By Ashleigh VanHouten

What it is: This fitness program is not for the faint of heart: Crossfit is a combination of Olympic and Powerlifting, gymnastics, bodyweight and military-style exercises and killer metabolic conditioning mixed into a highly varied but always intense workout that will have you gasping on the floor like a fish out of water—in the best way possible. Even if you’re not GI Jane (yet), don’t be scared: while the workouts are  intense and test every aspect of your fitness (strength, cardio, flexibility), they are easily scaled and therefore accessible to all fitness levels. And the results in how you look, feel and perform are impressive—you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of.

The ab exercises Olympians do!

Why we love it:  Because it’s always changing! The constant variation and rep/time-based workouts allow you to constantly improve without getting bored. While you can program your workouts to your specific needs and goals, the general schedule is three days on, one day off, and with no obvious pattern to the workouts, you are always surprised by what comes next. For example, the first day of a cycle might be 4 x 400 meter sprints; the next day might be 5 x 3 reps dead lift; and the final day in the cycle might be “Angie,” a workout which consists of 100 pull ups, 100 pushups, 100 sit ups, and 100 squats.  Yes, the hardest workouts are given female names, kinda like hurricanes. Pretty bad-ass, huh? Take it from someone who Crossfits: you will really appreciate your rest days!

How it got started:  Created by Greg Glassman in California in 2001 and now boasting over 1,000 gyms worldwide, Crossfit operates a bit like a global corporation, with an online headquarters (www.crossfit.com) that posts the WOD or “workout of the day.” The website posts videos of the different movements and workouts, hosts message boards, provides links to different affiliate gyms and upcoming certifications and seminars, and publishes a journal designed to support the Crossfit community detailing the theory, techniques and practice.

Add these Pilates moves to your next workout too!

Where to do it: There are Crossfit gyms all over the world. For more information on a gym near you, click here.

How to DIY it: Luckily, Crossfit Headquarters provides all the workouts for you on the Crossfit free blog, which allows you to scale for your abilities, schedule and goals, as well as offering an online community to ask questions, share stories, and learn useful workout tips. Many Crossfit workouts consist of exercises you can do on your own, outside, with no equipment, or with tools you will find at your local gym. So there you go, no excuses! You can be a Crossfit champ in your local gym, your garage, or even your hotel room when you’re travelling for work.

More of a low-impact kinda gal? Try Tai Chi!