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Zack McMillan, Jeremy Edwards, Jeremy Meredith and Mike Eberts (L to R), all of Canada, compete during opening day of 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Canada on May 9, 2014 in Richmond, BC, Canada. The CrossFit Games are world-renowned as a grueling test for the world's toughest athletes. The Games are styled as a venue for determining the "Fittest on Earth", where athletes compete in workouts they learn about only hours beforehand, sometimes including surprise elements that are not part of the typical CrossFit regimen. Since its inception in 2007, the CrossFit Games have become one of the fastest growing sports in America, according to Forbes. (Photo by Xinhua/Sipa USA)

CrossFit athletes equate to modern-day versions of the Greek mythical demigod Hercules, showcasing their incredible strength, never-ending stamina and relentless will to accomplish labors.

Developed and founded by Greg Glassman in 2000, CrossFit is a fitness program designed around functional body movements. Using the core aspects of gymnastics, calisthenics, weightlifting, running and rowing, CrossFit maximizes measurable results in a short period of time.

According to CrossFit.com, its program is designed for universal scalability, making
it applicable for any committed individual, regardless of experience. The program never changes — the load and intensity are scaled to fit the individual.

In 2007, CrossFit held the first CrossFit Games in search of the fittest man and woman on earth. The games were an extreme success, rocketing CrossFit to what Forbes calls “the fastest growing sport in America.”

“I always tell myself, ‘if I go hard it will hurt for a minute, but it will feel good forever,’” 2016 CrossFit Games champion, Mat Fraser, told Men’s Journal.

The CrossFit Games are broken up into three stages. First is the Open, which is a five-week, five-workout competition held from Feb. 23 to March 27. Athletes from around the world must complete the workout at a CrossFit or Garage affiliated gym.

The Open is not a walk in the park on a beautiful summer morning. It’s a barefoot sprint across a field of shard glass during the storm of the century.

Playing “would you rather,” with CrossFit workouts would be the easiest “would you rather” game ever.

Would you rather A, wear a wetsuit made entirely out of seal meat and swim in an Olympic-sized pool with 11 great white sharks or B, complete the five-stage workout competition for the CrossFit Open?

The correct answer is typically A.

“CrossFit is paying to get your ass kicked everyday,” Jenn Jansen, CrossFit trainer at CrossFit Sandy said. “It’s knowing that you are getting stronger, seeing your endurance increase and feeling energized doing daily activities that makes your ass-kicking worth it.”

Top athletes from the Open then compete in the second stage of the competition, known as the Regionals.

The Regionals are held from May 19 to June 4, when hundreds of thousands of competitors are whittled down to 40 men, 40 women, 40 teams, 80 teenagers and 240 Masters (ages 35 and older).

After a horrific eight weeks of nonstop competition, athletes get roughly two months to heal and train for the CrossFit Games, which are held Aug. 3–6.

According to the rules for the CrossFit Games, to keep the playing field fair, athletes will not know what type or kind of challenges they will have to perform. Therefore, athletes have no idea what or how to train.

This is like teaching someone how to play the piano for an upcoming recital only to tell them they are playing the vibraphone two hours before they go on.

“One of the craziest parts of the Games is that a lot of the equipment you will be using for an event is never in the warm-up area,” Ian Berger, a 2016 CrossFit Games rookie, told Bar Bend Fitness. “The Games move at a pace that training will never mimic.”

The battle for the “Fittest Man/Woman on Earth” title takes place the first weekend in August. To watch these extraordinary athletes compete, the Games will be broadcast on ESPN and streamed through YouTube.

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