2

votes

Anyone used CrossFit as a temporary means for a fat loss/strength tool?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 24, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I'm not too worried about weight, but I definitely have fat to loose and muscle to gain. I'm pretty lax with my personal exercise routine (walk or sprint with the dog and think about--never actually doing--pushups).

I need outside structure to get committed and be consistent with exercise. I've heard people say great things about CrossFit, but I have no desire to become a permanent member.

My plan:

  1. Attend a CrossFit box for a few months (3-5 maybe?) and get myself in prime shape.
  2. Use what I learn at the box to maintain newly-discovered awesome body on my own at home, returning to the box once a week or less to work out with the group.

Has anyone used CrossFit in this manner, or do you consider it an all-or-nothing endeavor? Do CrossFit boxes lend themselves to once-a-week attendees, or does pricing/workout plans dictate higher attendance?

Am I being reasonable with the amount of time (3-5 months) that I think it will take to build awesome strength? I'm a 5'8" female and currently 155 lb with some muscle but no real definition and a definite layer of mush (I know, I'm so technical with my terminology). I eat Lacto-paleo plus alcohol with some cheats few and far between. Like I said, weight loss is not my goal, it's more about gaining strength.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 29, 2011
at 01:23 PM

I've decided to put Crossfit on the back burner. From this forum and from talking to others, it seems it is hit or miss depending on the individual box, and both boxes close to me do not seem to focus on what I'm looking for. I'm taking a different route and starting the Couch Potato to 5K program along with the Hundred Pushups Challenge. They both seem to be ~2 months, so I'll re-evaluate once I complete them. Thanks for everyone's help!

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:55 AM

It might be worth looking into Olympic weight lifting classes. There are a lot of places that offer classes for basic movements. I think that may more adequately address some of your concern. If you looking for form online, I would check out Mark Rippetoe's videos.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:45 PM

Yes, I don't want to do Crossfit long term. I want to find a tool that will help me learn the correct way and form of strength training so I can take that knowledge and work out on my own. I don't want to start out on my own because I'm afraid I'll teach myself how to do things the wrong way and end up injuring myself.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Thanks. I will look around my area and see what type of personal trainers are available. I'm not keen on working with a trainer at a gym, as the impression I get is they are mostly there for the paycheck and to work out for free.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Thanks, this is definitely helpful!

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on June 25, 2011
at 08:57 PM

Alas, other side of the country ;)

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 25, 2011
at 03:34 PM

I like your point about wanting to start something that you can maintain for a lifetime. For me, I think I can maintain CrossFit for years, especially since my husband is becoming a certified trainer this weekend and will doubtless keep pushing me, even if we're away from a gym. However, if CrossFit doesn't work for someone in the long run, it might be better for them to start looking for something that will, rather than using it as a short term tool.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 25, 2011
at 12:09 PM

good common sense answer.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 25, 2011
at 03:47 AM

If it would allow me to only respond with four letters, I would simply say - Meow

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:59 PM

this by the way, althoug like i said i'm not a fan of crossfit, always gets me in the mood:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufVcD2_2dXg

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:57 PM

whoops, you are the OP. my bad;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:57 PM

i suppose. I mean, i see any activity that makes a person stronger than they currently are as a plus. so, depending on one's level of strength i might say crossfit is OK. I don't know that the OP will lose fat but she WILL gain strength from the first maybe six months of crossfit. So, if thats her goal, yeah it'd be OK. I would recommend just learning compound weight training instead but she said she wants a team atmosphere so crossfit would help.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:44 PM

Steph, you don't by chance live in the Jacksonville/Orange Park area of Florida, do you? 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:44 PM

It sounds like you're saying that using Crossfit as a way to start a fitness program is a good idea. Does that sound right?

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Thanks for your insight! 8)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:01 PM

I'm not interested in the number on the scale; strength is definitely what I'm focusing on. There are two crossfits (one close to home, one to work) that I'm eyeballing. One I know does WOD; I'm not sure about the other. I will contact them and see what their specialty is. Thanks!

03f5a69fde4012b827ebdb6d93b71e7a

(2007)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Wow I am thinking the EXACT same thing and I am 5'7"/158lbs. +1 for question psychicness :)

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:58 PM

I've also considered C-2-5k, but it's the strength training I find myself unmotivated to do without some sort of group atmosphere.

425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:42 PM

You may simply be better off doing couch-2-5k and strength training. If you want to get strong, crossfit is not an efficient means to do it.

