CrossFit for Weight Loss
CrossFit is a wonderful thing: functional movement, constantly varied and performed at high intensity. The concept is appealing to so many different types of people, and your box and daily WOD's are a testament to it!
So how exactly does the CrossFit model apply to so many different people and so many different goals, when at face value everyone in the box is doing the exact same workout? How can someone be losing weight while the person sweating right next to them is trying to gain weight? The short answer, if you don't want to continue reading: CrossFit can help you become the shape/size you were meant to be, but it isn't a one-size-fits-all model. There's much more than meets the eye.
You don't have to troll the internet very long to read success stories about people losing a lot of weight by including CrossFit in their lives: HERE The truth is, you CAN lose weight with CrossFit, and also gain strength, muscle, and look like you were designed to look! There are a few things you need to remember if you are ready to try CrossFit to shed the weight. And, I'll give you the key right away. To quote Kelly Starrett, "Be patient with the process. The process works all the time. You just have to let it work."
1 - Nutrition is key. The guy gaining weight and muscle? He eats to gain. (Ladies, you will NOT look big and bulky unless you EAT big and bulky). If you want to lose weight you need to first understand what you are currently eating and it's effects on you. Then you need to let the math sink in that to lose pounds you need to burn more calories than you intake on a regular basis, over time. All that is next is figuring out what foods are better than others for your dietary needs. Every person is different and needs different ratios of proteins, carbs, and fats. The key is to find out what you need and stick to it. You may want to consult a nutritionist, or someone more versed in nutrition than you are. Starting to track your intake and output will help you stay on track - and there are dozens of apps to help you do that easily. You will not lose weight and keep it offlong term without dedicated focus to your nutrition. Period. Trust the process, and give it time to work.
2 - Burning Calories. CrossFit is notorious for burning calories - studies have shown up to 18 calories per minute in men. If your main goal is to lose weight, let your coach know that. Every workout can be modified to your ability level, and to potentially create the most calorie burn, in the safest way. Also, be ready to put in some extra work. No one said it's an easy microwave recipe. You may need to spend time before or after class doing extra work. It boils down to how committed you are. Taking 3 CrossFit classes per week might not be the key to weight loss. You came in with a specific goal, and just because you thought you knew how to achieve the goal, doesn't mean that is going to be the way to do it. Trust the process, and trust your coaches.
3 - Gaining muscle. You will get stronger and gain muscle. That is a fantastic thing! Again, your nutrition will affect your muscle mass. Muscles are sexy - in proper proportion. With greater strength comes the ability to perform better - and that is also sexy. Becoming stronger and increasing physical capacity makes you more competent and breeds confidence! The great thing with CrossFit is that the workouts are designed around full body movements and functional fitness, meaning you will get stronger muscles in the areas that you need them. Muscle weighs more than fat, so don't freak out if during your weight loss journey you actually gain a couple pounds. It's part of the process, and should be expected. The great news is that as you gain muscle, you will look leaner and have a healthier metabolism - meaning you will burn more calories throughout your day. It's a beautiful cycle.
4 - Community Support. A good CrossFit box has a solid community and working out with these people has many benefits for you. Consistency and accountability are essential with every weight loss plan, and CrossFit gives you both. Also, during group exercise people tend to work harder than they would on their own, encouraging each other to keep going and never quit. Many people have ditched their personal trainer for CrossFit because it is more cost effective and because of the irreplaceable value of a community. So, it's time to reconsider just doing workouts in your garage or living room and join a box!
5 - It takes time. I'm sure you didn't gain the weight overnight. And it surely won't come off overnight. Sustained weight loss will take many months, if not a year or more, depending on where you are. Give yourself some grace and trust the process. You may not lose a two pounds a week for a year. But, even if you lose 50 pounds in a year, that's a huge accomplishment! Let me emphasize the importance of nutrition again, as Greg Zuffelato, says, “The people that just do CrossFit and don’t have a nutrition plan do not lose weight.” When they get serious with the CrossFit program their appetite goes into overdrive and without a proper plan they don’t see any sustained weight loss. They will see a small change in their body fat, but like any other exercise program, if proper nutrition is not part of the plan the results will be disappointing.”
Still not convinced CrossFit is for you, or a good way to help you lose weight? The only person you have to prove wrong is yourself. And if you don't try, then rest assured nothing will happen. Or, have you already tried losing weight (with or without CrossFit) and haven't seen results? Here's a good article to help you ask yourself some hard questions: 17 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
The worst thing you can do is stay stagnant and not try. Get our there and do it. And be patient with the process.
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