When you compare the two things at a surface level I can see why people want to know the difference between Crossfit Vs Bodybuilding.
But you don’t have to scratch too much deeper to see that they really are two very different things.
Sure when you look from a purely aesthetic viewpoint they both look similar, professional CrossFit athletes do have a very similar physique to professional bodybuilders.
Somewhat smaller than a professional bodybuilder.
But for someone looking in from the outside, you could be forgiven for thinking the two builds look very similar.
Bodybuilding is resistance training where the focus is to develop muscle hypertrophy for aesthetic reasons.
The aim is to build more size rather than strength in the muscles.
While Crossfit, in its own words as you can see over at www.crossfit.com is a lifestyle characterized by safe, effective exercise and sound nutrition. And honestly, that doesn’t really tell you much.
Crossfit is all about a high-intensity training program involving a wide variety of disciplines.
There’s weightlifting, gymnastics, cardio, kettlebells, and more.
And as much as they talk a bit game when it comes to safety ask a physio about their thoughts on CrossFit and watch the dollar signs in their eyes as they rub their hands together greedily.
Now don’t get me wrong I trained CrossFit for a long time.
And I still enjoy doing a CrossFit-style workout but my attitude towards it had changed a lot.
I have competed several times in local CrossFit competitions and for the most enjoyed every one of them.
But I think with the sport still being quite young there are still a lot of cowboys operating that aren’t doing their unsafe reputation any good.
When done correctly under the right guidance it’s a great sport with a great welcoming community vibe.
But when the focus becomes too much about winning safety goes out of the window fast.
It can be easy to get caught up in the competitive side of it and want to finish the workout at any cost. But this comes down more to the individuals.
But I can make similar comments about bodybuilding.
Again a great supportive community that honestly gets a bad name from a few bad apples.
But I see people that get so big I have to start wondering what mental demons these people have.
To lets yourself get to that size is no longer fit or healthy.
The only way you can get your body that big is with PEDs and they have all sorts of nasty side effects.
You can’t tell me it’s easy to walk around or do much when you carry that much weight in muscle mass.
And the extra work your heart has to do to pump blood around your body. Building mass by any means necessary is not healthy.
But again, I know that I’m generalizing there.
Not every bodybuilder has such an unhealthy view of their training.
CrossFit is really about performing lots of functional movements at high intensity.
It’s a great way to both burn body fat and builds muscle.
A typical CrossFit workout starts with a warm-up and then moves into some technique drills.
After technique, you’ll typically do some strength training before finishing off with a WOD or workout of the day.
Because CrossFit workouts can involve some high-level gymnastics movements and Olympic lifting they put a big focus on the technique in their classes.
That being said a lot of fitness professionals don’t agree with doing high reps of such advanced movements like snatches and clean and jerks.
But big heavy compound lifts are a great way to build muscle.
You only need to look at the body of a high-level CrossFit specialist to understand that, yes you can build muscle doing CrossFit.
The 2 years I was training mostly for CrossFit I gain about 7kg as well as dramatically improved my functional fitness.
But I also saw a lot of people struggle with building muscle mass.
Intense workouts burn a lot of calories, so it means you need to eat a lot more.
But the good thing is, if you are using a lot of muscle groups when you follow CrossFit programs.
And when you fuel your body right, all those muscles are going to need to grow to keep up with the demands.
The main thing to get right with building muscle is your food, so have a read of this article on how to build muscle.
You definitely can, but you need to take your time with both.
Obviously, you will improve at either a lot fast if that were your only focus.
But that being said, the more comps I entered, the more I started realizing that my lack of size was limiting how heavy I could go on lifts.
Sure I had the fitness to keep up for the most part.
And for my size, my lifts were very good.
But I need to put some muscle mass on to keep up.
So I changed my training, I would only do a few WOD’s a week, and instead, most of my workouts were made up of a few full-body hypertrophy sessions a week and a few sessions building strength in my lifts.
It was during this period I put on a good amount of weight.
But my scores in the WOD’s took a dip, but I was never too concerned about beating other people during classes.
I’ve always had the mindset that training is one thing and competition is another.
Sure it’s good to be competitive at training but you need to focus on the end goal.
Bodybuilding is almost more of an element of training now if that makes sense.
You can train calisthenics and still get amazing muscle growth without any heavy weights.
You can build muscle with resistance bands anywhere you want!
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But for best results when it comes to building muscle, is to focus on building muscle.
You won’t see too many top bodybuilders do Crossfit training.
I’m actually not too sure how true this is anymore.
Sure when CrossFit first burst onto the scene everyone hated it, but more so because everyone that was doing CrossFit wouldn’t shut up about how great it is.
In the same way, a new vegan wouldn’t stop talking about how great being vegan is.
I honestly see more hate for CrossFit coming from the calisthenics community.
And that hate more comes from crossfitters kipping their pull-ups and other bodyweight movements.
But in defenses of CrossFit, the workouts a done for time.
Meaning you have a get them done as fast as possible.
And when a workout calls for 30 pull-ups, a kip helps you do them fast.
Sure you’re not doing the full movement.
But 30 kipping pull-ups are still hard.
They’re not just going to work your strength but they will also build cardiovascular endurance.
And that’s probably where CrossFit gets some shade from bodybuilders who focus on isolated movements and building muscle mass whereas CrossFit is about total fitness.
But at the end of the day, you can lump either discipline into the fitness freaks category.
As you have to be very committed to doing well in either.
Yes, CrossFit is more about improving general physical skills and bodybuilding all about the development of your muscles, I’m sure Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rich Froning could still sit down and have a very civilized conversation about the differences.
The aim of bodybuilding is to improve the aesthetic appearance of your body.
So the types of workouts that you do will reflect that.
All of your focus is on perfecting your muscle’s size and shape.
You’ll spend more time using weight training machines designed to target one muscle.
You’ll do longer workouts aiming to push the muscle as far as it can go.
You then go home and refuel and let the muscle grow back bigger and stronger.
Bodybuilding is all about building your perfect physic.
The main aim of CrossFit is not about aesthetics.
So while you may be weight lifting as well different goals give different results.
The physic you build from CrossFit exercises will build a big, strong, practical physique.
Your body needs to be able to handle the types of exercises you are putting it through so it will respond accordingly.
You typically train the entire body together rather than focusing on one muscle group or body part like you would when bodybuilding.
But at the end of the day, when done right, both promote overall health.
The only way to look like a bodybuilder is to train like a bodybuilder.
Crossfit training will give you a similar physique sure but it won’t be the same.
Just look at the trunk on a crossfitter compared to a bodybuilder.
Crossfitter has a big thick core much like a weightlifter does because you use a crazy amount of core strength to pull off Olympic lifts.
Whereas a bodybuilder will build big round shoulders to give the illusion that they have a much smaller waist.
Bodybuilders want to look huge on top but tight and lean through the middle.
So you have to take that into account when you decide if you want to try and juggle both.
It’s going to be hard to maintain a small waist and get heavy weight over your head multiple times.
If you want to see more of my time training and competing in CrossFit have a look at the video below.
It’s the last time I competed in a CrossFit comp.
My wife and I jumped in on a few weeks’ notice to replace team members from our gym.
It was a wild day but we had a lot of fun!