I have always been thin, so it was a bit of a surprise when I started gaining weight with Crossfit.
I was born a preemie almost two months early, wore a size 4 in second grade, and didn’t start my period until just before I started high school.
In high school I lived on macaroni, chicken nuggets, Taco Bell, hash browns, salads and fries smothered in ranch dressing. More recently, I ate chicken and pasta almost daily, Hungry Howie’s often, and Chinese or Mexican food for lunch more than once a week. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and not once did I think about my weight or size because I was genetically thin and that’s how I was going to be (as a reference, my dad at his heaviest was 5’11”, 145#).
It wasn’t until I started to lift weights early in 2012 that I actually started to see my weight go up. I went from forever 119 to 123. Inspired by Staci of NerdFitness, I realized I was “skinny fat” before and first made the connection that the number on the scale has nothing to do with how you look. And so I continued to eat healthier and continue to lift weights, the weight continued to trend upwards.
Gaining weight with Crossfit
My weight plateaued at 127 in late 2012 until I started Crossfit, where it further increased, then was hanging around 133 for the last half of 2013 while eating much cleaner, fairly strict paleo, and training for a half marathon.
But now with Eat to Perform, I have loosened up the paleo perspective which had caused me issues in the past, and my focus is on performance (edit: I wrote more about how healthy habits led me down an unhealthy path here). I won’t label it as “good” or “bad”, but increasing my calories and putting an emphasis on carbs has caused a fairly quick increase in weight in the past three months.
I have a hard time putting my thoughts down at times because I have always been thin and cannot directly relate to so many women who struggle with weight or have these weight loss goals in mind. How can I explain to you that the number on the scale isn’t important when “society” tells you otherwise and when you have a “goal weight”? Who wants to listen to skinny me talk about eating whatever I want? I really have no idea if this will have any value to you, but I want to emphasize that the number is so insignificant.
Some may think that the weight gain or additional mass could cause them to feel uncomfortable, others may see it as preventing them from participating in their ideal weight class, and still others are extremely content eating big and lifting big. Ultimately, it is about finding that place that you are most comfortable.
One of the biggest shifts in my perception that I have had over the last couple years is that I don’t want to be the skinny girl. Increasing my bodyweight has allowed me to increase my lifts. This week alone, I PRed my front squat, bench press, push jerk, and deadlift.
Do you want a small scale number? Or do you want more?
I want bigger shoulders.
I want to be able to push jerk my bodyweight.
I want thicker thighs.
I want to deadlift 300#.
I want that Crossfit Booty and want no risk of it ever leaving my side (well, backside..).
I want to squat 200#.
I want to look strong, feel strong, be strong. Gaining weight has given me a bigger sense of self-confidence that just being “skinny” wasn’t. As of today, I am up 23lbs from when I first touched a barbell. I am up 15lbs from when I started Crossfit, and up just about 10lbs this year alone since putting a focus on fueling for performance.
I am sure that some amount of bodyfat has also gone in hand with the weight gain, but seeing bigger muscles, bigger “gainz,” and bigger lifts on the whiteboard has been a huge boost for me. The feeling of hitting PRs and my body doing things it never was able to do before, like a chest-to-bar pull up, is incomparable to anything else.
While many of you may still use the scale as the ultimate measure and many of you prefer using working out and eating as a way to maintain a certain aesthetic look, I would challenge you to shift the focus to performance and see where it takes you.
Have you gained weight sine starting Crossfit?
Would you prefer to be skinnier or stronger?
How has your perception of your body changed since you started working out?