Will CrossFit Make You Bulky?

Hello! My name is Katie Lyn. I am a writer over at Garage Gym Power. I am also a mom, a woman and an athlete. I am honored to be given the opportunity to write this guest post for Tina.

I learned about Tina’s blog at the suggestion of a friend, and was happy to discover a like minded blogger with a lot of great recipes and an interesting CrossFit journey to share.

This topic centers around a theme female CrossFit athletes encounter quite a bit, which is:

“Will CrossFit make me Bulky?”

I am going to attempt to tackle this prickly subject by exploring different definitions of “bulky” and looking at what practicing CrossFit may or may not accomplish for women. So without further ado, let me begin.

Maybe you are a gal who has been considering giving CrossFit a try because you see all the benefits gained by CrossFit athletes. Sure! They look happy, energetic, on fire for life.

Who doesn’t want that?!?

But then something happened… Maybe you were excited to join a box, and you shared that excitement with some friends or family. If you did, you likely heard something like:

“I would never join CrossFit, I don’t want to lift those heavy weights and get huge muscles.”

Or maybe you saw a picture of a female fitness model or CrossFit Athlete and thought to yourself:

“What if I start getting bigger? My goal was to lose weight to fit in smaller clothes!”

What “they” don’t want you to know

Here is a secret you may not know:

Fitness models and competitive bodybuilders follow a grueling, dehydrating and bulking routine before photo shoots and competitions. They cut fluid intake, cut carbs, drastically decrease calories and sometimes don’t drink anything a day or two before the photo shoot or competition.

They do this so their skin lays closer to the muscle so it is more visible, making them look well defined and muscular.

Catch these models or weightlifters on their day off, and they probably won’t look like the same person. Normal people have fat and water between their muscle and skin, and so do fitness models, when they are allowed to drink water and eat enough calories.

If you are worried you may end up looking that muscular, relax and maybe have a glass of water. You won’t achieve that look without serious effort.

But what if CrossFit does make you gain weight or get bigger?

It could happen!

Look at Annie Thorisdottir who was twice awarded CrossFit Games Fittest on Earth.

Or well known CrossFit Athlete Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.

Both of these ladies have well defined, muscular, and dare I say, “bulky” bodies.

Personally, I think they look great!

Even if this is not the physique you are after, you have nothing to fear. These ladies made a choice to form their bodies the way that they have, just like you have a choice and a say in how your body looks.

If you choose to sit on the couch, eating Twinkies and watching the entire 3rd season of “Breaking Bad” in one sitting, and live that way consistently, then eventually you will have earned yourself a not-so-athletic body. You may even be fat.

If you are a dedicated, competition level, CrossFit Athlete like Annie Thorisdottir, who owns a CrossFit Box, trains everyday, coaches others, and probably eats well, gets enough sleep and has the help of mentors and trainers, then you would have a physique like….Annie Thorisdottir.

My guess is the figure you are after is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

It comes down to this:

Your figure, form, body shape, physique, or whatever else you call it, is determined by two things.

1. What you want.

2. What you are willing to do, sacrifice, or to pay to get it!

CrossFit can not really “make” your body into something you did not intend. CrossFit will not “make” you bulky and muscular any more than playing tennis will make you look like Serena Williams.

If you have a lean, firm body, it is due to what you ate, what supplements you took, and how you exercised.

If you have a lot of bulk and visible large muscles, it is the same principle.

If you are “skinny fat” or just fat, guess what? You made choices that led you there too.

Photo by Charlotte Karlsen on Unsplash

Think Different

Guess what?

I actually have sat on the couch and binge watched TV series on Netflix. I don’t eat Twinkies while I do, but sometimes I am known to open a bag of chips or, heaven forbid, cookies. But it is something I do once in a while.

You know what I do just about every day? I workout. I go to my gym, and get really sweaty, lift some weights, do burpees and box jumps, and squat after squat. OK, it just feels like we are forever doing squats, but at least a few times a week we have squats.

My height and weight are proportionate. I have a little arm definition, and sorta muscular thighs, and a lot of the fat in my bottom has been replaced by much shapelier, firm round muscular bottom. I am not ‘Bulky” nor do I want to be.

But oh my gosh, when those arm muscles started popping out…I was so proud!

