Just a quick run down / brain dump of my thoughts on the two and their pros and cons
Disclaimer – This is all written tongue in cheek, please don’t take offence.
1. Olympic Lifts make you a beast. I’ve never known someone who does Olympic Lifting (a foundation of Crossfit) seriously, who isn’t a machine. All the biggest, most powerful natural people I know, all do Olympic Lifting
2. Functional strength and power. Ties into point number 1 really. Pretty much all ‘explosive’ athletes, from sprinters to rugby players use Olympic lifting as part of their strength and conditioning programme. Instead of being a stiff, slow meathead (to use a bodybuilding stereotype) you’ll be explosive, quick and agile. A great base for any sport. Bodybuilders can’t climb the stairs without blowing out of their backsides.
3. Fewer giant egos. Although it is often argued that Crossfit people are a bit obsessive, they are generally more friendly and welcoming than your average bodybuilder, and there is a sense of community without the Range Rovers and money laundering. Crossfit advocates, are also significantly less obsessed with their appearance.
4. Healthy – assuming you can avoid injury, you’ll have the great cardiovascular fitness, flexibility and strength, and will generally be in ‘great shape’.
1. Aesthetics – when you’re down the beach, who really cares who is explosive and who can clean and snatch a certain weight? Bodybuilding will make you King of the Beach and king of the tight t-shirts. Cross Fit athletes are often less impressive to look at, unless they’re actually lifting stuff and jumping around in their gym at the time. Which is great, if you want to impress girls who are vegans and don’t shave.
2. Less injuries – although you’ll almost definitely end up with knackered shoulders and elbows come old-age, you’re less likely to get injured doing bodybuilding, from my experience anyway.
3. You don’t really have to do cardio. Let’s be honest, although the giant sets, drop sets, and sticking deca & sust in your bum is difficult, it’s a lot easier than a cross fit circuit and a tonne of muscle-ups. Less cardio means more pain and less gains. In addition, you’re less likely to die of rhabdomyolysis – something that CrossFit basically invented.
If you want to look good, and impress the ladies, then bodybuilding is probably the best bet. If you want to make great friends, and be a beast with great all around fitness, then opt for CrossFit. If you do opt for crossfit ensure that you are mentored correctly on technique and opt for crossfit specific supports such as crossfit knee sleeves to minimise the risk of injury.