Body composition changes are typical among the CrossFit initiated. We strive to keep our body fat low so we can move faster when performing bodyweight exercises. It doesn’t hurt to look good at the beach either.
A little understood fact is that not everyone sees these changes at the same rate or in the same way. This doesn’t mean that changes are not happening. It just means you can’t see many of them and the ones to do see may not be the most important.
Coach Greg Glassman the founder of CrossFit has said that,
“Metabolically inert material can be carved off and replaced with no net displacement.”
This short statement carries a lot of weight in any discussion about body change in relation to fitness level.
Something that is inert is basically inactive. It’s just taking up space and not doing anything. Think about that in terms of your body, and your metabolism.
If you think of your body as a high performance machine, your metabolism is the engine that runs your body. If you’re trying to squeeze as much performance out of it as you can, as we do in CrossFit, then having material in your body that is not helping you perform at a peak level is not helpful.
No Net Displacement
Think back to your high school science classes. You probably learned about displacement by dropping objects into a cylinder of water and seeing how much the level of water rose. The amount of change was the amount of water displaced by the object you dropped in. You noticed that different objects displaced different amounts of water based on their size.
In this case Coach is saying that it is possible to replace that useless material in your body with useful material (i.e. muscle) without noticing a difference on the scale. This is because the process of losing weight and gaining muscle can happen at the same time. You don’t necessarily lose weight and then gain muscle.
The Bigger Picture
Remember here we are talking about our metabolism and not just body composition. There is so much more at work during metabolic change than just a swapping out of body fat for muscle. Our bodies are a system of systems. Having less body fat will change your chemical makeup and thus cause your metabolism to change. Depending on how much body fat you have to lose it could change the way your organs function. Everything will be more efficient, not having to work as hard to combat your body coping with excess body fat. Everything will start working like a finely tuned race car.
This is meant to be an encouragement. The scale only gives you a number. It doesn’t tell you anything useful. If you are at an unhealthy weight, you don’t need a scale to see that.
At CrossFit 43 North we are not as concerned with how you look as much as performance. We want to see improvements in your fitness, your health markers and your quality of life.
Pursue increased work capacity. Eat whole foods in moderate proportions and enjoy your life. Your overall health will improve and hopefully you’ll live a long happy life. As an added bonus you’ll be stronger and faster than your peers.
Now go live better.