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6 Answers

best answer

3
74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

on June 25, 2011
at 02:13 AM

I have used many workouts from crossfit to add strength and variety to my routine.

While I like a lot of aspects of crossfit, it is really a personality decision. You can put on strength in many different ways. If your goals are simply strength as fast as possible, I think your time would be better spent doing a routine such as [Starting Strength][1] I am never too keen when someone wants to do some sort of crash course towards fitness. It would be best to find something that you are willing to do as a lifelong pursuit. If you would prefer to do body weight exercise, Mark Sisson has a good routine as well.

Most boxes offer intro classes. You can schedule a class and see if you enjoy it. If you have multiple, I would try each one to see which you like the best. Also, I think the randomness its actually a upside of the program. People do not get bored and find the variety fun. There is also a nice level of camaraderie and education at a good box.

[1]: http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/"starting strength"

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 25, 2011
at 12:09 PM

good common sense answer.

949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

(1021)

on June 25, 2011
at 03:34 PM

I like your point about wanting to start something that you can maintain for a lifetime. For me, I think I can maintain CrossFit for years, especially since my husband is becoming a certified trainer this weekend and will doubtless keep pushing me, even if we're away from a gym. However, if CrossFit doesn't work for someone in the long run, it might be better for them to start looking for something that will, rather than using it as a short term tool.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:45 PM

Yes, I don't want to do Crossfit long term. I want to find a tool that will help me learn the correct way and form of strength training so I can take that knowledge and work out on my own. I don't want to start out on my own because I'm afraid I'll teach myself how to do things the wrong way and end up injuring myself.

74c1777d7d39b053ca64c065dcdb0072

(713)

on June 28, 2011
at 01:55 AM

It might be worth looking into Olympic weight lifting classes. There are a lot of places that offer classes for basic movements. I think that may more adequately address some of your concern. If you looking for form online, I would check out Mark Rippetoe's videos.

4
949d4d02ea7d1abd714cc3347c2c6854

on June 24, 2011
at 10:25 PM

Ok, I have done all kinds of workout routines, and I started in a little worse shape than you are (5'6" and 170#), so I have a little bit of insight into this question. I have never had muscles like I do now that I've been doing CrossFit for a year. However, I'm not a certified CrossFit trainer, so I won't go into all the science behind the way they design their programs.

First, another poster suggested getting some personal training sessions to get you started. Maybe that works for some people, but I had weekly personal training for more than a year without seeing any results. I would workout with the trainer, then do two other days of strength training and three bouts of cardio each week. I didn't gain any noticeable strength or muscle definition, even though I was keeping a food journal and following all the recommendations of my trainer.

I have also done some group weight lifting (BodyPump and similar classes), and I did gain a little bit of strength from that, but I never really saw any muscle definition. Similarly, I lifted weights for a couple of years on my own, following advice from friends and the internet. Although I got stronger (lifted more) and maintained a low weight, I never looked more "cut".

After all these attempts, I started CrossFit. It was HARD, despite many years of weight lifting in the scenarios I described. I did NOT get "cut" in 3-5 months, but I did see significant improvements in all my lifts, and I started seeing my biceps for the first time. I learned a lot of techniques to maximize muscle use without causing injury. I didn't lose much weight in those first months, but that was probably because of my eating.

So my advice is this: 3-5 months may not be enough to build the big muscles that you want. However, if you work hard and push yourself, you will see significant improvements during that time, and you will learn a lot of skills that will help you lift safely in the future. A really motivated person might be able to then take those skills and use them at home to continue to improve.

How much muscle you build will also depend on the programming at the specific CrossFit gym - some do more heavy Olympic weight lifting than others. Go to the gyms in your area and watch a class, then talk to a trainer about your goals. They should be able to give you a good idea about whether the goals are reasonable. If they pressure you to stay longer than the months you want to give it, then that could be a bad sign.

Finally, I just want to say that I don't know any CrossFit atheletes who have stalled out in terms of their strength, speed, stamina, etc. One of the other posters said that you'll "start spinning your wheels" after a while, but that's only true if you make it true. You can always make the lifts heavier, and you can always push yourself to be faster. Once you can do all the workouts as written, you can make them harder. It's infinitely scalable.

Sorry for the length, but I hope you found something helpful. Good luck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:39 PM

Thanks, this is definitely helpful!

2
0a2dd50f2d3951bf3fb83fc4638c9512

(1960)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:13 PM

Scrawled on our WOD board at my CF box is this line: "CrossFit is a dish best served with consistency" or something to that effect. The point is that CF is certainly something you can include in a broader fitness plan, but to really gain the benefits -- ie, "improve improve work capacity across broad time and modal domains," in CF speak -- you really do need to commit to it. At least 3X/wk is the general recommendation.

