That’s a great question because I don’t know the answer yet. If I had to put myself in a box in the fitness world, I would probably say I am a rather physique guy belonging more to the natural bodybuilding world. However, I never competed, so I can’t classify myself as that, but I have trained like a bodybuilder for many years. Natural bodybuilding is about building muscle and strength, focusing on weightlifting and resistance training. But Hyrox is about overall fitness and endurance and focuses on running functional fitness, and conditioning. So, what the hell, Vic! Why are you doing Hyrox?
First, I’m not entirely at a disadvantage for Hyrox. I train instead for muscle build in the gym, so from the physiological point of view, I should predominantly hold slow twitch muscles. But… I have many years of teaching spin, combat and hit. Just because I don’t class it as my workout as it’s for my job doesn’t mean my body hasn’t created sufficient adaptation to endurance training. Also, I am a lifelong cyclist, but again, I never classed it as a workout as I use cycling for commuting or as a tool for shredding body fat.
Secondly, it’s not like Hyrox is not physique/aesthetic-driven. Many guys compete without t-shirts, presenting their shredded bodies just as they would on the bodybuilding stage. Whatever shallow this may sound, the aesthetic physique is as important as performance for me. There is nothing wrong with it, and one day, I will expand that thought based on my university research on body image.
Lastly, for me, Hyrox is winning in terms of how exciting the sport is. Natural bodybuilding is fantastic, and I have my heart for it, but it is very local pageant-based; there are just a handful of federations in the UK, and you must be top to make it work for yourself. Additionally, the natural version of sport is less popular than the assisted one. For example, I hope to compete in two to three Hyrox events in spring 2024: Manchester, Vienna and possibly one more European location. If I were to compete in bodybuilding, the most exciting place I would visit is Coventry. If I were to perform very well in Hyrox, my nationality or residency doesn’t matter, when in natural bodybuilding, it does, and you may not be able to progress as federations aren’t prepared for multi-national competitors. For example, the NPA (Natural Physique Association) allow to compete athletes who are UK nationals or UK residents. However, if you were to advance to international competition with them, you must hold a UK passport, which many EU citizens who have lived and worked in the UK for decades don’t own, and they don’t need to because they have settled status. However, this will disqualify them from advancing to internationals. It’s not the criticism of the system. Federations have their owners who made those rules, and I guess if I were to start my federation, I would write my rules in whatever way I like.
With this post, I’m marking 16 weeks to my first Hyrox competition, and I’m very excited to see where this will take me. I’m not saying goodbye to bodybuilding, as I would consider this my first sport, but I need to become a hybrid for a while. Realistically, I won’t score any high place in Hyrox, but I want to see if it’s something I would enjoy for longer than just one season.