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Episode 12: Craig Capurso - The Abdominal Snowman! Fitness model and IFBB Men's Physique Pro Craig Capurso braves the elements to talk with Nick and Krissy about his new passion for performance-focused training, his breaking point with physique competition, and why he sometimes feels like "the fitness dad."
Ep.isode 12 Highlights & Transcript ▼
- Lifted: Bodybuilding.com's transformation reality series… with Craig!
- Craig's painful (and recent) farewell to semi-pro football
- Football player's physique vs physique competitor's physique
- Craig's new performance-focused goals
- Cutting down to 205: his breaking point
- "Without a goal, I’m pretty average. But if I have a goal, it's hard to beat me."
- What it means to be "the fitness dad" at the expo
- 17 sets of 5 on deadlifts? Yup.
- How Craig found CrossFit
- How Craig wants to change CrossFit
- Rest and recovery in bodybuilding vs CrossFit
- Craig's favorite recovery tools: EMS, cryo
- Why 35 is a turning point in Craig's life
Nick Collias: Hey anyone, or everyone ... Let’s, I guess, we'll jump in.
Dr. Krissy Kendall: Anyone, LOL …
Nick: Hi everyone, anyone, we're snowed in. We're snowed in, we need help, send in the dogs. We’re snowed in Boise. This is The Bodybuilding.com Podcast. I'm Nick Collias here, with Krissy Kendall and the one and only ‘abdominal snowman,’ Craig Capurso.
Krissy: That's a good one.
Craig Capurso: That was pretty good.
Krissy: You prayed for this snowstorm, didn't you? Just so you could do the ...
Craig: Abdominal Snowman. That’s solid.
Nick: I've got my cowboy snowflakes shirt on, it's kind of a face-for-radio kind of shirt.
Craig: I'm going to use that later on. Thank you for that one line.
Krissy: It's so good.
Nick: I don't know if that domain is taken or not, but I demand a cut, at least. But this snowstorm did remind of a meme that I made, I wanted to share.
Nick: Have you ever made a meme before? You go into meme generators and ...
Krissy: I've seen them. I've never ... I've had plenty of meme made of me.
Nick: Of you?
Krissy: Yes. Working with the video team, it’s like, do you do anything else?
Nick: I've made three in my life, just for, you know, office circulation. But the one I most proud of, it was CT Fletcher, and I put a little Santa hat on him, and it says, anyone? "I command you to SNOW!" And I was searching all over my goddamn computer for it this morning, because I wanted to share it with the staff, in the spirit of the season. You know?
Nick: Couldn't find it. It's lost, but if anybody else out there uses it, I'm coming for you, like CT.
Craig: Rights were here first.
Nick: It was cute, and then I lost it. Anyway, Craig is here with us. He's a man of many talents, snow removal one of them?
Craig: It's going to be soon, I'm actually in the process of owning a house, so ...
Nick: Oh good.
Craig: I'm going to have to get that on my list.
Nick: We know shirt removal is one of your skills. He's an old school friend of Bodybuilding.com. Physique pro, Cellucor athlete, former oil trader? You don't do that anymore, right?
Craig: Former, former.
Nick: Okay. And also, I learned recently, a former semi-pro football player.
Craig: Yeah. Well, former oil trader is not right, 'cause I actually own oil right now, but I'm just not doing it as a living.
Nick: Not just the one in your car.
Craig: No. I do own a little oil. I think it's on the rise, but that's just a tip I'm going to give you now.
Nick: Oh, okay. Aside from the many things he's done with us over the years at Bodybuilding.com including 30 Days Out. It's a great training plan. And, was it you were also in ...
Craig: Built By Science.
Nick: Built By Science. You are also one of the stars of a new, I guess you could call it, an original series that we're doing called Lifted, where we follow five, I believe it's five, different people around for a solid six weeks? Eight weeks? Six months?
Krissy: They vary, the time. But yeah, each in their own transformation.
Nick: Yeah, some of them, normal people. Some of them are Craig and Steve Weatherford, who are guys who have been in this industry for a long time.
Craig: Cool, it's fun to learn who was in it, because it was all secretive for me.
Krissy: I was going to ask. Did you know ...
Craig: Yeah, I don't know anyone. Actually, I was at an expo ...
Krissy: The LA Fit Expo.
Craig: LA Fit and I saw ...
Craig: Danielle and she was going to be in it. I don't know if she was in it or not?
Krissy: She is, yeah.
Craig: I was like "What are you doing?" She's like "Well, what do you mean 'what are you doing?'" So we were secretively like, "Are you?" So it's pretty neat.
Nick: Anybody could have a camera and just be following themselves around but you guys, that's good you made the connection. But, it was interesting watching you because you were doing two or three pretty different things at the same time. You were finishing your career as semi-pro football player, would you say? Did that continue after that?
