Will lifting weights make me bulky?

Will lifting weights make me “bulky”?

This is one of the most common questions that we as fitness professionals get asked, and is one of the most commonly seen questions in all sorts of online forums. Before I answer let me assume that by "bulky" you mean an excess of muscle mass, that is way above average. The short answer is "yes, lifting weights can make you bulky", but it can also make you "tone" cause isn’t that what most of us are looking for? Looking athletic but not like Arnold Schwarzenegger circa Terminator, right? Let me start by saying that it is possible to lift weights and build muscle mass, body builders do it all the time. Body Builders also lift weights for the specific purpose of muscle gain by isolating muscles, and using specific proven programs of sets and reps to achieve that goal. Think of it as a very specific way of lifting weights, for the sole purpose of aesthetic muscle gain.

But there are a million other ways to lift that focus on building strength in the muscle that you have. The frequency that you are lifting also plays a huge role. Are you lifting 5x a week, focusing on specific muscle groups each time? Let's say you are lifting 2x a week focusing on the whole body, or maybe 1 day of upper body and 1 day of lower body.  Chances are if you are in the latter group then your body wouldn't be considered "bulky" by body builders or the average athlete. Here's a great way to look at it: Does throwing a football 2x a week with your nephew accidentally make you an NFL Quarterback?  

Next question, how is your nutrition and recovery?  There is a very specific protocol when it comes to muscle gain.  Are you consuming at least your bodyweight in grams of protein every day? Are you consuming rapidly digestible protein right after your lifting session? Are you sleeping a minimum of 8 hours each night to recover from your lifting sessions? If not then you're probably not at risk for developing those "bulky muscles".

You absolutely can get bulky from lifting weights, but only if you are intent to do so.  If you are following a specific regiment designed to increase muscle mass, eating right for bulking, and sleeping 8+ hours every night. If you are just a recreational weightlifter, or do some weightlifting in your group fitness class 3x a week, then you're unlikely to build those body builder muscles like you see on TV. Remember, those are professional athletes that devote their lives to increasing their physical capacity. They train 6+ days a week, for hours on end, eat a perfect diet, and maximize their recover by sleeping a minimum of 8 hours per night. Lifting weights 3x a week will build strength, increase bone density, thicken your tendons, make you overall more healthy/sturdy, create an overall more functional human body, and build self-confidence. Some might even say it can make you look better naked :) 


  • If you ordered a cup or sweatshirt they should be in next Monday (9/23), and if you haven’t paid yet please do so ASAP.

  • Open Prep Course is still in full swing, with Ring Muscle Ups being the focus tomorrow 9/18

  • The Open starts 10/10, sign up here

  • Friends and Family Week: 9/30-10/6

Different By Degree, Not By Need

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Different By Degree, Not By Need

