CrossFit/ Happiness/ Running

My Body Before and After a Year of CrossFit

I’ve been doing CrossFit consistently (2-4x a week) for just over a year. This post talks about how my body has changed (a little “CrossFit before after female” description if you will!) since I added it to my workouts vs. my previous workout routine that was very heavy on running. I do talk about my weight in this post and specifics about my physique, so if you are sensitive to that type of content for whatever reason, please skip this post. 

I first went to CrossFit about a year and a half ago when Tommy and I first starting dating. We went to Top Tier CrossFit a few times together before I moved to Charlotte, and I worked out with him 1-2x a month when I visited him in Winston-Salem. But I really fell in love with CrossFit when I started doing it consistently after joining Metro CrossFit while I was living in Charlotte.

I really loved the group of people I worked out with, and one of the things I wish I had done differently while living in Charlotte was joining Metro sooner. (I blogged about my 7 tips for adjusting to a new city here.) The Metro coaches were also super friendly and very helpful to someone new to CrossFit like me. It is be VERY intimidating to walk into Crossfit, even if you regularly work out. It’s just a whole different world, culture, vocabulary, and movements.

Once I decided to move back to Winston, I was firmly hooked on Crossfit after doing it for just 2 months at Metro and joined Top Tier CrossFit. When I first moved back, I was doing CrossFit 4-5x a week and running only 1-2, mayyybe 3, times a week, with total mileage around 10 miles a week. And now that I’m back in a running groove, I’m running 3-4x a week (20-30 miles a week) and doing CrossFit 2-3x a week, and I think this is the routine I’ll stick with since it’s a great balance for me mentally and physically.

So, what’s changed in my body?

I’ve put on weight, somewhere between 5 and 10 pounds. 

My average weight when I was running 40-50 miles per week was somewhere between 105-112 pounds. (I’m 5’1″ with a small frame.) After a year of CrossFit, I consistently weigh around 114-117. And while 114-117 is still a low number, keep in mind I’m very petite so a weight jump from my low range of 105 to a high range of 117 is pretty significant. But, here’s the key – the majority of my wardrobe still fits and many items fit better. I haven’t had my body fat tested since I started CrossFit (I really want to!), but I feel very confident that the weight gain is almost all muscle.

After CrossFit (May 2016)

Hanging Rock State Park

Before CrossFit (October 2014, I think??)

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My glutes are much bigger.

The clothes that don’t fit are dresses that were slim in the booty area and my skinny jeans became pretty darn tight in the quads and glutes. However, I had a few dresses that I bought at the end of the summer season last year, and I took them in for alterations a few weeks ago because I knew they were a little baggy when I bought them, but when I put them on, they fit perfectly. My glutes helped, but my back also has a LOT more muscle that also helped fill out the dresses.

I actually don’t think my quads got that much bigger – I’ve always carried a lot of muscle there from 15+ years of running. I definitely squat heavier in CrossFit than when I used to weight train alone (I did 145# 5x yesterday vs. 85# I used to squat on my own).

Before CrossFit (December 2014) in the black dress on the left – this was actually my third date with Tommy. <3 This was the lowest I’d weighed in a long time. I was around 103 at the time (and I distinctly remember that because it dawned on me then that I couldn’t remember the last time I had EVER seen that number), and looking back at this picture, I kind of want to feed me. This black dress doesn’t fit anymore — I can’t zip it over my glutes! But, I love the way my glutes fill out some other dresses I have now!

Before After Crossfit curves

I have much more muscle definition, even in places it’s hard for me to get definition. 

I’ve always put on muscles pretty easily in my arms, but I’m even more defined in my shoulders and biceps now. But, I’ve always had a hard time building muscles in my hamstrings and they’re one of my favorite muscle groups now — AND I can deadlift over 225 lbs!

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My shoulders are broader. 

This is probably the most noticeable difference to me. Seeing these two pictures next to each other is pretty crazy to me! I was around 110 lbs on the left (and had just placed in a half marathon in Boone!) and 115 lbs on the right (after finishing a CrossFit Open workout).

My Body Before and After CrossFit
I think these two pictures are also pretty telling. I was definitely weighed less in the picture wearing pink from 2014, but I feel like I look so much leaner and stronger in the picture in the green (which I took yesterday).

