I replaced weight lifting with HYROX training – here are 5 things I learned

Woman pushing weighted sled on gym floor

I’ve been lifting weights for a little over three years and I love it. Not only has she completely transformed my body composition, but as a woman I love feeling strong. But, last month, I decided to leave the world of weightlifting behind me and take on a new training challenge by signing up for my first ever HYROX in October.

What is HYROX? you ask? HYROX is the largest indoor fitness race consisting of an 8km run split into eight 1km runs and in between each run you complete a functional fitness workout. These include things like a 1000m row, a 200m farmer carry, a 50m sled push, and so on. I like to think of it as a baby CrossFit without the crazy handstands and walking muscle-ups.

Reebok Boston Track Club

Reebok Boston Track Club

Many people have questioned my sanity, especially since weightlifters rarely (if ever) do cardio and more than 50% of HYROX is running. Also, I only gave myself three months to prepare. Maybe I’m a little crazy, but I like a challenge.

As a result, my training changed completely from my typical low reps and heavy weights to a mixture of running, CrossFit-style workouts, and functional fitness moves. It’s been tough, but I’m enjoying it so much that I’ve even wondered at times if I’ll ever go back to just weightlifting. Mainly because I’ve seen great changes, both physical and mental, which I want to share, in case you’re intrigued or eager to take up this new style of training on your own.

1. My stamina levels have increased

Having good stamina, so being able to do something for a long time is crucial in HYROX, as it is quite a long race with many quickly. On the weekends I do my local Parkrun (5km) and during the week I combine short bursts of running with functional workouts. I had to come to a complete stop about four times during my first Parkrun, out of breath. But in my third week I didn’t stop even once. A few months ago you would have been lucky if you could complete even just 1km.

2. My cores have gotten stronger

Two of the discs in my lower spine are degenerative, so I have back pain on a regular basis. But my HYROX workout consisted of many farmers carries (which are my new favorite core exercise), axes and cockroaches. All of these are great exercises that build deep muscle strength, and as a result, my back pain improved and became much more manageable.

Cropped shot of a young woman working out with a barbell at the gym

Cropped shot of a young woman working out with a barbell at the gym

3. You can still be strong and fit

I’ve always avoided aerobic training in the past because, while it was great for our overall health, I was concerned it would affect my strength gains. But this is not true, to some extent. Yes, I’m not as strong as I used to be, but I’m still doing squats and deadlifts over 90kg. I think it’s going quite well with all the running I’ve been doing, plus I’m a lot fitter as a result. Personally, that’s a win in my eyes.

4. I have a livelier booty

When I was lifting weights, I did a lot of great exercises to help grow my glutes, from heavy squats, to glute bridges and Bulgarian split squats. But since training for HYROX, with the combination of aerobic exercise and strength training exercises, I have noticed that my butt is much more perky than before. This is probably a mix of all the running, so I’m burning a lot of calories, along with the strength exercises I’m still doing that keep it steady. As a result, I’ve lost some fat from my butt, so the underlying muscle is showing more.

5. My energy levels have increased

We all know that exercise boosts our energy and mood by releasing endorphins that make us feel pretty fabulous afterwards. But I’ve definitely noticed a bigger difference since I’ve been doing my HYROX training, especially racing and high intensity workouts. That’s not to say I don’t die for a full 10 minutes after (I am) but, once the initial shock passes, I feel great. It’s just the thing that helped me get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday to do the Parkruns.

#replaced #weight #lifting #HYROX #training #learned
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