What the heck does "improve work capacity across broad time and modal domains" mean? CF is physical training more than working out. CF training focuses on functional movement, mobility and strength. It's not focused on becoming a faster runner, but if you're a runner, your speed will improve. It's not focused on bodybuilding or weight loss, per se, but you will gain lean muscle mass and lose dead weight.

Not trying to talk you out of it at all -- by all means, give it a shot!

Good luck!

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:42 PM

Thanks for your insight! 8)

1
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:46 PM

Consider 6 to 10 sessions with a personal trainer. Do once a week for the first fixve weeks, then twice a week for the remainder. Assuming you are completely de-trained, you will need the lead up time

I am not a fan of crossfit - the main site wods frequently defy any reasonable approach to fitness training and injury avoidance, especially in terms of risk-vs-benefit, in favor of doing "crazy" workouts that wear people out but don't do much for their actual level of fitness. The culture emphasizes stupid bravado over intelligent behavior (witness the idiotic adulation in a typical box when people get palm tears from doing excessive numbers of SLAP-tear-prone kipping pullups with a crappy grip, or see http://games.crossfit.com/features/videos/never-stop-trying-heather-scaglione for an example -- hint: continuing after you've got an injury means you're going to take 3x+ as long to heal, and you may not heal as well). The programming at individual boxes who are not following main site is (unsurprisingly, given their utter lack of training) even worse.

If you are detrained, lay down some modest cash and spend 5 to 10 weeks getting somewhat out of the detrained state you are in with a trainer who will pay attention to what you are doing, not embrace the crossfit "20% slop" philosophy and will correct your form instead of having you fish-flop through 100 burpees. It's something that will pay off for years as you expand your approach to fitness and strength.

34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on June 25, 2011
at 03:47 AM

If it would allow me to only respond with four letters, I would simply say - Meow

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 27, 2011
at 12:41 PM

Thanks. I will look around my area and see what type of personal trainers are available. I'm not keen on working with a trainer at a gym, as the impression I get is they are mostly there for the paycheck and to work out for free.

1
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20888)

on June 24, 2011
at 07:34 PM

Pricing is totally box dependent. I know some boxes that only use punch cards, so you just pay for what you use, and others (like mine) that only have a monthly charge, and some that do both. So you just have to see what's available for you.

There's nothing wrong with your plan for occasional crossfit. I know a few people who do that. But if your real goal is weightloss, then dialing your diet in is the absolute most important thing. You're not going to be burning that much in a crossfit (or really any) workout. Probably an extra 100 cals or so, max. Granted, smart crossfit programming will stimulate good growth hormones and make you strong, but diet is much more important.

If you're main goal is "awesome strength" then you need to find a box that does specialized strength-based programming and not the typical main site chipper wods.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:01 PM

I'm not interested in the number on the scale; strength is definitely what I'm focusing on. There are two crossfits (one close to home, one to work) that I'm eyeballing. One I know does WOD; I'm not sure about the other. I will contact them and see what their specialty is. Thanks!

0
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:34 PM

I'm not a fan of Crossfit so we are clear. However, for anyone not currently involved in weight training or in good athletic shape already, so for sedentary people, Crossfit will most definitely increase strength for the first 3-6 months if you went say 3Xweek.

The reason why is simply because at Crossfit you will be engaging in some kind of weight training. Training that you have not been doing. This represents a new stimulus that will most def cause your muscles to grow stronger.

The issue is then if you continually progressively increase the resistance and continue to adapt and grow stronger or if you at some point simply start spinning your wheels. This is where programming gets important, and unfortunately where many Crossfit places fall short.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on June 24, 2011
at 08:44 PM

It sounds like you're saying that using Crossfit as a way to start a fitness program is a good idea. Does that sound right?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:59 PM

this by the way, althoug like i said i'm not a fan of crossfit, always gets me in the mood:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufVcD2_2dXg

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:57 PM

whoops, you are the OP. my bad;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 24, 2011
at 09:57 PM

i suppose. I mean, i see any activity that makes a person stronger than they currently are as a plus. so, depending on one's level of strength i might say crossfit is OK. I don't know that the OP will lose fat but she WILL gain strength from the first maybe six months of crossfit. So, if thats her goal, yeah it'd be OK. I would recommend just learning compound weight training instead but she said she wants a team atmosphere so crossfit would help.

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