How To Get Big While Doing Crossfit

21 Jan

Based on the amount of emails I get regarding it, the question of the century seems to be “How can I put on more quality weight while still doing Crossfit and not losing my speed?” How I read this question is “How can I put on more weight without altering anything I am doing and without losing my abs?” You don’t have to be like me and get big by any means necessary, you can still put on quality weight over a period of time while improving your lifts and keeping your speed. I am going to outline three of the main issues I see when consulting Crossfitters who want to get bigger.

Jannetti knows whats up

1. Altering Your Diet (Duh)

Let’s take a look at what CF says about diet: “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Right there in the definition it explains to eat enough to maintain your current body mass but not add extra. There is a reason why women can add some quality weight on paleo while men have difficulty putting on weight. Some women who previously ate less meat and fat are now eating more meat and fat and can see some gain, whereas men (who on average require more calories) are now eating less calories.

I am going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear:

Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast is NOT eating big

There I said it. Let’s break down a bacon and egg breakfast in terms of calories. 6 pieces of bacon is about 200 calories, and 5 eggs would be about 310 calories. That is a whopping total of 510 calories. If you aren’t adding AT LEAST a whole avocado to that, how can you expect to put on weight?

Another thing to remember is that simply eating meat and a little fat won’t help you add very much weight. If you are eating low carb, the protein you eat is going to be used for energy, not for building muscle. Help protein do it’s job by adding more carbs back into your diet.

Streaky is down for carbs

Most of the LBEB crew is gluten-free, except for the occasional lasagna. If you want to put on some decent quality weight, try adding in 1/2 cup (measured before cooking) of rice to your meals 3-4 times a week. I recommend white rice as the shell of the whole grain kernel can cause GI problems just like gluten can. If you don’t want rice, add in 3-4 extra sweet potatoes a day. 

On top of these meals, adding in blended food shakes can help you add more weight. Twice a day, I will blend 3 cups of Rice Krispies with 100 grams of Cinnamon Bun grass-fed whey protein from
It is important to remember that shakes and post-workout drinks are SUPPLEMENTS, not REPLACEMENTS. Add them in to compliment your solid food intake, not replace it.

2. Decreasing The Training Days

The second most common question I get is people who want me to write a strength program followed by them saying they also hit 4-5 WOD’s a week, go to yoga 2-3x, run 5-10 miles a week, etc. It doesn’t take much brain exercise to figure out why hitting 8-11 workouts a week is keeping you from putting on mass, especially when combined with a diet that is supposed to help a sedentary person lose weight, not fuel high level athletes. If you are eating extra food to help you grow, working off those calories is the opposite of what you want to be doing.

When it comes to workouts, I believe in quality over quantity, and I believe in structure. Streaky learned this the hard way, she used to hit a random workout every day, some times twice a day, which led to some awesome injuries, right Streaky? She learned her lessons and now takes scheduled deloads, planned days off, and is always able to go to her next workout fresh and ready to roll. Her food is fueling her, as well as helping her grow. That is what we want when we are trying to cultivate mass.

You won’t get fat if you take a scheduled day off. In fact, that day off will allow your muscle fibers to repair and grow back stronger and bigger than before if you are eating correctly, and the fat will stay relatively low as long as you don’t overdo your carb intake. Not everyone wants to look like Marshall or myself (which confuses me!)

3. More Short & Heavy, Less Long & Light

As we have stated before, If you want to increase performance as well as increase quality body weight, decrease the amount light reps you are doing in favor of fewer, heavier sets. Doing a 150 air squats may give you an awesome lactic acid buildup, but as far as increasing mass beyond the average beginner gains, the progress just won’t be there. 

Along with this, if you want to improve your Grace or Isabel time, don’t just do 30 reps as fast as possible with the prescribed weight: do 10 sets of 3 reps with 1.75-2x the prescribed weight. Not only will this improve your strength and help you focus on your form, it will make the prescribed weight feel like peanuts after a few months.

Trade off the 20-30 minute metcons in favor of shorter and much heavier workouts to improve your overall strength without decreasing your conditioning; that I promise you. The only conditioning I have done in the past year is my Strongman events on Friday, and I can still row a faster 500m than most of you who read this site (1:20) at 285lbs.

These three aspects of altering your Crossfit lifestyle will help you to put on the quality weight you want to, while still maintaining that speed that is all-important to Crossfit. You don’t have to be 300lbs, but if you are 5’11” and 170lbs, you might want to consider adding some mass to your body!

Pastor B out.


21 Responses to “How To Get Big While Doing Crossfit”

  1. Gene January 21, 2013 at 11:05 pm #

    Great job Pastor B… very well done!