Craig: I kind of finished a while ago. As soon as I became a Wall Street oil trader for a while, it just became such a daunting thing to go out every weekend, try to practice with the team, and then when games come, to play. So, I was kind of like an optional player for them. It was a passion of mine and when it became more work than passion, I decided to cut it off. But my coach would call me up from time to time and ask me to jump in some of these games. I stayed in shape, he obviously watched what I was doing, and not to say lifting for fitness shows or anything is getting ready for football, but I was able to keep up. The show that I ... Some of the video that you're going to see in the clips, were semi-pro game. Probably, all of our lasts. I don't think I'll play another. I don't think, think is a lot of ...
Nick: It seemed like you got a good farewell from the game. You were ...
Krissy: Your body got ...
Nick: You see him in bed the next day, unable to move. Bruises all over his fucking face. Not only your arms, your face. You look horrible.
Craig: I went out with a bang.
Nick: How much pain was that exactly?
Craig: Oh, on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a 10, for sure. Sharp 10s, it wasn't lasting.
Nick: Sharp 10s.
Craig: They were sharp 10s. Ripping Band-Aids off and different things. They were sharp 10s.
Krissy: Watching you take the long sleeve shirt off, it was like "don't watch, can't stop." I just couldn't turn away from ...
Nick: Yeah, to set the scene here, you put a shirt on to cover your open oozing wounds on your arms and they heal up through the shirt basically.
Craig: Meshed to it.
Nick: So in order to take the shirt off, you have to take some scab off with it.
Craig: The pain is real my friends.
Nick: But, at the same time you were preparing for a physique show at the same time.
Craig: Yeah, that was silly.
Nick: Yeah, I don't know. Was it silly? Because you think of football players, you think "oh god, he's doing the 225 bench press test. He's doing a bunch of power cleans." It's not what you think of when somebody's getting ready to a physique show.
Craig: No, but I've always adopted that mentality. When I came to fitness, I was a football player true and true. I mean, that's where I came, I was a performance athlete and I tried to fit into a physique mold. I was in early enough and so I had a good enough shape to, let's just say, be fortunate enough to be early. If I came to the sport later on, would I be the ideal candidate? I don't know. I have much more of a blocky football player physique, quite frankly like a Roman. One of these guys that have the blocky abs and everything else.
Nick: Not the hair anymore.
Craig: Not the hair again. Back now, everything's with the tapered waist lines, these guys with, no offense, woman waists. Under 30 inches and wearing these huge shoulders. I don't know how that even works. That's what's trendy now, and so at this point, I'm transitioning. So you saw me do my last show, but I don't know how much you guys learn or ... I sent some video in, that probably we'll follow-up at the end of the series, so you're going to have to watch the end to see what I'm up to today. I don't want to give it away, but we transition. I'm out, I completely called it quits and said "I'm done with subjectivity, I'm going to go more towards performance." And I'll get back to my roots.
Nick: Oh, okay. So when you say you're out, you're talking about no more physique ...
Craig: No more competitions.
Nick: No more physique-based competitions?
Craig: No more subjectivity of my performance, excuse me, of my outcome. I'm not going to get on stage and have a judge tell me I'm in today or I'm not on today based on some subject scale. Done.
Krissy: So it was more based on that? Or was it to the training and the diet, that you didn't like?
Craig: You saw some of that, I'm sure in the video where I trained for, I definitely was in the best shape of my life, but it was the most taxing I've ever put my body through, specifically hitting a mold. I wasn't doing physique any more, I was doing a category called Classic. Classic Physique. And that Classic Physique division, it's pro, I was a pro so I was put across into it. But, it has a category height, with a weight restriction. So, me at 5" 10". I had to be at 205. I wasn't 205 since I turned pro, and that was four years ago. I always compete in the 210 threshold. Just taking off that another 5 lbs, specifically when you're already 3-4% body fat was a nightmare. A lot of water manipulation, a lot of days of not eating. I did crazy things, just to get the weight off. In doing so, I sacrificed a lot of my business as well. There was a straight month where I was just a competitor, and all business ceased. And I said "this is not where I need to be." There's no pay off at the end of this. No matter what happens, it's not going to be well enough to ... I'm a businessman, that's what I've got to do. I have people that are depending on me. I've got to deliver for them. I said "as much as I can commit to a sport, it's very selfish. I've got to make sure that I'm doing things that are going to live life." That's my mantra, LIV LFE. Live life, full circle, and I'm like "you know, if I'm not owning up to my own brand, how am I going to preach that to others?"
Nick: Well yeah, and that is an interesting component to physique-based competition I'd say. There's no golden standard out there. You're constantly having to fit into kind of an open-ended, as you said, subjective standard. But, people torment themselves, to meet that standard, even when maybe, it's not their preparation that's actually at fault. It's just the shape of their body.