So I posted some of my writing from here onto our blog yesterday and it received some positive feedback. One reader wanted a distinction for goals changing in CF along with family changes, and as you get older. I think in its most simplistic form all of our goals are the same. We all want to improve and be more healthy. The degree to which we do that is the distinction. For someone that has the ultimate goal of competing at the CF Games they are constantly trying to become more fit, all the while staying healthy and maximizing their recovery. That person may train multiple sessions per day, 5-6 days per week, sleep 10hrs at night, and has to be 100% dialed into their nutrition. But in its most basic form they're trying to be more fit(improve) and be/stay healthy. I think it's important to differentiate that age isn't necessarily a factor in this either, I know of masters athletes that have this same type of goal, and do this same type of training/recovery. For another example lets take someone that has kids, that owns their own business, that doesn't have the goal of going to the CF Games(me :). Their goal is to improve, and to be more healthy. The same goal as the Games athlete but to a different degree. I set my priorities to my family, being healthy for my kids; which to me means being able to play with them AND having the energy to do so. Having the baseline fitness to be able to go out and do things with them at any given time, not being "beat up" from a high training volume and in need of recovery. Over the years I noticed that high training volume would mean that I would be sore, joints would be a little stiff, and I needed more sleep (mind you I already prioritize 8hrs, so I would need 9 minimum.) So I made the shift to a lower training volume. I still want to be more fit and healthy, but it is for my family and not to go to the CF Games. Same goal, but a different degree. What has really been getting me fired up lately is seeing people use their fitness outside of the gym. Some people are doing running events, some are doing adventure races, some are hiking mountains out in Colorado, some are rucking, some are doing CF competitions. Lots of great application for their fitness, and this goes hand in hand with our "Life without limits" philosophy. Training is great, but getting to take your fitness out into the world and experience life is GREAT. For elite athletes it may be taking the competition floor, and getting to use all the skills you have been training. For another person it could be the opportunity to hike Pikes Peak with your spouse and experience a one of kind view. Both are great applications of the fitness that you have been training in the gym, and are a great way to break up what can become a "grind" going to the gym every day. It also gives you motivation as you see that hard work paying off. You may find yourself more fired up to come back into the gym and train for the next time! In my completely biased opinion I think that CF is the best way to train your body for those different types of challenges. It doesn't necessarily replace the specific training that you may need for your event, but it provides a great base of fitness that you can build that specific training on. For example if your goal is to run a marathon, it doesn't replace those 10 and 15 mile training runs, but it does provide the baseline leg strength and cardiovascular/respiratory endurance for the marathon. All of this stuff comes back to evaluating (continually) what your goals and priorities are in your life. Then take those and develop a plan of action for either achieving those, or moving yourself in that direction.

Intramural Open




-2020 FWCF Intramural Open

-Participants will be “drafted” on to a team with a Coach for a Captain.

-Each week participants can earn points for their team by performing the workout, with the opportunity to earn bonus points for various tasks (check ins, performance, team spirit etc)


-We tried this during the Open this March and it was a ton of fun!

-All your friends are doing it.


-All workouts will be done at FWCF

-Registration will be done at games.crossfit.com


-The Open runs from 10/10-11/7, with a Bonus week 6 WOD just for us

-Each week there will be 1 workout released on Thursday evening, and that workout will be programmed for the regular classes on the next day (Friday)

How Much?

-Registration for the Open is $20 on games.crossfit.com

Current Events

-The “Wright” kids camp 9/21 10:30a- 12:30p ages 3-7 years old! $15 for the camp! 

-Orders for water bottles go out tomorrow (9/11)

-Orders for sweatshirts go out Friday (9/13)

-Open Prep Course tomorrow (9/11) @630P will focus on Handstand Pushups

To change your life, change your lifestyle

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To change your life, change your lifestyle

Running a business is so much harder than I thought. What is even tougher is that as the business gains success you have to get so much better at it. You can level up in revenue and size, but you better level up your business skills also, or you risk becoming stagnant or even back sliding a little bit. You have to learn how to stay ahead of the curve bringing new people in, all the while managing to keep your existing clients engaged and happy. That has been the biggest struggle for me. It is just natural to come to the gym at this point and it is just part of my lifestyle. I tend to forget that not everyone is like that. Some people struggle just to make it in every week. They don't enjoy the challenge, they do it for a different reason than I do. I've also been doing this for close to 9 years, and they may have just started. It takes time to make a huge lifestyle change, and some times I forget about how much I have actually changed over the years. There is a similar shift when you have kids. Not similar in actual change, but in the magnitude of shift. When you have kids they all of the sudden become a huge priority in your life. Obviously taking care of them and keeping them alive when they're little, but then into taking care of what kind of person they are growing up to be. Managing their sphere of influence, and making sure they have healthy relationships also. My point is you give up a lot of yourself, and your previous priorities. You may even make a shift in identity. Before kids you might be known as the guy that takes long vacations to exotic places. After kids you can't be that same person, you may become the dad that takes his kids to the coolest pools around. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a similar shift in identity. Before you were known as the guy that always went to the bar and had a few beers while you watched the football game, or the guy that is always down for happy hour after work. When you commit to that healthy lifestyle those things don't go with you. You have to find your new identity. Now you might be the guy that watches the game at home, and devotes his energy to cooking the best possible steak. You enjoy your grass fed steak at half time and experience the satisfaction of accomplishing something, that aligns with your healthy lifestyle. The shift is important, it's necessary, and without it you can't have success. You can't maintain that identity of the beer drinking chicken wing monster, and live a healthy lifestyle. But knowing that you have to make the change makes it easier. Knowing that when you have kids you can no longer spontaneously go anywhere, ever, makes it easier to accept. Know that you have to change your lifestyle and know that you may even have to change your identity to achieve your goals.


