There are now over 800 HYROX Affiliated Gyms globally and the aim is to grow that number to 17,000 by 2027. I was curious what HYROX racing and training entails and why a gym would affiliate with HYROX, so, I asked a few people.
First up, let’s take a look at the races.
Every HYROX race is the same at its core – 1km runs break up different stations of the race. All in all you’re looking at 8km of running broken up by other movements that pretty common place for basically anyone familiar with CrossFit. Easy.
Athletes finish their first run and do 1000m SkiErg and then head off on another run and then a sled push and pull, then burpee broad jumps, 1000m row, a farmers carry, sandbag lunges and a ton of wall balls all split up with 1km run. Wait, that actually sounds a bit not easy. In hindsight, I probably should have checked into this a bit more before signing up for the Dublin race. Still, it’s months away so I can train and plan effectively, or, forget about it and panic about 3 weeks out.
Within the races, you have categories. Open is basically anyone can give it a go; Pro is not for everyone; Doubles is a paired option where you split the work and Relay is a team of four for a more accessible and more speedy option.
I heard about HYROX around 18 months ago and became more aware of it as the sport grew, and boy has it grown.
HYROX started 3 years ago and over that time has grown by roughly 100% year on year. Last year there were 35k participants worldwide and this year they expect 90k people to enjoy (read endure) the run and station based test of fitness. Now, a growing number of gyms are adding HYROX Affiliate to their portfolio of offerings for their members.
CrossFit Limitless in Galway, Ireland is an example of a recent affiliate of HYROX. Owner Jonathan Byrne explained why they chose to affiliate, “The power of brand recognition. In much the same way that being able to describe a class as CrossFit, being able to use the term HYROX in an official capacity has helped us in describing, with minimal detail, what a class or training session will be.”
Jonathan added that they have had “nothing but positive feedback about the training. It supplements our CrossFit program. HYROX are not trying to replace CrossFit as a training methodology, but, exist alongside by providing high quality events for people. It’s no coincidence that CrossFit athletes excel in their events.”
When I asked him what HYROX gives back in return for their affiliation, Byrne said, “We are provided with any and all media needed to market and promote HYROX classes and training. We’re listed on official maps and lists and we are provided with training plans, trainer certifications and discounts on tickets for events.”
Across the Atlantic, Allison Outlaw is a head coach of HYROX at CrossFit Central in Houston, Texas and is also the reigning 40-44 World Champion. “I was drawn to HYROX because I have an endurance background. When I began CrossFit, I was drawn to the longer metcons but struggled with gymnastics and lifting. When I heard about HYROX I knew I had to give it a go,” she explained. On the larger appeal of HYROX for CrossFit enthusiasts, Allison said, “There are people who simply aren’t interested or are unable to squat with a barbell overhead, some aren’t looking to ever do a muscle up or handstand push up, that doesn’t mean they don’t love the intensity and community of CrossFit and HYROX gives them a space to experience challenging workouts and see progress without doing more technical exercises.”
“Coaching HYROX after coaching CrossFit is not a huge shift for me. There are more similarities than differences. I believe having the experience in HYROX as an athlete and being a certified HYROX coach has helped me show up better for our members in CrossFit classes,” Outlaw added.
HYROX and its owners have been clear from the outset that rivalling CrossFit was never part of the plan. Offering the opportunity for gyms to affiliate and add HYROX to their list of offerings is aimed at helping gyms to improve their reach and return for their members as Jonathan Byrne from Limitless explains, “In the current climate, anything we can do as a gym to add value to what we offer is helping us to become an essential service to our members and not just a cost every month.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to spend the next few months before the Dublin race avoiding running so I can panic a week beforehand and try to ramp things up excessively so I can avoid a cardiac event in the RDS Arena.