What is CrossFit?

In short, CrossFit is “a community-driven, evidence based, fitness program that aims to improve an individual’s health and athletic capacity,” according to Hollis Molloy, owner of CrossFit Santa Cruz, the very first CrossFit gym. CrossFit focuses on group workouts that consist of varied, high-intensity exercises and movements and boasts very enthusiastic followers.

So what do these group workouts entail?

Each CrossFit session centers around a Workout of the Day (WOD), made up of what the CrossFit website refers to as “constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity.” Think walking lunges, burpees, box jumps, jump-roping, pull-ups and more. For example, after a warm-up, the WOD could instruct you to complete as many rounds as possible of three different exercises in 20 minutes.

Sounds intense. Do I need to be “fit’”already to start CrossFit?

No. “There [are] no prerequisites to start CrossFit,” Molloy said. “My three-year-old son does CrossFit and my 63-year-old mother does also.” Molloy explains that CrossFit is geared toward “anyone and everyone who is serious about health and fitness,” regardless of age. Your CrossFit trainer will provide coaching to help familiarize you with the equipment and exercises while you gear up. Beginners can also read more about getting started on Crossfit on the web site Crossfit Journal.

Okay. How long before I see results?

The amount of time will vary depending on how strictly you adhere to the program Molloy recommended participating in CrossFit workouts five to six days a week, and says people typically see results within the first month.

Tell me more about the CrossFit Games.

The CrossFit Games first launched in 2007, as the self-proclaimed competition to find the ‘Fittest on Earth.’The Games are designed to test the competitors’ overall fitness levels and include series of challenges (specifics are unknown to the athletes until right before the competition), from sled-pulling to legless rope climbs and handstand walks. Each year, the Games begin with a worldwide, five-week Open competition, from which the top athletes in each of 17 regions advance. The Regionals stage is a three-day competition, and leads into the final stage, the Reebok CrossFit Games, in which the top 50 men and top 50 women are crowned the fittest on Earth. (Um, something to aspire to?

How do I find a CrossFit Gym?

To be sure you’re working out with an accredited CrossFit affiliate, use the Affiliate Finder Map on the CrossFit website.