Craig: It could be that. It could be their looks. It could be their skin tone. It could be a judge. Let's just face it, there's a lot of things. There's politics, there's people that should win, need to win, have to win, could win, shouldn't win, and they win. So, let's just face it, all of that goes into that sport and I mean anything. It's a pageant, just like anything else. Beauty pageants, same game. Will I be submitting my daughter to this in the future? I don't think so, honey, you're not going to be in those.
Nick: Yeah, we had a guest on a few weeks ago, named Lais DeLeon, who's this really well-known fitness model. She has a million followers on Instagram, and just kind of has the same thought, that "You know what? I just don't want to compete." And, you can do that now, too, but you still seem like you're a competitive guy. You want to compete.
Craig: I like having a goal. You know what I mean? For me, personally, if I don't have a goal, and I say this to a lot of people that follow me. If you don't have a goal, you're just floating, you're swimming, you're just treading water a little bit. And for me, without a goal, I'm pretty average. I'm a pretty average person without a goal. But if I have a goal, it's hard to beat me. You know what I mean? It's hard to ... You know it's me versus me every day, because I'm challenging myself to get to that point. Do I want to be average, or do I want to be someone who's aggressively going after something? And that's business, that's life, that's in anything, fitness for sure.
Krissy: I think it's a breath of fresh air to know that you can have goals that are not to step on stage. And you see more of that, because I think when we see this sort of thing. If you are going to have any sort of transformation, a physical transformation, everyone thinks "oh, that's so that I can step on stage." And I get that question all the time. I'm like "no, I have no desire to step on stage." And I think that's okay, but do I have a desire to have a healthy physique, to be in the best shape of my life, to be able to perform well in whatever aspect of my life? Absolutely, but I don't want to step on stage.
Craig: Yeah, thank you for saying that because a lot of people come up to me all the time in these expos when I talk to them and I always ... I'm like the fitness Dad. As much as I'm the businessman, I'm the fitness Dad. I was this before I had a daughter. Just, because I always look up to these kids and I'm like "you're following the wrong people. You have the wrong role models in mind." You know what I mean? Like, "they're giving you crappy advice, a lot of times" and most often, I'm like "what is your why?" "Oh, I want to be like you." "What does that even entail? What am I? What have I done? What do you not see behind the scenes that have got me to where I'm at? Were you an oil trader? Did you have this background? Did you have a business? Did you move across country to California? Did you spend all your savings? No, you haven't. What do you want to do?" "Oh, I want to go to be at a gym to train people to do this." And, I'm not taking that away from anything, if that's your passion. But, I think your passion is being misled by the goal of stardom. Let me just tell you, being on top doesn't pay your bills. You've got to find ways, when you're on top, and all these means, to find a financial route to freedom, if you will. So that's something a lot of people think is so misled. "Oh, I'm going to become this person and I'm going to get paid all this money." It doesn't work that way. And specifically, now with more of you asking to do that, you're giving your time and energy away for free, and so you're screwing it for everyone else too.
Nick: I feel like I hear some relief in your voice, now that you're moving forward as a different chapter. Were you relieved when you decided "You know what? I think I'm done with this style of competition."
Craig: I think I say that on my video. I actually think I came home and I go "it feels good not to have that out there." It's good, it's putting a chapter behind me. I'm a person who likes to take risks. I've lived in Connecticut, I moved to Florida for an opportunity, then I moved home, moved to New York City. From New York City, went to California. California, now Tennessee, so I'm a person who likes to jump and take opportunities. But, once the door closes, I just say "that's room for something else in my life to be opened up." And, I feel like that completely right now. That chapter closed, I got a whole bright future ahead of me.
Nick: Yeah, so when did the light bulb go off after that do you think? "You know what? I love training, I love punishing myself. I love pushing those limits" …
Craig: I saw it in the training. Even a couple weeks before ... I don't know how much you guys saw the videos or what was edited and what you did see. But, even with the realization prior to me stepping on stage, was the realization that "Hey, this isn't it." And it wasn't even after the dust settles. I didn't care if I won. It was it. If I won, would I have stepped on stage at the Olympia? Sure. But that's it. If I took second, I wouldn't have. I wouldn't have even tried. It was the realization prior to going in it, where I just was doing it and I'm staying up all night. I think I went to bed for two hours, and had to wake-up and do cardio, because I'm like "I'm just not there yet." My mind was just a mess. And I go "This isn't it, man." And, I'm sitting here with a microphone talking to these people about this balance and this stuff. I'm like "I'm not drinking my own Kool-Aid." And I was like "That's it." I was like "I got to go back on what I feel is my mantra, and own it."
Nick: And so, I watched a video of you on Instagram the other day, on what you're doing now. This has got to be my favorite set and rep scheme, I've seen all year. 17 sets of five with 335 lbs in a deadlift. 17 and a half sets I think it was. So how do you get from that, to that, because I love that, it's fantastic.
