Just when you think you're tough enough

Cross Train CrossFit

“You do crossfit? Are you a bodybuilder?”

Sometimes, a person practicing crossfit are associated to bodybuilders. The more you hit the gym, the more you are aesthetic incline.

But the truth is crossfitters have entirely different objectives in mind. There are many distinctions on what a bodybuilder and a crosstrainer want to do with their body. Allow me to explain:


1) Aesthetics vs Functionality

The main objective of a bodybuilder is to, well, look good (or ripped, as some would say). Or to be as close to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s prime as possible. It can be functional, and their training can sometimes be as intensed as training in crossfit. Most importantly, size matters.

On the other hand, crossfitters focus a lot on functionality. That means moving bunch of heavy objects from the ground up, such as above the head, or rope climbing, wall/obstacle climbing, cycling, rope skipping, running. Not to mention crossfitters train for speed, explosiveness, stamina and posture, too. For crossfiters, looking ripped is the by product of working hard.

2) Diet

You will have to give it to bodybuilders for their consistency staying keeping strict diet. Their goal is to have as little fat and water as possible under the skin, and of course, to fuel muscle growth. To achieve that, bodybuilders will refrain themselves from water, salt, carbohydrates and fat, sometimes up to weeks before a competition. There are various diet plan for these athletes and can be customize according to person and training cycle.

As for crossfit, some form of diet is encouraged, but not necessary. Some adopt paleo diet. But for others, it is easier to just stick to high carbohydrates and high protein diet. The reason is simple; they need carbohydrates to fuel their lifting, preventing disintegration of muscle for fuel.

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Just another day for Dan Bailey..

3) Ways of training (Isolation and free weight)

Bodybuilders tend to be prefer isolation – train a specific group of muscle on different day/session. Sometimes they do cardio, too, to get rid of excessive water from their body. Some bodybuilders prefer weight machines and smith machine for training. Some times they do use free weight like barbell and dumbbells.

On the other hand, crosssfit encourages the opposite; free weight most of the time, and machine occasionally (rowing).

There are no weight stations for crossfits. Instead, they use “box”, which is squat cage with some extra use (pullups bars, rings).

The other element in crossfit is element of surprise. There is no routine. One certain thing is everyday is a leg day.

15Pictured: people competing by carrying heavy stuff

4) Competitions

Bodybuilders compete in, well, bodybuilding contests. One of the most prominent entity in bodybuilding contest is International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB).  There are many regional competitions, too, between countries and continents. One of the most well known ones are Olympia, Mr Asia and more.

Crossfit is rather new, hence most major competitions are held in its country of origin, U.S. However, there are some small events and crossfit invitations popping up around the world, organized jointly by crossfit ‘boxes’. The most highly anticipated among them all is the Crossfit Games in the U.S. Winners of Crossfit Game carry the title of ‘The Fittest Man/Woman on Earth’

5) Drug abuse

When there is glory, fame and money, there will be drug abuse. Drug abuse is a huge stigma in bodybuilding business, especially at the professional level. But drug abuse happens to all professional sports. The most common drug use are synthetic steroids, which can be purchase easily over the Internet. Some yield better performance when lifting, some bulks the body faster, some pushes water out. Some drugs can be harmful to the kidney, hence some bodybuilders drinks a lot water to keep their kidney healthy, which is irony, as they are also trying to consume as little water as possible.

As for crossfit, it is still a very young sport. Will there be any drug abuse in coming international crossfit games? We will never know.

6) Injuries

Bodybuilders prefer weight machine. It is easier to use, and prevents injury that can occur when using free weight.

Crossfiters on the other hand are exposing themselves to injury, as most of the workouts involves swinging something overhead, or balancing it overhead. Shoulders are especially prone to injury. But crossfiters has some of the most versatile shoulders, too. The best ways to prevent injury while doing crossfit are get educated and get a good coach.
(One of the most cringe worthy injury is bloody shin from failed box jumps.)

So which one do you want to try? If you are in to lose some fat, both work. It is not mutually exclusive. One should explore both ways of training. But whichever you choose, make sure you stick to a training routine from start to finish, and do not stray from it by mixing it with something else.

Both has a lot to learn from each other. Both are athletes.