(In) Shape Change

(In) Shape Change

What we consider to be in shape is changing. As a wild oversimplification, previous categories fell into: weightlifters, runners, sportspeople and wellness seekers (yoga, pilates etc).

In recent years we’ve seen a skyrocketing interest in the world of 'hybrid fitness'. An umbrella term to describe people who’d rather dip their toe in each of these camps rather than diving fully into a single choice.

CrossFit changed the game when it launched in 2000. After spending decades on the fringe, recent years have seen the rise of brands like Hyrox, Deka, Wolfrun and Spartan Race emerge to broaden the market.

Shifting Trends


It’s no longer in fashion to have the massive physiques of bodybuilders for men, or the uber-lithe frames for women. People are increasingly preferring to train to optimise their bodies to scratch the carnal itch to move, lift, jump and run.

If you’ve ever been shredded, you’ll know that while you may look like a specimen, inside you feel withered and depleted. Rather than placing this type of physique on a pedestal, more and more folks want to train, eat and live, in a manner that encourages greater performance.

That is to say, we want to feel capable and well. A 2022 fitness report of over 16,000 Americans found that 78% believed their wellness is more important than ever. People are tinkering with supplements, tracking their health metrics (a rise from 22% to 31% of the UK population between 2020-2023) and implementing new training routines.

You can lift weights and run marathons and do yoga… and you can make going to the gym a sport with measurable outcomes.

Use It Or Lose It


As Hyrox founder Christian Tötzke says,“No one learns tennis to hit a ball against the wall.” These events serve to place a competitive stake in the ground for individuals who prioritise fitness. To see how they match up on the day when the adrenaline’s flowing against their peers, to push for improvements next year, in the same way that sports players would for a big tournament. Put simply, it’s fitness gamification.

The opposite side of this coin is recovery. Widespread ideas of hustle culture are misaligned with the burgeoning appreciation for hybrid training. You can’t wake up at 5 am after ~6 hours of sleep, skip meals and undervalue rest if you want to hit PBs and leverage the full potential of your body. Gruelling sessions beg for the pendulum of wellness to swing back to ample recovery to elevate the next attempt.

The veering direction of mass fitness speaks to the desire to look good, feel strong and be healthy. Hybrid training encourages balance. In a time where our bandwidth is increasingly stretched to its limit, that’s something that people are desperate to attain.

Fashion Forward


Rather than sticking to a push/ pull/ legs split, week in, week out, hybrid fitness encourages individuals to jump into whatever nourishes their curiosity. It speaks to our waning attention span, too. Only have 30 minutes? Push for a fast 5K. Have more time at your disposal? Take a leisurely swim or run some mobility drills.

As the fitness and aesthetic zeitgeist of modern culture turns towards performance over heartrendingly low body fat percentages, it frees up our inquisitiveness to introduce new modalities of movement.

Training Together


Last, but far from least, hybrid training tackles a MASSIVE problem for modern adults: loneliness.

Understood to be a global concern, with varying degrees of severity depending on your sources. Boot camps, sports clubs, fitness classes, Hyrox/ Deka events, obstacle races and the accompanying training that feed into these, are rare spaces to meet and connect with (new) people at a time when our so-called third places have never been so few and far between.

There is more to life than your home and work. There’s also more to life than simply looking good.

Long live hybrid fitness and the balance, benefits and bonhomie it provides.

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