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Constantine Mouzakitis is the Hyrox Manager for the New York region. A veteran of the restaurant industry, Constantine turned his passion for fitness into a new career as a trainer. He found Hyrox as part of his efforts to keep his clients motivated and engaged.
The Hybrid Letter sat down with Constantine to talk about goal setting, the key to a successful first race, and his hopes for Hyrox’s big race in Manhattan in June.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The Hybrid Letter: How did you transition from fitness as a hobby to fitness as a career?
Constantine Mouzakitis: Fitness was always a part of my life. It was a way that I was able to express myself outside of my career. I enjoyed doing all the little local races. I enjoyed going to the gym and the community there. I enjoyed being fit. it was a nice balance for me. It was something a lot of people in the restaurant industry weren’t focusing on at all. They didn’t have it as their priority, and it showed. They didn’t have the ability to go through strenuous hours and days.
I opened up my restaurant when I was 25. I was young. For the first year and a half, I worked seven days a week, 14 to 16 hours a day. Go home, take a nap, come back, and do it all all over again. But I always found time to get a half hour at the gym or a run around the neighborhood. It kept me balanced. It kept me square, kept me away from the heavy afterparty, nightlife scene.
When I sold my restaurant, I spent about 11 years traveling. I hit 79 countries and had a really great time. I was out on the road for a long time, and I was very lucky financially, with selling the restaurant, where I could have the time to do it. I was working at the time doing consulting.
Fast forward to coming back to the United States and settling in and wanting to make some roots. I really wanted to get back into business, and I didn't really know the path that I wanted to go. I'm not the kind of person who wants to go into a new industry and just pretend I know everything. I knew it was going to be important for me to start from the ground up. I knew that fitness was supposed to be a part of my life. I took a course and started training people here locally. I was very lucky early on to find a gym near me where I had mentors and I had people that I could really rely on. I still train at that gym Monday through Friday till about noon before I start Hyrox work. I don’t know how much longer that is going to last. We are getting very busy with Hyrox. It’s been about four years now.
THL: What initially drew you to Hyrox?
CM: I'm always trying to find new ways, creative ways to engage with my clients. When I found out about Hyrox, I thought this might be it, but I had to experience it myself first. I was signed up for one of the first races that we had here in New York a few years ago. And unfortunately, I couldn't make that race due to a loss in our friend group.
I signed up for another Hyrox the next year, and when I did, I reached out to a couple of buddies of mine. One of them was Taylor, who owns OG Training Academy, and Charlie. I knew they were training people for Hyrox at OG. I went down there, and there were only a handful of people, mostly trainers, training together for Hyrox. We were having such a good time, and it started becoming a little bit infectious. People started to wonder what we were training for and ask questions. And we told them and the group started getting bigger and bigger. At first, it was maybe 5 people, and within 9 months it was close to 50 people. It got to the point where you couldn’t register for a class unless you were registered for a race. That is how packed it had gotten.
I just wanted to find something for my clients to participate in so that their training wouldn't plateau. I knew that if I got a goal in front of them, they would really enjoy it.
THL: You continue to train clients for Hyrox, and now you work for Hyrox as well. How did that start?
CM: I got to know the people who were handling the affiliate program back then. I met them at the New York race, and we kept in touch. Eventually, they agreed they needed representation in the New York area because the market is so big.
I'm a native New Yorker to heart. I'm born and raised. I love this town. It’s a sense of pride for me. I want this race [in June in Manhattan] to be the biggest, baddest race that we have in the US market. It's tough to beat the UK right now. They had such a head start, and the race started in Europe. So, obviously, we have some work to do here. It’s a little bit different than it was a couple of years ago. We don't have to introduce Hyrox as a concept anymore to people. A lot of people in the fitness industry already do it or have heard of it. It’s my job now to create brand awareness and get people to at least try a race. At the end of the day, that's the most important thing. When you get to the race, you actually do it, and you're with your community, and everybody is cheering everybody on, you just feel like an absolute rockstar.
THL: A big part of your role now is working with and seeking out affiliate gyms for Hyrox. What do you tell them about Hyrox?
CM: This is an environment where people are already training. And if they're already training and they're doing some sort of strength component and some sort of endurance component, then they're already training for Hyrox without even knowing it. That’s why we call Hyrox the race you're already training for. This is the race for everybody. There is no specific skill set that is a barrier to entry for people to be able to participate. These are all very natural movements. And, for the most part, anyone who's going to a gym can do it. How competitive they are obviously depends on their own fitness. But there's 50,000 people that sign up for the New York City marathon every single year. I doubt very many of them are thinking that they're going to beat [Elliot] Kipchoge. So it's the same thing here. You're not coming to Hyrox so that you can beat the elite racers. You want to do the best that you can.
One of the best things that we have is the data that really gives everyone a fair opportunity to see where they are and what they need to work on. You can make a plan. And then that's why you do the race again; so that you can do better. And in that time, while you're working on doing better for the race, you're obviously getting better at fitness. So that in itself is a win, right? The more people we can get to participate in Hyrox and want to do better, the more people out there in the world who are really focusing on their fitness and getting healthier.
THL: What makes a great Hyrox affiliate gym?
