This article was originally published on the Spartan Race website.
The concept was simple: Create a fitness benchmark that could be tested in a controlled environment so that any person — or any team — could walk away knowing exactly where they stood in reference to others. An event that was not prohibitive of ability and not influenced by location or terrain, and was designed to challenge both elite athletes and weekend warriors. A concept that encapsulated all the tenets of Spartan — grit, determination, and perseverance — in one arena. Five-thousand meters of running; 10 stations testing strength, endurance, and mobility; no hesitation.
Yancy Culp, DEKAFIT’s Sport Development Program Manager, gave us insight into the new Spartan endeavor that will deliver it all.
The event was inspired by antiquity.
“From a historical perspective, all motion was designed for survival: It was all about providing for ourselves, our families, and our tribe,” Culp said. “Strength, agility, movement, endurance: These were essential to surviving, and the ancient Greeks were the first to transition them into exercise and put them into competition. But even that word ‘compete,’ with the Latin roots including ‘com’ (‘come together’) and ‘compere’ (‘strive and seek’), revealed it wasn’t just about going for victory.
“The ancient Greeks believed in Arete, the idea of excellence in a sound body and mind. In working toward that excellence, a person would benefit and the community would benefit.”
To test this, the ancient Greeks developed various events contested by one person that would be measured and scored separately across a variety of venues. Traditionally including throwing, jumping, sprinting, and hurdling, athletes spent their entire lives mastering the intricacies of every movement in preparation.
“Even today, there are other competitions that claim to test the total athlete, but those competitions frequently target specific events or movements, and we wanted something that was straightforward and accessible to any range of fitness,” Culp said. “The Greeks developed rudimentary events, and DEKAFIT isn’t going to replace those other formats. Instead, it will complement them. It’s all on the same plane: a method of testing for the masses, not just specialization.
“We wanted something that any gym or any group could show up and do, from mom and pop local gyms to the armed forces and first responders.”
The method became the most important part. So how does DEKAFIT work?
View this post on Instagram
DEKAFIT by Spartan WHO’S IT FOR? DEKAFIT is for everybody and all levels (novice to elite fitness athletes) looking to improve their fitness, build connections and enhance their daily performance. It provides the perfect opportunity for all fitness enthusiasts including, but not limited to: Athletes, Fitness Professionals, Military, Police, Fire, EMS, Runners, OCR Racers, Crossfit Athletes, and more! This is your opportunity to train with purpose, test your fitness, compete against yourself and others because you deserve a mark! Struggling with Motivation? Need Accountability? Looking to Connect with Like-Minds? Ready to Compete? It’s YOU vs. YOU… WHAT WILL BE YOUR DEKA SCORE? #DEKAFITX
A post shared by DEKAFIT (@deka.fit) on Dec 24, 2019 at 8:52am PST
The goal is to evaluate these metrics so literally anyone can be measured in DEKAFIT at any point, without the discrepancies or technicalities found in other formats.
“We want to be able to pull 1,000 people off the street to show they can test themselves that same day and measure it for that day and for the future,” Culp said. “We want HR departments to have their employees earn a DEKA Mark. We want there to be classifications for individuals from all backgrounds, to be shown in comparison with the best co-ed teams or elite participants. All that’s required is a good pair of running shoes. In fact, that’s just a recommendation.
“We feel it’s very important to test all levels of fitness and get an accurate DEKA Score, for the same arena and same day, and with the same standards. All levels of fitness deserve a mark. This puts a lot of wind under the wings of every fitness movement, for any location or level of involvement. It doesn’t matter the size of the gym or membership, whether it’s trainers, owners, or casual fitness users. Everyone can achieve a mark.”
Plus, athletes don’t need a classification to train for DEKAFIT.
“You could literally come from urban environments or the country or anything in between,” Culp said. “You and I could train for this in our backyard, our living room, or any gym in the world. You don’t need anything fancy to get better. This is the most basic form of work, and you can train for this year-round, without a budget. It’s for any group in business or in sport; schools, armed forces. Literally ANYONE. There’s no limit for growth.”
For Spartans looking to participate in DEKAFIT, the first event will take place in Denver on March 21, and more locations will follow.
We look forward to sharing this new challenge with you! Will you be ready to earn your mark in 2020?