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Lifting Weights, Bulking Up and CrossFit.

July 01, 2015 4 min read

Ladies, we've come along way since Jane Fonda workouts, nothing but yoga and Barbie pink 5 lbs dumbbells. These days it's not unusual to see strong women dominating the weight racks. I, for one, love lifting heavy shit, both for the affect it has on my body and the feeling of being bad-ass.

But as a trainer, I still get concerned women confiding in me that they worry about bulking up with weight training. Of course, I assure them it's unlikely to happen unless they really want it to. But then they say, but what about those CrossFit girls? Why are they so bulky?

[caption id="attachment_95668" align="aligncenter" width="721"]In my experience, this is not exactly true. In my experience, this is not exactly true.[/caption]

Now, don't get me wrong, I have nothing but mad respect for CrossFit athletes and I personally appreciate those strong bodies. Talk about bad-ass. But I get it that many ordinary women, whose whole life doesn't revolve around fitness, don't want to look like some of the top CrossFit girls - typically that is with large upper traps, powerful looking legs and thicker waists. Overall, many CrossFit girls look boxy, to put it bluntly. Again, not that there's anything wrong with that.

I concede we live in a superficial world and many of us would rather look a certain way than perform a certain way. I personally try to keep a balance of performance and outcome but yeah, at the end of the day, I personally train for aesthetics. I'm a competitor, fitness model and former fashion model.

[caption id="attachment_95665" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Christmas Abbott and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. Two beautiful, strong CrossFit stars. Christmas Abbott and Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. Two beautiful, strong CrossFit stars.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_95667" align="aligncenter" width="625"]Ana Delia de Iturrondo and your truly. Strong and tough, too, just leaner. Ana Delia de Iturrondo and yours truly. Strong and tough, too, just leaner.[/caption]

Of all the times I've done CrossFit (maybe 20 times) I've really enjoyed it. There's something about the intensity that can't be beat. It challenges your strength, endurance and mental strength like no other workout I've done.

That said, I've largely stayed away from crossfit because it doesn't fit into my aesthetic goals. I closely control and monitor how my body develops -- my livihood depends on it. And I also feel most myself and happier with this kind of shape.

I find my shoulders bulk up faster than anything else on my body and my legs are a slowest. So I tailor my workouts as such. Sometimes I won't do any delt exercises for months. On the other hand, I hit those legs as often as I can. As soon as the soreness wears off, I make 'em sore again. You can't really dictate what one does when you show up for a CrossFit class.

CrossFit usually has a lot of exercises that work the traps -- all those power lifts, presses, shrugs, handstands and wall balls. A dear friend of mine, who already had overactive traps (and underactive lower traps) got quite into CrossFit and ended up with unwanted muscular traps and a thicker neck.

Now, not to say everyone who does CrossFit will end up with a "CrossFit body". How your body develops to any training program is largely dependent on your genetics. And then on your diet.

Also, girls who are into CrossFit are generally into it to do things. They are driven by performance outcomes. Bodyfat precetage is such a secondary or thirdary (that's not a word, is it?) concern. They would rather fuel their bodies so they can smash the next workout.

The fitness industry can be awfully messed up. There is far too much emphasis on looking a certain way rather that on fitness for being what it is -- being fit. Fashion and pop culture has long made girls feel the pressure to look a certain way and fitness is doing the same thing.

Sometimes I feel a bit guilty for being part of that. All I ever want to do is inspire and motivate people -- not exactly to look like me but to look and feel their best. To feel at home in their bodies. At the end of the day accusing me of being me and looking like I do (I'm the only one openly doing it) is like pointing the finger at muscular girls, overweight girls, underweight girls and saying you're not right. You don't have a desirable body type. Shame on you!

To sum up, do CrossFit if you love it. But if you want to have more control on how you shape your body, get a tailored program that brings up your weak points. If you want to look like a fitness model you're also going to have to pay very close attention to your body fat and diet. But I can't think of anyone that shouldn't lift weights.

And whatever you do, stimulate your body with challenging workouts and love it for everything it does.

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