  • Open Prep Course starts tonight at 630P!

  • Kids Class is back to normal Schedule

    • T/TR: 5-530P (Ages 3-7yrs), 530-6P (Ages 8-11)

    • Sa: 9-930A (Ages 3-7yrs), 930-10A (Ages 8-11)

  • “The Wright Kids Camp”

    • Ages 3-7yrs old

    • Saturday 9/21 from 10:30A-12:30P

    • Cost is $15 and the sign up sheet is on the long table in front of the kids room

  • The CrossFit Open starts 10/10, and Open registration is live click here to register

  • We will be doing our intramural open again this year, stay tuned for more details!

  • If you don’t already, sign up to the Morning Chalk Up to receive a daily email about what’s going on in the CF Universe. You can subscribe to that awesome email here

Open Prep Course and Current Events

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Open Prep Course

  • What?

    • An 8 session course focusing on skills that have been in the Open previous years. Drills range from beginners learning the skill, to advanced athletes looking to improve their efficiency in the movements. Skills include: Double Unders, Toes to Bar, Pullups, Chest to Bar Pullups, Bar Muscle Ups, Ring Muscle Ups, Handstand Pushups, Nutrition and fueling, strategy and maximizing your score. Each class will also have homework that will give participants a chance to continue to work on the skills outside of class.

  • When?

    • Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30PM for 4 weeks (9/3-9/25)

    • Note: Course will begin 9/3 (Tuesday) because of Labor day

  • Why?

    • Last year we saw a lot of gymnastics in the Open, and meeting with people after there was a large interest in improving in those areas. This class gives us the opportunity to narrow our focus and get or improve those skills before they’re tested in the Open.

  • How Much?

    • $65 for the whole course! Consider it small group training with specific focus.

  • What if I can’t make every class?

    • Session plans and homework will be available to all participants. So you can work on the skills on your own if you miss a session.

  • How do I sign up?

    • Via the sign up sheet at the gym or by emailing: info@ftwrightcrossfit.com


  • Parent-Kid Class (sept 8th at noon) $5 

  • After Labor Day the kids classes will be: 

    • Tuesday 5p - 5:30p (3-7yo) 5:30p-6p (8 and up) 

    • Thursday 5p-5:30p (3-7 yo) 5:30p-6p (8 and up) 

    • Saturday 9a -9:30a (3-7 yo) 9:30a - 10a (8 and up) 

      • The class is $5, we add it to your monthly invoice! 

  • Labor Day weekend 

    • Saturday - normal class times 

    • Sunday - closed 

    • Monday - 7:30a And 9a


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The Open is coming……

There is exactly 51 days until the CrossFit Games Open! This year starts the beginning of the new competition for the CF Games season. The Open is up first with 5 workouts over 5 weeks, starting on 10/10/19. Out of The Open the top 20 athletes male and female will receive invites to the Games next August, they will also crown national champions (male/female) for each participating country, and those athletes receive invites to the CF Games. After The Open there will be 28 Sanctional Events where athletes not already qualified through The Open can earn their spot at The Games. The Sanctional events are also the only way that Teams can qualify for The Games. Check out the sanctional calendar here: https://www.crossfit.com/sport/2020-sanctionals-season

Open Prep Course

  • In September we will have an Open Prep Course to prepare us for some of the most common movements that we see in the Open. The course is for all ability levels and will meet 2x weekly for 30mins, for 4 weeks. Topics include: Double Unders, Toes to Bar, Pullups/Chest to Bar Pullups, Bar Muscle Ups, Handstand Pushups, Nutrition and Fueling, and more!

