It made sense in my head. I saw the top CrossFitters at my box and what they look like. I knew the style of workouts and what works best for fat loss. I knew that CrossFit focuses a lot on functional movement, which is great for prepping for the routine component of fitness. So it made perfect sense to me that you should be able to train for physique competitions using only CrossFit!
Saying it was a success is a vast understatement.. and I’m not at all referring to any placements or $5 plastic trophies.
I HAD FUN! Yup, totally worthy of capitalization sort of fun. I love CrossFitting. Like love. It’s always different, challenging, the community is freakin’ amazing, the energy in the gym/box is unbeatable, the list goes on and on. I think most Fitness competitors would be shocked by how little extra cardio I did. No hours on an inclined treadmill or stairmill. In fact I never had more than four 30 min sessions a week and for the majority of the time there were only three. Seriously.
Basically each week I’d adjust according to my CrossFit workouts. Most weeks we’d have sprints as part of one or more of our WODs, so that would count for my sprints. I did a handful of bicep/tricep workouts, but I could count on 2 hands the number of times I stepped into a globo gym during prep. I’d even work on parts of my fitness routine in between sprints right after a CrossFit WOD while my heart rate was still up (I think there’s even a picture of my coach and I doing 1-arm push-ups floating around somewhere, haha). CrossFit workouts are ‘varied’ not ‘random’ (at least if you have good coaching), so I was getting a great variety of heavy and moderate weights for upper and lower body in addition to body weight movements like push-ups, pull-ups, handstand push-ups, burpees, etc.
One of the biggest differences (besides fun) that I noticed from doing this type of prep training was that my overall conditioning for my routine was about 100x better! CrossFit training + consistent balanced nutrition left me feeling great and energetic almost all the way up to show (that last week is going to suck no matter what, haha). And even on show day, when it was time to get moving for my routine, it was no problem. I had energy and my tumbling passes were a breeze! (the first time I competed I kept cramping up in the middle of my routine).
So lets talk nutrition. Again, everyone is very different, which is why I believe having a coach is absolutely essential. But this experience was just so much different for me than the first time around that I want to give a general overview.
My “diet” was incredibly balance with VERY little changes up until 3 weeks out from show. So few changes in fact that I kept telling my friends I was worried I wouldn’t be ready. But each week my coach said she saw progress, and to stay the course. So I just had to trust.
As a result I slowly lost the unnecessary weight while still getting stronger. I fairly easily matched my Clean PR in a CrossFit competition 3 weeks out from show, and in what I am probably most proud of was just about matching my Clean & Jerk PR (within 5 lbs) AFTER 15 rope climbs just 11 days out. I also set a couple bodyweight movement PRs in unbroken pull-ups and muscle-ups the week of show (2 days before in fact). I’m not saying all of this to boast about PRs but instead to show how you really can stay feeling good, healthy and maintain strength while training! Even while doing it I couldn’t really believe it based on my past experiences, but both of my coaches (Fitness & CrossFit) just kept saying “you’re going to be fine”) and by believing in me more than I believed in myself, it all worked out!
The minimal amount of “cutting” and having carbs and fruit in my diet through the week of show has made a world of difference. Even though I complained about a “sugar issue” in a previous post, it was nothing compared to what I went through last time. And after a few days of crappy eating, I moved on.
I have too many CrossFit goals left to be eating shitty. No one has time for feeling like crap in the middle of a WOD with 100s of double-unders!
Since I enjoyed the process I didn’t wake up the day after show wanting to do nothing but eat and not walk into a gym for the foreseeable future. Instead, I was excited to get back to CrossFit on Monday morning. One of the many things I love about CrossFit is the supportive group and community. Where I train, you have a set class you go to, so if you’re not there people notice. I couldn’t wait to get back to training hard and being sore!
I shared this pic on my Instagram…
Crazy, right?! You often see before and afters, but I never do things the easy way, so I had to do before, after, whoops, after again.. and again.
So final results:
From March 2013 to September 2013 I lost 19 lbs and ~6.5% body fat. I really don’t care about those numbers, but what I do care about is strength. I actually have body comp measurements back to 2007. So it’s pretty fun to see changes with regards to how they relate. Weight or my body fat % are meaningless number-wise. The numbers I really care about are how much I can clean, jerk, snatch and squat, how many pull-ups I can do, how fast I can run a 400m, 800m etc. It really has been amazing to see what happens physically when you stop worrying about the wrong numbers. For me it has made all the difference, and I without a doubt have CrossFit to thank for that.
Here are some comparisons between the show I did in 2009 and then last weekend.
You’ll notice how much fuller I am this time around.. especially in shoulders & legs! No, not quite as lean, but I’m 100% ok with that. I’d much rather do how I did, look like I did, and feel like I did and not go crazy after (and enjoy all of prep), than be super, ridiculous lean for the sake of.. ahh, I’m not even sure!
Well that’s that! The weather here in Austin is starting to shift, and it is absolutely gorgeous.. so on that note, I’m going outside. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!