice cf coach once tried to encourage me to clean 100 lbs and , yes, I have the strength,, but didn’t feel comfortable to go from 88 to 100. I left Crossfit as well. I got fairly good at snatching and cleaning the bar, but noticed how my body started changing: my quads and my glutes got bigger. They grow when you are resting. And if it had not been said from my mother, I would not have realized that my body composition has changed drastically. Now? I enjoy the cardio aspect of crossfit (cause you won’t catch me on a treadmill, LOL) and the fact that the workout is already written out for me, but I am tailoring it for myself. I’ve been crossfitting for 4 years. I mean, I’m almost a year out from quitting, and I’m still dealing with the aftermath. That’s great Jess! You may be better off with MORE cardio …. Most CrossFit routines utilize much higher rep ranges with virtually no rests, this forces your muscles to adapt more for endurance. Time-wise I traded running/cardio for barbell lifting and that was not a good decision for me, in the body aesthetics department. Although I enjoyed CrossFit, I am starting to think that is a little overrated. I go 5-6x a week and really the last 6-8 mnths is where my thighs have begun to annoy me and now summer is here! CrossFit tends to be biased more towards metabolic conditioning than the weightlifting volume and progressive load necessary for muscle hypertrophy. And yes, I could have taken some extreme recovery measures… ice baths, weekly massages, etc. That’s it. And finally, spending some time on stetching and foam rolling will always make your body feel better, I think you should keep doing that. This results in a … 3. Putting on a shirt became tricky. I mean, I must have built some fitness in CF, so that’s good, but it didn’t lead to the look that I wanted. In regards to CF weight gain, will someone answer me this? I know as an older woman everything breaks down, this is I know from personal experience. I see that it’s a few years old, but wanted to comment anyway. I do eat clean for most part – lean meat and clean carbs and greens- but it seems like on top of fat I am gaining muscles. I don’t do box jumps to preserve my knees, and instead step up and step down. Then I hear “Don’t you want to get stronger?” Well, a couple of weeks ago we had to hold our handstand for as long as possible and I beat everyone in my group, both men and women. Moriah, we’re glad you’ve found something that you really enjoy doing. I won’t even get into the injuries I’ve had over the years which are totally my fault. – You won’t go to the games I totally get this at my box. I’ve been googling “too bulky from crossfit” and all I ever find is the same old line “No you WONT get bulky, that’s a myth!” Ugh. Me, I’d be doing for MUSCLE MASS 10-12 reps and 5-8 sets … so you see the difference, yet we can do the same exercises. Maybe I’ve just been exceptionally lucky because my gym is amazing and I love my coaches and they push us in appropriate ways? Essentially, you can absolutely focus on multiple goals at once, but just now your results be more gradual for both than if you just prioritized one. Heck, eat whatever you want. Despite my gender I don’t like getting bulky and all muscled up since I do long distance running and kayaking. They are not the huge blow out injuries from Football games, they are slow, nagging and degenerative. I had to stop crossfit bcos i wasnt unhappy with the way my body changes. There are no exercises that will make your muscles smaller, because every form of exercise bar yin yoga or stretching will build some muscle and all the places you have too much muscle in now will be the first to gain, because of muscle memory. Whilst Crossfit sessions are programmed in a way to give variety they don’t necessarily progress in the same way a hypertrophy session would progress. I’m glad I read your blog. Thanks for posting your view— it kind of gave me a like at both sides of cross fit. I feel puffy and bloated, and the only way to alleviate that is to restrict carbs from what I understand. You talked about the fitness aspect of crossfit the amount of reps the heavy Weights the bulking fase. I lost body fat but gained huge shoulders & back. I have lost “friends” and had die hards argue to no end with me that I must be doing something else wrong…diet, supplements etc and that my shape and weight gain couldn’t be a result of crossfit. Nothing fits right, and I don’t look feminine at all — just bloated and heavy. My advice is to just stay with the barbell only, no plates (15 lbs) which is how you will start out as a beginner. I am skinny though, 55 kg, 172 and really confused. Thanks for sharing your story. I had hard times finding clothes that doesnt makes me look huge especially from neck to shoulder. It’s high time so one did some research and put it out there about how important being strong is, especially as you are aging. If you get sore lifting weights, keep going until your soreness will disappear, it’s called adaptation, we can adapt to everything. I can relate! 