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KITBOX x Virus: How Do The CrossFit Regionals Work?

The 2016 CrossFit Games Regionals kick off on May 13 with the Pacific, California and South regions, followed by Atlantic and West, and finally Meridian – that’s us -, East and Central.

If none of the above makes any sense to you, this post is for you. If your Facebook and Instagram feeds are filling up a little more than rapidly than usual, with people cheering on their favourite CrossFitters, it’s because the competition is getting serious.

We asked functional fitness outfitters KITBOX, to talk us through how the CrossFit Regionals work. Whether you’re completely new to CrossFit, or this is just the first time you’ve paid close attention to the competition season, our quick guide will tell you everything you need to know.

So slip into your favourite pair of Stance socks and underwear, and sip from the cup of knowledge.

How the competition season works

In the smallest of nutshells, the CrossFit competition season can be explained like this:

Stage 1: The Open – Everybody in the world competes at the same time, on the same workouts. The goal is to qualify for stage two, Regionals.

Stage 2: Regionals – The top percentage from each global region (calculated based on population) moves onto this stage, which is the precursor to the CrossFit Games.

Stage 3: The Games – The best of the best, competing over three days to decide who are the best male and female CrossFitters in the world that year. Only five people from each region will make it this far.

By the time the Games comes around, these guys and girls are about as close as it gets to being superheroes. There are a lot of PurePharma supplements flying around, for sure.

What are the Regions?

CrossFit is bigger in certain places, namely the U.S., with most of the top athletes coming out of there, which is why it has so many smaller regions compared to Europe and Africa. Here’s how they break down:

  • South West
  • South Central
  • Latin America
  • Mid Atlantic
  • South East
  • Northern California
  • Southern California
  • Canada East
  • Canada West
  • North East
  • North West
  • North Central
  • Central East
  • Meridian (Europe)
  • Asia
  • Australia
  • Africa

Phew! That might sound like a lot of places and a lot of athletes to keep tabs on, and it is, but the goal of Games Director Dave Castro, is to have every region run and look identical. That’s in the interests of fairness and consistency of brand.

How long do Regionals last?

Each Regional takes place over a weekend, and is run by an event director and a team of volunteers. Sponsors vary from region to region, but have included Rehband, RockTape and PurePharma to name a few. They’re spectator events, which are streamed live online and in front of crowds, who can buy tickets for a day, or the entire weekend.

And what about the workouts?

Regionals workouts aren’t as intense as Games workouts, and while the volume is still pretty high, Castro – who programmes each of the competition season’s workouts – doesn’t want to destroy athletes right before the main event, the Games.

Normally, athletes will take on two or three workouts a day, in heats. Those who qualified lowest will go first, and those who qualified highest will go last.

The Regionals are as much about putting on a show as they are about testing fitness. For example, athletes might attempt a maximum clean-and-jerk in the morning, hit a fast-paced 12-minute workout later on, and round of the day with a chipper (a long workout.)

How many athletes go to Regionals, and what happens next?

Usually, the top 40 athletes from each region will move onto Regionals. From there, the top five will go on to compete at the CrossFit Games.

At the CrossFit Games, the best from each region compete against each other as a single group – again in heats – with podium spaces for three men and three women.

Are there teams and masters competitions?

There sure are. In order to qualify as a team, each member of your team has to finish reasonably high in the Open as an individual. Each Regional competition will see the teams and masters (older athletes) compete alongside the individuals.

It all sounds very tiring

It’s tiring as hell, and not just for the athletes – each region’s team of hundreds of volunteers will chaperone athletes over an entire weekend, ensure that everything is captured on video, and move tens-of-thousands of kilos of barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and all kinds of other weird and wonderful bits of kit.

Alright, I’m convinced. How do I watch?

You’ll find full details and times of every Regional competition on the CrossFit Games website. Our own region – the Meridian – takes place from 27-29 May in Madrid, Spain.

It’s going to be wild, and it’s going to make you want to workout, so to round off, here are our KITBOX suggestions for getting yourself and your crew Regionals-ready:

Xendurance Fuel 5 and Xendurance Protein

Pip & Nut Nut Butters (for strategic snacking)

Virus Airflex Training Shorts (for when you bust out into spontaneous burpees)

JAW Wraps (for when you bust out into spontaneous pull-ups)

We hope that you’ve got a better idea now, of how the CrossFit Regionals work, and that this knowledge will enhance your viewing pleasure. If you’re competing, you really should have known earlier how Regionals work, but good for you!