A question we get a lot in consults with potential members is “Will CrossFit Make me Bulky?”. And our short answer is always…”No…(unless you want it to…)”. So let’s look a little deeper into the question and try and shed some light on the subject.
To start I think it’s important to define the term “bulky”. What most people are referring to as bulky, is heavily muscled. More musculature than the average person. When people ask if CrossFit will make them bulky, I think it is a misconception that has been fuelled by the physiques of some of the top professional CrossFit athletes in the game. If you see the pros at work, they are typically more muscular than your average human and for good reason. They need a specific skill set to help them achieve their goals. And being muscular is part of that skill set. Generally, more muscle moves more weight in the gym, and that’s a big factor in the sport of CrossFit. But for us regular humans, moving that type of weight isn’t a part of our day to day, so we can be happy with being strong enough to make our lives easier.
Secondly, and most importantly, people who do CrossFit and get really muscular, have made sure that their nutrition supports their goal. In order to pack on muscle you need a few things working in your favour. You need to be eating in a caloric surplus in order to grow muscle. That means eating more calories than your body burns in a day. For most people 10%-20% more calories per day is a good rule of thumb. Secondly, you need to prioritize protein. Many people do not consume enough protein in a day to support muscle growth (or even cover basic body functions..protein does a lot more than just build big muscles). To make sure you have all of your bases covered, 0.7g-1.0g of protein per pound of lean body mass is suggested. For example, with a 150lb male who has a body fat percentage of 15% (lean body mass = 150lb-(150 x.15) = 127.5) would need to take in between 102g and 127.5g of protein daily. Most people are not getting that and won’t be able to build enough muscle to be considered “bulky”!
Lastly, building muscle requires dedication and consistency. It happens over years, not months of training. And it doesn’t happen overnight. Most people with chiselled physiques have put in 5 plus years of consistent strength training. To think that a couple of months of CrossFit could produce those results would be wishful thinking (for some!). Not to say that if your goal is to build muscle that CrossFit can’t help, but it isn’t something that you do accidentally. We can help you come up with a plan if that is something you have your sights set on.
So in conclusion, “Will CrossFit make me bulky?”. No. But it can help you get really fit, lose fat, fight off chronic disease, live longer, be harder to kill and much more. So if any (or all) of those things sound appealing, then give it a try. You won’t get bulky…unless you want to!