In response to one of our members

This whole post started as a response to a post on Facebook from one of our members.  It ended up being quite longer than expected (as it should for a question like this) so I decided to post it here.  First, you can see the question from our member then my response below.

Good morning CHCF!!! I need some info, explanation and encouragement… This is week 6 for me and I have had the ultimate battle with the scale !!! I understand that there are changes going on with my body, however I totally feel as though I am going the wrong direction as far as size goes … I am ignoring the scale BUT now my pants are tight my sleeves are tighter around my arms I have revamped my diet as of today but for the most part, I am trying to stick with a low carb high protein diet… Question … Will I continue to get “larger ” or will this new muscle start “eating” some (or alot) of this fat off me, do I need to do more … I don’t want to look like a linebacker (lol)… On a brighter note I do feel better, I’m stronger, and I love CrossFit… Please help… Thanks

Good morning!  We are very glad that you reached out to us.  First off, we want to congratulate you on your 6 week anniversary.  Most people don’t stick with a training program for more than 2-3 weeks, so nice work!  Also, we want to remind you that you’re doing a great job getting into the gym and you’re doing a great job while you’re in the gym.  We have seen some big improvements with your performance and you should be proud.

Now, to get to the point.  What you’re going through is very normal.  As you know, we throw around a lot of heavy weight (relative to each individual).  This is going to build muscle, and build it rapidly.  Muscle is more dense than fat so the scale might not go in the direction you want, at first.  This probably isn’t breaking news for you.

To switch gears, building muscle is like taking cash and putting it into a savings account.  It might sting at first because you have less cash to spend (or in this case, the number on the scale goes up).  However, very soon, that cash (extra muscle) will start building interest (burning fat) and when it does, the weight will start dropping rapidly.  Clothes will get slightly loose, then very loose, then ridiculously loose, then you’ll have to go shopping for new ones.  The more cash you’ve saved (muscle you’ve built) then more interest you’ll receive (fat you’ll burn).  Right now you’re building up that savings account and very soon, it’ll start paying interest.

The bottom line is that most of us have a pretty solid limit to the amount of muscle we can gain.  Once we hit that limit, it’s very very tough to go beyond it without help from the pharm (steroids and other PEDs).  Fat, on the other hand, can be whittled down to almost nothing depending on how motivated an individual is.  It takes time and dedication, but it’s definitely doable.

Also, I want to be upfront and say that lifting like we do will build muscle on the thighs, butt and shoulders.  Now, please don’t interpret that to mean that our ladies are going to get confused for men.  You won’t end up looking like a Victoria’s Secret model but that’s a good thing (in our opinion).  You will be a functionally fit human being, and you’ll look like it.  Everyone is different and that means that some people will have different bone structures.  Some people will hold more muscle in some specific areas and other people will not. Juli Bauer wrote an article titled “Embrace Them Thighs” that is much better than anything I could whip together on this subject, so check it out.

We really want to encourage you guys to chase increased performance rather than a specific body type.  If you aren’t genetically coded to “look” exactly like the idea on your head, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment.  If you achieve increased performance (heavier weights lifted, faster times on the WODs) your body will reflect it.  You’ll be happier and healthier both mentally and physically.

My advice is to try to forget about everything but performance for a few weeks.  Focus on giving solid efforts in your workouts, eating quality food and getting good rest.  You may be surprised what happens.

This ended up going longer than expected, so hopefully you were able to get through my whole rant.  You asked a very serious, multi-faceted question so I did my best to answer it.  Hopefully, it helped out a bit.

Most good questions just lead to more questions and if that’s the case, just let one of the coaches know.  We want all of you guys to be comfortable and informed.  If you want a little more inspiration, here are a few articles…

The Fear of “Bulkiness” and CrossFit

Meet Staci: Your New Powerlifting Super Hero

The Ten Things That Happen When You Begin CrossFit (specifically number 7)

Good luck and we’ll see you in the gym!

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