Before and After CrossFit

And you know what? For the most part, I’d bet most people don’t even notice these changes. We’re so much more attentive to our own bodies (and more prone to nit pick them!). But, when I went home last summer to visit my family, they definitely all commented on the extra muscle I’d picked up after only a few months of crossfit, and I have complete strangers comment on my shoulders and arm definition at least once a week.

So, how do I feel about all these changes?

Pretty darn good. I gotta be honest – seeing a higher number on the scale is still tough sometimes, but I’m adjusted to my “new normal” weight. I definitely don’t struggle with the scale like I used to 6 years ago, but I can still get hung up on a silly number. So I remind myself that I really do prefer the curvier look I have now (muscles can help with curves!). And I remember how good I feel in my body – I feel strong, I feel healthy, and I feel really confident. (And, if I mention the scale, Tommy threatens to throw it away. Good man.)

(Side note: I tried Paleo for a little bit trying to see how that would impact my performance at Crossfit and running, and it was a total DISASTER – I felt awful. I can blog about that sometime too if y’all are interested. In short – I do much better with carbs and grains in my diet!)

Workouts-2

I’m still working to get my running speed back (that’s definitely something that has suffered a little bit since it’s easier to run faster when you’re lighter!). But that’s another post for another day.

Regardless of the number on the scale, I really love CrossFit. So I’m gonna stick with it.

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  • Annie
    at

    Isn’t it crazy how our bodies adapt and change like that!? I love it! From reading your blog I know Tommy has done some CrossFit competitions but have you!? I would love to hear about your experience if you have or are planning on doing one:) Love your blog!!!

  • Katie
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    You should be a crossfit model <3 thanks for sharing such a personal post.

  • Kalynn C.
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    I love this post! I’ve also had to adjust to a “new normal” weight, and it’s definitely a fine line! I try not to weight myself too often, but it’s hard to resist at times! With my marathon training ramping up lately, I haven’t been to crossfit as much, but I definitely miss it! I’m still strength training, but not as much. And it has taken some time, but I finally feel like I’m faster now at a slightly heavier weight. Consistency has been key for that, and to be honest probably the fact that I haven’t been crossfitting as much in recent months. My weight has dropped back down just a few pounds, which can make a world of difference in running. Once this training cycle is over, I hope to get back to my normal schedule with crossfit 2-3 times per week, but my body just can’t handle all of it right now without getting injured or just feeling completely exhausted all the time. I love your progress pictures! Definitely motivating! You look awesome!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      I’m glad to hear you’ve gotten faster at a slightly heavier weight (gives me hope!), and that you also understand how challenging it can be to balance crossfit and running and the impact of weight on each! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with it.

      Thanks for your compliments too! <3

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
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    I love this post! I think you look AMAZING. I wish I could get some definition like that in my arms. Seriously that picture of you flexing… goals! My booty has finally grown from all the squatting (only took 3 years lol) and I’m so happy because it has always been on the flatter side.

    Side note about Paleo… there’s definitely a hump to get over to go from being a sugar burner to a fat burner, so most people feel awful at the beginning. Sometimes it’s a quick “carb flu” of about 2-3 days and some people don’t adjust for almost 2 weeks. Also Paleo isn’t necessarily low carb, I mean we eat white & sweet potatoes, lots of squash, bananas, etc. Either way, seems like what you’re doing is obviously working for you, just wanted to add my two cents 😉

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Thanks for your two cents! I actually tried paleo for 2 months. It never worked for me, even with carbs from potatoes, veggies, bananas, etc. My body just likes oatmeal and rice! And toast. 😉

  • Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
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    You look FANTASTIC Teri! Strong and confident!

  • Emily
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    Thank you for sharing this! I also reverted back to including grains/carbs and feel stronger when I work out, and would be interested to hear about your experience with this too.

  • Alyssa @ renaissancerunnergirl
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    Adjusting to a new normal is always tough – I actually feel like now that I’m in a place where I run half marathons consistently (doing my first and probably only marathon this fall!) and am eating much more and healthier than ever before, what’s helped me adjust the most is really cleaning out the closet and saying goodbye to clothes that might make me feel anything other than happy and healthy. I’m just under 5 feet (right at 5 feet when I wake up feeling tall 🙂 ) so like you, even a little change makes a big difference, and letting go of things that will likely never fit well or feel good again is important.

