What Is Body Composition?

Weight Loss. Upwards of 75% of people who come into our gym say that’s their primary goal on Day 1. This has actually been pretty consistent over the years, despite the CrossFit movement as a whole going through several evolutions in the meantime.

In the past, we would just say “Great! Come to class 3-5 times per week, eat Paleo, and you will lose weight.” Early on this seemed like the right thing to do, because CrossFit workouts were so novel and effective at changing things, and the idea of pushing yourself to your physical and mental edge while a bunch of new friends were cheering for you was just. So. Awesome! It was almost like that atmosphere itself would drown out everything else: your troubles, the pain of the workout, and even the individual goals. And a lot of people bought into this. It also allowed us coaches to simplify our approach.

Did you ever see Chris Rock’s stand up routine where he talks about growing up poor and only having Robitussin to cure any/all ailments?

That’s all we had when I was a kid: Robitussin. No matter what you got, Robitussin better handle it. “Daddy, I got asthma.” “Robitussin.” “I got cancer.” “Robitussin.” “I broke my leg.” Daddy poured Robitussin on it. “Yeah, boy, let that ‘tussin get in there. Yeah, boy, let that ‘tussin get on down to the bone. The ‘tussin ought to straighten out the bone.

If you run out of ‘tussin, put some water in the jar, shake it up! MO’ ‘TUSSIN! MO’ ‘TUSSIN!”

CrossFit was Robitussin.

People have individual goals, and a blanket approach toward reaching them often doesn’t work, or will only work for a short time. We just weren’t listening as closely before. And maybe we didn’t want to hear it.

But, as you hopefully know now, neither of these are a panacea. Or just take my word for it, it’s not a cure all! It is, however, a set of tools, that when properly calibrated for you, can help you reach your weight loss goals, and more.

So, we started listening better. We started sitting down with all our members every 3 months and asking: “what do you want now?” Now we hear you when you say you really just want the weight loss, guys.

We launched an individualized Nutrition program. And we developed better systems and tools to help you track and achieve your ultimate goal. Along the way, one thing we have learned was that “weight loss” meant different things to different people. To some it purely meant pounds go down on the scale. To others it meant their clothes fit better as their body generally leaned out and tightened up.

The uniting factor that brought all people together? Body Composition. When the ratio of fat to muscle went down, people were happier with their results and their bodies. This is an improved body composition, because if weight loss alone were the goal, this can mean only losing muscle, or losing some fat and losing a lot of muscle, as generally happens when your intake is severely restricted (crash diets). In most cases, this is undesirable, because it generally means you are “wasting away.” You feel weaker, your workouts SUCK, and your metabolism downregulates to stop the madness anyway. It doesn’t work.

Through this process, we realized that what we need is not only better ways of tracking and measuring your body and nutrition habits, though those are essential. We also need better education (the base of the NEW pyramid), because in order for people to get fully on board with a mission, they need to understand why they are doing it.

So we write more, and share our vision for our community.

Take this to heart: almost all your Weight Loss Goals are better framed as Body Composition Goals, because we want to help you lose fat in a healthy, sustainable way. A way that allows you to still be strong for yourself and for your loved ones. To be fit and able to do the fun activities you enjoy outside of the gym too. A way that views food as fuel, not as a vice that must be minimized. A constructive tool, not a destructive force.

To this end, we recently purchased an InBody 270, a highly accurate body composition tool that will take care of the data side of your goals. We also restructured our Nutrition programs to better help each of you reach them through better ownership, action, and accountability. Stay tuned for the official launch this coming week.

It’s rarely a lack of access to knowledge overall that holds people back in this day and age. We suffer from TMI, too much information, thanks to the saturated internet spaces we visit. What we need is a way to filter out the BS, understand why the things that we are doing are going to work, and break our goals down into a step by step process.

Then, finally, we often need a helping hand to say “hey, I care about you, and am here to make sure you succeed. Let’s talk.”

Mauricio Leal
Cypher Health & Fitness Owner

1 thought on “What Is Body Composition?”

  1. Great article Mauricio. I couldn’t agree more. I had weight loss as one of the issues when I first arrived, but it was more about gaining stamina and I’ve been able to do that. My body weight hasn’t changed that much in a year, but my body composition has! I’m leaner now than I’ve been in years, and my clothes definitely fit better. After a year of Crossfit, I imagine that in another year, I will see another leap in my body composition. I have to say, I’m loving these muscles!!! Thanks for giving us the tools and the caring to keep it going.

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