Bodybuilding vs. Crossfit: Can We Be Friends?


Crossfitters.  Bodybuilders.  Man, do they love to hate each other.  Just like rivals in college football, the passion erupts when the two worlds collide.  Yet, at the core of it all, bodybuilders and Crossfitters actually have much more in common then they’d ever admit to online.

They both suffer from inaccurate and extreme stereotyping.

Just as not all bodybuilders are jacked up meatheads, not all Crossfitters are social media-obsessed, acronym-loving yuppies. And sadly, as ridiculous as these negative portrayals are, the worst thing about them is that they are coming from other fitness enthusiasts.

Here in the fitness industry you get a divide between people working towards essentially the same shared goals and aspirations.

They both appear elitist to outsiders.

Bodybuilders and the Crossfit community both are passionate and inclusive. Both have their own cliques of sorts. Both have a strong support network with just as many acronyms, buzzwords and nomenclature.

1-1But unlike the bodybuilding community which enjoyed its biggest boom in popularity before the dawn of the internet, Crossfit was born into the much smaller and more well-connected world of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, with the resources to build a community in lightning speed.

If bodybuilding had access to the same online tools back in the day, it would have attracted just as much internet rage as Crossfit does today.  It’s just that bodybuilders have been doing their thing for years and years and years (shall I go on?)

Crossfit is the new puppy you’ve just brought home from the rescue shelter: hyperactive, not yet house-broken, yapping and licking your guests to death.  It will settle down with maturity.  You hope.

Injuries are caused by bad form.  End of.

Entire YouTube channels exist and make money solely out of ripping on Crossfit and the “bad form” argument, but the truth is that pretty much all exercise programs share the risk of injury.

Using poor form, overtraining or ignoring mobility and flexibility issues will result in injury, whether you’re doing bench press super-sets or kipping pull ups in a WOD.

Go to any local bodybuilding gym and you’ll many examples of bad form as you do in Crossfit. There are just more videos of FAILS on Youtube of Crossfitters. They really do love social media to a maximum level.

Bodybuilders are the wise old owls of the industry, but the fact is that mistakes in bodybuilding technique happen as they do in Crossfit.

They share the same goals.

Bodybuilding is very focused on aesthetics.  But as much as Crossfitters dismiss bodybuilding as pure vanity, insisting that Crossfit is instead about “being fit in all permutations of the word”, the fact is that the majority of people who train in either discipline are driven by ego,  whether that is purely to look a certain way or to achieve some other physical goal.

1-2Bodybuilding and Crossfit are both strength and conditioning training programs, they both result in strength gains and aesthetic changes. Bodybuilders are more about the strength gains and Crossfitters are more about conditioning.

Competitive bodybuilding was created and popularized on the foundation that anyone could join the gym, change their physique and compete at an amateur level.  Crossfit did the exact same thing.

They both follow the same principles…

…of hard work, determination and healthy living.

Whether it’s the strict Paleo diet and training plans of your average Crossfitter or the typical lean down/bulk up bodybuilding lifestyle, there’s no doubt that an immense amount of discipline, commitment and dedication is involved.

Both schools of training will get you fit, both will get you strong and both will make you look awesome.  It’s not that one is the right way to train and the other is wrong, it’s just dependent on which type of training you prefer and what your primary body goals are in the long run.

zumbaLook at it this way. The thought of doing a Zumba class to me sounds like a complete waste of an hour of my life.  Does that mean I need to rant about it, post videos of people dancing about and argue with them about how much better my training is than theirs?

Though I may comment with “LMFAO” under a Zumba parody video, I know that the Zumba crowd is different, they appeal to different people and they achieve different things. But they do have one important thing in common: they help people to get fit. And that is what’s important!

So what if a Zumba class isn’t the most effective kind of training for me?  Your mom and her best friend, Patty Duke, can’t get enough of it.  And the fact is that Zumba gets them off the couch and moving means they’re exercising and socializing instead of snacking on the couch watching “The Kardashians” every night.

Enough about Zumba.

There is actually a lot of crossover between the disciplines of bodybuilding and crossfit and they can learn from each other. I do recommend the crossfitters learning from the wise old owls when it comes to weight training. And bodybuilders and learn a thing or two about incorporating more conditioning exercises.

When it comes down to it, who cares whether you’re lifting this way or that way, as long as you’re LIFTING.

We’re all part of the same community.  How about we celebrate our commonalities and lift each other up instead of beating each other down?

As far as I’m concerned, as long as you’re lifting, you’re my friend.

Tristan "Lucky"

Written by: Tristan “Lucky”