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
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      Totally agree! I got rid of clothes that don’t make me feel great too, and I’ve never missed any of them. And I feel better in what I wear now. 🙂

  • Christine
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    Hey there! Just read my first blog post from you today and it’s such odd timing because I’m trying Metro next week! I’ve been searching around Charlotte for a Crossfit gym (though have also tried Iron Tribe). Glad to hear you liked Metro – can’t wait to try it!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      Oh yay – great timing! It’s SUCH a great place! The 5:30 PM class has a great group of really friendly women if you’re looking for a good social group too!

      All my favorite coaches have moved on since I left, but I know they have a good crew that’s come in to replace them.

      Let me know what you think!

  • Danielle
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    Thank you so much for this post! This was so helpful for me to read right now – definitely an issue with which I’ve been struggling. Wondering if I might ask how you’ve come to navigate the scale: How often do you weigh yourself? Have you thought about not weighing yourself at all? Thanks so much!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      I weigh myself about once a week. I find if I weigh myself more than that, it messes with my head. And with only once a week, sometimes I forget to weigh at all and I think that’s a good thing!

      I do like using the scale and probably always will because it helps me monitor some other things, especially dehydration before and after runs (I sweat a LOT and struggle with hydration), helps me evaluate why a run was crappy (if i’m heavier, my runs suffer), and also help me keep an eye on digestive issues. I have major digestion issues and if the scale goes up significantly without explanation, it’s typically a sign I have some cleaning out to do (ahem). But I just have to remember that the # on the scale isn’t an indication of my self-worth or my overall fitness!

  • Carrie
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    Sounds like you and I have similar workout goals balancing strength training gains with running! You look great and have faster running times than I do (I am envious, lol). I would love to know how you eat carbs to fuel your workouts and also stay lean. I have about 10 lbs to lose to feel my best and to run well, but I struggle with how to balance my diet. Would love a post on your tips! I also have to eat gluten free (Celiac disease) and do not eat dairy. Thanks! Love your blog!
    Carrie

    P.S. I used to live in Winston-Salem and recognized some of the runners on your Saturday run!

    • Teri [a foodie stays fit]
      at

      Thanks for your feedback! I’ll work on a post about carbs and fueling my workouts!

      Aw, how funny! I love that running group! 🙂

  • Julie
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    Your muscle definition looks GREAT! I agree that you look leaner & healthier now than in your before pics. I don’t even own a scale (never have). – I just pay attention to how my clothes are fitting & how I feel. I do Body Pump regularly (for over 5 yrs now), & I LOVE my muscle definition! I also get a kick out of how much more I weigh (at the dr. office) since I’ve gone down several clothes sizes. The # was so high the last time I went that I had my mom guess how much I weigh (I was amused by it since I had recently fit into my smaller clothes), & she guessed 20 lbs lighter! (And you know mothers don’t lie!) It really is a testament to the fact that muscle weighs more than fat & that we shouldn’t be so preoccupied w/ a #. You look fantastic!

  • Kelsey
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    Bodies are so amazing! Something I read this week is that our bodies will be forever changing and will never be the same as we do different workout routines, age, and go through any other life changes, like carrying a baby. Which was something that really resonated with me. I have been doing CrossFit consistently for 3 years, and it is crazy to think back to what I was like before. I know I’m in a much happier place right now, but it is also a place where I am learning. After cutting back training at the end of 2015, I was still eating the same and put on weight; it has been hard to accept but I’m slowly figuring out how to really and truly listen to my body and what it needs. And I agree with the Paleo bit! I did it for a few months back in 2014, and saw results, but a time came when I knew it had done its job and my body needed different carb sources!

  • Tara | Treble in the Kitchen
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    Thanks for such an honest review!! I think the most important thing is that you love Crossfit and you love how you look and feel!! Keep it up!

  • Rina
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    I’d be interested in how you’re eating also. I started crossfit about 3 months ago and though my clothes seem to fit in the waist, they are tight in the thighs and calves (and I’ve always had slightly bigger thighs in proportion to my upper body. So mostly I want to balance my upper body with my lower body. You look strong which is great!

    • Rina
      at

      Oops, just saw you did a post on diet.

  • Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales
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    You look fantastic! This is such a great reminder that the number on the scale really can mean so little. Thanks for sharing this update! I currently am doing a lot of running (marathon training) but also strength and conditioning 4 times a week… while eating mostly paleo! I’m curious to see how it goes, so far I am eating quite a bit of sweet potato! Haha.