  • Interested in more info? Fill out the google form here

Dates and Events

  • Kids Day Camp

-This Sunday (8/25) 12p-3p - ages 8 to 12 years old! 

  • Labor Day Weekend Hours:

Saturday - Normal Hours (6:15, 7:30 and 9) 

Sunday - Closed 

Monday - 7:30am and 9am

  • This Friday Kyle Stark, Kyle Grise, and Kyle(Rich) Cotton: Team Name “3 Kyles” are participating in the GoRuck 50 mile Star Course. They will start at 9PM Friday and will ruck through the night, with a cutoff time for completion of 5PM on Saturday. You can follow their progress on Instagram @kyleandkyleandkyle as they check in to waypoints along the route

Pop Up Shop and Fridge

  • Wanna buy something from the pop-up shop, located next to the coaches desk?

Just venmo @Stephanie-Stark-4 or let a coach know to add it to your monthly invoice! 

  • Wonder what everyone is getting out of the fridge by the coaches desk?

Our fridge is stocked with FitAid, Fuel for Fire, Water and Formula O2! All you have to do is find your name on the sheet on the side of the fridge and mark one off! It will be added to your monthly invoice or you can venmo @Stephanie-Stark-4!


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A little late, but some good overall info: August Programming Focus

Well, folks...you blink and it’s August. We got a lot done through June and July! We tried some new things and re-tested some old favorites. Here’s a quick recap of July...1.) We kicked off our 8-week Squat Cycle (this will continue through August culminating with attempts at a new 1RM); 2.) We brought our Weightlifting Wednesdays to a conclusion with the Heavy 1-Rep efforts for both the Snatch and Clean; 3.) We re-tested Cali Bear, Jackie, & Helen. All of this work sets us up really nicely for August where we will re-test our 1-Rep Max Snatch and Clean & Jerk toward the end of the month as well as re-test “California Love”. In thinking about an overall theme for the month of August, you can expect to see a subtle bias toward more “skill driven” movements and progressions. You will notice this trend in workouts, skill sessions, finishers, and cool downs. We all know that these skills take dedicated practice, and with the October Open looming we want to give coaches and athletes some extra time to really hone in on these movements. Expect to see some more time dedicated to the Muscle-Up, Handstand Push-up, Handstand Walk, and Single Arm DB work. When we introduce a bias...it doesn’t derail us from the overall goal of providing the absolute best functional fitness program out there. Rest assured there will still be plenty of time to throw down, lift heavy and also hit some classic NCFIT recovery style workouts. Plenty of sweat angels coming in August!

MBB ‘19

2019 Mustache Barbell Bash was a big success! We had 16 teams take on some really cool workouts: Trail runs, sync front squats and burpees, rope climbs, DB snatches, and lastly a tug of war bracketed tournament. There are a ton of great pictures, and overall standings posted on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/256388065283369/

CrossFit Games

There was also another little CrossFit competition that took place in August, The CrossFit Games! FWCF had 2 athletes competing, Liz Cole finished 8th in the world in the Women 60+ division, and Ryan Sowder finished 30th in the world in the individual division. We are super proud of all their accomplishments, and you can watch some of their archived workouts on games.crossfit.com


  • Kids Day Camp: 8/25 sign up sheet on coaches desk

  • The Open 10/10 (note The Open will be in October from now on)


  • FWCF is hiring a person to run the floor scrubber after classes on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturdays. If interested in more details please contact: info@ftwrightcrossfit.com

July Programming Focus

In June, we saw a few unique focuses...1.) Re-tests from February (“Death Row” and some of our favorite Open workouts); 2.) Tempo prescriptions for our main lifts; 3.) Weekly dose of the AMRAP Mentality with an AMRAP inspired from Jason Khalipa; and 4.) Continuing our Weightlifting Wednesdays with progressing the clean and snatch. We’ve seen great progress and patience in all of our lifts -- respecting the tempo and slowly progressing the clean and snatch.

