CrossFit already has a reputation for hardcore, next-level workouts. Add the intensity of competition into the mix, and you've got the CrossFit Games, in which athletes compete for the title of "fittest on Earth." From May 18 to June 3, 2018, athletes from across the country will compete in the CrossFit Games Regionals. If you're new to the Games, now is the time to tune in and cheer on your favorites.
First, a quick description of how the CrossFit Games work:
Anyone aged 14 and older can compete in the CrossFit Games, which started back in 2007. Athletes are grouped into divisions according to sex and age, and compete against others in their own division to advance. This year's Games started with an Open level, in which athletes across the world competed in five workouts over five weeks. Every Thursday, the CrossFit Games announced a new workout. Athletes had until the following Monday to submit their best score—verified with a video link or proof from a certified CrossFit coach—to the Games website. The top 200 competitors from each division advanced to the next step: The Online Qualifier.
Over four days in April, these athletes participated in four workouts, which were videoed and supervised by a registered judge. After they completed the workouts, CrossFit judges reviewed the videos of the 40 athletes with the top scores in each division. Once the scores were verified, the top 20 male and female athletes in each age division were invited to continue to the next level of competition.
That brings us to the events about to begin: the CrossFit Regionals. Athletes are grouped by 18 regions, spanning North America, Canada, South America, Central America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. From May 18 to June 3, athletes will compete in live, three-day competitions. Fans can even buy tickets to a local regional competition. Eighty teenagers, 40 men, 40 women, and 40 teams then advance to the finals in Madison, Wisconson, held from August 1 to August 5.
Here's how to watch the upcoming CrossFit Games Regionals:
If you can't make it IRL to a local competition, you can watch the Regionals online on Facebook Live, CrossFit's website, and CBS.com, as well as on TV on CBS. Week one begins with the East, South, and Europe Regionals May 18 through 20. Week two is the Central, West, and Latin American Regionals from May 25 through 27. Week three finishes the round with the Atlantic, Meridian, and Pacific Regionals from June 1 through 3. Events stream all day, every day, from 9 A.M. to at least 4 P.M.
Plus, a couple can't-miss events CrossFit trainers suggest tuning in for if you're new to the Games:
The Regionals consist of six events, each involving a mix of individual moves like rope climbs, burpees, deadlifts, bench presses, and much, much more. Check the full schedule here for a breakdown of events.
According to Conor Murphy, certified CrossFit trainer at Reebok HQ, one of the best events for people outside of the CrossFit community to witness is called the Strongman's Fear. "The movements are relatively simple, to the point where you can understand how strong and skilled these men and women are at the top. The weights are easily relatable," Murphy tells SELF. "Simple" definitely doesn't mean easy, though.
Watch a demo of the Strongman event from last year's Games here:
"I think fans just like watching people move heavy weights around," says Michael Martino, certified CrossFit trainer at Brick in NYC. (He's not wrong.) Martino suggests newbies tune into the high-scale gymnastics events like the handstand walk, which takes place on Saturday, and handstand push-ups (50 of them!) on Sunday.
The CrossFit Games winners walk away with cold, hard, much-deserved cash. This year, the individual champion wins $ 300,000, and the top 20 competitors will also leave with prize money. Now, can we get someone to pay us for watching?