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15 Fitness Competitions That Will Get You Out of Your Comfort Zone

15 Fitness Competitions That Will Get You Out of Your Comfort Zone

As an athlete, it's normal to focus 100% of your time and effort to the sport you have chosen, whether it's CrossFit, OCR, running, or anything else. To stay in the fitness game for the long-term, however, it's important for your body and mind to switch things up every now and then. 

We've compiled a list of 15 fitness events that will challenge you in a way you likely haven't experienced before. Ranging from pure fun and gluttonous to extreme and intense, these events are sure to get you out of your comfort zone. Who knows, you just may pick up a new favorite sport or hobby while you're at it!

Run for Your Life at the Zombie Run

You know that exercise is good for you, but if you truly want to run for your life, check out the Zombie Run. The Zombie Run combines the adrenalin of running, the physical test of obstacles, the fear of zombies, and the craziness of running in a Halloween costume!!

During your run, you'll experience man-made and natural obstacles, mud, a corn maze, dilapidated buildings, and yes Zombies, lots and lots of Zombies...

Compete in the Festivus Games

The Festivus Games is a worldwide functional fitness competition for beginner and intermediate athletes. And it's big! Between 8,000 and 10,000 athletes compete all on the same day in gyms across the globe during this one day event.

If you've thought about competing in a CrossFit-style workout competition but want a less technical way to do it, the Festivus Games may be for you. 

Get Muddy at a Spartan Race 

If you haven't done a Spartan Race yourself, you likely know someone who has. The Spartan brand has grown like a weed in recent years, and people who participate view it as a way of life. According to

"We believe that you can’t have a strong body without a strong mind, that you can’t grow without pressure, that obstacles help shift our frame of reference and make us more resilient. We believe that signing up for a race holds us accountable and keeps us motivated to train harder and eat healthier. With more than 200 events in over 30 countries, there’s no excuse not to take the first step." 

Become an Ironman

Ironman triathlons are some of the most grueling endurance competitions you can do. In one day you'll swim, bike and run more than most people will do in a month or more. You'll want to train extensively leading up to the event to get your body prepared and minimize overuse injuries. Ironman athletes believe all the hours on the bike, trails and in the pool are worth it, because that allows them to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

According to

IRONMAN is a statement of excellence, passion, commitment. It is a test of physical toughness and mental strength. IRONMAN is about persevering, enduring and being a part of something larger than ourselves. It shows the heights that can be achieved when we push beyond our boundaries and go the distance.

Compete in the CrossFit Open

CrossFit combines strength training with high intensity metabolic conditioning designed to mold you into the Greek God or Goddess you were born to be. Each year CrossFitters around the world compete in the Open which separates the amateurs from the pro's, who then go on to compete in the Games.

According to

Where grassroots meets greatness: Compete with hundreds of thousands of athletes in five workouts over five weeks. Do it for fun, your affiliate family, fitness or to reach Regionals and fight for a chance to make it to the CrossFit Games. 

Rock Out at a Rock N Roll Marathon 

Ready to run your first marathon, but want to make sure you combine some fun with all of the hard work that will culminate in your big day? Look no further than the Rock n Roll Marathon, which has events in cities all over the world.

According to the Rock n Roll website:

For over 20 years, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series has made running fun by infusing each course with live bands, cheer teams and more. In 2018, we have reset our focus to deliver best-in-class running events, where music is core and our community encourages participants to feel like they are something bigger than themselves. We promise to bring more music, better runner support, improved technology, and more community engagement to every event, every step of the way.

Eat Your Heart Out at the Krispy Kreme Challenge 

If you love fitness and donuts, this is the competition for you. What started as a friendly competition between college students has turned into this annual event that hosts thousands of competitors. According to the event site: 

2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour. The mantra of the Krispy Kreme Challenge epitomizes the test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude. What started as a challenge among ten friends has transformed into a nationally publicized charity race, and the number one tradition to complete before graduating from North Carolina State University.

Participants begin the Challenge at the Memorial Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Runners then travel 2.5 miles through historic downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets, where they attempt to consume one dozen original glazed doughnuts. The hardest part of the Challenge awaits them as they run 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower.