Craig: Oh, the volume day, huh?
Craig: The poundage. My company is Metron. Metron, we're a fitness platform based out of Silicon Valley and we're trying to basically quantify fitness. And I said "Okay, how do I go from just getting a pump, to look a certain way, to quantifying my fitness. I need to track it, I need to input it and I need to analyze it." And so I said "Okay, let me start with this volume scheme. Let me actually put a number that I'm going to lift and then I'm going to analyze, what's going on. Is my strength going up, or all these other things." It's more of a component of just analyzing my actual own data. So, I can say "I can do a lift," but I'm saying "Okay, if I lift" ... What did I lift that day, how much poundage, do you know?
Nick: 30,000 lbs. I believe was what it was.
Craig: Okay, so it was a number I truly randomly made up. I just said "I'm going to lift 30,000 lbs off the ground today and I'm going to pull, you know, another" ... I kind of made up some math. And I said "Let me see what this looks like." It was ridiculous, but it's going to have a test eventually if I do it enough with repetitions, to see can I increase that? And then I can time it. How much volume can I press in a specific amount of time? It's more about analyzing who you are and what you're doing, instead of just going through ... Because now it's not really about how I look, but how I perform. This new, era of my Craig Capurso and what I'm training for is performance-based. And so, I've got to track my numbers.
Nick: So it's not football performance-based, what's your next performance game?
Krissy: I was just going to ask, what are you ... So you are going to track your volume?
Krissy: That's one thing you can measure, but what is your next goal? Then, that you're going to see, or obviously you want to see your volume change, or go up, or improve, but what other things are you looking to change or ...
Craig: Mobility, flexibility. I'll let you guys read between the lines, but I'm going to CrossFit, actually. Just the much volume I've done in my life, and the capacity or the threshold that I have, I think for the lactate threshold and the ability to push past that specific burn. It's silly, but I have an ability. Some people just have an ability to do specific things. I can kind of put that behind me and push. So I was like "I can do well at this sport." But, the problem is, I had to lose some of my size and mobility up top of my shoulders, to get into front rack. I finally just got it. It took me almost 4-6 months, just to get myself into a front rack position. Because I would do cleans and hold it out front. And I'm like "Yeah, that's fine," I can muscle it. But there's going to become a point where the weight's going to be way too much. So if I ever want to be competitive, I've got to get it right. I'm really just being a stickler on form right now, working with mobility. I just joined CrossFit a little while ago, and come January 1, I will no longer train in a normal gym. I'm going to commit, to at least three months, straight of just, every single day, or the six days a week I was putting in a gym, I'm going to put that same time and effort into doing the training, and to the mobility and the whole nine, and see how far I could progress. My goal is, next year, this time, preparing for the Open.
Nick: Ooh, okay. So, how did the appeal of CrossFit grow in your mind?
Craig: I've always respected them. There's people in our industry that it's like ... I swear it's like the Jets and the Sharks, right? Like back in the day? It's like they hate each other. It shouldn't be. I feel like I want to be the bridge. There's a couple people like me. Your own Candace [Hudspeth], she's into it, and Cassie [Smith], too. These people are good ambassadors of fitness, I think, in general. I don't think they really have any hate for the other side, but when I announced on my social media channels, that I was not going to compete anymore, and do CrossFit. I lost 5-10% of my following. It was ridiculous. But, it's cool. If you're only going to see something that way, I didn't want you to follow me in the first place. I'll be happy to have a smaller following of people that are really committed to what I'm doing and passionate about what I've been giving them in the past, but that's where I'm going. I'm not going to not continue to put out programming, that's for people of different goals. I do have my programs, 30 Days Out. I just launched a bunch of stuff on Metron, so I'll continue to put out programs, because that's what I do well. I'm very good at programming fitness routines, specific to a goal. But, for me personally, I'm just going to be training in this other capacity. And I do want to get to a point to actually program CrossFit, because I think it does need some science-backed research to it, and my company does that.
Krissy: Have you at all worked with a coach to get you to transition …
Craig: Just the normal coaches that are there. I will be hiring, specifically, a weightlifting coach, just getting me to the parts where I need to be, and then a mobility specialist, a movement specialist. As I transition to each point, I'm going to specialize on what I need and then go from there. I'm definitely going to take it the right approach.
Nick: So, when people get into CrossFit ... Just thinking of mobility in general, people think of their capabilities as somewhat fixed sometimes. You think "Oh, I've got a bad hip. I've got a bad shoulder. My non-dominant arm/shoulder is just a waste." You know? Was that hard to wrap your mind around the idea that these limits can actually be changed?
