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)
Before CrossFit (October 2014, I think??)
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!
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!
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).
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).
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!)
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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