Written by Coach Christine…
The question of bulkiness seems to come up a lot amongst woman who are looking to get into or have already started CrossFit. While Coach Tyler has tried to tell you ladies you will not end up looking like the female version of the Incredible Hulk, I am sure you would much rather hear from the perspective of a woman.
First and foremost while I have done a lot of reading on this, what you are about to read is solely based on my personal experience. Why, because you can read the articles online, talk to your Dr, etc…and they will each tell you that the hormones of a woman will not allow you to become as big as a man will get unless you are taking illegal substances.
The truth the whole truth and nothing but….
My suggestion if you are very focused on what the scale says, hide your scale. When I started Crossfit I weighed in at (depending on the day, as a woman you understand this) 134-136. I do not remember exactly when my weight changed but I have averaged the same weight for about 8 months now which is 143-145.
While generally speaking gaining weight is not something we want to do, let me give you the positive number that goes with the weight. When I started CrossFit my body fat % was 25% and my current body fat % is 18%. From those figures you must realize that while I have gained weight I actually lost a significant amount of fat making my body leaner.
Wait, did you say curves?
Why yes I did. One of my favorite parts about my new body… my butt, because I actually have one. Prior to CrossFit I was one of those ladies where you couldn’t tell where my back ended and my butt started. Baby Got Back?? Don’t confuse a muscular butt for junk in the trunk ladies. Squatting not only gives your butt definition but it is actually one of the best cardio exercises you can do for your body…so a 2 for 1 exercise.
Thunder Thighs…no not just a saying but my nickname as a baby and toddler. Those thighs stuck with me over the years. My thighs were about 10% of Body Glide’s market share for many years. While CrossFit did not change the size of my thighs it turned them from fat to muscle. Sorry Body Glide….while they are still big there is not the jiggle of the old days, therefore, you have lost my business.
It’s all about the Clothes!
With the weight changes, the butt, and the thighs one would think my sizes have changed. They actually have not. When I started CrossFit my jeans were a 27 x-long. Today, they are still a 27 x-long, the difference…I now look for jeans that are for designed for curves. Let’s be honest no matter what size, shape you are you will never find the “perfect” pair of jeans without A. trying on at least 6 pairs B. doing an array of stretches and or cardio vascular exercises including the squat (note hands usually stretching the thigh area as you squat), lunges, or my favorite the deep lunge best done using a flight of stairs. I had this same issue prior to starting crossfit, what has changed is the muffin top, the tight waist, etc, no longer exists.
I have talked a lot about my lower body, you might be questioning upper body. The largest change in my upper body is a tie between my back and my arms. My back has increased in size, meaning I have gotten broader. My previous bra size was a 32_ and I am now a 34_. The nice thing, one of my favorite stores isVictoria’s Secret so I have been able to give them more business, I mean I have to right?!?!
NO MORE DOUBLE WAVE!! What is the double wave? The double wave is when you wave at someone and your tricep continues to wave even after you are done. Maybe I am more aware of the issue after being a lifeguard and teaching Aquasize for many years where my average class member was 65. In addition to the lack of wave, I have seen a size change in my arms meaning shirts are a bit tighter around the biceps, some I have even had to move from a S to a M, but worth it for “The Gun Show”. Kidding of course, but when I compare pictures of myself prior to CrossFit to now my arms actually look leaner, I can see the muscle tone so they actually appear smaller.
You will read a lot of blogs about woman saying get over the fear embrace the strength which is good but I wanted you to hear the truth about the body changes that will happen because of CrossFit. While I do love being strong, Rxing a workout, etc. What I love more is feeling confident about my body. I now have curves, but my curves are solid.
True Story….I was dress shopping for a very important dress recently. I was standing in front of a mirror and two ladies were sitting behind me waiting for their family member and one of the ladies commented: “You have a banging body, I would kill to have your body!” While I was in shock by the use of the word banging, I thought only men used that term, I also found myself very proud. Proud of the work I put in to get myself to the place I am now. Do I have moments of feeling bulky, yes I do, but what woman doesn’t have moments of feeling “bigger” than they actually are? It is all about the mood you are in when you look at yourself in the mirror that morning.
Those of you that actually see me around the gym can judge for yourself… For those that do not see me around the gym, I look forward to meeting you and here is a picture and you can be the judge. I have been the same size and weight for the last 8 months even though my 1RMs and WOD weights continue to increase. Why am I telling you this? To reinforce what all of the articles you will read tell you, to reinforce what Coach Tyler tells you… you will never be the Incredible Hulk, because we as females just don’t have the chemical make up to get that way. So, get to the gym and enjoy the challenge of CrossFit and the body you get because of it!!