Posted on 24 Apr 2015
4 min read
I love lifting weights, I really do.
There’s nothing else like it – a passion that builds you mentally and physically is the best kind of hobby.
And of the weight lifting disciplines, I’d definitely say I’m a bodybuilder.
Because my main goal is to get the best physique I possibly can.
No I haven’t stepped on stage, perhaps I will in the future, but I would still consider myself a bodybuilder.
As Dorian Yates in a recent Muscular Development article stated: “Anyone who lifts weights specifically with the goal of changing his or her appearance by means of gaining muscle and losing fat can be called a bodybuilder.”
Of course, I try to lift as heavy as I can and increase my strength, but I would never consider myself a powerlifter.
But for years powerlifting and bodybuilding have been close sports, and it’s often a case of “I’m better than you” from some of my powerlifting friends, which can get frustrating.
Yes, I applaud you for your sport, and, yes, you can lift more than me, but being able to lift the most on compound moves just isn’t my main goal.
One thing bodybuilding and powerlifting do have in common is that you train in a gym, and you build yourself.
You will become bigger and stronger in either discipline, and that has made them very closely related, which is easy to see at big expo’s where they usually focus on both.
And then there’s Crossfit.
Crossfit has quite a bad reputation throughout the bodybuilding and powerlifting communities due to, well, quite simply, the lack of ‘building’.
Looking at it from our side, it seems like people who Crossfit just don’t make any ‘progress’ in the traditional sense, i.e. they don’t look bigger or stronger.
This excludes some of the pros who are pretty fucking jacked, but they are doing it nearly full time.
And for this reason we mock Crossfitters, saying their sport is stupid.
I mean, why would the average bro do Crossfit for 12 months and make progress only on his ‘snatch’ (#homo), when he could be in the gym pumping iron, getting mad ripped jacked and tan? (#nohomo).
But let’s remember my initial comparison to powerlifting and bodybuilding, and what Dorian Yates said about what makes a bodybuilder, and we see that it’s all about goals.
The GOAL of Crossfit is to get good at Crossfit, simple as that – because it is a competitive sport.
Just like you wouldn’t want to get big and ripped to play pro tennis, Crossfit is more about overall fitness and being good at the sport of Crossfit.
So with this in mind at all times, I headed to Reebok Crossfit Thames as part of Reeboks ‘Be More Human’ campaign to try out a basic Crossfit class.
During the class we did a workout of the day (WOD) which I assume they do, erm, every day, which involved:
And that’s it.
We basically had to do it in circuit style, 3 times, for as many reps or as much distance as possible, depending on the exercise.
At first my bodybuilding ego kicked in and I was like, “What kind of pussy workout is this? Do you even lift? Fight me…” etc etc.
I mean, it seemed like the easiest workout ever.
But what I found when actually doing the workout went a lot more like:
I sweated, and it was much harder than I thought.
Suddenly I suck at Crossfit, the oh-so-easy sport I’d mocked all these years admittedly with a smug grin and a large bicep.
So what did I learn?
Actually I learnt that I really need to work on some other moves in the gym than just compounds and a ton of volume.
The fact that I was struggling with goddamn BURPEES made me realise that there’s more to just shifting heavy weight – your body needs plenty of variety and something against the clock.
Look, I’m not about to start recommending everyone sign up to a Crossfit gym.
I still stand firmly in the belief that training compounds with heavy weights should be at the core of literally everyone’s routine.
And you’re not about to build an incredible physique from doing Crossfit 5 days a week, particularly if it’s a class environment, that is simply not going to happen.
But I know that from now on I’m not going to neglect adding in some variety and circuit training to my routines, along with more high intensity bodyweight work, and doing Crossfit taught me that importance.
And most importantly, I now have some respect for Crossfitters, proving the age old saying – don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.
Have you tried Crossfit?
Would you recommend it or do you think it’s a piping hot pile of shite?
Hit me up with a comment below!
Have you ever tried ‘Grace’?
It’s safe to say that it’s the hardest thing you could possibly do (including childbirth I imagine).
