This is a question I’ve heard girls ask Sham a lot. I’m pretty sure I even asked him this myself at some point.
One of the highlights of the CrossFit Games, I think all guys will agree with me, was getting to watch Camille Leblanc-Bazinet. I’ll confess to having a little bit of a girl crush on her myself. What’s not to love – she’s an incredible athlete, she can do 80 pull-ups (yes, eight zero) and is very attractive. She could also snatch me above her head if she so chose.
Having gotten you all here though, this post is really aimed at the ladies.
So, one issue we hear a LOT from women is that they want to look good. They’d like to be fit, strong and healthy but still look hot and feminine in a bikini without “bulking up” or “looking like a man”.
Most CF coaches will roll their eyes, sigh loudly and probably face-palm every time a girl says that. Then, in a controlled, measured voice, they’d say “Are you training like a body builder? Do you want to be a body builder? Are you taking steroids/hormones? No? Then this is NOT something you need to worry about.” But still, girls will worry. Heck, I’ve worried about it myself.
We may love the physical challenge and fitness element of CrossFit – it makes us feel awesome, healthy and we love being able to do badass things like this. We know (intellectually) that lifting heavy weights will give us the biggest bang for our buck in terms of physical development and body composition, but often there is a sneaky little thought in our heads that makes us worry that all this training will make us look like this:
Right? No judgment for this woman – god knows she must have worked her overly bronzed butt off to get into this sort of shape. But if you think for one minute that this will just ‘happen’ to you by accident, then you’re really being unfair to the lady above, because it is HARD to look like that as a woman. In fact, as a general rule, it is impossible without drugs, artificial hormones, and/or long hours working on specific body building training to TRY to look like that. That, and ingesting more calories in one meal than most women eat all day.
It is even hard to look like Camille without intense amounts of training and a LOT of fueling. The women at the Crossfit Games are professional athletes. You and I train for only a fraction of the amount of time they do.
Without drugs/hormones/specific body building training for hours a day, it just will. not. happen.
And if you don’t believe me, check out this post by Jason Seib. He describes how he did an experiment where he actually TRIED to get a woman to bulk up using traditional methods used by men when they want to gain lean mass. He put her on a 12 week program aimed specifically at “mass gain”. Her workouts involved lifting weights, with NO cardio or huffing and puffing. She used high reps and high volume (methods typically used by men to gain muscle), and avoided all metabolic conditioning. In addition she ate a diet of 3500 calories a day – very high protein including 12 eggs a day, more meat than you can imagine, and plenty of fat and vegetables. It was all 100% paleo.
She actually got SMALLER on every single measurement he tracked. And she was moving serious weight. Yep – smaller. And, I should say, hotter.
Most of us do not eat 3500 calories per day, few of us spend all our time lifting weights, and I don’t know any girls who are taking drugs or artificial hormones, so this really is not an issue we should be worried about.
Worst case scenario? Doing CrossFit at a well-programmed box may make us start to look a little more like these women:
Well if we eat right, anyway! In which case, I really would not be complaining. And neither would our menfolk – I can promise you that.