CM: The people that are most successful at this are the ones that really take advantage of the program that we have in place for the affiliation. There's so much available there. The programming – that's a huge benefit. It’s a very periodized style of training. We have an 8-to-12-week race training block where you're really focusing on your Hyrox-specific movements. But that's not something you want to do all throughout the year. You’ll get burned out. There are other times when you need to work more on your general strength and running.
Our really amazing affiliates come in the form of a community of people. They show up to a race 20 or 30 people deep. It’s people that have trained really, really hard together for months and months and then go out there and express themselves through fitness.
THL: When you are working with people about to tackle their first race or thinking about it, what do you tell them?
CM: I think Mike Tyson probably said it best a long time ago: Everyone's got a plan until you get punched in the face. And that punch in the face for a lot of people, including myself, can come at any point within the race. There are eight different stations, and then there are eight rounds of running as well. Anything can go wrong at any time during that hour and a half that you're running this race. You never really know until you try it out for the first time. I always tell everyone for their first race: Go out there and use it as a way to explore. It’s a race, and you want to give it your best. But, you don't know how you're gonna react. You don't know how your legs are gonna feel directly after that sled push, especially if you haven't been training compromised running. I try to remind people to keep their head on a swivel. So many times when we're going through that race, it's very easy to put those blinders on and just focus on the two and a half feet on either side of you. But the truth is, you should look around. See what's going on, see where the exit is, and make sure that you're following those arrows. When you're in it, you're so in it, and you're zoning out. You have to look around and stay focused.
And one of the best people at it is [World Record holder] Hunter [McIntyre]. If you see any of the videos, you see him looking around. He’s thinking so strategically down the line about how he's going to attack the next thing based on how he feels and what's happening around him.
Now, I can go on forever with data and techniques, but the truth is, I think that for the first race, you have to remember to have a good time. You're gonna hopefully be there with a community of people, people that care about you and that you care about, cheering each other on. I guarantee you that after the first race, most people are gonna want to do another one.
THL: These races are still significantly more popular in Europe. What do you feel are the next steps for Hyrox in the US?
CM: I think that we're in a very different market here. It’s growing substantially each year. We've doubled our New York race year after year. And my ambition is to do the same this year. For the US market, I think you're gonna see some repeat events in the same cities. I think that it's growing enough for us to be able to do multiple events in the same cities, especially where we can have something in the fall and something in the spring.
It’s also creating more interest and more brand awareness in the market. I think we're gonna see more people racing. I think we're gonna see more races for sure.I think that we're going to find bigger partnerships as well. We just announced a couple of new partnerships in the last couple of days. And there are a few more that are coming through the pipeline.
From the training side as well, I think we're going to see a little bit of a shift. We’re already starting to see a shift in how just the consumer is training. Hybrid training is much more fun. The best physiques out there are usually in the hybrid world, You have a good amount of muscle, muscular endurance, strength, and power. At the same time, it's not outside of anybody's capabilities.
THL: What is something people overlook when they consider signing up for a Hyrox race?
CM: I think that they're neglecting a huge opportunity here to run with a partner. The doubles races are so much fun. It's a great way to enter a Hyrox. If it's your first one, start with doubles with a friend. It's a little bit less intimidating. Sure, you still have to run the same, but you can split the stations so you're not getting all gassed out. But that's a really great way to not only test yourself but also give yourself an opportunity to really feel out what the event is like. There are people who sign up for individual pro their first time. And they may be really, really fit. But they're very quickly humbled. It’s not an easy thing, and the weights are heavy. Dip your toe in first and see how the water is.
You can follow Constantine on Instagram, where you can check out his training and keep tabs on the big event in June at Pier 76 in NYC. Anyone who wants to bring a Hyrox event to their gym or has other questions about the affiliate program can contact him directly via email.
Hybrid Athlete of the Week: Maggie Morris
Name: Maggie Morris
Hometown: Orange, CA
Why did you start hybrid racing? I started incorporating hybrid training in preparation for my first Hyrox, which was in Chicago in February 2023. I wasn't in the practice of running at all, outside of sprints. I ran three times each week to prepare for my first Hyrox, in addition to strength classes, and I saw both my body and my endurance transform. Hybrid fitness is incredibly dynamic and good for you; it's also extremely fun. I love feeling like I can show up to any workout and hold my own.
Favorite race to date?: Rock N Roll Half Marathon in March 2023. I ran it on a whim after only training to race a half for two weeks. I wanted to break two hours and I finished in 1:59 and change. Even though I hadn't been running high mileage at that point, I credit my ability to pace consistently and hit that goal to my hybrid training.
Do you have a race goal?: Right now, it's the marathon. No time goal, just vibes.
Favorite station?: I have a sick love of wall balls.
Least favorite station? SkiErg. I avoid it at all costs.
Things you wish you knew when you started training/racing? Everybody is different. Your friend might be able to run 10 miles in the morning and hit a Hybrid class in the evening, doesn't mean you can or should do the same. You have to learn what's best for you and what your body requires to continue achieving what you want to achieve. Sometimes less is more.
Video of the week: Sam Bilbie’s Hyrox warmup
Sam Bilbie, running coach and reigning women’s world champion in the 45-49 age group, shares how she warms up for a Hyrox race.