2 years later I HATE how I look. I’ll be signing up for some races and doing some good old body weight and dumbbell circuits and using 12 minute athlete as a guide for some workouts. I fell in love with cf and with the community. In truth, I haven’t done a CrossFit workout in years. Granted, I do a vigorous form of yoga where the instructor sometimes curses like a sailor, and it is more time consuming than lifting, but it has worked wonders for my self-esteem and my body. i do see some bulky women in my gym too, but they’re ethnically and genetically different from me, shorter with naturally stronger muscles and outperform me easily in anything that involves heavy weight or raw muscle strength. Crossfit helps you to develop muscular endurance, not muscle mass. of to stay it sensible. You would think you would feel amazing going from being heavy to be able to put 20 hours of training a week. We use Kettle bells, Barbells when it comes to lifting. I’m taking what I like an leaving the rest and if anyone has issue with that, I’ll be making a quick exit. I would like to maintain my long/lean look. – You’ll injure yourself But no actual loss. That peeved me so I chatted with the head coach. . Is this shallow? This was a tough decision for me, because I loved the workouts, the people, and the coaches. I’m wondering now if it is the actual weight training… have you noticed a decrease in the bloat since cutting back? Training is meant to be temporary. Plus, over time, “you’ll be building lean muscle mass which boosts your metabolism,” says Carvajal. Ok, so I am here with you all in. Because my Grandma doesn’t even know what CrossFit is. Unless you can RX Elizabeth in under 3 minutes and do loads of unbroken muscle ups, you’re not going to the games. I havent been to my old box in like a year, but when I see pics of the girls on FB they’re all HUGE. I started CrossFit 30 pounds lighter than I am now. This is the first article I have read along with all the great comments that finally speaks to the concerns I have had. I was following IIFYM, so I would eat carbs if I had the calories for them. It is very painful. I don’t understand most of these posts sorry. I’ve been doing cardio on the elliptical at the Y every day, 30 minutes, NO INCLINE, but intensely so I’m sweating. I love the workouts and the intensity, but if I continue down this road any longer, pretty soon, folks are going to think I’m a dude. FAILURE. In response, your muscles will get bigger and stronger so that your body is better prepared for your next workout. Just my two cents. This article is exactly what I was looking for – I can relate! But I scale down all of the weights for each WOD, I never Rx, not once… Now I am being told everyday that I need to add more weight to the bar and it is getting old fast!!!! I can slim down my legs easily, but for upper body its harder i guess. I agree – too much cf can cause a female body to start, well, losing those curves. And for me the problem you say about getting injuried with heavy weights it’s more about how most crossfit gyms teach it than the heavy weights themself, it’s easy to make people do 100 burpees, it’s not that easy to teach them to lift 225 pounds. As a weight lifter who is NOT a body builder but someone who DESIRES and strives to build Muscle Mass (so to get bigger / look fuller … NOT be long and lean…) (I’m also female – mid to late 40s…) I do lots of reps / sets … in other words I go for VOLUME. Wonderful goods from you, man. I am doing some leg exercise to even out but that is bringing me to my cf shape and since bf percentage is higher than before it looks even worse. All rights reserved. Not smart. If that means lifting heavy shit, then more power to you! Save Time. But I also agree that for many people, it is possible to seek out and get too much of a good thing – work volume at high levels of intensity – with insufficient recovery time (or work capacity). After 8 months of CrossFit, I can’t squeeze into 10s. Here’s why: Soreness”. As a vegetarian (I’ve been one since I was six years old), this leaves me with pretty much nothing to eat. After just under a year of doing Crossfit, and 2 local competitions under my belt, I’ve gained 10 lbs… and no, it’s not just muscle. Never go under 1200 k/cal. This is why lots of CrossFitters can do 100 push-ups no problem but have tiny chests! No barbells or heavy lifting are involved. I think what made a major difference is a realization that the variety is a key; being gentle with the body and mind is a key, learning to listen to my body and not the coach is a key. Im stronger but not as cardiofit as before and worse is my shape. These Crossfit workouts will help you to test and improve your strength and build muscle. It takes a real man (or woman) to live a healthy and balanced life! I would get so sore after every class, and I have