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-   -   Potentially stupid question... (http://board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=67488)

Stephanie Williamson 05-28-2011 07:23 AM

Potentially stupid question...
 
Okay, so I'm fairly new to CF. I've only been doing it for a few months and naturally, I love it. On another thread, I saw people start talking about how looking good and 'forging elite fitness' might not necessarily go hand in hand. Time for the stupid question - why not? I get that CF is more about performance and strength, but I guess I just sort of assumed that looking better would go along with the feeling better aspect.

I'm not particularly vain or anything and I've always worked out, but I guess I'm just wondering what I should expect. Either way, I'll continue with CF because I feel better than I ever did with 'regular' cardio/strength training, but I just want to be able to gage my results appropriately and not get discouraged.

David Hansen 05-28-2011 07:47 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Genes. Your genes predispose you to a very specific fat and muscle deposition pattern. They predispose you to a specific tendon to muscle body length ratio. They predispose you to a specific skeletal structure.

These patterns, ratios, and structures will give you a "look" that sometimes isn't considered "ideal" by the zeitgeist of what's currently or evolutionarily considered "hot".

Aesthetic training programs like bodybuilding are intended to help fight these genetic propensities to some extent. But GPP programs like crossfit don't address this because you generally don't identify your aesthetic weaknesses and work on them. You train for performance.

Arturo Garcia 05-28-2011 07:55 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
If you achieve elite performance you'll probably look good naked. BUT... some people's priorities are to look "ripped" and get the abs. These people might not care about performance and maybe, just mabye, they have to actually get weaker to achieve that look. That's a tough look to obtain for those of us who aren't naturally lean at all. For people like this, chasing optimal performance might not lead to the level of rippedness that many seem to want. Look at games competitors, some are not so ripped but I guess they train for performance. Hope this helps answer the question.

Spencer James 05-28-2011 10:39 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
I think some people find that they become more defined and get those abz if they tone down their training. They might lose some of their strength/GPP, but the body starts producing less cortisol and they store less fat. I'm definitely not ripped, but I also know by most proxies of fitness I am in better shape than some other guys who are ripped. Maybe if I trained less I would see this result, but I am chasing performance right now so training less isn't appealing to me.

Troy Becker 05-28-2011 11:25 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
People who work out in pursuit of good looks rarely succeed.

People who work out in pursuit of fitness usually end up looking good.

Scott Tredennick 05-28-2011 04:14 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Unless you are going for an extremely low level of body fat somewhere around 4-7, you can get pretty ripped doing crossfit, just dont expect to make strength gains while you're cutting calories and still doing workouts 3-6 times a week.

Debra Rae Doyle 05-28-2011 05:04 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
I think for most people, getting leaner and carrying more muscle will improve looks, assuming of course a fairly athletic standard of what looks good. Not everyone shares that assumption, obviously.

I think there comes a time in your training however when the focus on being lean becomes at odds with the quest for strength but at that point you probably already look better than you did before you started.

My looks have changed a lot and I think they've improved but as I get stronger my body is moving outside the usual beauty standard with growing biceps and traps and a waistline that is thickening and I have had to make a choice.

The trouble with training only for looks, IMO, is when you reach your goals of fat loss and muscle gain, the only thing left is maintenance and there is no challenge or inspiration and very little motivation to just stay the same. With women there are other challenges to being motivated by looks because of the relationship with a woman's identity and her appearance making objective measurement of success or the meeting of a goal very difficult.

How do you measure 'look good naked' as a goal without obsessing in front of a mirror and when you can only see what your state of mind allows you to see? But if your goal is an objective performance measurement, this is something you can see clear progress, the numbers don't get distorted in your eyes and you can always work at improving it. Personally, I lose my drive and can't succeed at something if I don't get the positive feedback of progress of some form or another and working for looks just doesn't provide that in my experience.

Sorry for the ramble! But I hope it makes sense. I've gone back and forth training for performance and for looks and this is my personal conclusion.

Tricia Magrini 05-28-2011 05:20 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Debra Rae Doyle (Post 941770)
I think for most people, getting leaner and carrying more muscle will improve looks, assuming of course a fairly athletic standard of what looks good. Not everyone shares that assumption, obviously.

I think there comes a time in your training however when the focus on being lean becomes at odds with the quest for strength but at that point you probably already look better than you did before you started.

My looks have changed a lot and I think they've improved but as I get stronger my body is moving outside the usual beauty standard with growing biceps and traps and a waistline that is thickening and I have had to make a choice.

The trouble with training only for looks, IMO, is when you reach your goals of fat loss and muscle gain, the only thing left is maintenance and there is no challenge or inspiration and very little motivation to just stay the same. With women there are other challenges to being motivated by looks because of the relationship with a woman's identity and her appearance making objective measurement of success or the meeting of a goal very difficult.

How do you measure 'look good naked' as a goal without obsessing in front of a mirror and when you can only see what your state of mind allows you to see? But if your goal is an objective performance measurement, this is something you can see clear progress, the numbers don't get distorted in your eyes and you can always work at improving it. Personally, I lose my drive and can't succeed at something if I don't get the positive feedback of progress of some form or another and working for looks just doesn't provide that in my experience.

