The Why and Why Nots: How CrossFit Will Help You See Gains

Feb 15, 2019

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CrossFit is one of the most controversial topics in the fitness world. In this episode of Sheer Strength Labs Josh shares the pros and cons of CrossFit and whether it’s a suitable program for you. During the show, you’ll find out if CrossFit can help you achieve your goals, if it can it be used for muscle building, and more about the diet and supplements. If you’ve ever thought about getting into CrossFit, then this is an amazing podcast for you.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is highly varied, cross-functional movement program that involves a lot of heart raising activity and multi-joint movements. CrossFit is one of the most in depth programs you will ever come across in the world of fitness, and is broken down into 5 sections: metabolic conditioning, aerobic conditioning, weight lifting, gymnastics, and mobility.

Metabolic Conditioning

A circuit training type of workout, such as interval training, that uses short bursts to spike the heart rate. This type of training could be sprints, back-to-back lifts, or endurance work, such as rowing and running.

Aerobic Conditioning

This could be a long row or 5k run.

Weight Lifting

Broken down into a variety of lifts, which are predominantly the overhead press, push press, or a jerk movement. Weight lifting also includes hinge movements, such as a deadlift or clean, as well as a variety of rowing and bench press movements, Olympic lifts, behind the neck presses, and squatting.


Involves any movement where you use your body weight, including a muscle up, pull up, push up, sit up, or dipping movement.


Working on flexibility and range of motion to make sure you can move as well as possible.

Other programs such as bodybuilding or powerlifting are not as involved with the variety of movements and modalities that CrossFit is.

Who is CrossFit For? 

Josh says CrossFit is for everyone as it is all-inclusive and scalable to everyone in the world; however, he warns of paying too close attention to the elitist videos as well as the CrossFit fails on the internet. In CrossFit every movement can be broken down into a simpler movement to allow anyone to participate. Josh even got his 79-year old Gran to do CrossFit, and she now has a range of joint mobility movements to suit her needs.

Can CrossFit Be Used For Muscle Building? 

According to Josh the answer is 100% yes. He says all you have to do is look at someone who has been doing CrossFit for two or three years to see the results, which is due to the program not just being circuit training but having a large volume of lifting involved too. The most important thing to focus on is lifting progressive overload in weights.

 CrossFit’s Guidelines on Eating

This is an area Josh thinks CrossFit falls down in, and says that a lot of people involved are into the Paleo diet. He knows that it is a micro nutrient rich diet, which is based on the amount of vitamins and minerals from the amount of whole foods. However, Josh admits it is not the superior diet by any means. Something to remember is that as long as you are covering your micro nutrient base, there is no issue with having certain food groups.

Paelo can be detrimental to CrossFitters, as it is an advocate of low carbs by removing grains from the diet. You need to remember that when you are training at such a high intensity, you are going to be using your glycolic energy system and need to have a decent amount of carbs to fuel your workout. Josh has seen a lot of CrossFitters whose performance isn’t where it should be because their glycogen stores are semi-full and they are trying to run off a high fat, medium carb, moderate protein diet, which doesn’t benefit their results in any way. These people could drop their fat down to 40-50grams a day and increase their carbohydrates so they have more readily available fuel to use during their workouts. If you are participating in high intensity training, then you need to have carbohydrates in your system. Even when you are in ketosis, your body breaks down the triglyceride into glyceride particles to it can make glycogen so your muscle glycogen stores are never less than 60% full.

3 Supplements For CrossFit

Josh advocates taking a whey protein powder before training so it is in the bloodstream and stimulating muscle protein synthesis during the session. However, if you are having regular protein throughout the day, then you don’t need to have a shake after training. Josh also suggests a high quality omega 3 for joint integrity, to reduce inflammation, and aid better brain function, as well as Creatine.

Pros of Doing CrossFit

CrossFit is fantastic for people who don’t enjoy the regular gym, as there is a sense of community and you are lead by one or two coaches. If you don’t enjoy writing your own program or feel lost when you show up to the gym, then CrossFit takes the thinking out of working out for you. There is a huge focus on movement patterns and overall better movement, so CrossFit will help strengthen your core and alleviate back pain.

Cons of Doing CrossFit

Like every sport, there are good and bad coaches so make sure you hunt around before you settle. Josh identifies that whether something is deemed safe or dangerous comes down to how it is being coached and implemented. If you have a coach who is unable to see that someone is struggling with something and then forces him or her to do it anyway, then it will be dangerous. However, if you have a coach that recognizes someone’s ability is not that great and offers some logical regression in their training, then it is going to be great for him or her. Overall, the view of CrossFit can be different in every single location across the world based on the coach present at each Box.

Josh suggests you try a few CrossFit Boxes out and look for a place that has been up and running for several years. He also recommends looking at the coach’s credentials outside of CrossFit to see if they have an understanding of different training or are they solely a CrossFit oriented trainer.

Thank you for listening! If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a 5 star rating and review in iTunes!  

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