Will CrossFit Make me Bulky?

Chatham-Kent's #1 Strength & Conditioning facility

We have been asked this question too many times to count, "Will CrossFit Make Me Bulky?" LADIES, this question is most often asked by you - so listen up and take notes! Although this question is expected, we are still taken back each time it comes up in conversation.

The short and sweet answer is “NO! CrossFit will not make you bulky, but it will give you a banging bod!” For those that aren’t interested in such fit body, don’t bother reading on. ;)

There are two common fears with becoming “bulky”. The first, is that a lean individual is afraid that they will get too big for their liking. The second, is that they are afraid that if they touch a heavy barbell, they will automatically be able to hulk out of their shirt and forever be mistaken for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This is not what happens, let us break it down for you!

These assumptions are likely derived from viewing the famous CrossFit Games athletes or even bodybuilders who hit the stage in competitions. These athletes and competitors work day in and day out, consuming upwards of 4000 calories per day where their day job is to do nothing except to workout for countless hours throughout the week. Although, we have mad respect for these individuals’ hard work and determination to compete in their own sport, this is not how the Average Joes who step into our box at Maple City train or live their everyday lives. 

On the other end of the spectrum, CrossFit also will not provide you with a thigh gap. For whatever reason, this is actually a fad, which is completely over our heads considering these dreams revolve around idealizing someone else’s body and basically their genetics. Good luck with endless hours of cardio and a never ending juicing diet that will likely end in pure disappointment. We don't feel that sorry for you ... # SorryNotSorry. 

If you are in search of the elusive thigh gap, this is not the place for you.
Perhaps the flamingo exhibit at your local zoo will serve you better.

CrossFit doesn’t make you bulky, yet it won’t provide a thigh gap. So what will happen if I do CrossFit consistently while maintaining a healthy and balanced diet?

CrossFit makes you FIT. When you get fit, a plethora of good things happen to your body. The ones we will focus on here are:

  1. You will shed excess fat.
  2. You will gain muscle (but not in a hulk-like way!)

Now, this is the scary part right - gaining muscle. Why would you want to gain when you are trying to lose?! Even if you are trying to lose weight, increasing your muscle mass is a necessity! The movements that we exercise paired with a constantly varied workout program, will turn your body into a FIT powerhouse. As you gain muscle, you will burn more calories and shed that excess fat. Your muscle mass will increase and your fat mass will decrease through consistent training and nutrition. However, you may not see an overall weight loss, especially at the beginning of your CrossFit journey. Muscle is more dense than fat. So, your weight might stay steady, however you will drop inches and become “toned” - I believe that is what the kids are calling it these days.

More Muscle = More Calories Burned = Banging Bod.

Since you aren’t sitting under a steroid drip and consuming all the food under the sun in hopes of strutting your stuff in a barely-there-bikini and an orange-fake-bake tan, you aren’t going to develop those Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson biceps. You are just going to become the fittest edition of yourself. SWEET!

As time goes on, you will begin to notice some awesome changes in your body: You rock your skinny jeans in which your butt has never looked better in, your arms are becoming defined and you have thrown out all of the clothes that hide all things you used to want to cover up.


- Said No Woman Ever In The History Of The World.

A cool side effect of all of this is your confidence will sail right through the roof when you realize what your body is capable of and it is typical for your goals to change. Of course goals of slimming down and shedding that excess weight may remain, but they do so on the back burner. Getting that first pull up and hitting a heavy back squat becomes priority because they know that if they trust in the process and become more fit everything else will fall into place and they WILL become the best version of themselves.

Woah! How cool is that?

So it’s up to you: Keep your dreams of becoming a flamingo or ditch the mythical bulking fears and meet all your fitness goals while being able to do some pretty awesome stuff that you didn’t even think was possible.

The choice is yours. We hope you make the right one.

Stay fit,
Coach Kait (a female CrossFitter who is not bulky.)
BASc Applied Human Nutrition, Masters of Public Health Candidate, Certified CrossFit Level 1 Trainer