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Old 05-14-2009, 12:42 PM   #1
Laurie Carver
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Does that CrossFit make women big?

I'm a CrossFit trainer in Seattle, and follow a Paleo/Zone diet. When I first started doing CrossFit 2 years ago I noticed myself looking a little "yoked". My back and shoulders were looking bigger and overall I was looking a lot less cut than I had been with my previous routine of interval training and body building.
I was a bit concerned, but stuck with it and about 8 months down the road I began leaning back out. My question is this....On a weekly basis I get female clients coming up to me saying that they are really concerned because they're getting bigger. Of course my first reaction is "how's your diet", but after following several women and observing I have seen that many of them are getting bigger.
Especially shoulders and back, but also legs.
Is there any different programming you could recommend for women?
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:15 PM   #2
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

They are adding muscle, and the problem with this is? If you don't want to, eat less.
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
Kyle Redinger
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Post Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie Carver View Post
I'm a CrossFit trainer in Seattle, and follow a Paleo/Zone diet. When I first started doing CrossFit 2 years ago I noticed myself looking a little "yoked". My back and shoulders were looking bigger and overall I was looking a lot less cut than I had been with my previous routine of interval training and body building.
I was a bit concerned, but stuck with it and about 8 months down the road I began leaning back out. My question is this....On a weekly basis I get female clients coming up to me saying that they are really concerned because they're getting bigger. Of course my first reaction is "how's your diet", but after following several women and observing I have seen that many of them are getting bigger.
Especially shoulders and back, but also legs.
Is there any different programming you could recommend for women?
I'm sure a lot of people will say things like "that's what a woman's supposed to look like" and "skinny chicks aren't hot," but the truth of it is most women don't want bodies like our competitive CrossFit women.

We've thought about marketing and offering a "CrossFit for Women" or "CrossFit Lite" which would be more met-con, lighter weight, less shoulder press stuff for women. I know that's neglecting a the holistic view of CrossFit as a GPP program, but from my discussions with average women and the casual gym goer, it sounds a lot more appealing and will get more people comfortable with CrossFit.

Once they are in the box, their views may change, but we want to ease them into the program and design something that's attractive to them, not elitist.
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Old 05-14-2009, 01:39 PM   #4
Jason David
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

Its my opinion that most people that say they don't want to get too 'big' are using that as an excuse not too work hard.

Not everybody...but most people...men AND women.
Definitely not the demographic you would want to design a program around.
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Old 05-14-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
Michael A Martinez
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie Carver View Post
I'm a CrossFit trainer in Seattle, and follow a Paleo/Zone diet. When I first started doing CrossFit 2 years ago I noticed myself looking a little "yoked". My back and shoulders were looking bigger and overall I was looking a lot less cut than I had been with my previous routine of interval training and body building.
I was a bit concerned, but stuck with it and about 8 months down the road I began leaning back out. My question is this....On a weekly basis I get female clients coming up to me saying that they are really concerned because they're getting bigger. Of course my first reaction is "how's your diet", but after following several women and observing I have seen that many of them are getting bigger.
Especially shoulders and back, but also legs.
Is there any different programming you could recommend for women?
My wife is in the same boat. She equates big and bulky to barbells and dumbells. I happen to think she is right. (She is "right" a lot, its just sooo much easier )

While she was pregnant she was doing all BW movements and some light medicine ball work for strength. We walked a LOT during those months for cardio. We just never got her to the point where she was unable to talk/loss of breath. She was in great shape during pregnancy.

She enjoys the up-tempo, maximum effort workouts that Crossfit is famous for. However, as stated previously, she doesn't want to get big and bulky. So we have sort of come up with something and are in the process of determining results.

We are mixing; BW movements (WOD's like Cindy) of Crossfit with RKC Kettlebell and a dash of "on-the-fly" sandbag/running/jump-rope/find-stuff-and-move-with-it-as-fast-as-we-can. We only work out at the park while we play with our little guy.