Another bonus of doing all those military presses, planks, push-ups and other shoulder work is that my once super narrow shoulders now have a little more mass, and I look more balanced. Think: less pear, more hourglass.

You will love CrossFit. Please believe me. It will change so many things in your life for the better. I believe it will even change the way you see muscles, and “bulky” women.

You may change your mind and decide you do want some bulk. Those muscles are your reward for hard work. They are your trophies to show to the whole world.

Let me tell you what!

What do you think looks better in a form fitting dress, mini skirt or booty shorts?

The bottom on a lady who is “skinny fat” or thin or who sits at a desk and never exercises her bum? Or the CrossFit lady who has been putting in the time at her box?

Seriously, if you want the perfect bottom, CrossFit is where it is at!

If you don’t care about a perfect round backside, well, maybe its time to renew that Netflix subscription.

The Caveat

There is something important I must share with you.

“Bulk” is defined differently by different folks. Some say bulky is having visible large muscles. Some say bulk is just “big” could be muscle, could be fat, could be both.

Well, no matter how you define it, bulkiness occurs (or does not) as a byproduct of three things:

1. How you eat (or supplement)

2. How you train

3. Whether you are male or female

Most women do not eat enough food, or the right kind of food to gain serious muscle.

Plus, women do not have the hormonal makeup to for serious gains. You need testosterone, and a good amount of it, to gain big hulky bulky muscles.

Fact: The average adult male has a Testosterone level of 240-950 ng/dL while a woman has only 8-60 ng/dL.

Takeaway:

If you are female, you chances of bulking up with big muscles are not high. You would have to make serious diet changes, lift really, really heavy weights, and maybe take supplements or hormone altering substances to gain large muscles.

The “Other” Bulky

We talked about the muscular bulky, so now lets talk about the other kind of bulky. This is where you gain new muscle, but darn it, you did not lose any fat, and now you are actually bigger than when you began.

I assume if you are reading this article, getting bigger was not your goal.

Here is how it works:

What I am about to say applies to all weight bearing exercise in general, and can not be blamed on CrossFit or weight lifting specifically.

It is possible to build muscle, while not burning any of the fat that you wanted gone. It is possible.

This is where diet comes into play. No matter what sport or fitness activity you do, diet matters, usually more than the exercise itself, when it comes to body composition. The surest way to change body composition is through diet and exercise.

If you join CrossFit to lose weight and become lean, for sure you will burn calories during each WOD. But if you go home and eat enough to make up for those calories, the fat will not be lost. Your body must be in a calorie deficit to lose or use stored body fat.

I am no diet expert and I think there are several paths to success so I am not going to preach the virtues of any specific diet.

However, Tina here at Carrots and Cakes has several excellent weight loss tips plus an article about her journey of overcoming sugar addiction, which I will be reading with great interest, later.

Time to Be Real With Y’all

CrossFit. Muscles. Where do I start?

OK, here is the truth. If your idea of bulky is a slim woman with a little muscle definition then CrossFit may not be the sport for you.

Sorry! But it’s true.

My idea of lean, shapely female physique is exactly that, slim, with some muscle definition.

Many women who have been practicing CrossFit for a while, and eating (relatively) carefully, eventually become lean and defined. Not necessarily huge muscles, but you may see her biceps, even when she is not flexing.

If this look is not what you are after, well, there are many other forms of exercise where you can burn fat without gaining much muscle. Just sayin’

It’s like this:

The terms “Toning” and “Sculpting” “Firming” are actually pseudonyms for losing body fat and gaining muscle. Muscles, your muscles, are in a constant state of change. They are either getting stronger by use, or smaller by not being used. Its science. Use it or lose it, baby.

The good news is:

A reasonable amount of muscle does make a woman more shapely. Working your glutes via squats, lunges and deadlifts makes your backside rounder and perkier, and just better looking.

Working the arms and shoulders by doing pushups, kettlebell swings and pull-ups leads to shapely shoulders and arms. If you have narrow sloping shoulders, building a little muscle in the shoulder can balance that.

If you have flabby or saggy under arm wing-things, building the biceps, while losing body fat, can help firm the area.

And so on and so forth

I admit, my bias is obvious. I do not think CrossFit makes most women “bulky”, I think it makes most women look lean and attractive, and I highly recommend it for all the benefits it gives a woman, including a better figure, self esteem that comes from achievement, and the happy-making endorphins that comes after you xr’d a good hard WOD.

