Have you ever noticed that CrossFit girls look very different from bikini models? At first, we don’t make much of a distinction. Both are fit, and we as beginners are more inclined to look up to fashion/lingerie models instead. In reality, there is a difference, and the sport or a fitness program in a very strong way affects how our body will look like.
L to R: CrossFit athlete Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, bikini competitor Jennifer Nicole Lee, Bodyrock TV host Lisa-Marie, yoga instructor Tara Stiles
This is actually very simple. In bodybuilding and fitness the focus of training is developing all muscles for a balanced aesthetic look, whereas in disciplines like CrossFit it’s all about functionality and speed rather than appearance. Bodybuilders, men and women alike, train to get a certain body – thin waist, full lats and delts, and strong ripped legs. Fitness models focus on the balance and harmony rather than the size between all muscle groups. Other programs and sports are more focused on the performance. Runners are more concerned with their endurance levels or speed as are swimmers and cyclists. Yogis are more interested in how far their muscles can stretch alongside spiritual development, and dancers are more invested into refining their movements.
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur or simply someone who wants to lose weight, the results will always be different depending on what fitness program you choose.
Let’s take CrossFit, bodybuilding/fitness, circuit/cardio training, and yoga as examples (the one above is purely arbitrary and based on models’ main activity). If you look at the people who predominantly train by one of these disciplines, you’ll see a different body on each and every one of them. CrossFit athletes have great muscle mass and definition, but they lack bodybuilders’ aesthetics like thin waist and proportionality. Cardio people or those who are into circuit training have little muscle but also little fat, so they look fit and slim all around including the glutes and legs that are so valued in bikini fitness. Yoga/pilates/fitness ballet instructors look fit, but they don’t necessarily display as much muscle definition as, say, fitness models (although professional dancers do).
It’s all determined by the types of movement and overload these disciplines employ. Also, if you’re not a competing athlete you cannot compare yourself to those who are, simply because of the difference in training, regime, and other factors you may not know about.
So why all this is important? When trying to build your dream body, look at what type of figure you’re most interested in building. The thing is that only weight lifting for aesthetics can really help you fight genetics and change body composition. Other sports place more focus on endurance, speed, performance rather than aesthetics. Do you want full rounded glutes like bikini girls? Or do you want to be able to lift a lot of weight over your head? Do you want to be really stretched or do you want more muscle definition?
There certainly can and will be some overlap, but the easier way of building a certain muscle group is still weightlifting/resistance training.