Like so many forms of exercise, many people turn to CrossFit for weight loss. And we get it. Looking into the gym and seeing all these super fit, lean athletes is pretty inspiring.
And, in theory, CrossFit is great for weight loss. Plus, it’s super good for your health and wellbeing overall. However, if you find that you’re struggling to lose weight after joining CrossFit, there might be a few things you can adjust to make it happen.
Let’s find out more and understand why you might not being losing weight with CrossFit.
What is CrossFit?
According to the CrossFit.com website, it can be described as “Constantly varied functional movement at high intensity’. However, there’s also a culture, nutrition and community to consider too! And so many people rave about it, including a few of the GymGirlFit team.
Workouts of the day or WOD’s are programmed and you simply head to the gym and do a CrossFit class, which usually lasts an hour, designed to help you get in a high intensity workout, and build strength and skill.
[Related Article: How to Train for HYROX Events?]
How do I lose weight?
To understand how Crossfit might be good for weight loss, we first need to establish how your body drops fat in the first place. To do this, you have to create very specific conditions for your body.
- You need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. This means burning more calories than you are consuming through food.
- Being active can increase the amount of calories you burn
- Building muscle can increase your metabolism in the long term, which increases the amount of calories you burn day to day
- The right nutrition is absolutely ESSENTIAL to weight loss. You can’t out-work a bad diet.
With these key points in mind, let’s look at CrossFit for weight loss as a training programme.
[Related article: 9 Best CrossFit Gifts for Women in 2022]
Is CrossFit Good for Weight Loss?
For many many people, CrossFit has changed their lives by transforming their health and fitness, which often comes with weight loss.
And, in theory, CrossFit for weight loss is a fantastic solution. The high intensity workouts, which focus on intensity through speed, cardio and strength, can offer the following benefits:
Intense workouts burn calories
As we described above, weight loss occurs when you’re in a calorie deficit. High intensity workouts will burn lots of calories, as they get your heart rate pumping and your cardiovascular system working hard. If you’ve ever done and AMRAP or anything like that, you’ll know exactly what we mean!
[Related Article: CrossFit Workout for Women – Your WOD!]
You’ll put on muscle
As your body adapts to lifting weights more regularly and at high intensity, you’ll find you start to put on a little bit of muscle, which is excellent! Not only does this bring with it a huge host of health benefits, it also means you’re more likely to lose fat.
Your body needs more energy to maintain muscle than fat. So a woman who weighs 70kg and has 30% body fat will burn less calories each day than a woman who weighs 70kg and has 15% body fat.
[Related Article: The Best Muscle Building Supplements for Women]
Metabolism will be boosted
High intensity workouts like those in CrossFit programs will boost your metabolism in the short term. However, putting on muscle will boost your metabolism in the long term as it requires more energy (calories!) to maintain a physique with a good amount of muscle on it.
One of the things that CrossFit is known for is it’s community. While you won’t directly lose weight by hanging out with a great bunch of people, having friends and workout buddies at the gym has been shown to increase consistency and effort in workouts. How many times have you lifted that weight you didn’t think you could do because your buddy told you you could?
It really works! Consistency and effort are key to weight loss and your pals can help you achieve that. It’s also often a driver behind many CrossFitters sticking with their Box for longer than any other gym.
So, with these points in mind, it seems like there’s a fantastic three pronged approach when it comes to CrossFit for weight loss.
However, you’ve been going for a while now, and you’re still not seeing the results you’re looking for? Let’s take a closer look at why you may not be losing weight with CrossFit, despite giving those WODs your all.
[Related article: How to treat CrossFit Hand Rips and Avoid Calluses]
Why am I not losing weight with CrossFit?
The main reason you’re likely not losing weight with CrossFit, is because your nutrition isn’t creating the right conditions for weight loss.
And with these types of high-intensity workouts, it actually happens a lot.
When you do a super intense workout that leaves you gasping for breath, the mentality can often be that you put a huge amount of effort in and this can make so many of us overestimate how much food we can eat on that day. We’ve all done it.
Basically, the higher the amount of effort you put in, the higher the chance of overcompensating with food.
You might be thinking, but my fitness tracker told me I could!
Well, while fitness trackers can offer some really great stats, metrics and information on your health and fitness, recent studies have shown they aren’t always the most accurate measure of calories burnt .
Plus, many of these fitness trackers don’t take into account your body composition, which we mentioned above, about how much fat vs muscle you have on your body. This can also change the amount of calories you might burn in a day.
In terms of actual weight too, you might see the fat dropping off in the mirror, but not on the scales. We can also explain this.
Fat weighs less than muscle and, if you’re starting to gain muscle and strength through lifting more weights, then it’s entirely possible to lose fat, but maintain or even gain weight on the scales.
So, we recommend avoiding spending too much time on the weight scale, and instead think about how much stronger, and more powerful your body is getting every day!
So How Can I Use CrossFit for Weight loss?
In terms of Crossfit for weight loss, try to be consistent and push yourself to your own limits. Butt this we mean, aim to head to the gym 3-5 times a week depending on your fitness level/where you are in your CrossFit journey.
The more experienced you are, the more often you can go.
In terms of your own limits, we mean don’t overdo it. No one will be improving their fitness stuck at home with an injury! So don’t worry about being the best in the class, be the best you can be and trust us, it’ll still give you a killer workout.
Once you’re CrossFitting consistently, think about the food you’re eating.
The CrossFit website suggests a 40-30-30 approach to macronutrients. Which is 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 30% fats to make up your total caloric intake.
Once you’ve got your calorie intake nailed and your macro ratio sorted, stick with it for the long term and you’ll see some amazing results.
You’ll promote muscle to improve your strength and muscle development. Your metabolism is likely to be improved as a result of this, and you’ll see that fat will begin to drop away.
Conclusion on CrossFit for Weight Loss? It works!
Of course it does! As with any high intensity type of training, it can certainly help to put you in a calorie deficit that will promote weight loss.
Our top tip for weight loss with CrossFit is this:
Don’t think about it in terms of one workout at a time, think about the long run. This way, you’re less likely to overestimate your food intake after a workout, and instead can focus on bringing your metabolism up in the long term by building strength and eating a nutritious diet.
By doing this, and taking a long term approach, you’ll achieve a more sustainable and effective weight loss! You’ve got it, get out there and get fitter, stronger, more skilled and, if you want to, lose weight along the way too with CrossFit!