I am curious to see what other women have to say about this topic. What do you think? Does CrossFit make women look “bulky” or lean and shapely? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!

Katie Lyn

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64 Comments

  1. I used to do Crossfit and loved it! I felt fit and strong and certainly never bulked up. I never really lost much weight either, but I sure FELT better (which is what I would define as success). I have to say though, I’m not really into all the mentions of people making choices to be fat in this article. It’s true, we all make choices to get where we are, but I think you could have achieved your goal and talking about the benefits of Crossfit and how it doesn’t necessarily make you bulky without a bunch of fat talk. My two cents! I love reading Tina’s blog because of it’s real talk, kindness and focus on attainable fitness in a busy young Mom’s life, so I guess that’s what I come here for. 🙂

  2. CROSSFIT is the best decision I’ve ever made! It is LIFE!! Lol. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they “regret trying it! “

    1. @Karly Foret: LOL you’re hearing it now! I tried it a few times and it was 100% NOT for me. I’m all for people finding what exercise they love but not every form of exercise is for everyone.

    2. @Karly Foret: I totally agree. I don’t know what I would do without it. I tried soooooo many things before and nothing really “stuck”. But I have been at it for 3 years now and I still love going every morning. I love laughing with my sisters and working really hard, pushing myself, and that awesome post workout glow. I just love it.

  3. Awesome post! I really enjoyed reading this. I am almost 2 years into Crossfit and can’t believe how strong I have become.
    I can’t get over how strong my core feels, but sometimes I binge on cookies or pms and feel bloated, but underneath I still feel strong and soon enough I come back around. My body will never be the typical slim with lean muscle we are constantly bombarded about because it is not how I am built, but with Crossfit I have broken free from that mentality and would rather PR a movement than obsess about my body not forming to society’s mold. The bigger picture needs to be to appreciate your body for what it can do versus the mind set of how you will look. Also, I don’t consider any girl at my gym to be “bulky” – some have more muscle definition, but it looks great!

    1. @Courtney: I am so glad you enjoyed the article! I was suprised to learn when I started CrossFit that some folks consider even just a little muscle definition in a woman “bulky”, so by that standard, I have plenty of ladies in my class that are “bulky”.

      I agree, CrossFit shows you what you are capable of, and that is one of the best aspects of the sport. I thought about including more of that in the article, maybe I should have. :o/

  4. Long-time reader here, and I’m super disappointed to see both of these statements in your blog:

    “If you are “skinny fat” or just fat, guess what? You made choices that led you there too.” < This is false.

    “What do you think looks better in a form fitting dress, mini skirt or booty shorts? The bottom on a lady who is “skinny fat” or thin or who sits at a desk and never exercises her bum? Or the CrossFit lady who has been putting in the time at her box?” < This is shaming.

    This guest post doesn't make CrossFit seem very community-based, inclusive or even welcoming. I'm sad to see this post here and have a hard time looking at the "good" in the article (the bits about the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle) because of the sentences above.

    1. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: Kaitlyn, this was well-said and I agree with you. A Crossfitter’s body is not superior to one belonging to a woman who chooses yoga, dance, running or even nothing for their exercise routine. I found this post to be off-putting.

    2. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: I agree with this comment. The article was full of false statements and body shaming, and it did not encapsulate the true inclusive nature of crossfit at all. I think “If you don’t care about a perfect round backside, well, maybe its time to renew that Netflix subscription” was the kicker. Ya know what, I don’t care about a perfect round backside because I have so many other more important things in my life to care about. I work out to be healthy and to feel good about myself. Anyways, back to my Netflix…

    3. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: Couldn’t agree more! I was reading this article and just thinking, ‘this doesn’t fit on this site at all!’ so body shaming and harsh. The thing I love the most about my Crossfit box was that it had every shape and age imaginable and if I would have read this article before I went, I never would have tried it.

    4. Whatever body type you are, you made choices that led you to have that body type. That is not a false statement. You cannot defy physics and the laws of thermodynamics.

    5. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: Thank you! I came here to say the same thing. This is fat shaming, and it’s a shame to find it in this positive, healthy place.

      It’s not OK–“If you are “skinny fat” or just fat, guess what? You made choices that led you there too.”

