That’s a can of worm right there!
Do I think there are steroids in Crossfit? Yes, of course. Just like there are steroids in pretty much any high level sports (or other types of performance-enhancing drugs).
Is it as bad as bodybuilding? Not anywhere close!
Is it as bad a powerlifting? Not anywhere close!
Is everybody at the Crossfit games on something? Nope. I have personally trained athletes who competed at the Games and were clean. And many that competed at regionals and were clean. I know because they are the kind of guys/girls who freak out about taking BCAAs because they don’t want to test positive (heck, one even asked me if chewing tobacco would lead to a positive test!).
I’m not saying that everybody is clean; I would say that at the Games likely 30% of the athletes used something during the “off-season”. Which is about the same percentage as most high level sports.
And if you look at the “box level” (those who simply do Crossfit for training, not to compete) the amount of drug use is much MUCH lower than among lifters who train in “bro gyms” just to get bigger.
Ok, so this brings us to your other point: muscle size.
Can crossfit build muscle? Yes and no. It depends on how you do it. See here is the thing. When you look at the top Crossfit athletes; those you see at the Games or regionals, they don’t only do Crossfit for their training. Heck, we are talking about guys who are snatching, clean & jerking, deadlifting and squattign pretty darm big weights. You don’t get that strong by doing only WODS.
To give you an example I trained 3 Crossfit guys who snatched 300lbs/135kg or more and who clean and jerked 380lbs/170kg or more. Heck, one of them POWER cleaned 350lbs/160kg WITHOUT A WARM UP! 2 of them have deadlifted in the mid 600lbs (280kg+).
I have also trained several girls who snatched 80-92kg and clean & jerked 100-115kg.
Those who compete do A LOT of strength work (some more than others). In fact their training is not unlike that of an American football player: plenty of olympic lifting and strength work. But instead of doing traditional conditioning they do WODs (heck many of them only do WODs once a week more of the year and their conditioning is more traditional).
More and more Crossfit gyms/boxes are starting to use a model similar to what the top Crossfitters do (scaled down of course).
A daily session might look like
A. SKILL WORK (15 minutes working technique on a complete skill)
B. STRENGTH WORK (20 min heavy work on a basic strength lift or olympic lift)
C. 8-10 minutes WOD of a heavier nature
D. 12-15 minutes WOD of a lighter nature
I’ve seen plenty of Crossfit gyms even include 10-15 minutes of bodybuilding work (or sometimes replace the 2nd WOD by bodybuilding work).
Heck, my friend *and T-nation author) Jason Brown does programming for dozens of Crossfit gyms around the world. His system is basically the Westside barbell template (with some olympic lifting) and then 15 minutes of conditioning work/WOD at the end.
Can you gain muscle by doing pure Crossfit (WODs only)? Yes, if you are starting with no muscle. If you built a body through years of heavy lifting and you start doing ONLY WODs you might lose some muscle (just like I personally lose arms and chest when I switch to olympic lifting). But if you use a mix of heavy lifting, crossfit and some accessory bodybuilding work (like more high level Crossfit athletes are doing) you can gain some muscle.