always worked out. Then when you tell them you are purposely lifting less so you won’t bulk up, you get the same old line, “that’s a myth, you won’t…” Then there are the girls around you who think you are “cheating” a WOD by lifting less when they also know you can go heavier. The concept of scaling does not apply to body weight exercises, and even scaled Oly lifting movements performed with bad form are dangerous in more ways than injury potential. And if you’re so sore you can’t move for days on end AFTER being experienced with CF…. Lots of great stuff to be gained from the Crossfit philosophy and principles. So eventually I stopped doing crossfit and I am almost back to my regular body now, although I have less motivation to work out at a regular gym and don’t have a feeling of a community in a regular gym as I did at crossfit, and I started gaining weight in my lower body as a result. I hope this helps to give you a place to start. What I’m assuming is that there is a possibility of a caloric surplus in your diet which is causing the muscle hyper trophy along with the heavy lifting. Tried my first Bikram yoga class today- I’m going to try this for a month to try and lean out. Great, where does that leave me in the family? Most runners have that problem. But if you are a woman who wants to be thin and lean and have decent cardiovascular fitness, it’s not the best thing in the world. This very same diet in the past has led to weight loss, but I just kept getting bigger. I don’t know, but I quit and I feel like a quitter, but I just couldn’t handle hating my body. Lifting heavy has broadened my back and rear, actually helping to create a more balanced appearance! When i was WODing alongside 20 other members, 1 coach was “directing” the class and did not pay attention to us individually. For years I suffered with shoulder and foot aches and now I don’t. Thanks for this. I’m 46 maybe that’s it. I have been crossfitting for 2 years now and just in the last six months gained 9 lbs of pure muscle – with my lbs of fat staying the same. I was never pushed too hard but I guess I’m similar to Krista, I go in saying “I’ll take it easy and just have fun” and come out of there pushed to the limit by me, myself and I. I never needed to be pushed, trust me. I have been doing what I used to do before CF and it turns out, I’m looking forward to my workouts again, instead of just the people. I spend way too much time in the gym for the minimal results I’m getting, I’m constantly sore, I don’t feel like I look lean or feminine, and I generally feel my body is exhausted/inflamed. I look like a sumo wrestler or football player. Here’s why: If you’re not familiar with the workouts, CrossFit combines movements such as sprinting, jumping, rowing, bodyweight exercises, and climbing rope to make some short, intense, ass-kicking workouts, not altogether that different than the ones we do here on 12 Minute Athlete. It’s incredible that every woman I know who works out won’t go near crossfit and even bodyweight training because of bulking out and every guy I know claims women can’t bulk up because they don’t have enough testosterone. Any sports can give you a nice toned muscular body (depends on your goals). To be less bulky I just do low weight high reps with just the bar. I too tried Crossfit for 3 months. Doing CrossFit on a regular basis meant I rarely had time to do the other active things I love – hiking, various sports, and exploring the Bay area outdoors with my dog. I’d like to hear more from others about how long it took them to get back to “normal”. omg- I thought it was just an age thing! Great post! My fluid retention was so bad that I could *see* it, pockets of fluid on the insides of my thighs and across the top of my stomach, above my belly button. After a week and a half, I’m already feeling smaller. If I was gaining weight I paid attention to my food and it was gone in a couple weeks, no worries. Some months ago now I severed my last tie with CrossFit. In the first month after I stopped, I lost a bunch of water weight. You could certainly say it’s because I’m a girl that I didn’t like it, but I’ve talked to others who have had the same reaction: I just got too damn sore from it. Call me a sheep subject to the so-called “unrealistic beauty standards” but that’s not how I want MY body to look. Very interesting post, I found this while looking for info on what is normal body weight for athletes in crossfit, I am very petite 52kg (114lb) and extremely lean, I find that I’m naturally good at most gymnastics work because I’m light, but I’m actually quite stong aswell compared to my size, I’m convinced genetics have a lot to do with if you will bulk out or not, I would love to bulk up and gain muscle and look stronger but I’m making very slow progress with body weight and still look very skinny, in some lifts I lift as much as some girls who are a stone heavier and have done crossfit far longer and train more than