Craig: No, no, you right, people do that. I'm not normal people, so I kinda … before I stepped in, I was just like "I know where I'm not." You know what I mean? Or "where I need to be." As much as it's hard because everything comes easy to me as far as fitness, this is coming very hard. It's a reality check, it's a gut check. But, if you're committed to what your goal is. I was like "let me put myself in those that I preach to's shoes. I'm no longer professional. I'm a freshman, in this game right now. I'm beyond a freshman." I was like "let me humble myself. Let me see it, as they see it. Let me listen, let me talk less and just see more. Watch videos, educate, research, read books. See what mobility's about." I'm square one. I'm not going to say "Oh, I'm competing with Rich Froning or anyone." I'm saying "Let me see if I can at least attempt a competition at some point and then go from there." I think my background and experience and training style over the course of the years has prepped me right. Now I've just got to be able to move correctly.
Nick: And eat. Has your way of eating changed at all?
Craig: Not yet. I'm still playing with these photo shoots.
Krissy: It's baby steps.
Craig: I'm still playing with these photo shoots, so I still have to make sure that I look as well as I do. I'm actually much smaller in form right now. Usually I'm bigger, for these shoots. I just know the bigger I'm at, there's more weight I'm going to have to lift on a bar, or something else. I'm think that probably the smaller version of me is going to be a better fit for this category.
Krissy: Would you say that you've seen a lot of changing in the structure of your training? Or has it been one or two things that you might have switched out? So, let's say your typical training session might be an hour and a half, and where before, you did 10 minutes of a general warm-up and stretching, now you're spending 30 minutes on mobility …
Craig: Let me correct you really quick. I did no warm-up.
Krissy: Okay. Right, so perfect. Has it been a complete 180, and was that from the start, like "I'm going to start doing CrossFit workouts today." Or, did you do little chunks at a time so that it wasn't quite a shock to your body …
Nick: You said even, you're starting on January 1st, so still …
Craig: I've actually done it. I've it for the last six months. So I've actually been practicing. I went for a few months, I somewhat got injured. I don't know if it's a progressive injury, or a chronic injury from over the years, rather. I definitely still have some pain in my teres minor infraspinatus right, in this lat area insertion.
Nick: Pretty common.
Craig: I think I did it, maybe Kipping or doing something like that, just stretching it out. It's got to fix itself before I can start doing some of the major lifts. I was trying to work around that, so I was never fully committed. I was also thinking about the exercises and see how I could perform them specifically isolated, instead of in these combination of groups, that they're doing. I didn't want to be in a class and do half of a workout. I was like the rogue guy in the corner doing my own things in the CrossFit gym. But it wasn't helping me, let me just say, that wasn't the right way to go. However, if I was going to do it, I am going to try and do, like a “Crossitional.” When I program, I'm going to do something like weightlifting meets CrossFit or something, some transitional period and how you can prep yourself. It certainly comes down to mobility and stretching, prior and potentially another session of stretching. Because, ultimately that's really what's hard for someone like me. Someone with size and someone like that. I had to somewhat, atrophy some of my areas, my shoulders specifically, to get myself there. People are like "it's your lats, it's your triceps." It's everything. Let me just tell you. It's all of the above. If you're not working on them, it's going to be much slower for you.
Nick: Sure, and for many people, this doesn't have to be the rule, but size does come at the expense of posture, for a lot of people. When you're doing barbell snatches, there's no room for error. You've got to be able to access all sorts of areas in your upper back.
Craig: Absolutely. Someone showed me a cool test. If you take two pencils and you put them down by your side. If they point in, your posture's not good. But if they point straight ahead, you actually have the proper posture. Try it. If you're at home, take two pencils.
Nick: Do you have any pencils in your house? It has to be pencils.
Craig: Or pens. Any straight appliance or whatever you have, and just see where they go. So you might have an internal rotation, or proper externally rotated, by your sides, straight forward. I was working to get that, and I was like "man, these are small little things that I never notice." If you look around the physique world, you see all these guys with internally rotated shoulders, or who lunge forward like a gorilla. I'm over that. I don't want to look like that. If I have pictures out there, tag me so I can take them down. I just have a different approach to where I want to go with it, and how I want to be seen going forward.
Craig: I think I've missed a lot of opportunity over the course of the years to correct and help people properly, by going for brute size, strength and power. I think there's a proper way to go about teaching someone the right ways to do that. And, don't get me wrong, when the time comes, you do have to lift some crazy weight and just rip and pull, kind of thing. But there's a proper way to get into that, too.
Nick: One other ritual, that maybe people are attached with. Yeah, they respect the CrossFit approach, but they're attached to their split as well. Their idea of "this is the way you build a body is, you break up your body." But, a CrossFit approach is much more full body every single day. Is that hard for you to get used to at first?
