Introduction to Hybrid Fitness Racing

Introduction to Hybrid Fitness Racing

by Spring Ambassador Justin Nucum

Hybrid Fitness Races or “Hybrid Races” are rising in popularity in the fitness world bringing Crossfit, runners, and obstacle course racers under one roof. I was first introduced to this format of racing by a company called HYROX early in 2021. The first official event that they hosted in the U.S. was in September 2021.

HYROX is originally from Germany starting in 2017 and has quickly grown since then. So what is HYROX?

“HYROX combines both running & functional workout stations, where participants run 1km, followed by 1 functional workout station, repeated eight times. Each race is hosted indoors in expansive exhibition halls, creating an immersive and electrifying race, where your spectators can support you from the very beginning to the very end. This race format remains consistent across the globe, enabling global leaderboards & a cumulative World Championships at the end of each race season. Accommodating both professional athletes, and everyday fitness enthusiasts looking to take their training to the next level, HYROX is the sport for everybody.”

From this race format, there are multiple divisions that you can choose to compete in:

Doubles (MM/FF/Co-Ed)
Relay - 4 Person Team (Co-Ed, Male, Female)
Ruck - Individual or Doubles


Since the first official HYROX that both my clients (at Hardkour Performance) and I have competed in, our programming has evolved to train specifically for these events. As I specialized in Obstacle Course Race (OCR) training, prepping my clients for competitions such as Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and other local mud runs, we implemented a combination of trail running, rock climbing and Crossfit style workouts into our program. With Hybrid racing, we now call our program HYBRID TRAINING to capture all of these types of training modules and combine it cohesively.

Shortly after HYROX was introduced, Spartan Race created their own version of hybrid racing: DEKA FIT.

“The Greeks were the first on record to gamify and test fitness and the Greek term DEKA means Ten. With our 10 DEKA Zones, we’re  providing a well rounded functional test for all levels of fitness. Every zone is based on rudimentary movements that don’t require any specific training or education to complete. Think thousands of years ago when it wasn’t called exercise, fitness, or training. It was survival. Lifting, carrying, pushing, pulling, kneeling, jumping/stepping/climbing over something, getting down on the ground and standing back up, and three basic forms of transportation – row, ski, & cycle.

Training with purpose before and in between each DEKA Mark test/event provides an opportunity for every level of fitness to improve in these 10 functional areas of movement. As DEKA Marks (time/score) improve, well rounded fitness and health & wellness improves.

The zone sequence and flow is designed to start with basic movements throughout the early zones that when combined target the entire body and then finish with zones 6-10 with the last 5 requiring 100% full body focus for each zone.”

From this race format, there are multiple divisions that you can choose to compete in:

Age Group
Doubles (MM/FF/Co-Ed)
Ruck - Individual or Doubles


Both types of Hybrid Racing are similar, but have some apparent differences:

  • HYROX is a longer race with 8 stations and 1000m of running in between. The average finishing time is around 80-90 minutes to complete.
  • DEKA FIT, on the other hand, is a much shorter race with 10 stations and 500m run in between. The average finishing time is around 45 minutes to complete.
There are overlaps with some of the stations including the rower, ski-erg and farmer carries, but also have unique stations to each as well, such as DEKA FIT’s Ram Burpees and HYROX’s infamous 100 Wall Ball Shots to finish the race.

We see these types of events gaining more popularity as it bridges so many different athletes together. From runners, to Crossfitters, to obstacle course racers, all are able to train and compete in these styles of events.

As an athlete and coach, I use and recommend Spring Energy for hybrid races. Typically, I would take a Speednut 30-60 minutes before my start time. I would keep a lighter gel during my race such as a Canaberry in case I wanted to fuel half-way through the course. Usually our team does multiple races at each event so there is plenty of down time in between races. For example, we would compete in our solo division in the morning, have a few hours break in between, then compete in the teams/relay division in the early afternoon. Having Spring Energy is perfect when we travel and need fuel that we trust.

If you have not tried a hybrid racing competition yet, they have been hosting events all year long in major cities. Hardkour Performance offers group training classes in Orange County, CA. Even if you are not local, we offer online coaching to get you ready for your next competition. You can follow us and inquire at Make sure to follow us on Instagram @hardkourperformance to see where we are competing next, any updates on training and everything else that we are training for.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.