      1. @Nadine: Why is this statement not OK? You do have a choice, everyone gets to choose. That is an empowering message. There is hope.

        Your life is a sum of the choices you make every day. To say otherwise robs us of our power.

      2. @Nadine:

        @Katie Lyn,
        “Why is this statement not OK? You do have a choice, everyone gets to choose. That is an empowering message. There is hope. Your life is a sum of the choices you make every day. To say otherwise robs us of our power.” This seems easy peasy, cut and dry, but it isn’t. Life choices are part of life but so is genetics and other factors. You might think making assumptions based on appearance is OK because of their life choices, but what about those who don’t have a choice? I’m so-called “skinny fat,” very thin without muscle definition or a well-shaped bottom. I have a serious illness, take medications that cause many side effects, and cannot keep weight on. I can’t exercise because I have no stamina. Just walking around from the bathroom and kitchen breaks me into a sweat. Now you know my life choices, this might justify my appearance and you’d think “oh, well, that’s different, you have a reason to look that way then,” but it isn’t about things being OK for you. We should do US and not worry about THEM. Your life is the sum of your life choices, but that’s not how everyone’s life works. I’m disappointed in this post because I’m excited that you’re happy with crossfit and find it fulfilling. Do people who make other choices or have different life circumstances not deserve that same respect?

    6. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: Well said! I couldnt help but find parts of this article to be body-shaming. I love CrossFit and felt like this article perhaps had good intentions, but was overall a step in the wrong direction. I was a little disappointed to see this on Carrots’n’Cake.

    7. @Kaitlyn @ Powered by Sass: Respectfully, I disagree. We all make choices that lead us to the lives we have today. To say otherwise is disempowering.

      And I do think ladies who workout have better-looking backsides. I did not realize that was controversial, shaming or wrong to say so. Even so, its just one opinion, I am surprised to be accused of shaming because I said this. Honestly, I did not mean to offend.

      1. @Katie Lyn: So basically what you’re saying is you find it empowering to tell women they should workout to have good bodies?! Because physical appearance is what should motivate us as women?! I couldn’t think of anything less empowering to tell women about exercising!

      2. @Katie Lyn: So basically what you’re saying is you find it empowering to tell women they should workout to have good bodies?! Because physical appearance is what should motivate us as women?! I couldn’t think of anything less empowering to tell women about exercising!

      3. @Katie Lyn: So basically what you’re saying is you find it empowering to tell women they should workout to have good bodies?! Because physical appearance is what should motivate us as women?! I couldn’t think of anything less empowering to tell women about exercising!@Katie Lyn:

  5. As a longtime reader but infrequent commenter, and relatively new crossfitter (since last summer) I have to say this article was disheartening for me. One of the things I’ve loved so much about crossfit is how little it focuses what my body LOOKS like and more on what my body can DO. Crossfit has been very empowering for me mentally and emotionally and I wish this article would have focused less on what my butt can look like and more about the other benefits of crossfit. Also I think that one persons definition of “bulky” or “lean” is entirely subjective and could be very different from another woman’s. I love crossfit because it celebrates all bodies, perky ass or not, and being encouraged to do one type of workout over another based on results that will meet socialized standards of “beauty” is not the point of exercise. The shaming in this article didn’t feel reflective of the openness and support I’ve found in crossfit, and I hope it’s not offputting for women considering giving it a try.

    1. @Rachel: Agree! When we did wall balls at my gym the coach would always say things like, ‘imagine how easy picking up the groceries will be!’ or ‘you’re going to be able to throw your kids in the air for hours!’ when we were struggling. Not, ‘you’re butt is going to look so great!’ Who cares!?

    2. @Rachel: Maybe I should have focused more on the other numerous aspects of CrossFit, because I agree with you, it is so much more than looks.

      …but The topic was “Does CrossFit make you look Bulky” and to be fair, that is a completely body focused question, to which I gave a body focused answer.

      And I also agree that the term Bulky is very subjective, I said so in the article. In fact, I was surprised to learn that some people will call a woman bulky for even just a small amount of muscle definition, and I said so in the post.

      I am sorry you found the post shaming, that certainly was not my intention.

