Tia-Claire Toomey, Rich Froning, Katrin Davidsdottir, Mat Fraser. If those names sound familiar to you then you probably already have a good idea of what The Crossfit Games are. If you aren’t familiar with the names, but have heard of “The Games”, then strap on your lifting belt and pop open a FitAid, I am about to learn you some knowledge.
When posed the question, “What Is Crossfit?”, this will be a popular answer that once again, even though it is different, it is not necessarily wrong. Crossfit is a professional sport that intends to build the fittest individuals on Earth and find out who they are.
In its inception in 2007 The Crossfit Games were nothing more than a barbecue gathering among fitness enthusiasts who were curious who the fittest among them was. So Dave Castro (Director of The Crossfit Games) and Greg Glassman (Founder and ex-CEO of Crossfit, Inc.) put together a two day competition with four workouts integrated to crown the fittest man and woman. The following year around the same time and in the same place (Dave Castro’s family’s ranch in California) another weekend competition was held, but this time there were a lot more participants.
Fast forward three years to 2011 and The Crossfit Open is born. What began as a gathering among fitness enthusiasts, quickly transformed into a worldwide fitness competition. Instead of signing up for The Games athletes were now required to compete in The Open (5-6 weekly workouts in the months of February-March). From The Open athletes would then qualify to the next phase which would be called sectionals or regionals. Top athletes from each region would then earn an invite to the big stage, The Crossfit Games.
As the years have passed, the qualification process has evolved with the sport. Sectionals turned into Regionals, Regionals turned into Super Regionals, Super Regionals turned into Sanctionals, which now seem to be referred to as Semi-Finals. The only two things that have remained constant in the quest to find the fittest on Earth since 2011 are The Worldwide Open and The Crossfit Games.
In modern Crossfit Games the test to find the fittest lasts closer to a week, rather than just a weekend. Athletes are put through constantly varied tests, that challenge their physical capacity across broad time and modal domains. The athletes that qualify to the Crossfit Games are in a very similar physical capacity, and often it is those with the most mental toughness and resilience that come out on top. Almost every year Dave Castro has managed to catch everyone on their toes (especially the athletes) with unexpected ways of testing their fitness. A few examples of these are, The Burden Run in 2013, fan’s choice of D.T. in 2015, Marathon Row in 2018, and most recently Atalanta in 2020.
Through the years Crossfit has evolved and adapted, starting from a new way of defining and measuring fitness to becoming a worldwide phenomena in Fitness Development, Community Building, and Competitive Professional Sport. I’d like to propose not getting The Games, the Community, and The Training Methodology mixed up. Although there can be a transition from one to another, they are not the same. If you are thinking about starting Crossfit to better your fitness and quality of life, but feel intimidated by The Games, don’t be. They are two very distinct departments of the same company. If you are looking to become competitive in the sport of fitness, but hate interacting with people, worry not you can train Crossfit in the solitary confinement of your own basement, garage, or outdoors. You don’t have to become part of the community, but you will be missing out on an adventure of a lifetime if you don’t.
How do you define Crossfit?