Chris Powell on … How He Trains

In this Web exclusive, Chris Powell, host of ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” and self-proclaimed CrossFit fanatic, weighs in on how he fits in his own training — and how he used CrossFit to compete on a bodybuilding stage.
By Jordana Brown,

How do you fit in your own training?

Fortunately, there are so many CrossFit boxes across America, I basically consider myself a shirt collector. But the thing is, I can’t wear a CrossFit shirt unless I’ve earned it. So, basically, when we’re on the road, I’ve got several different box locator apps, so I’ll either jump into a class, or if the times are funky, I’ll see when they’ve got an open gym and I’ll drop in and either do the class WOD or do my own, get the shirt and move on to the next location. That’s worked out really well. And you know what, in a lot of situations, sometimes if there’s no box around and the closest thing is just a big box gym, I’ll go in there and I’ll create whatever programming I need based on what it is I’m doing.

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For the last year, I’ve been following a lot of the Ute CrossFit progressions. It’s actually brUTE Strength programming. Tommy Hackenbruck, Mike Cazayoux, Brennan Fjord, Mike Bruce, Jacob Hutton — those guys are brilliant. I’ve been following brUTE Strength programming for myself for the last year, and I’ve seen phenomenal results.

You recently competed in — and won — a men’s physique competition. And all you did to prepare was CrossFit?

Believe it or not, yes. A lot of the time when you say “CrossFit,” people just think about straight-up metcons, but there are some awesome couplets that focus solely on hypertrophy. So when I talked to my guys over at brUTE Strength and said, “Hey, I want to translate into some bodybuilding and throw a little bit more hypertrophy style in there,” it was no problem at all. We changed the programming just a little bit so it was much more of a hypertrophy stimulus, and two months later, I’m onstage and I ended up taking the masters overall, which was great! My first show! 

It goes to show how this base in CrossFit has translated into all these other aspects and has allowed me to do pretty darn well in other areas. That’s the concept behind CrossFit. It’s not about being a fringe athlete. It’s about being pretty darn good at everything. So I had a lot of fun with that. I’m never going to be a Games athlete because those guys are on a whole different level, but I just love the whole concept of CrossFit because it helps me be the best version of myself.

For more on Chris Powell, pick up the December issue of The Box on newsstands now.

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