With this in mind, here’s what you can expect for July! First, we are going to continue our Weightlifting Wednesday trend. Through July we will progress toward single-rep heavy efforts in the EMOM format. This will set athletes up well for retesting their 1RMs in August. Next, we will see our benchmark retests from March...get ready for: “Cali Bear”, “Jackie”, and “Helen”. Last (but not least), we are going to experiment with layering in a squat cycle to NC60 through July and August. You can expect to squat at least 2x/week for load and/or volume as well as progress further towards heavy rep-max attempts via a 5-3-1 progression. Another added benefit to the timing of this cycle will be retesting the 3RM Front Squat and the 5RM Back Squat both in September. Get ready to ride the gain train!

Breaking down the July & August Squat cycle...

Starting July 1, we will incorporate an 8-week squat cycle in our NC60 program. We choose to experiment with a dedicated cycle for a few reasons. First, the timing of this cycle made a lot of sense for us based on the re-tests of 3RM Front Squat and NCFIT Baseline 5RM Back Squat in the coming months. Second, after weeks of exposure to tempo-based lifting, we felt the athletes were ready to tackle this kind of focused cycle. Lastly, even though we don't believe in "rigid" cycles all year-round we wanted to experiment outside of our traditional programming methodology to see how both athletes and coaches respond.

The cycle will follow a 5-3-1 format. We will also incorporate a deload week before and after our heaviest lifts. See below for the full 8-week cycle!

Week 1 - 5x5 (30X1) @ 60-70% of 1RM

Week 2 - 5x5 (20X1) @ 65-75% of 1RM

Week 3 - 5x3 (30X1) @ 65-75% of 1RM

Week 4 - 5x3 (20X1) @ 70-80% of 1RM

Week 5 - Deload / 5-5-3-3-1-1 (conservative 1-1)

Week 6 - 5x1 (20X1) @ 80-90% of 1RM

Week 7 - 5x1 (20X1) @ MAX

Week 8 Deload / 5-5-3-3-1-1 (conservative 1-1)

One last note...even if athletes only participate for a few weeks (or miss a week, etc) they will still benefit from getting a heavy bar on their back. Don't let the pressure of a "cycle" get in the way of the actual win...showing up to the gym, giving your best, having fun and getting after it

Ryan and Liz Games T-Shirts

Order yours today via the signup sheet at the gym!

Order yours today via the signup sheet at the gym!

Mindfulness Challenge

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Mindfulness Challenge

I am really fired up about this challenge! We are taking all the things that we have learned in the last few years that have made big impacts in our lives, and making them a part of the challenge. Things like sleep, journaling, screen time, rest days, exercise, and nutrition. I think I am most excited about the screen time, and journaling as those 2 things have made the biggest impact on my mental health!

The challenge will run the month of May (1st-31st) and costs $30. The top 3 individuals will receive prizes, but everyone who participates will benefit from the good habits developed during the challenge. We are also opening the challenge up to non-members of FWCF, that’s how powerful we think this challenge will be!

To Register for the challenge click here: Challenge Registration

To stay informed, and learn more click here: Challenge Newsletter

Current Events

  • Kids Day Camp: 4/28, 12P-3P, ages 8-12 years old, $25

  • Parent/Kids Class: 5/5 @12P, $5

  • Flying Pig Yoga: 5/5 @630P, $5

  • Parents Night Out: 5/11, 5P to 9P ages 6-12 years old, $30

Run Fun

Here is a great running workout to try!

3:00 Warmup Walk

5:00 EZ Pace (should be able to hold a conversation)

5:00 Yellow Zone (should still be able to talk, but only a couple words at a time)

2:00 EZ Pace

*Repeat 5:00 Yellow, 2:00 EZ for 4RDs

5:00 EZ Pace

3:00 Cooldown Pace