Craig: Yeah, I'm still challenged with the idea, that when ... The gym I follow, follows one of the main coaches in the industry. I still don't see the rhyme or reason behind it. I know from some of the top people, there is no rhyme or reason. It's almost like a spin wheel, and it's a spin wheel of exercises, and they think over the course of time the averages will even out, but I'm telling you it's not. There should be much more protocol-based science into CrossFit. I'm working currently with another couple coaches, who have this idea, and so, we're working on it. That way, you don't hit your shoulders ... I'm not actually thinking about, I don't want to give too much stuff away, but heat mapping, of body parts being touched and what areas should be worked on and different things like that. Some cool stuff that …
Nick: That's cool and it also shows CrossFit maturing as a sport and as a practice, as well. If you think about, there are enough people in it now, it has enough serious adherence, people should be taking it that seriously, like you would for professional football, or something like that.
Krissy: It took off with ... The athletes that are doing so well and started off, when it gained all its popularity, they're just phenomenal athletes, who were collegiate athletes, semi-professional athletes, who are just genetically gifted. So, you tell them to do anything, and their bodies could handle it. But now we're taking people who are doing it recreationally, which I think is great, or who are doing it as a hobby, and whatever we can do to get people to do fitness and to be active is great. But, let's also keep in mind, not everyone is genetically gifted to do that sort of thing every single day, without maybe, the proper rest and recovery that their body, or their muscles and their joints need. So yeah, if we can potentially program a little bit differently, and look more into the science behind it, all the better for it.
Craig: I agree. I definitely think you'll see good coaches and bad coaches, and I think you have that in every industry. However, CrossFit is highlighted just because the speed and power that they put specific movements in, people may not have experienced that ever in their life, or in a long time. Bodybuilding, for an instance is, you're going through your limitations and it's very properly and it's very slow movements.
Craig: When you're dealing with torque and bar path and things of that nature, it's a lot easier to get hurt, so that's why it comes with a bad name. But, that's proper coaching. That's someone saying "Okay, you have limitations here, go to your limitations." And that's how coaching should be anyway. It's on both fences, so I don't want to single out CrossFit, but you're absolutely right. I do think it's taking mainstreamers and putting them in an athletic background in a competition and then, you turn the team aspect of it, and now you're competing against other people, and not just yourself. So you might be pushing past your own limitations, which is a good part of the sport. It's a good part that gets camaraderie and that's why you have this cult feeling behind it, but it's also a dangerous part, too.
Krissy: But it's like anything. If I did a Mud Run, right? That could be just as dangerous, but no one ever gets made at people who put those on, or any other type of event. Without proper training, without proper coaching or guidance, you get injured doing anything.
Nick: Bodybuilding and CrossFit though, maybe more than a Mud Run, have this association of not giving someone enough recovery time.
Krissy: Oh, yeah.
Nick: Those can be two difficult modalities to program, because they have intensity, just as part of the package. Like "Oh, you want to be a bodybuilder? There's a lot of intensity." "You want CrossFit? Okay, it's intense." Not only intensity, in terms of the amount of weight that you're lifting, but also the more subjective kind of intensity, where you might puke. Both of those, they can put you at the limits of your recovery. How have you found them to be different in that regard?
Craig: If you're following a program, a bodybuilding program, and you follow it to the letter. Maybe, something like a 30 Days Out, where I give you 30 seconds rest and things of that nature. If: A. You follow it like I tell you to, then you're going to be taxed. Right? You can find your threshold, and you can be completely spent. However, most people don't do that and most normal people don't do that. Maybe some people go at their pace. They take a 45 second, when it should be 30 seconds or 60 seconds and you're traveling by your own means. Meaning, you're the one judging your outcome, unless you have a coach yelling and screaming at you like a Barry's Bootcamp or something like that. Go CrossFit, and now you have other people, determined to be behind you, or maybe they're waiting on your machine that you're supposed to be working on. Again, you have the mentality, that it's not just about you, so you're pushing and you want to actually ... It's a good effect. It's that "We're all hurting together," kind of effect. I think you give yourself more in that sport. I think you give more of yourself to the energy. Your time efficiency becomes more effective in CrossFit, versus bodybuilding.
Nick: That's interesting.
Craig: I would give them a one up in that.
Nick: But also, you kind of touched on there, that bodybuilding's kind of a solitary pursuit. Even if you have a training partner, that you train every damn time with, it's you and the weight and the reps and …
Craig: And you're eating.
Nick: And the food. Exactly. Professional eater.
Craig: What are you doing behind closed doors?
Nick: Right. One of our guests said "I'm not really a professional exerciser, I'm a professional eater."
Krissy: Or dieter, yeah. How well you do that.
Craig: I think something to be said, too, as far putting a difference on the sport, is who sacrifices more? And in what capacity do you sacrifice? Right? If you're in bodybuilding, you're sacrificing how much cardio and how much time away and how much specific energy to burn calories, specifically is. As well as, how much food do you sacrifice going in your body for this thing? In CrossFit, it's how do you sell out? You know what I mean? It's how much can you put on the line? Eating does have a part to play in it. When it comes down to the science …
Nick: Especially if you're going to be competitive.
