How to Train for your First Fitness Race

Been smashing it out in the gym for months (heck, maybe even years)? It’s time to show off your skills. This August, for the first time ever, Europe’s biggest fitness race, HYROX, will be hosting events in Sydney and Melbourne, providing Aussie gym goers a chance to challenge themselves and showcase their abilities on a course that sees more than 50,000 participants compete each year.

What makes HYROX different from other fitness comps? Well, unlike a CrossFit tournament, the race exercises are not super technical, which means it’s accessible for people of any age, fitness level or ability. Participants from all over the world compete in the exact same format – which involves a 1km run followed by one functional movement, repeated eight times.

BFT, Australia’s fastest-growing fitness franchise, has partnered with HYROX, becoming the exclusive training centre for the event in the Asia Pacific. No matter where you are, you’ll have your pick of more than 240 BFT locations to train in – and preparation is key.

Just as you would do when prepping for your first 10k or marathon, it’s essential to follow a structured training schedule for your first HYROX event, even if you enter the race as a duo or in a relay team. Don’t stress too much, though. The best part is that you’re likely already doing a lot of the training required, since the race is based on functional movements.

Most competitors will finish the race in 1 hour and 30 minutes, which makes it an endurance race – so you’ll need to work on both your physical strength and cardio capabilities. Around 8 to 10 weeks is a good amount of time to prepare both your body and mind for race conditions.

Em Harlock, education coordinator for BFT, shares her top tips to help you get the best result in your first fitness event.

1 Familiarise yourself with the event content

There’s no room for running blind when it comes to your first fitness event. If you want to succeed (whether that’s finishing the course at all or scoring a new PB with a friend), you’ll need to know what’s coming. While everyone will be up against the same challenges, the weights will differ depending on your gender and race category, so read up on the fine print and start practising the below moves.

The race format:

  • 1km Run
  • 1km SkiErg
  • 1km run
  • 50m sled push (125kg/75kg, plus sled)
  • 1km run
  • 50m sled pull (75kg/50kg, plus sled)
  • 1km run
  • 80m burpee broad jump
  • 1km run
  • 1km row
  • 1km run
  • 200m farmer’s carry (2 x 24kg/16kg)
  • 1km run
  • 100m sandbag lunge (20kg/10kg)
  • 1km run
  • Wall ball (100 reps 6kg/ 75 reps 4kg)

2 Don’t neglect your running

Yes, weight training is important for completing most of the functional movements, but don’t forget about your cardio health. If you’re someone who loves weights and body-based exercises but hasn’t run more than 100m for a while, you’ll need to pay attention to your sprint work. Each week, start with one day of walking/jogging as far as you can, then dedicate another day or two to hill sprints, where you run as fast as you can for 100m, rest, and repeat 10 times.

3 Eat well before (and during) your race

Strong bodies are made in the kitchen, so now is not the time to go into a major calorie deficit or start restricting carbs. Avoiding an excess of processed foods and alcohol will have you feeling your sharpest on race day, as will filling up on balanced meals made up of quality whole grains, protein (like lean beef, chicken and fish), fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy fats like avocados. You will likely zap your glycogen stores after 40-60 minutes of competing in your fitness event, so pack some gels or sports drinks to perk you up mid-race.

To book into training ahead of the HYROX event, find your local BFT studio here:

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