I realize this may not be all that much help, as everyone is so different with very different goals. However, sometimes its good to look outside the box a bit. There are a bunch of ways to skin this particular cat.

So far she loves it. I hear the groans of discomfort and she doesn't feel like she is bulking up. She is definately getting fitter as far as we can tell. Her body composition is changing as well. So far its simply "hardened" a few small soft spots, with no bulk. I make the assumption that staying home with a crazy active boy has been helping quite a bit.

I just don't think there is any way around the fact that you'll get bigger playing w/ dumbells and barbells. The fact that most everyone is constantly trying to get more and more weight up as a means of "verifiable success" just adds to that fact.

My wife just wants to be fit and is willing to work at it. She isn't looking to dead #250 as a means of success. I suspect others are the same.

Take care!
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:20 PM   #6
Camille Lore
 
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

I'd like to chime in here.... I've been doing CF for almost 18 months now. My quandry is that I'd like to be bigger! Most of the CF women-take Jodi Bainbridge for example- are very feminine and you would never be able to tell from looking at them that they are so strong! I have never met Jodi in person, but in her pictures, she is the epitome of femininity.
In fact, the more generl CFers I look at, the more I've realized that the woman are mostly unimposing. You can't tell from looking at them that they can do a handstand pushup or deadlift 250+.
Personally, I'd like people to be able to tell somewhat that I can do what I do.
I can understand the misconception that picking up a barbell will instantly make you hyooge. My experience is that CF makes you fit and strong, without the showy muscle.
Just my observations. I don't see many CFers in person, so I could be totally wrong.

Last edited by Camille Lore : 05-14-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:26 PM   #7
Eric Lester
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

I really have a hard time believing that CrossFit is making women that much bigger. Are these women super skinny to begin with?

Camille mentioned Jodi Bainbridge who deadlifted over 300 at a bodyweight of what, 105? She is not big!

Maybe genetics plays a large role in how "big" a woman gets. I don't know, I've been doing CF for 4 years and have seen a lot of women go from deconditioned to good or great shape. "Big" is not a word I would use to describe any of them. Curious to hear more.
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Old 05-14-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
Laurie Carver
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

I really appreciate the feedback. I love being strong myself, but I'm starting to realize that I don't need to keep moving up in weight like I have been from 65# to 95# to 105# etc...I think the CrossFit Lite idea is good. Still maintaining the CrossFit model, but more BW, lighter weight and explosive rather than heavy for the average female client.
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:02 PM   #9
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

What do these women actually want to look like? It's pointless to try to design a "special program" until you know what the goal is. Crossfit may help women look like Eva T., but it's probably not a great plan if they're trying to look like Kate Moss.

Most people also don't have much understanding of how body composition works. Fat doesn't magically transform itself to muscle. Muscle grows and fat gets burned off in parallel. Say a given body part's cross section is X muscle + Y fat. If X gets bigger while Y stays the same, the body part will get bigger. Yes, it will be stronger, more toned, and probably more attractive, but it will undeniably get bigger. Women whose self-worth is tied to their clothing sizes won't like that.

For an affiliate owner, I think the first thing would be to manage expectations. Listen to what the client says they want. Show them pictures of "typical" female Crossfitters. Talk about how body composition change is likely to work. Talk about diet. And plan a program around that.

Katherine
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Old 05-14-2009, 04:17 PM   #10
Jason Scheffler
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Re: Does that CrossFit make women big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurie Carver View Post
I really appreciate the feedback. I love being strong myself, but I'm starting to realize that I don't need to keep moving up in weight like I have been from 65# to 95# to 105# etc...I think the CrossFit Lite idea is good. Still maintaining the CrossFit model, but more BW, lighter weight and explosive rather than heavy for the average female client.
Show them a picture or video of Jodi Bainbridge. At the qualifier she pulled 315 in the deadlift and she's weighed in at a "huge" 111. Yes I know it's not what you were thinking of of with CrossFit lite, which I think isn't the correct approach, but she's a great example of strength etc. and not "bulking up". Man I hope she or Tony never reads this.
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