  6. This post had some good information in it. But the good points were completely destroyed by the body shaming, complete focus on outward appearance, and rude tone of voice. It’s great to want to look, feel and be healthy. But the line, ” who do you think looks better in a form fitting dress….” I’m sorry…. REALLY?! Gross. You know who I think looks best in it? The woman who is happy and confident in it. I couldn’t care less how others look or what they wear.

      1. @Katie Lyn: You completely misread my comment. It had nothing to do with you finding another woman attractive. Your question about which woman would look better in a form fitting dress was what I was calling gross. My whole point was it doesn’t matter what we think of others’ appearances. And we shouldn’t care what others think of our appearance. If the person wearing the form fitting dress feels happy and confident in it then she will totally rock it, no matter what her body looks like.

      2. @Katie Lyn: You completely misread my comment. It had nothing to do with you finding another woman attractive. The line you wrote about the form fitting dress was what I found gross. I don’t think the women here leaving comments care about You caring about YOUR butt/body. I think what is so off putting about your post is that you spoke about other women’s bodies. Who are you to decide what woman looks best in a fitted dress?? Women of EVERY shape can look amazing in a form fitting dress, and they should be able to wear them without other women judging if they are “fit” enough in it.

  7. I try not to post negative comments comments on blogs (because I know how hard you work to write them and sometimes people are offended sooo easily), but I have to say, this post made me feel….sad. I am totally for anyone who wants to do CrossFit (or yoga or kickboxing or walking or ANYTHING), but instead of focusing on why CrossFit is awesome and how much fun it is, there was too much negativity and Netflix bashing. Just didn’t seem to fit with your normal theme, Tina.

  8. Sorry to say but i think a *majority* of the time you could look at someone and tell if they do CrossFit or Barre/Pilates. There is a type of body that each workout tends to develop. Not sure why crossfitters are so intent on denying that their workout builds strong bulky muscles

  9. The writer’s attitude about out of shape people searching for a place to exercise is exactly why I chose Orangetheory over crossfit a year ago. She embodies the stereotype of the people I attributed to crossfitters (I know that’s not fair). I’ve never heard this body shaming talk at Orangetheory, and credit that in part to my weight loss and improvement in muscle tone.

  10. Hey Tina,
    One of the things that has kept me coming back as a reader for years and years is that you only use snark about yourself, never about others. It’s something that is sadly rare to find in women in our culture.
    Not my favorite guest post. The point totally could have been made without the attitude about staying on the couch and eating twinkies etc.
    I’ll keep coming here but I probably won’t venture over to her site.

  11. What I like about CrossFit is that it’s functional training. A balance of strength, speed, agility and endurance, which to me is much more appealing than just using a stairmaster or work out on a few machines.

    In my experience as an appliance repair worker, and I’m pretty sure anyone doing mechanical work can confirm, by always prying, screwing, pulling, knocking, etc. I easily end up with huge and muscular forearms, arms and shoulders. On the other hand, even by making conscious effort to train my legs, they always seem to be really thin… okay not that thin, but muscle growing much slower.

    As explained in the post, muscles will likely end up just more defined and firmer, as with any strength training.

  12. The reason I stopped going to CrossFit was because it was so elitist and geared toward people who only cared what they looked like in “booty shorts or mini skirts.” I am not that person. I wanted to go for functional health.

    That never was emphasized at my gym. I found a different routine that allowed me to get sweaty, lift heavy things and be among people who were all different shapes and sizes and were there to be healthy, not fit into a mini skirt.

    This whole post reminds me why I left there. I’m sure there are boxes where people of all stripes work out and support each other, but that wasn’t my experience.

    1. @Jane: That’s why I quit CF also Jane. The majority of the people there were half my age. I was 56 at the time. Some of the gals kept saying, you’re wearing too many clothes! WTF!! I had on a t-shirt and tights. We were doing squats and I usually just did the bar (no weights). The gal that I was working in with ~ walked over to a group (they were lifting a lot of weight) of ladies and said something…. and they all stared at me. The trainer/coach’s GF came over and asked if she could work with me. Talk about feeling like a kid on a playground that no one wanted to play with. 😮 I really wished I would have said something to them all and walked out then. But, I stuck it out the rest of the workout. I did quit that next day. Later I was a little upset at myself for me letting them get to me.