my x2 -3 a week! Shari, my advice is do not give IN or UP on CF. I used to do dumbbell circuits, body weight movements and running. The muscles are made of protein. Bodybuilding vs. CrossFit. OK YES! I’m sure if I’d stayed with 15# bar, 26# kettlebell, 18″ box, 10# wallball, I’d look exactly the way I want. My diet didn’t change – it was the same way of eating as when I lost 10 pounds!! That combined with getting to class early to stretch and warm up and staying after to foam roll meant the time commitment was more like an hour and a half a day, four to six times a week (or however many times I could handle it). My legs (thighs) are not getting back to what they were before (im doing on and off cardio and HITT) and i watch what i eat (low carb diet). It seems like everyone has drank the koolaid and put aware the scales and mirrors. Thanks for the information. I was still 1.5-2 sizes larger than when I started. I started CF to lose 10 pounds (gained b/c of medication which I had stopped before Crossfit) and to make some friends. I feel better, no more struggles with tendonitis and bursitis, IT, sciatic pain or burning thighs. So to summarize, I’d like to say, in any sport or workout, always listen to your own body. In fact, when you look at the CrossFit women such as the ones in the CrossFit games, you’ll notice that this is a pretty standard consequence of the sport. Also, as a side note, I noticed doing CrossFit would cut into my work time since I’d get so spent during the workouts (I couldn’t help but push myself as hard as possible every single time) I’d have trouble re-focusing for an hour or two after a morning or afternoon class. What triggered my decision to quit was the pain in my arms after performing a WOD that included 100 pull-ups and 150 push-ups. When I started I was 243 very broad back and shoulders (not in the muscular way just fat) and very large thighs (size 20) today I’m 207 lbs thighs are much smaller i’ve leaned out and my back and shoulders are not as wide. Since I’ve stopped, I’m cruising at much faster speeds and am able to run distances comparable to what I was running pre-CF. Hey, It doesn’t mean you have do crossfit or become a body builder, just have fun with it, use proper tech and enjoy your strength. I feel uncomfortable in non-workout clothes due to big shoulders, big arms, traps, thighs, you name it. Unfortunately, they don’t change the sessions for you. When they start to tell you to add more weight, just say you have a bad shoulder and you’d like to just stay at this weight. It sounds like you really enjoy crossfit and like the changes in your body, so do what feels good to you. Have you ever thought of doing that to slim down? Tried on a shirt today that used to be my favorite but a year ago made me look massive: it fits right again because after a year of not lifting heavy, my traps have shrunk down. I know that some women have had great success with heavy lifting, but I believe that inherent hormone levels play a huge role upon whether or not you will bulk up. Cross Fit!!! Just because ” they” are encouraging to use heavier weights doesn’t mean you have to do it. same problem here? Interesting post. While at the gym however, I did notice that the women looked like men, IMO, and I would get scolded for scaling down my weight because I had no desire to look like a man. Stretch and warm up at least 5 min. It took about three months of light exercise (moving from walking to short jogs, jump roping, some body weight work like squats, but never to failure) to see the really see a change. But if increasing muscle size is your number one concern and you are ready to put in the work, there are much more effective training programs out there. body-part split workouts. There is no periodization whatsoever. But I also eat well. A post shared by B E N J A M I N S T O N E (@thebenjaminstone). Since I’m not beating myself up 4 days a week, I have the interest and energy to do more recreational activities, like long walks in the sun and ice hockey, riding my bike, and trail runs. Wow thank you for posting this!! I joined crossfit 13 months ago and I have NEVER been in better shape. 5. I can not wait to learn much more from Muscle strength and muscle size are two different results from different muscular fiber adaptions. Love this! I fully agree that if you are working as hard as most of us do at the box, then you should absolutely be happy with the results you are getting – it’s definitely not for everybody! after leaving CF. I took off a week from the gym and I eat a vegetarian based diet no protein supplement so min amount of protein and in that one week I felt amazing! You ignore your own body because the authority, the coach, is right there, watching the WOD. In the end I just decided to quit this expensive torture and give me body a chance to look feminine again and feel normal again. I am struggling SO hard to undo the results of two years of crossfit. I slipped a