By the end I felt like that guy on Alien just before the alien bursts out of his sternum.
Previous rugby player, ‘bodybuilder’ (I conquered getting jacked), I needed a new challenge….
Like you mentioned, the aim is to get good at Crossfit, not to get swole/hench.
And parts of this make you look like a wally.
Agreed, you look like a douche kipping but the purpose is to get from a to b as many times as possible, not build back strength.
I also think the progressions are limited because of some of the randomness, you get fit quick, but you also plateau.
Workouts aren’t periodised etc.
However, Crossfit is evolving, specific weightlifting, gymnastic, powerlifting and ‘WODing’ classes is developing some pretty awesome athletes hate it or not.
Like any sport, there’s bad eggs and dangers, high volume oly lifting, poor coaching practice and jumping over boxes is just asking for a twisted ankle or worse.
But then there’s also dangers with rugby and jabbing yourself with test…..
Food for thought.
I think rather than take the ‘us and them’ approach, learn from each other.
Ring work and gymnastic work will do A LOT for composition and strength, likewise bodybuilding assistance work helps your Olympic lifts etc.
And, obviously, curls get the girls, so there’s always room for them.
Good post by the way.
Crossfit mostly gets a bad rap due to all the ridiculous exercises they do (see the .gifs you posted), but in particular it’s the ones that are quite obviously extremely dangerous that draw the most criticism.
It’s always been my opinion that if you just avoid the dangerous exercises, Crossfit is perfectly fine for getting in shape.
You won’t get huge like a bodybuilder from it, but you’ll certainly improve your overall level of fitness, probably even more so than someone who just hits the weights and skips cardio altogether.
Kipping pull ups still don’t count, though.
I started Crossfit a month and a half ago and I can say that it is, for me, the best thing that could happen.
After more than a year of working out, I didn’t find the community, the partnership and the support I am craving for.
I found that working out alone with the mirror and my headphones wasn’t enough.
I think bodybuilding is more an art than a sport.
It’s sculpting your body to the perfection.
I didn’t see the progress in one year (maybe my programs weren’t good enough) and I was pretty pissed of not having any cardio.
When I saw the documentary “Fittest On Earth” on Netflix I was like: fuck yeah!
This is what I need.
I did weight lifting in my senior year of high school so I knew the basic movements.
Turns out, after a month and a half, Crossfit is the best sport that I’ve ever practised in my whole life and I never felt better.
The fact that the other guys in the gym aren’t presenting concurrency is awesome and the fact that there is no mirror; only you, the bar, the weights, a timer and a bunch of other people who are craving for perfect health is the best ambiance for me.
Needless to say that my performance in Crossfit helps me on a daily basis.
I like to go the gym and do bench press and isolate muscles though.
I just think that working out for the perfect physique and working out for the perfect performance are two different things and one discipline isn’t better than the other one.
The important fact is that we all love fitness, lifting weights and trying to be the best us we can be.
Interestingly, those are the very things that put me OFF of Crossfit: the fact that it is so strongly group and “community” oriented, and that it presents itself very much as a sport focused on physical performance in that sport, especially with the Crossfit Games.
To me, fitness is basically a solitary and individual pursuit, NOT a team effort.
Also, I am creatively/artistically inclined, so the concept of training the physique for primarily aesthetic purposes appeals to me more than any other fitness modality or activity (I have no interest in team sports, for example; whether playing them or watching them).
For almost four years, I have stuck with a weight training routine based on a mixture of powerlifting and isolation exercises, paired with proper nutrition to meet specific goals.
And I absolutely love it; I’m not about to switch to something else!
I do Crossfit through the book ‘8 weeks to Sealfit’ by Mark Divine and I have to say it is more brutal than a regular Crossfit box, since he adds a few hero workouts in the beginning of the training.
But overall it made me stronger, more confident, bigger in size and my endurance and stamina improved as well 🙂
So for me as a competitive person I stay with Crossfit.
Oh and I do my workouts for a year and a half alone in a normal gym, nor a Crossfit gym.
It has everything I need except for a climbing rope.