  13. I usually enjoy guest posts, but this one was very rude in tone. There are many exercise types and many seasons of life. To have a post make such a big deal of their type being the best is shaming to others. Plus the comments about sitting on your couch and choosing to be fat- seriously you have no idea the season of life that person is in and what is currently on their plate. And what if the ‘skinny fat’ person has health issues – we really shouldn’t shame or judge others because you have no idea what their situation is.

    This article would never in a million years push me to try Cross Fit. And unfortunately this is the elitist attitude that has prevented me from previously trying it.

  14. I have to agree with the other commentors that I did not find this article reflective of the opinions at my CrossFit gym. A lot of the encouragement, specifically of lifting weights, is how healthy it makes our body for every day tasks. Picking up your kids, doing yard work, carrying the groceries in one load, etc. Things that someone who doesn’t weight train could (sadly, but realistically!) injure themselves doing. Not once have I ever had a coach encourage us to lift heavier so that our bootys will look better then the skinny fat girl next to us at a party, or anything in regards to how much better we will look. I also know tons of healthy people including CrossFit friends that have Netflix marathons without binging – so I felt like those comments were really misplaced. I just hope this article doesn’t give readers a false sense of CrossFit mentality because it is truly a great sport that I don’t find body shaming in unlike this article reads.

    1. @Kate: Honestly, I am sorry you did not like the article. I agree with you that CrossFit is more than about how we look, it is about what we can do.

      But try and be fair here, the article as asking “Does CrossFit Make women Bulky” which is a question of aesthetics. So my answer was focused on looks, because the question seemed to call for it.

      My instructor, who is female, and one of my closest friends, has used booty motivation with us. But I don’t think most coaches would be so familiar with just anyone. I have been with the same group of ladies for going on three years, and we do tease each other about things like this. For better or worse, its my gang and I would not change a thing.

      and…I admitted in my article that I do, on occasion, binge-watch Netflix, I simply said it is not a consistent practice in my life.

      Honestly, I am really surprised at being accused of shaming. Was not my intention at all, Sorry if I offended.

      1. @Katie Lyn: You keep saying “sorry IF I offended” … well, girl, it’s clear you DID offend lots of people, no question about it. I do CrossFit and this post horrified me. I HATE this mentality and am so sad to think you may have influenced many people who were thinking of trying CF and now never will. I’m disappointed that Tina would let this be posted on her blog. Tina, did you read this post and think it would truly resonate with your readers? Why? I’m genuinely asking.

  15. I’ve been a CrossFitter for four years and am glad no one at my gym thinks or talks like this woman. In fact, my butt is still not round and perky. I understand the reasons it’s not (I have lazy glutes and am working on it) but I’m really glad my coach talks to me about my form and abilities and not the shape of my ass. How disappointing to be promoting this attitude. It makes us all (CrossFitters) look bad.

    And secondly, elite CrossFit athletes are elite because they have the body type to do so. Believing doing CrossFit will make you look like Kara Webb is like looking at a bunch of elite basketball players and believing playing basketball will make you tall. Not at all…it just so happens that the best of the best are already built that way.

    1. @Jenny: Elite CrossFit athletes have the Physique they have due to HARD work, disciplne and other factors. To say otherwise insults all their effort.

      How would you feel if you worked hard for something only to have others say you were just born with it?

      1. @Jenny: I don’t at all mean they were just born with it. I’m saying they have the genetic abilities, combined with hard work, to become elite. There aren’t many men at the Games who are tall and lanky. There’s a certain build that elite (ELITE) Cross@Katie Lyn: Fitters have. I’m only saying the people at the Games are not average CrossFitters. To continue with the analogy, elite basketball players tend to be tall. You can work your ass off and be great at basketball but you’re probably not going to the NBA if you’re 5’5″. I’m actually agreeing with most of your post by reminding people that MOST people won’t end up looking like Brooke Ence because you CrossFit regularly.

        Like I said, I’ve been doing CrossFit for four years. It took me 3.5 years to do a pull-up. I understand a fraction of the hard work it takes to get to where those athletes are. But you can’t deny that they also likely have some genetic factors that have contributed to their success.

    2. @Jenny: I don’t at all mean they were just born with it. I’m saying they have the genetic abilities, combined with hard work, to become elite. There aren’t many men at the Games who are tall and lanky. There’s a certain build that elite (ELITE) CrossFitters have. I’m only saying the people at the Games are not average CrossFitters. To continue with the analogy, elite basketball players tend to be tall. You can work your ass off and be great at basketball but you’re probably not going to the NBA if you’re 5’5″. I’m actually agreeing with most of your post by reminding people that MOST people won’t end up looking like Brooke Ence because you CrossFit regularly.