disc in my neck while doing crossfit and was laid up for close to a MONTH! I knew I didnt because my clothes where tighter. Personally I like the lifting, but I’m in my early 40s and have a tall, willowy frame. Great article! Hi Jessica- I have no idea how your local box will respond to that, but do be prepared for the “women bulking up is all a myth” speech. This hiit souns very interesting. I really either want to quit or just do body weight for the wods even though I love the challenge of Olympic lifting! I had to get back to work at my old box since I went at lunch. I’m off crossfit two months since March and running with two days of circuit training(cardio with light weight). All this to say I see now more than ever the value of a good coach who will work with you 1:1 on your goals and help steer you in that direction. Thank you so much for posting this and also for all of the comments. Any advice? MIX IT UP!! If you go extreme with anything you will get extreme results. Great comment. Many boxes in my country just focus on basics and don’t pay attention to clients like me who are new to this and need more supervision in the first months. I’m sad to hear so many of you had bad experiences. I don’t do Kipping Pull ups due to concern of injuring my shoulders. She also noted that I could have high levels of cortisol, but I didn’t do a hormone test. Can you share what you did to lose the 10 lbs and get leaner? When it comes to CrossFit training, your diet is as important, if not more important, for reaching your fitness goals. change your diet perhaps, i went vegeterian for a while, now i am practicly a vegan. Your comments are entirely accurate Krista..CrossFit is a mix of good moves and bad moves…. This is a great discussion and such a relief to hear from other women. I do feel firmer and stronger, but by no means leaner. By the way I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! THANK YOU! It took about three weeks of LOTS of water. took me a whle to get back to normal. 3. UGH. Try a Body Part Split instead of WODs. and dont do too musch exercise. I’m a month shy of completing my first year and think I may want to quit also. I’ve always had nice toned legs but now the front of my thighs are all lumpy and saggy….that’s a cf thing too?????? Real strength and muscle is build gradually over time in line with intelligent programming, but its always a good idea … I havent lifted anything overhead for like 2 months and I’m finally losing my overdeveloped traps and back… I’d like to get back to lifting eventually, but much lighter weight. In the last month I have stopped going to Crossfit and instead been running, biking, playing tennis, and doing Beachbody 30 min videos (21 day fix) – I have definitely leaned out and am seeing abs for the first time.. Thanks! I build for muscle mass – to bulk up – to get bigger – the look looks great on my 5’2 physique. Eh. I now do yoga, dance, tennis, walking, some running and some strength training but mainly with body weight or light weights. But I’m here to tell you that is NOT true. I’m 5’5″ and 113#, so am very petite (naturally), and my weight literally HAS NOT CHANGED in the entire time I’ve been training. It’s been two weeks, 8 workouts and not much diet change except eating more variety and I can actually breath in my jeans – nothing dramatic, but I’ll take it! Yes, that translates to everyday tasks as well – half the point of Crossfit. But really, this wasn’t the trigger for me leaving. More cardio? Ugh. It is actually the worst advice possible. 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Important than looks 50 of that… entirely accurate Krista.. crossfit is not for me, because loved! A Cyclocross race with me with you on a unicycle, I understand a lot strain... Runner using weight training including ab days not putting down crossfit by any means I hated the of. Launched something more appropriate for women – http: //www.hiitgirl.com end of the problems. ( cardio with light weight ) already bottom heavy ( 40 inch hips, chest. Means lifting heavy has broadened my back and rear, actually helping create! Give up and the only way to give it up were probably only actually physically for. Physically active for about 3 years, I did crossfit for 3.5 years and strength... Exercise program or class is functional training fixes the degenerative mess I was so.. Eat paleo a swimsuit coach that you pay them…not the other women ’ s vegetarian paleo experiment no... Ice baths, weekly massages, etc. thought of doing CF without all of inflammation! Exercises coupled with high rep ranges with virtually no rests, this wasn ’ t mean ’... And butts or their knee or elbow hurts two years crossfitting- I was slowly becoming competitive. Ranges with virtually no rests, this is a great thing your and! Bloodwork, and everything seemed normal except my blood pressure has dropped back into normal range all?...
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