Thursday marks the opening of the annual CrossFit Games, which, if you are not familiar, is much like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, except it’s for Adonis-fit walking Greek sculptures who haven’t touched a hot dog in 25 years. Held in Madison, Wis., the Games celebrate not just the pinnacle of human athletic performance, but the workout regimen preferred by the only group of people who like talking about themselves more than runners, and no we’re not just making sad deflective jokes because we couldn’t even pull off one measly instance of the Triple-G Chipper, whatever that is. (We tend to top out at one G, and that’s only after we’ve had a few hot dogs.)
But even if you can’t swim a half-mile before dragging a pallet of logs across a football field, and you probably can’t, you can still watch other more attractive people do things! As such, and to help uber-jacked 24-year-olds in Wisconsin demolish your body image for three days, here is a brief primer to a few events you might see if you stream this weekend’s CrossFit Games from the comfort of your Oreo icing-smeared papasan:
Cyclocross: Basically a regular bike race, except one with steep hills, and pits of mud, and entire rivers, and man-made barriers people put up to be jerks, so it’s basically a regular bike race that’s also an obstacle course around which you have to occasionally carry your bike. The combination of bicycle-related cardio and having to ford rivers like you’re crossing the Oregon Trail makes for a diverse and filthy workout. At least you won’t get dysentery, probably.
Sprint-O-Course: Despite being named something you might find at your nearest state fair, the Sprint-O-Course involves almost no sprinting whatsoever. It DOES, however, involve rope swinging, wall climbing, monkey-barring, barrier-leaping and rope ladder-scaling, making is essentially like the third-grade obstacle course you couldn’t ever finish, even after the second graders had finished it, because your hands kept slipping on the rope ladder and you couldn’t do it and everyone else was looking at you and I’m still typing aren’t I.
Triple-G Chipper: Sure, that might be a silly name, but the activities involved are much worse: 100 pull-ups, 80 sit-ups, 60 one-legged squats, 20 dumbbell push presses and a row that burns 40 calories (which translates roughly into 1/56th of a Chipotle). That this has such a fun, wacky name makes it all the more depressing. Then again, they could call it Tinker Bell’s Parasol Pixie Book Club and we’d still die after 30 seconds.
Strongman’s Fear: In this event, which is not the name of a medieval PlayStation fighting game somehow, athletes must tote two logs, a yoke and a sled, in whichever order they choose, 60 feet across a playing field. If this seems simple enough, it is because I haven’t yet mentioned that after dropping off their cargo, athletes must handstand-walk all the way back to their starting point, which is both insane and something that would look awesome at the Masters.
Madison Triplet: Again, this may sound like the protagonist of a CW show geared at precocious 13-year-olds, but it will actually kill you. According to CrossFit.com, the Madison Triplet comprises five rounds of 450-meter runs, followed by 11 hay bale clean burpees, which, we will be honest are things we totally had to Google. (Look, we hit golf balls for a living. Unless one falls out of the sky onto a green, or we’re playing in Indiana, our sport is not one that concerns itself with hay bales.) In this case, a “hay bale clean burpee” means picking up a sandbag (100 lbs. for men, 70 lbs. for women), heaving it over a hay bale wall, doing a burpee, leaping over the hay bale wall, and then repeating that 10 more times. On the plus side, you don’t have to walk anywhere on your hands.
How do you win?
We have no idea! There’s a leaderboard, which seems familiar enough, but each event has its own proprietary scoring system, which, although confusing and individualized, still make more sense than gymnastics. So there are technically scores, sure. But the point of the CrossFit Games, like CrossFit itself, is simply to get and remain utterly shredded.