      Like I said, I’ve been doing CrossFit for four years. It took me 3.5 years to do a pull-up. I understand a fraction of the hard work it takes to get to where those athletes are. But you can’t deny that they also likely have some genetic factors that have contributed to their success.

  16. I almost never comment but this just struck a nerve with me. I am tall, thin and happy with that. I’m a mom and I honestly don’t have the time or energy to worry about the fact that my butt might look more attractive if I lifted heavier or did crossfit. I personally feel like this preachy entry just doesn’t fit with Tina’s positive attitude and blog space.

    1. @Lauren: I am a mom too! I’m 40 years old and have 4 children.

      And I do care what my butt looks like.

      Is that a crime? When did that become such a horrible thing?

      I am the first to admit, the article focused almost entirely on looks, but the subject was “Does CrossFit Make you look Bulky” which is a question that focuses specifically on appearance. I tried to answer the question and put a positive spin on gaining muscle.

      Maybe I should have talked more about what all that new muscle could do, and how empowering CrossFit is, but what I have written, I have written.

      I still do not believe it is wrong to care about one’s appearance, even the appearance of their butt.

      1. @Katie Lyn: I don’t feel like many of the women commenting had an issue with YOU caring about how YOUR butt looked. What was so off-putting about your post was that you wrote about OTHER women.

        Because, seriously, who are you to decide what body shape “looks best in a form fitting dress” ? Women of ALL body shapes can look amazing in a form fitting dress, and they should be able to wear them without worrying about another woman judging them for not being “fit enough” in it. Care about your own butt, and leave your opinions about other women’s bodies to yourself.

  17. I have contemplated Crossfit but I just cannot get on board with the people….I know I am generalizing but it’s just over the top to me how obsessed people get and how they talk about Crossfit so so much. I find the environment too competitive, too much yelling and I really struggle with how little attention is paid to form, it’s all about reps and I think long term we are gonna find this style of workout is harsh for our bodies.

  18. If a self-conscious, inspiration-seeking individual who was extremely intimidated by CrossFit boxes…or gyms in general…read this post, it would not inspire them at all. It would not educate them, either. It embodies everything that is intimidating about fitness and health. Body shaming, finger pointing, soap box ranting. I get what the author is trying to do here, but she failed miserably. I am a fitness professional. I work at a gym. I run the fitness department. And if any of my employees talked like this to their clients, their job would be on the line. Disgusting.

  19. JessicaMarch 13, 2018 at 6:06 pm
    @Katie Lyn: I don’t feel like many of the women commenting had an issue with YOU caring about how YOUR butt looked. What was so off-putting about your post was that you wrote about OTHER women.

    Because, seriously, who are you to decide what body shape “looks best in a form fitting dress” ? Women of ALL body shapes can look amazing in a form fitting dress, and they should be able to wear them without worrying about another woman judging them for not being “fit enough” in it. Care about your own butt, and leave your opinions about other women’s bodies to yourself.

    ^YES, this exactly! If YOU are motivated to exercise by how it makes your body look, great. But to suggest others should have the same motivation, and to comment on others’ bodies….that is what we as women are working so damn hard to CHANGE in society right now! Grrr. So frustrating to hear this from a woman.
    And I really don’t understand why Tina has not commented here. It’s your blog, Tina. You have really disappointed a lot of people. I don’t mean you have to throw your guest poster under the bus, but you SHOULD address this post.
    But I guess you’ll just delete my comment again. I cannot believe I have been reading you for so many years.

  20. In all fairness to the guest writer, the question did focus on appearance. “Will CF make you LOOK bulky?” Not so much the function of fitness piece.
    I’ve read many such articles in Oxygen, Shape and Women’s Fitness that more of less say the same thing. Weights will make a woman appear shapely, more balanced and fit. I’m skinny fat and pear-shaped genetically and tried everything under the sun. Running, step class and Zumba, none of these worked like weights to firm up my arms, glutes and add mass to my back and shoulders. I’m so proud of my hard work and when people ask me if I workout. Do I workout out to feel good? Of course! Do I workout to look good? Hell ya! I’m be lying if I said I didn’t. There is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve asethetic goals.
    Having said that, if you love walking, dancing, Zumba or Yoga and you are happy with your shape, and don’t care for muscles, that’s fine too! We do make choices and as long as we’re happy and healthy and living our best life that suits ourselves.