Sorry for the ramble! But I hope it makes sense. I've gone back and forth training for performance and for looks and this is my personal conclusion.

This post is awesome! I struggle with this so much. I have heard, "chase performance and body comp will follow" but its really hard.

Stephanie Williamson 05-28-2011 05:57 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Well it does make me feel a little better to know that I'm not the only one thinking about it. I'm sure I'm over-thinking it altogether, so I'll just stick to what makes me feel better and go from there I guess.

Thanks!

Katherine Derbyshire 05-28-2011 06:42 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Debra Rae Doyle (Post 941770)
How do you measure 'look good naked' as a goal without obsessing in front of a mirror and when you can only see what your state of mind allows you to see? But if your goal is an objective performance measurement, this is something you can see clear progress, the numbers don't get distorted in your eyes and you can always work at improving it.

This. Women in particular often have *huge* body image issues, even though objective observers will tell them they look fabulous. If you think "look good naked" means you have to look like a (photoshopped, chemically and surgically enhanced) cover model, then you're very unlikely to ever get there, and frighteningly likely to inflict all kinds of physical and/or psychological damage along the way.

But if you want to compete in the Crossfit Games, well... go back and read what some of the male posters think about how those women look.

Katherine

Eric Montgomery 05-28-2011 06:58 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
It's all about how you define what "looking good" is, and how much of a premium you place on your appearance versus your performance. Some women think a runway model or a Tracy Anderson follower is the ideal look and aspire to that; others would rather look like a 69kg weightlifter or a beach volleyball player or a top CFer or a figure competitor and go after those goals by training and eating like one of those respective athletes. Obviously I have my preferences of what I think looks good and is healthy, but I'm not going to judge the goals of someone who's willing to work for them.

It's unlikely that shooting for a "perfect" appearance will lead to peak performance in any athletic endeavor. It's also unlikely that going for peak performance will result in that perfect appearance, though you'll probably get reasonably close if you do things right. Aside from super heavyweight weightlifters or wrestlers, the guys who win national championships, NBA titles, or Olympic medals tend to have physiques that most men wouldn't mind having. To some extent it's the same on the female side, except that society and the fashion industry has conditioned a lot of people to think women should be small, willowy, and devoid of any muscle mass.

Keep in mind that, aside from photoshop, there are plenty of other tricks people use to get camera or stage-ready, and if you've ever been around a bodybuilder in the days leading up to a show you know that those tricks don't make them pleasant people to be around and don't make it possible to stay competition-ready for a prolonged period of time.

Scott Walters 05-28-2011 07:45 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
And of course there is always the stress/cortisol affect, that leads to keeping midline fat, if you become obsessed about it all! The negative body image thing is so impactful on health for both sexes. Train, eat well and enjoy it all, you will probably be amazed at what happens

Stephanie Williamson 05-30-2011 07:07 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
I don't think I could ever become as skinny as a runway/cover model, nor would I want to. I just want to be healthy and look AND feel good, so what I'm getting from everyone's responses is that CF is the way to go. I've definitely noticed a change since I've started, which is encouraging.
Besides, I enjoy some 'bad' foods too much to obsess about how I look or every little thing that I'm putting in my mouth, though I do try to eat cleanly everyday. Some days, it just doesn't happen for every meal though. I figure, as long as I'm not competing (which I'm not and won't be), I'd rather enjoy life every now and again and eat that brownie or take a day off. :)

Dave Traeger 05-30-2011 07:15 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
I like the sound of that a lot. Wish more people would think like you :)

Troy Becker 05-30-2011 08:00 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942102)
I don't think I could ever become as skinny as a runway/cover model, nor would I want to.

Oh, anyone can do that. Take up smoking, become anorexic. Or bulimic, if you like.

Arturo Garcia 05-30-2011 08:38 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Katherine Derbyshire (Post 941790)
But if you want to compete in the Crossfit Games, well... go back and read what some of the male posters think about how those women look.

If I honestly say what I think about those women.... I'll get banned from here, and kicked outta my house too! :D

Stephanie Williamson 05-30-2011 09:03 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Troy Becker (Post 942115)
Oh, anyone can do that. Take up smoking, become anorexic. Or bulimic, if you like.

Hmm...would crack do the trick?

Just kidding...I enjoy my food and health way too much!

Brian Michaelson 06-01-2011 09:37 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942102)
I figure, as long as I'm not competing (which I'm not and won't be), I'd rather enjoy life every now and again and eat that brownie or take a day off. :)

Oh trust me, even during training for Regionals, a brownie and a day off helps eases the mind! lol :D

Zane Jones 06-01-2011 10:44 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942102)
I just want to be healthy and look AND feel good, so what I'm getting from everyone's responses is that CF is the way to go.
Besides, I enjoy some 'bad' foods too much to obsess about how I look or every little thing that I'm putting in my mouth, though I do try to eat cleanly everyday... I'd rather enjoy life every now and again and eat that brownie or take a day off. :)

Your question is not even close to stupid.