Craig: The top, right? That's when, I would say eating really, really, and supplementation really play a strong role. I guess that's in any sport, right? Bodybuilding as well. I think, one is about, where do you sacrifice? One is about, where do you sell out? And when I say "sell out," I mean in a good way. It's completely in the gym, because you can sell out in bodybuilding, but if you're eating poorly, it does not translate at all.
Nick: You heard it first here, Craig Capurso sold out to big kettlebell.
Nick: If only.
Krissy: Well, just going back a little bit on the recovery. I'm interested, because watching some of your videos, I know that you were doing cryotherapy. Are you still doing it, or have you picked up new recovery modalities with CrossFit? Are you doing anything different to try to recover from that?
Krissy: Because your training's changed. So, how has your recovery changed?
Craig: I went back to my roots, when I was in college and playing sports. We went to the EMS, right? Electromagnetic stimulations. So, I picked up a PowerDot unit. I'm using that as some of my …
Nick: You have one of those right?
Krissy: I do have one of them. Yeah.
Craig: Some of that kind of simulation, to help post recovery, almost prepping as well. Just putting that more in there, stuff that I can't hit. I need it for this injury, my wife has to do it, and I'm sometimes stuck trying to get these things off where I can't reach, half the time. I haven't done the cryo yet, in Tennessee. Probably something I should be looking into. Much more of a ... I don't want to take anything away from it, but it's much more of a rejuvenation tool, I would say, more than an actual rehabilitation tool, in cryo’s case. You actually get an endorphin high.
Nick: I noticed that. I did it here on our wellness day. They had a trailer out front.
Krissy: I didn't know that.
Nick: Yeah, they had a rate, and yeah, I think it was $30, for three minutes.
Craig: I would actually do that prior to training, then after training. It's almost like taking the snorts, right? Taking those sniffing, the powders. It kind of gives you that … it's kind of like the drowning. What happens when you're drowning, your body goes and releases all these endorphins, because it's fight or flight, right? And so that's the same kind of thing that happens. Your body's just dipped into this cold air and you're just like "Woah." But you come out of there and you feel great.
Nick: Yeah, it was interesting. At first, I just felt cold. Sometimes I like to go when it's shitty outside, like this. I'll go for a run in the snow. I just like that and it's that hot on the inside, cold on the outside. I don't know why, it's a cool feeling. That's all I felt. And then about 20 minutes later, I was standing by my desk, and I just went like "All right, I'm out there."
Nick: It reminded me of a really deep meditation, or something like that. Like "Okay, something just got reset in my brain a little bit."
Craig: I like thinking it's a good way to, I think put it, rejuvenation, more than rehabilitation. Because it doesn't get too deep, you know?
Craig: It's surface.
Nick: Yeah, and I didn't feel like it really ... I was kind of sore from a workout at that point. I didn't feel like it did a whole lot for that. Like I think it was saying "Oh, it does wonders for muscle soreness." I didn't find it did anything, but you know.
Craig: I think an ice bath would be better off.
Krissy: I was going to say. Most of the research, says … Ice baths that are so painful, but better for you or for soreness. Those are not fun. I hated those.
Nick: Well, cool, yeah it's interesting hearing your change of course here. You sound like you're really diving into it.
Nick: And taking it every bit as seriously as you were taking the other one.
Craig: I've got to. If you're going to commit yourself to something that's going to take so much time away from family, business and friends, it's a commitment. Don't half ass it. You want to spend an hour in the gym? Spend it right. It's an hour that you just wasted of your life. It's cool, I listen to some of these positivity channels, or these entrepreneurs, and they break down life expectancy into like ... I'm not going to quote you correctly here, but, let's just say it's like 85 years or something. 82, or 92, whatever. Whatever it happens to be. I'm 35, I only have so many minutes and hours left in my life. Do I want to waste them doing a mindless activity that's not going to see me a result, or give me a passion or bonus?
Nick: Right, and you have a finite amount of intensity that you can devote in your life. I'm 35-ish, as well. And you think, like "Okay, I might have to slow down at some point," but if you don't have to yet ...
Craig: Yeah, why not.
Nick: Why would you not.
Craig: If you don't use it, you lose it. That's it. It's a common thing. People, who will roast us later in life, you'll find the majority of those people were not really active in their younger years. But if you're pulling on those bones, stressing them out, those muscles build up. That bone gets stronger, so you're going to grow into old age with better bones.
Nick: Better bones, people. Go check out ‘Lifted’ at Bodybuilding.com. Let's say, I don't know that this is the address, but let's say it's Bodybuilding.com/Lifted. And if it's not …
Krissy: That sounds good.
Nick: Hunt around, you'll find it.
Krissy: Google it.
