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The CrossFit stimulus—constantly varied high-intensity functional movement coupled with meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar—prepares you for the demands of a healthy, functional, independent life and provides a hedge against chronic disease and incapacity. This stimulus is elegant in the mathematical sense of being marked by simplicity and efficacy. The proven elements of this broad, general, and inclusive fitness, in terms of both movement and nutrition, are what we term our CrossFit Essentials.

Jassim Zayed had gastric-bypass surgery, but when he started to quickly regain the weight he had lost, he knew he needed to change his lifestyle. He tried personal training but soon grew bored, so a friend recommended he try CrossFit. He joined CrossFit T23 soon after.

Watch Breaking the Nutrition Barrier

Every morning, a small group of men 58 and older heads to a gym at the top of a hill in Bonsall, California, to see what the coach has written on the board for the day’s workout. That coach is Mike Burgener of CrossFit Weightlifting, a man whose contributions to the Sport of Fitness are legion.

Watch Miracle on the Hill

Jandi Pereida always cared about being fit and active, but she eventually found herself prioritizing her career over her health. She started spending time on the treadmill at a local gym, but she felt unmotivated until she found North Rim CrossFit.

WatchJandi: Keep at It

“I got to a point at my heaviest where I was OK with dying before I was 40,” Glaude says. When Glaude realized his weight was preventing him from doing things he wanted to do, he implemented what he calls the “common sense diet”: He cut out soda, junk food and fast food.

WatchObese to Beast

“I’m so glad I made that first step,” says Frances Carpenter, reflecting on the transformation she has undergone at CrossFit Inversion in Yorba Linda, California.

Watch Is Franny Fit Yet?