In Athletes, Competition, CrossFit

September 15, 2008

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After an inactive youth, and a bout with a serious auto-immune disease, Jenn Hunter was frustrated and overweight. She joined a women-only club, training hard for six months before venturing into her local Gold's Gym. After working with a trainer there, she competed successfully in bodybuilding for a few years. The routine was the traditional bodybuilding regimen, and the constant dieting combined with thousands of isolation movements took their toll. She was not healthy.

“Fast forward to 2006 when my boyfriend (now fiance) Dennis Marshall told me about the most effective fitness program ever: CrossFit. Honestly, I was hesitant at first because I was still training like a bodybuilder. More is always better. I started with a few occasional workouts and then amazing things started to happen. My knees didn’t bother me anymore, my shoulders were stronger, and I looked and felt better than ever. I was hooked...

“I’ve been doing CrossFit consistently ever since, and became a Level 1 certified CrossFit instructor in May 2008. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Ironically, it was during that weekend that I came up with an idea: Would it be possible for me to compete again effectively doing only CrossFit and the Paleo Diet, which I had been loosely following for a couple of months? I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So began my experiment.”

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8 Comments on “A Bodybuilder's Journey into CrossFit”


wrote …

That is a great story, thank you for sharing it with us and congratulations on all of your successes. I hope to use your story as a tool to help break down a few remaining "body-building" mindsets in the so-called "fitness industry" around here. Keep up the great work and maybe we'll see you at the Crossfit games next year instead!:)


replied to comment from Cody Looney

Jenn, thanks so much for telling your story, and congrats on the win! I look forward to sharing this with bodybuilders who need to know what you illustrate. Paul


wrote …

How does everyone objectively feel about the bodybuilding community? I definitely don't mean any offense to Jenn here (I didn't compete as a bodybuilder, but I worked out as one before CrossFit, so I guess I can't really say much).

For example, CrossFit methodology focuses on the work capacity of the person, yet aesthetics is a direct resultant. On top of that, I've seen the emphasis on aesthetic-based exercises shunned in the past within our community. I've also read material from 'those that matter' in CrossFit that would look down upon bodybuilders and their 'sport'.

Would anyone like to share their thoughts/comments/opinions?


Darren Coughlan wrote …

Great article! Thanks for sharing your story.

I have no problem with CrossFitters competing in Bodybuilding competitions. My issue has been with the bodybuilding mentality & methods, not the competition itself. CrossFit makes you look and feel it off if you want!


wrote …

Justin, CF asserts that bodybuilding is inferior as a means of achieving fitness, but CF is known for a 'do with your body as you will' approach. If a person wants to do bodybuilding vice CF, who cares? It's only a tragedy if they think that those various isolation movements in 3x8 sets will make them fit, or will give them the biggest return on their workout buck.

Seems to me like the best way to show the superiority of CF for those so inclined is to use CF training go beat others at their game.

"The bodybuilding community" ... too general to answer. It's a community that covers a lot of ground. I for one do not appreciate their outcomes, but beyond that, to each his/her own. I certainly look at those folks differently now knowing their inherent weaknesses compared with the old days when I thought size equaled strength/power. Paul


wrote …

I, for one, am impressed with the real bodybuilding competitors (natural or exogenous). I never had the dedication for those hours spent performing isolation movements and "fat-burning" cardio to ever see much of a change. Three hours in the gym a day is an impressive feat on its own.

With crossfit and paleo I have seen incredible results with much less time spent. Since starting I have considered getting into shows and am encouraged to read of others who did it.

To Jenn, were you able to control your scleroderma with diet and exercise or were exogenous medications necessary as well. What have the long-term effects for you been? Are you still on medication? My mother was diagnosed with scleroderma some time ago and she is mildly concerned about starting a workout program... any advice?


wrote …


I think that these few words from the article go right to the core of what Jenn is telling us about functional workouts vs. bodybuilding:

"...constant dieting combined with thousands of isolation movements took their toll. She was not healthy."


wrote …

Inspiring. Very well written article and a fun read. I too came from the body building mindset and think it's amazing that you can still pursue placing 1st in competitions feeling better and living life close to usual. Good luck with your affiliate and acting!


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