Nick: And if not, it's not my problem. And our podcast is at Bodybuilding.com/Podcast and also on whatever, iTunes, SoundCloud, YouTube, Overcast. All those different …
Krissy: All of them. You can find us.
Nick: Where can we find you out there?
Craig: I'm always @CraigCapurso. It's pretty simple, I don't know why people go with these crazy names. I am Craig Capurso.
Nick: "I am Craig Capurso."
Craig: And I'm that on every channel you can find me at, so I won't hide behind anything. It is me when I talk to you. I don't have any people that pull the strings behind closed doors. Not yet anyway.
Nick: Are you saying that we do?
Krissy: I mean we are kind of a big deal here.
Nick: Oh huge, yeah.
Craig: Well it is me.
Nick: Subscribe to get notified when we have new episodes, I guess.
Krissy: Do it.
Nick: Yeah, just subscribe to things.
Krissy: Yeah, all things, and our YouTube channel.
Nick Collias: And hopefully, we'll still be alive at the end of this snow storm. If not, then I guess this was a great time while it lasted people. Goodbye.
Craig Capurso: Later.
Krissy Kendall, Ph.D.: So sad. [Laughs.]
It's raw, unscripted, and real. Watch the struggles and triumphs of real people as they aim to elevate their fitness and get lifted.
Downloadable PDF Transcript
Full Episode List
Fitness model and IFBB Men's Physique Pro Craig Capurso braves the elements to talk with Nick and Krissy about his new passion for performance-focused training, his breaking point with physique competition, and why he sometimes feels like "the fitness dad."
Special guest Abbie Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., expert in women's fitness and body fat measurements, answers our wide-ranging questions about training, cellulite, and health for women. Wondering how accurate that number on the calipers is? How low you should strive to go? Whether you should do cardio fasted? Listen up before you cut down!
Two-time WBFF world champion Shaun Stafford stops by to talk about buffets, injuries, and coming back from the shoulder cyst he thought at first was just gains.
The world's strongest coach, Mark Bell, discusses powerlifting, CrossFit, and his vague recollections of his first meet. If you know these guys from their YouTube channel or podcast, Mark Bell's PowerCast, you know that nothing is off limits!
Krissy Kendall, PhD, reacts to recent headlines raising concerns about teen usage of the popular supplement creatine. If you've been wondering if creatine is safe for you or your student athlete, here's what you need to know!
NYC-based coach and Performix athlete Andy Speer talks about his unique approach to training and coaching, and why he likes to compete in sports ranging from Olympic lifting to martial arts into his 30s.
Can you be a fitness model without leading an obsessive, calorie-fixated life? Lais DeLeon says you can, and over a million people watch her make it happen daily on Instagram and other social platforms. Here's how she does it.
Want to know how to tackle the holidays? How about the best way to use blood flow restriction training or nutrient timing? Get the straight dope from muscle-building scientist Dr. Layne Norton!
Researcher Dr. Dominic D'Agostino explains the significance and best approaches to the ketogenic diet, troubleshooting common problems, and looking at the next frontier of ketogenic and fasting-related research.
Fresh off the release of his new training program Iron Intelligence, we spend an hour with one of the world's top bodybuilders. How did he get there? How healthy is he? Why does he eat so much freaking kale? Listen to find out.
Deep talk and serious goofing off with one of the fittest couples in the industry. Chassidy and Antonio Smothers talk with hosts Nick Collias and Dr. Krissy Kendall about lifting, love, beer, bacon, and Instagram.
Hosts Nick Collias and Dr. Krissy Kendall chat with special guest Bill Geiger about his robust history of training (and injuries) from the ‘80s onward. Learn from this fitness industry veteran’s triumphs and tragedies so you can stay in the game as long as he has!
About Your Hosts
Nick Collias is the Deputy Editor at Bodybuilding.com. He spends his work days typing in primitive sandals at a desk surrounded by full-fat, no-measure supertreats. Lunch time is for blood-occluded core training and Danish presses. Dinner is a terrifying spectacle to behold, so let's leave it at that. His shaker bottle has a kettlebell inside, so swing it at your own risk.
Nick is a certified Russian Kettlebell (RKC) instructor, but can also be found wandering the high desert trails of Idaho at odd hours in odder attire.
Krissy Kendall, Ph.D., joins the Bodybuilding.com team after 2½ years as an assistant professor in the School of Health and Kinesiology at Georgia Southern University. Prior to her current position as Bodybuilding.com's Science Editor, Dr. Kendall served as the director of the Human Performance Laboratory at GSU, where her research interests focused on the effects of training and nutritional interventions on body composition and performance. Dr. Kendall has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and abstracts on sports nutrition, supplementation, and training adaptations.
Dr. Kendall received her master's and Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma, studying exercise physiology. She holds certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS*D), International Society of Sports Nutrition (CISSN), and American College of Sports Medicine (HFS).