It's been my experience, personal and observed, that people rarely mean it when they say what you said above (especially the bolded part). Too often people begin the quest to "look good" without giving sufficient thought about their mental and physical health because they assume that by achieving good looks ("Destination Hotness" which is really a moving target) they will be happy, feel good, and of course they'll be healthy (good looking people are healthy, right?) Because of that, a lot of people will sacrifice good health and well-being just to fit in a size six or reveal some "sizzling abz" so they can show it off on facebook.

In my opinion, it doesn't work that way. The water flows in the opposite direction. Start by asking yourself what "feeling good" means. Because when I ask other people (and myself) I don't get answers about being able to walk up stairs without breathing heavy or taking long walks in the park.. I get answers that all come back to body-image, self-worth, and being desired. If "looking good" ---> feeling good, then I don't believe all the crossfit in the world is going to get someone to their goal of "being healthy, looking good AND feeling good."

However, I do believe if people begin by examining the issues I mentioned above and bring to the forefront of their thought the question, "Where do I derive my happiness?" their goal of wellness will be easier to achieve and everything will start falling in place. They'll have more fun, be happier, gain confidence, workouts will be better, and heck, they might start "lookin' good." But, hopefully by that time they won't care about it as much.

Crossfit is a great program, but it's not a magic bullet / cure-all... it's exercise. It's only as good as you allow it to be. I'd be willing to bet there are a lot of CFers out there who have the lookin' good part down, but haven't come close to feeling good.

Sorry for the rant...

Edit: Stephanie, I'm not trying to say you personally don't mean what you say... I just know that most times I've said it, I didn't mean it and thought others might benefit.

Stephanie Williamson 06-01-2011 02:44 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
No that made a lot of sense. I do want to feel good and I've noticed a difference since I've started CrossFit. Admittedly, when I started, looks were my main motivation, but now that I've been doing it for a little bit, I find myself striving to do better for the performance aspect rather than the looks aspect. Besides, pushing myself with CF and eating well just makes me feel better in general, so I'll be sticking to it!

Thanks for the response!

Tamara Cohen 06-01-2011 03:30 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery (Post 941794)
others would rather look like a 75kg weightlifter or a beach volleyball player or a top CFer or a figure competitor and go after those goals by training and eating like one of those respective athletes.

There. It just reads better that way :D.

Troy Becker 06-01-2011 09:14 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942990)
. Admittedly, when I started, looks were my main motivation, but now that I've been doing it for a little bit, I find myself striving to do better for the performance aspect rather than the looks aspect.

This is how it goes with the vast majority of people who stick with it and see true results. Gold star.

David Meverden 06-01-2011 10:41 PM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery (Post 941794)
It's all about how you define what "looking good" . . . Some women think a runway model or a Tracy Anderson follower is the ideal look and aspire to that . . . Obviously I have my preferences of what I think looks good and is healthy, but I'm not going to judge the goals of someone who's willing to work for them.

Don't worry Eric, I'll judge enough for the both of us! ;)

Seriously, though, I will judge people on their goals if their goals encourage people to harm themselves, which is exactly what these crappy unrealistic body image goals do. I'll absolutely judge someone like Tracy Anderson who encourages women to be fragile weaklings who feel bad about realistic bodies.

Being non-judgemental is fine when the choice doesn't/shouldn't matter but I sure as heck won't sit here and act like all goals are equally desirable/valid when some promote harm or negative consequences instead of positive change.

Pär Larsson 06-04-2011 08:04 AM

Re: Potentially stupid question...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942102)
I don't think I could ever become as skinny as a runway/cover model, nor would I want to. I just want to be healthy and look AND feel good, so what I'm getting from everyone's responses is that CF is the way to go. I've definitely noticed a change since I've started, which is encouraging.
Besides, I enjoy some 'bad' foods too much to obsess about how I look or every little thing that I'm putting in my mouth, though I do try to eat cleanly everyday. Some days, it just doesn't happen for every meal though. I figure, as long as I'm not competing (which I'm not and won't be), I'd rather enjoy life every now and again and eat that brownie or take a day off. :)

Stick thin and weak is ugly. I'm about as shallow-minded a man as you get, and the photos of runway models and anorexic-looking photoshopped/airbrushed cover girls just make me disgusted.

You're always competing. Against yourself. Against your friends. Usually after a few months of CF women all of a sudden realize it's fun and cool to be strong and healthy and be able to do stuff they've never thought themselves capable of before, i.e. pullups.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stephanie Williamson (Post 942990)
No that made a lot of sense. I do want to feel good and I've noticed a difference since I've started CrossFit. Admittedly, when I started, looks were my main motivation, but now that I've been doing it for a little bit, I find myself striving to do better for the performance aspect rather than the looks aspect. Besides, pushing myself with CF and eating well just makes me feel better in general, so I'll be sticking to it!

Thanks for the response!

It's fun to be healthy, strong and confident, huh? Kick butt!


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