For the Ladies: “Strength/Olympic Work Will Make Me Too Bulky!”
Very often, usually on a strength building day, a female member will approach me on the topic of the possibility of gaining too much muscle, becoming bulky, etc. Define “too bulky.” Do you mean muscle mass? Thick legs? High traps? Wide lats? This is a pretty open question. I have to believe it comes from watching the CrossFit games and the amazing athletes that compete on that level. In this sport, if you follow the scale for happiness you may find yourself disappointed, because as you loose fat, you will gain muscle. A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. However, the density of muscle takes up less volume than fat, which is why it’s possible to get visibly slimmer without a significant drop in weight. In this post, we take a look at three elite level athletes- Christmas Abbott, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, and Taylar Stallings- all of whom have different body types. The goal is not to say one body type is better or worse than another, nor should you try to put yourself in a category. Rather understand the difference between each of them, understand where they came from, and what it takes. We all have a story- some of us have backgrounds in bodybuilding, football, softball, soccer, rowing, powerlifting, or nothing at all- that plays a role in how our bodies adapt to the constantly varied, high intensity, function movements found in CrossFit. Compare their stats in strength and level of metabolic conditioning in the most popular benchmark WOD- Fran.
Things to keep in mind:
1. These are professionals- not an average 3-4 day a week CrossFit athletes. These are women who breathe this sport. I chose pro athletes and not average athletes for these reasons: 1. Because they have been doing this for years, and 2. everything they do is disciplined and consistent. There is no room for error for them, because this is their life. They don’t know what excuses are.
2. They don’t eat just anything. They carefully schedule times for their meals and know days in advance what each meal will be based on their training schedule. We will take a look at their eating/diet habits based on interviews and personal blog entries.
3. All of these girls dedicate hours to training every day and are meticulous at designing a training program that works for them likely with the assistance of private coaches. They spend many hours every week working on Olympic lifting technique, strength training, and numerous WOD’s each day
Without further ado…
Christmas Abbott, 32 years old, 5’2” @ 115 lb.
History: CrossFitting since 2006, no athletic background outside of middle school sports.
Diet: “I do Paleo Diet as often as I can which is just primal meets and I try & stay away from the process of fluids but during competition season I am trained so much that I need more calorie intake, so it’s important for me that I have a balance between Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats and I love FATS!!!.. Ha Ha … So don’t take that away from me.. and I do make sure that once or twice a week I getaway on a cheat just for my mental ability and to make sure that I don’t deprive myself from the things that I emotionally want.”
Fran Time: 3:35
Clean & Jerk: 170#
Back Squat: 225#
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, 25 years old, 5’2” @ 130 lb.
History: Gymnastics for 14 years, senior AA soccer, high school volleyball, captain of her college flag football team, and enjoys running half-marathons, skiing and playing rugby.
Diet: “I eat clean with some supplement. Meat, veggies, some fruit and nuts.”
Fran Time: 2:04
Clean & Jerk: 230#
Back Squat: 310#
Taylar Stallings, 28 years old, 5’3” @ 160 lb.
History: Collegiate track and field thrower and elite level powerlifter.
Diet: “I load up on my protein and healthy fats and try to limit my carb intake on my days in which I know I have my most demanding days. I have my cheat meals and everything is pretty structured out to make sure I am having enough energy to support all my workouts and gets me through the day.”
Fran Time: 2:46
Clean & Jerk: 235#
Back Squat: 462#
Compare these athletes, evaluate YOUR goals., YOUR diet and YOUR training volume.
Know that looking a certain way in this sport does not happen by accident.
Great related posts:
– Don’t Make My Mistakes- The Top 10 Thing’s I’ve Learned From CrossFit
– The Fear of “Bulkiness” and CrossFit
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