In the eyes of many trainers in the gym, bodybuilding and CrossFit are two very different worlds. Sure, they both involve lifting weights, but for some reason, athletes of each discipline often tend to look at the other with a sense of superiority. Others outright hate each other! While their goals are vaguely different – Bodybuilders want to LOOK strong, and CrossFitters want to PERFORM better – Are they really all that different in the long run? Some CrossFitters look at bodybuilders as narcissist, vain non-athletes that build up tons of non-functional muscle to please the mirror. But is that really the case? Let’s take a look at a few of the good things that CrossFit proponents can learn from the bodybuilding world!
You Gotta Isolate!
Isolation movements have value. In the CrossFit world, the top movements utilized on a daily basis are compound movements which target at least 2 muscle groups – with many of those core exercises such as Front Squats or Push Jerks involving almost every muscle group in the body! While targeting the core is vitally important, the CrossFit athlete can make some great gains by isolating muscle groups once in a while. Imagine how much more smoothly you’ll handle that medicine ball if you knock out a few sets of dumbbell curls for biceps now and then. And you will look more muscular too, which while it may not be your primary goal, isn’t all that bad of a side effect!
Most top bodybuilders are adamant about their nutrition. They measure the grams of protein, carbohydrates, and fat in all the foods they eat, particularly in the weeks leading up to a bodybuilding show, when having low body fat is the goal. Do athletes of any other sport – including CrossFit – measure their foods that closely? Not usually! However, you may be able to learn a few things about what you could be eating to better fuel your body for tough workouts – and the nutrients needed for recovery from said workouts – by studying up on some bodybuilding nutrition. They take it more seriously than any other athletes – because they wear everything they eat. Now, imagine if you are only able to bump up your CrossFit training efficiency by 2 or 3% by adjusting your nutrition – Wouldn’t it be worth it?
One of the main knocks that bodybuilders have against CrossFitters is that they believe the training employed in CrossFit is reckless and dangerous. And while we all know that intelligently executed CrossFit training sessions are very safe, there are times when the hours of core and compound training can lead to some weak moments. Tired athletes sometimes break away from good form, and that’s when injuries can occur. Check out the meticulous nature in which bodybuilders work to preserve their bodies – One muscle tear and they may never win a show again. Learn more about back braces, gloves, and above all, that realization of mortality that bodybuilders adhere too – but some CrossFitters abandon when they’re going for a personal best training session!
For most CrossFitters, a few months in training pass and you’re reaching amazing new levels of skill and performance. For bodybuilders, it takes YEARS before one even considers entering a local show, unless they’re blessed with world-class genetics. The athletes winning pro shows have been training for decades, sticking with insanely disciplined diets and training 300 days each year to reach that level. CrossFit enthusiasts can look to that as a source of inspiration. Imagine just how effective and efficient your body will be after a decade of dedicated, insanely intense CrossFit training? If you are able to dedicate that level of years – and the progressive goal planning, execution and achievement – then you’ll be able to take your performance to levels you probably cannot imagine at the moment. Bodybuilders play for the long game – and so should you!
While an ongoing feud between bodybuilders and CrossFitters can often be fun, it should be realized that the two groups aren’t all that much different. Both bust their rear ends with the weights and both strive to push their body to its physical limitations, and to conquer their former selves. The goals they have and the paths they take might be different, but in the end, they both achieve physical greatness through intelligent hard work & discipline – And that’s something they can both agree upon!