Why Hyrox Should Be Your Next Fitness Challenge, According to An Athlete

It’s a HIIT-focused competition open to everyone. That means you.
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Julius Ise using ropes at a Hyrox competition. © foodspring

For building endurance and muscle, there’s nothing quite like high intensity interval training. Not only is it effective, but it’s also—dare we say—fun. Who doesn’t want to literally throw some weight around? And it’s easy enough to track progress, by counting reps or time until completion. Still, unless you’re taking a fitness class or hitting the gym with a workout buddy, HIIT is a solo endeavour. 

Until now. Enter Hyrox, the indoor fitness competition built around HIIT principals. In these competitions, which are held worldwide, competitors are asked to complete eight rounds of work. Each round starts with a 1,000 m run, followed by a functional fitness challenge. They are: ski erg, sled push, sled pull, burpee broad jump, rowing, farmers carries, lunges, and wall balls. So by the end, you’ll have run 8,000 meters and have completed many, many movement reps on top of that. The elite athletes can get it all done in a little over an hour, while the rest of us take closer to 90 minutes. 

Hyrox events will be ramping up in the fall, with competitions being held in Switzerland, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and the Netherlands, with Austria and the United Arab Emirates happening in early 2023. We spoke with Julius Ise, a Hyrox athlete from Berlin, to find out what it takes to go pro, and why this new worldwide competition has become a craze.

Hyrox athlete Julius Ise flexing in front of a Hyrox themed wall.

Why do you compete in it? What makes it such a huge and special challenge?
I like to compete in it because it’s way more fun than just running. Some parts are quite similar to CrossFit, which is my main training. But as I don’t need that high skill movements and heavy lifts it’s easy to be part of and a great challenge for your body.

Tell us about the fun factor. Is Hyrox something you look forward to with glee, with anxiety, somewhere in the middle?
Doing the Hyrox Double [partner competition] is a lot of fun. Going for single or even pro is way tougher. 

When it comes to maintaining your energy throughout the competition, what are some of the biggest challenges you face?
Don’t go too fast. Manage your energy, especially for the first kilometre and also for the 1000m on the ski erg. 

When you’re in a competition that challenges endurance, strength, and has a huge mental component, what kind of energy do you need?
You need a lot of endurance to be good at Hyrox. It’s a lot of running with tired legs. So try to train for this situation in your workouts the weeks leading up to race day. 

How do you fuel yourself during training for Hyrox, as well as during the competition?
I go for my energy Aminos before the workouts and I try to get some endurance drink as an intra workout shake to get some extra energy.

What about after? We figure your muscles are way past depleted at that point. How do you rebound using nutrition?
I will eat whatever I feel like. Usually my post Hyrox Dinner is a Pizza Hawaii and a plate of Spaghetti Carbonara.

Julius Ise using a medicine ball at a Hyrox event.

Hyrox sounds…intense. But it’s for everybody! What would you tell people new to Hyrox, either those who are avid fitness folks, or those who are just getting started on their fitness journey?
The great thing about Hyrox is that nearly everybody can do it. If you’re planning to do your first Hyrox, then really try to get a chance to train for all workouts and movements. If you’re working out in a global gym, then try to get your hands on a ski erg and work on wall balls. It’s a great challenge for everyone. No matter how fit you are, it’s always a challenge.

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