This is the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

Become an American Ninja Warrior

Do you have what it takes to tackle obstacles designed to humble even the most athletic ninjas? NBC hosts casting events leading up to their series that allow you to show off your skills at jumping, climbing, and flying through the air. 

According to

Regional Qualifying Rounds for American Ninja Warrior (the “Program”) will be held at one or more United States locations. Applicants will be assigned a region which may be based on their state of residence, provided that Producer reserves the right to assign applicants to compete at a location different or in a different Regional Qualifying Round from his/her region of residence, in Producer’s discretion.

The National Finals will be conducted at a location in Las Vegas to be determined.

Enter a Strongman Competition

Strongman competitions are not for the faint of heart - depending on the event you compete in, you may end up pulling a truck, picking up a car, or carrying awkward and heavy objects longer than you'd like. The good news is that carrying groceries to your car will be a breeze from then on!

You can see upcoming Strongman competitions here

Bike a Century Tour


A century ride is a badge of honor among cyclists. Get ready to suffer amidst scenic views over the course of 100 miles and then celebrate your achievement.

Check out this list of 10 century tours you can try in the Fall, and a more complete list of century tours in your area here

Do a 24 Hour Challenge at Shale Hill

Are regular Obstacle Course Races too easy for you? Check out the Shale Hill Adventure race, which is 24 hours of continuous loops that constantly change as you make progress. According to

"It's dark. No fancy flood lights, just your headlamp. You're on your fourth lap and pushing to get another lap in. The 24 HOURS OF SHALE HELL takes you to your limits, and puts you beyond them.

SHALE HELL is an Adventure/Endurance OCR race for 24 hours of continuous loops on our 10K obstacle course. As you progress your requirements change each lap! We also offer an 8 hour and 10K single lap option."

Get Green Beret Fit

There's a difference in being fit and being special forces fit. The Green Beret Challenge events are built to test not only your physical fitness but also your mental toughness and problem solving skills as well. 

"The Commando 4-person Team Series requires the participants to attack 8+ grueling miles as they push, pull, carry, climb or crawl their way to the finish line. The Commando is arguably the most demanding 1-day event in the industry.

We promise the pain will be legendary, but the sense of accomplishment will last forever. Unlike traditional OCR’s, the GBC incorporates unique “events” that require teamwork, communication, a little grey matter and a lot of heart. We will not test your ability to crawl through mud, but we will test your resolve to complete the challenge."

Sign Up for an Amateur Fight

Did you ever wonder how you'd do when facing an opponent in a steel cage or boxing ring? If so, sign up for an amateur boxing match or MMA fight. Training for these will likely get you in the best shape of your life, because at the end of it you'll be fighting for it. There's probably no better motivation to train than knowing you're going to be competing in front of a crowd against an opponent who will try to knock you out, choke you out, or tap you out. 

Join a local boxing gym or MMA training center to get hooked up with a coach who can get you on a training program and keep you posted with upcoming tournaments or matches that would be a good fit for you. 

Compete in a Paddle Board Competition

Paddleboarding has increased in popularity not only because it's fun to do, but also because it's an incredible workout. Competitions are popping up all over the globe - you can find local events near you here

Complete An Adventure Race

Do you want to get outside, be fit, and travel to exotic places, too? If so, adventure racing may be right up your alley.

Adventure racing combines fitness and outdoor skills like mountain biking or paddling, and often involves teams competing together to win. 

According to

"Have your typical running routes, biking paths, or paddling excursions gotten a little dull? Finished a marathon or century ride and looking for something a little more adventurous? Got some sporty and rough-and-tumble friends? If so, you might want to put your skills to the test in your first adventure race.

The increasingly popular competition format involves a combination of fitness and outdoor skills: cross-country or trail running, mountain biking, and often paddling (canoes or kayaks) are combined in a team-based competition. The competitive format varies widely, from two to six-hour “sprint” races in fairly accessible locations to multi-day excursions into the wilderness.

Amassing points in an adventure race involves navigating to checkpoints using a map and compass. The race will be divided into stages requiring different modes of transportation. Running/hiking, mountain biking, and paddling are the most common, but don’t be surprised if you find a race that also demands rock climbing and rappelling, rafting, or other non-motorized means of travel.

Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Well, that’s part of the fun. For all but the most competitive teams, just finishing an adventure race is the main goal."

You can find upcoming adventure races here

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