The Rise of Hybrid Fitness

Trends come and go in the world of sport and performances - but ‘hybrid fitness’ also known as ‘functional fitness’ might be here to stay. Social media is abuzz with new hybrid athlete training methodologies promising to make you fitter, stronger, leaner - but if we ignore the hype, what’s left? 

Quite a lot actually, it turns out.

Understanding Hybrid Fitness - the basics

Hybrid fitness can be defined as the integration of multiple exercise disciplines and training styles to create a comprehensive and well rounded athlete. It combines elements pulled from various fitness modalities, the most significant of which being strength training, cardiovascular exercises; commonly running, ski-erg, and rowing, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). By incorporating diverse exercises into a single routine, hybrid fitness aims to improve overall conditioning, and overall performance. Hybrid fitness bills itself as the answer for people who want to be strong, fast, and fit all at the same time. 

Why has hybrid fitness become so popular?

Community and culture

The hybrid fitness community is growing rapidly; this means it’s incredibly accessible and welcoming to new people. Gyms are increasingly catering to people interested in the hybrid approach to training - offering personal training services, group fitness sessions, run clubs and more. The boom has led to a number of other hybrid fitness brands and events. 

Increased Variety and Engagement

A significant element has got to be variety. Individual sports can often require monotonous, repetitive training. Hybrid fitness allows athletes to be far more creative with their workouts, which keeps training fun, fresh and engaging. By combining various elements of strength based training, multiple kinds of aerobic cardiovascular conditioning, and the myriad of options provided by HIIT, you could probably do a different workout every day of the week. 

Enhanced Results and Efficiency

Hybrid fitness maximises the benefits of diverse training styles. By combining different exercises, you can target various aspects of fitness simultaneously. A hybrid workout might involve strength training to build muscle, followed by a cardio session to improve cardiovascular endurance. This approach optimises time spent in the gym, allowing people to achieve multiple fitness goals efficiently.

CrossFit - the origin story

So we know ‘what’ Hybrid fitness is. But where did it come from? People have been combining lifting weights on some days and doing cardio on others as their primary ways to workout for decades. Back then, it was called ‘keeping fit’. What CrossFit did was formalise this approach and add an element of HIIT. It has been wildly successful, and can rightfully be considered the first global hybrid fitness brand. CrossFit has widespread appeal thanks to the variety it offers, the huge number of affiliated facilities, and massive amounts of brand awareness.

DEKA and TurfGames

DEKA takes inspiration from common plyometric, strength, agility and cardiovascular exercises and combines them into well rounded tests of physical fitness. The DEKA competitive tripartite is made up of ‘fit’ - which includes 5 km of running total, ‘mile’ which, you guessed it, has a mile of running in total, and ‘strong’ which includes no running. The non-running based exercises stay the same across events. 

Turfgames is similar, but it has less emphasis on running and more emphasis on creating a ‘team sport’ atmosphere. They’ve captured something a lot of people can empathise with; people who enjoyed team sports when they were children but drifted away, who are searching for that feeling of camaraderie again. Turfgames is more HIIT focussed than DEKA, but it uses less complex movements than CrossFit.

Barry’s Bootcamp and F45

Both companies focus on offering consumers the ‘spin-class experience’, with significantly more variation and intrigue. There’s an emphasis, again, on HIIT principles and the melding of cardiovascular exercise with strength or plyometric training. The real selling point here is the idea of community and the relationship between instructors and customers. The group atmosphere is great for pushing yourself, and the harder you push, the more you flood your brain with endorphins. No wonder they have a loyal following. 


Hyrox is the up and coming Hybrid Fitness event. Billing itself as ‘the world series of fitness racing’, Hyrox has developed an incredible momentum in the last year or so and for good reason. They manage to combine the two key elements that can make a new fitness trend go stratospheric; accessibility and atmosphere. Accessibility is vital, and it’s what gives Hyrox its mass appeal. The fitness novice can compete in a slightly toned down version of the event compared to the world class athlete. The events are also held in confined spaces - this gives them the feel of a stadium event, the energy can be electric!  the elite athlete whilst still experiencing the spine tingling buzz that surrounds each event. Hyrox races are held in relatively confined spaces, which creates a genuinely electric, stadium-esque atmosphere. If you want to trace the evolution of Hybrid fitness from niche to ‘next-big-thing’, look no further than Hyrox. 

The Future of Hybrid Fitness

The Gamification of fitness

This new fitness trend has gained momentum for lots of reasons, as already discussed. But brands can come and go, and so can popularity. But, we think there’s longevity in this one. This hinges on an ethos that you can find hiding behind the word ‘hybrid’; the idea of selling a ‘lifestyle’ rather than a workout or a product. What all hybrid events and products hint at offering is a sport/activity that will make you not only a well rounded athlete, but a well rounded individual.

 Rather than the intense rigour of the hyper specialised individual sport, or the reliance of others that comes with team sports, hybrid fitness offers a way to formalise your informal fitness regime. The gamification of keeping fit. Now, the narrative suggests, you can have it all. You can look, perform, compete, and feel like an athlete, without having to dedicate yourself to one particular activity. You can run, row, cycle, lift weights, do plyometrics, HIIT and it can all be included in a hybrid fitness lifestyle. 

Increased awareness

The public perception and knowledge of hybrid sports is growing. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to satisfy their competitive urges by doing a hybrid fitness event rather than a marathon or something similar. 

Hybrid fitness represents an exciting evolution in the world of exercise, combining diverse training styles to create a comprehensive and engaging approach to staying fit. It speaks to the desire for an identity, a lifestyle, without the pressure of repetitive training. Hybrid fitness is here to stay.