By Cathy KernsThe 2017 CrossFit Games™ are upon us! With the first event starting Thursday, August 3rd at its new games location: Madison, Wisconsin. And it is in Madison, Wisconsin that we shall uncover, through a whole host of new events, who the fittest men and women in the world truly are. This years’ games are especially exciting for Crossfit fans, now that we can enjoy watching the events on CBS Sports Network, which shows just how big the sport of fitness has grown over the last 7 years. For me, this time of year is about as special as Christmas. Santa shows himself in the form of men and women who eat far less milk and cookies. I watch the Team and Individual Events whenever I can to stay up to date on who’s on top of the leaderboard and cheer and yell at my favorite athletes on screen as they are tested with some of the most grueling workouts any sportsman or woman has ever seen. Picture the Olympics, the best of the best in their sport, but with trials that combine Olympic lifting, endurance running, cycling, open water swimming, gymnastics, and strongman events, all in a matter of a few days. These athletes are the closest to superheroes in terms of strength, stamina, cardiovascular endurance, agility, speed, balance, and coordination that you'll find. Fittest man and fittest woman on Earth are not titles that are given lightly and it is literally "awe"some to watch these men and women do things.
So why should you watch?
1. To see what the human body is capable of.
This is pretty self-explanatory, but some people don’t realize just how hard it is to even make it to the Games™ in the first place! These athletes, who are lucky enough to compete, have made it their life’s work to train every day forhours just for the chance to go to Madison. Once they get there, they’ll face only a few disclosed workouts; the rest are revealed to them just moments before it’s time to start competing! But that's what CrossFit prepares you for- the “Unknown" and the "Unknowable." Just like life. In training, it's emphasized day in and day out over the course of the entire year. Athletes will be challenged with various events including an endurance swim and run, a cycling course, an obstacle course... their 1 rep max Snatch (Olympic lift) and much more grueling, holy cow type workouts. Some of these individuals can lift two times or more of their body weight (like ants and beetles!) after completing events earlier that same day. These finely chiseled bodies weren't made from hours of Netflix, but hours of lifting, running, jumping, and climbing. Pushing their bodies to the limits. And it is most definitely a spectacle.
2. The CrossFit Games™ shows the world the importance of community and support.
CrossFit takes physical and mental strength. It's not easy to keep a cheery disposition when lifting whoknowshowmuch over your head, and that's where connection, community, sportsmanship, and support come in from every angle. Icelandic athlete versus American athlete? Good job. Hand shake. Laughter. Everyone is competing on the same floor, the same space, and no one will leave that floor until the time runs out or the last athlete has completed his or her workout. No man or woman left behind. PERIOD. Personal record breakthroughs? Claps and cheers. Winners? Heck yeah, person who did that thing! Speaking from experience, it’s a really cool feeling when you have a group of your peers cheering you on through something bigger than yourself. Sometimes, it's a teammate's voice that gets you through your "dark place." During Team Competitions, 6 individuals work together, sometimes even inunison (yes, synchronized!) to complete brutal workouts. The notorious "worm," which you'll discover when you watch, is yet again, physically and mentally taxing. Relying on teammates, trusting their abilities and cheering others on, it's a wonderful, beautiful thing.
3. It's a demonstration of the broad reach of fitness across multiple generations
This is what I love most. There’s a Teens level of competition as well as the Master’s level, which spans to age 60 and up. People almost twice my age are killin’ it out there! How inspirational is that? Brb- have to wipe the tears from eyes. As a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, it's motivating to see the continuation of strength and perseverance from older competitors. And the Teens competition shows us the bright future of the sport; that’s SO EXCITING! From all walks of life, all ages, what a cross-generational conglomeration of awesomeness.