  21. And Tina, wouldn’t this controversial post segue perfectly into a post about your thoughts? I wouldn’t ignore this one!

  22. I really feel the question of looking bulky or not could have been answered without venturing into who is going to look better in booty shorts territory! Though honestly the whole issue boils down to bulky is a matter of personal opinion and preference so there is really no definitive answer. As such there was no need to shame people for watching Netflix instead of doing box jumps and squats. I have a desk job, I sit most of the day…when I get home I often sit and watch TV all evening. I have RA, a rare brain disorder, and tachycardia. Sometimes these issues flare and too much activity makes it worse. Other times they relent and I can workout. I listen to my body. My main goal is to be mobile and as pain free as I can be for as long as I can. I’m not worried about mini dresses or booty shorts. Though I have always had a rather perky, bubble butt with absolute no effort on my part I guess due to genetics and so far my prolonged Netflix binges haven’t deflated it. So you can be “lazy” and have a decent booty for the record. Just like you can lift all the weights and still just not build enough muscle to have a round booty. There is no wrong way to have a body and genetics will play a role in your shape. Sometimes it’s not possible to exercise your way to your ideal shape which is why it’s much healthier to focus on overall wellbeing and not booty gains.

    For the record I didn’t find the we all make choices line to be empowering. I did not make a choice to be born with a brain condition or to develop RA. Sure I can force myself to work out on bad days but when I do I end up with stress fractures, tendonitis, RA flares, and crushing fatigue.

  23. I feel like you are shaming the people who don’t want to get bulky. Bulky is not the only way to be strong and healthy. I want to try Crossfit really badly, but I really don’t have the money to start buying new clothes. I am curious to know if I can do it without getting bulky. I want strong arms and legs, but I don’t want bulging leg muscles. I think that is fair. At the end of the day, I am feminine and I enjoy keeping my feminine figure. I don’t think that is a bad or demeaning thing.
    So.. you really didn’t answer the question in this post. All you did was make it seem like you can’t be a strong (mentally) woman if you are concerned with the way your body looks.

    Is there an answer to my question without being shamed for it? I want to know if I can do crossfit but modify it to keep my weights low enough to not get huge. Do they let you do that in class? I love the cardio part of it and am excited to try that, but I am not so crazy about the super high weight lifting. Can the cardio or lower weights be more emphasized over the competition like weightlifting?

  24. I used to do Crossfit’ and cherished it! I felt fit and solid and unquestionably never built up. I never extremely lost much weight either, however I beyond any doubt Could rest easy (which is the thing that I would characterize as progress). I need to state however, I’m not by any means into every one of the notices of individuals settling on decisions to be fat in this article. It’s actual, we as a whole settle on decisions to get where we are, yet I figure you could have accomplished your objective and discussing the advantages of Crossfit and how it doesn’t really make you massive without a group of fat talk. My two pennies! I cherish perusing Tina’s blog in light of it’s genuine talk, graciousness and spotlight on feasible wellness in a bustling youthful Mother’s life, so I figure that is the thing that I come here for..!

  25. I’m usually not one to be offended by much either, but I did find this post to be rather rude in tone. I don’t agree with comparing women’s bodies and saying who is better or who is worse. Is someone who chooses not to workout any less of a person than someone who chooses to workout 6 days a week? No! It’s just simply a different choice. I come from a background of 10 years of working out, the first 6 were more body building style workouts and I was perfectly happy with my body as I had muscle definition but could maintain a level of leanness I desired for myself. I started doing cross fit style workouts and not only did I gain more muscle but I also gained more fat because my hunger levels were out of control and my body was always puffy and swollen and dare I say it, BULKY looking. I hated how crossfit made me look and feel, I was tired all the time, suffering from adrenal fatigue and mood swings. I think too many people are afraid to say that yes crossfit can make you bulky, really bulky! I quit doing those workouts, focused on walking, lifting and yoga and my appetite returned to normal and so did my weight after a year or so. I couldn’t disagree with this post more.

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