  2. Art van der Heide January 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    You only just talk about mass, it's only once that you mention quality mass, but I reckon you're always talking about quality mass equals muscle and not body fat?

  3. Colter January 21, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

    Gold brotha, and so true.

  4. Dale Bower January 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Dale Bower January 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    I'm 6'7" 210lbs. Looking to be 235ish. I'm glad to see this post keeps me going to see I'm doing it right!!

  6. Anonymous January 21, 2013 at 11:47 pm #

    Nice article. I would like to weigh in (yes, pun very much intended) on the subject. I have gained 18 lbs (13 muscle, 5 fat) in last 6 months or so. Not a massive gain, but solid, and definitely quality weight. I already ate pretty clean but I made several key changes.1. Increase Overall Intake – Seems pretty obvious, but every time I ate I made a conscious effort to eat as much as I could.2. Increase Carbs – Not much of a rice guy but I started to add at least one (more when I could) sweet potato(es) a day, especially post-workout.3. Drink Milk – If you can handle it this is nature's best weight-gainer. This will make you gain some body fat but if everything else remains clean sometimes a little fat gain is welcome.B is right, supplements are extra and not replacements and can be a great tool to add after a meal for between meals for extra calories.Just my two cents.

  7. Anonymous January 21, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

    This is some real "duh" shit that's being said over and over. I'm not discrediting the author because obviously there's an audience for it but come on people, low calories and metconing yourself to cortisol hell isn't the way to get big.

  8. Brad Jones January 22, 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Excellent! (Not all CF'ers are dummies).

  9. Franco Crincoli January 22, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Love it. And a big "duh" to all the xfitters. LBEB makes animals not sheeple.

  10. Kevin January 22, 2013 at 12:44 am #

    3-4 extra sweet potatoes a day huh?:)

  11. Anonymous January 22, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    Brandon good article, it may be a no brainer but like you said you recieve e-mails on a regular basis so someones not getting it. I posted earlier not sur if it got taken down or what but wanted to hear your thoughts on Carb Backloading. Stay Strong My Friends.

  12. James January 22, 2013 at 6:34 am #

    Dietary enzymes helped me up the food intake. That's also a post by LBEB 😉

  13. Prof. Steven M. Platek January 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Brandon, good article and timing for me, like others, I realize it's being or have been said a lot, but as I always tell my students and what I know is good in the training room: repetition isn't bad!This prescriptions sounds a lot like CFFB, especially with the adding extra sw. potatoes. (not rice). Just recently I've started adding in more carbs, mainly for energy, but in the short time I've done it, I've had no less than a dozen people ask me if I am getting bigger, or comment on that fact. I'm old, a family man, a professor, I'm not necessarily looking to be huge, but if it happens I won't complain. I can't believe you can row a 1:20 – that's shit balls fast bro! A few suggestions I've been given or have come up with for adding more calories in a good way: – coconut milk (all fat, but tasty as hell)- kerry gold butter (just put that shit on everything, or just eat it, seriously, just eat it like a lolipop, as long as you aren't trying to lean out combined with Coconut milk, the MCTs give good energy and aren't stored as fat)- my new favorite carb: PB&J&nutella on rice cake. I know rice cakes are not manly, but fuck it, they taste good covered in all that spread-able wonderfulness!

  14. Amy January 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    Oooooh Professor, your food blog!!

  15. Oscar Schneegans January 22, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    So, basically, follow CrossFit Football or Rob Orlando's Strongman WOD.

  16. Ashley P January 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    Great article. On a side note, Streaky has a photo with another beautiful athlete to the left of this artcile, who is she? Thank you!

  17. Anonymous January 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    bacon and eggs are zero calories. Bacon is a condiment and so no calories and eggs are a snack and so also don't count.

  18. Anonymous January 26, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    chyna cho

  19. Kyle January 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Good article B.I think another seemingly simple solution is to find Crossfitters that are bigger guys and see what they are doing to stay big. For anyone checking out this article Rob Orlando and Jason Khalipa are 2 guys that I would suggest reading up on.

  20. Anonymous February 1, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    Im a big guy at 5'8" 250lb, I have very average WOD times and would love to have my 15+lb of extra fat convert into some good lean weight!! Glad to hear theres hope for us heavy boys…

  21. Mark Wood February 2, 2013 at 1:34 am #

    It's also important to remember that it's crucial to have a main goal. Don't want to get big then also aim for regionals. If you are already regionals level then thats great, take some time to add some mass. However if you decide to train Outlaw then guess what, your volume has gone up and you need to eat a disgusting amount of food.

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