Bodybuilder Goes CrossFit – part 1

Posted: 27/07/2014 in English, Interesting Articles, Science and stuff
Tags: , , , ,

Crossfit-lift

Here’s what you need to know…

•  While the thinking used to be that CrossFit made guys weak, the average competitor in the CrossFit Games is very impressive.

•  Quite a few CrossFit girls have better physiques than some figure competitors, even without dieting.

•  There’s something magical about being able to perform an explosive lift when you’re metabolically fatigued and your heart rate is skyrocketing.

•  Doing submaximal lifting that focuses more on speed and density of work, like you do in CrossFit, is a great way to build muscle.

•  CrossFit can also get you lean fast, even with zero emphasis on nutrition.

I have a secret. I did CrossFit almost exclusively last summer. I’ve competed in Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and I’ve been a competitive bodybuilder… and now I can say I’ve been a CrossFitter too. I went to CrossFit Levis three times a week and then trained on my own to work on strength and my Olympic lifts. I actually kept a kind of CrossFit journal back then. So, one year later, here it is: my CrossFit diary, along with some current-day observations.

Why I Decided to Try CrossFit

1. I’ve worked with a lot of CrossFit athletes this year, helping several prepare for the Canada East regionals. I helped some with their Olympic lifting and others with their entire training. I’ll tell you this: I’ve trained figure competitors who go to extreme lengths in their dieting, cardio, and training, and quite a few of the CrossFit girls I’m working with have better physiques than the figure girls… and that’s without dieting. Similarly, a former Canadian national bodybuilding champion I know started training for CrossFit and she looks better – not just better, but also more muscular and stronger – than when she was bodybuilding!

2. I always believed that CrossFit made girls look great and guys look small, in addition to making them lose strength. I don’t believe the latter anymore because some of the competitive CrossFit athletes are quite strong. The average competitor in the CrossFit games can do a 245-pound snatch, 335-pound clean & jerk, 550-pound deadlift, and a 450-pound back squat. And several overhead squat in the 300s and front squat in the 400s. Four of the guys I’m coaching can snatch over 225 pounds, which is pretty darn strong!

And just take a look at the top CrossFit competitors: Dan Bailey, Neil Maddox, Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa. These guys look badass – big muscles, athletic look, and lean. The average height/weight ratio of the top guys is 5’10”, 195 pounds at 8% body fat or under. I know that on the internets if you’re under 200 pounds you’re considered a weakling, but in reality a very lean 200 on an average-height body is very muscular. Heck, when I last competed in bodybuilding I weighed 188 pounds!

3. CrossFit has done more for Olympic lifting than Olympic lifting itself has ever done! Any sport/training model that’s based heavily on the snatch, clean, jerk, and push press can’t be all that bad.

4. I’m doing some workouts with my wife and there’s something very sexy about a girl doing deadlifts, clean & jerks, and snatches that really help re-ignite the passion in a marriage!

5. I hate not being good at something, especially when it’s training-related!

6. I always believed in the maxim, “Leaders lead from the front, not from the back.” And I always lived by the credo of never asking a client to do something that I can’t do myself. You might not be at the same level, but you should be physically capable of doing what you ask of them. Since I’m working with a lot of CrossFit athletes, I felt bad not being able to “lead from the front.”

7. Five years ago, I suffered from a viral myocardiopathy that led to heart failure. For two years my heart was functioning at 20-30% efficacy. This was hard to accept for someone who used to be athletic. It really affected my training and quality of life. Because of that I realized the importance of a strong cardiovascular system. I also believe that my CV health (or lack thereof) greatly diminished my capacity to gain muscle. Every time I went above 220 pounds I felt really bad and had to come down in weight.

8. I always believed that training density is one of the most important factors to stimulate a maximal response from your sessions. In CrossFit, density is the most important element. Every workout is either based on doing a certain amount of work as fast as possible or doing as much work as possible in a certain time frame. The sense of urgency this gives you can be as powerful as a shot of adrenalin.

That’s why I decided to give it a try.

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Comments
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