5 Things You Don't Know About DEKA FIT

5 Things You Don't Know About DEKA FIT

Curious about DEKA

DEKA events are functional fitness competitions Spartan produces each year. They are an indoor decathlon of functional fitness and training programs designed to be basic, simple, and utilitarian.

And in true Spartan spirit, the focus of these events is to train with a purpose — to boost member motivation, individual performance, and a sense of connection to the community.

Sounds great, right? But what’s the difference between DEKA and OCR? What kind of athletes should sign up? Can YOU really do DEKA? (Spoiler: Yes, you can.)

Related: Where Does DEKA Come From? The Decathlon of Functional Fitness — A Modern Pursuit of Excellence

What Is DEKA FIT? 

1. It’s for Everyone 

a deka fit racer throwing a medicine ball

The ultimate Spartan mission is to rip as many people off the couch as possible and get them training; tuned in to their nutrition, mind, and body; and competing in events.

There are countless people who have found purpose by getting down and dirty and braving the elements at outdoor races. And there's lots of mud.

Related: Tried-and-Tested Gear Spartans Won’t Race in the Heat Without

But the reality is, the mud and the barbed wire aren’t for everyone. So if you find yourself searching for that sense of selfless community, a reason to put in the work, or a way to build grit and perseverance — that’s where DEKA comes in.

With diverse programming (read: something for everyone) — every event has close to a 100 percent completion rate — these indoor events are designed so that the toughest of the tough (but also the beginners) can test what they’re made of in the same arena.

All you have to do is show up. 

It’s you against yourself. This is your time to gamify your fitness and prove to yourself that you can push past your limits. Even if you struggle with quieting that voice in your head that tells you to quit, getting to the starting line is your biggest battle.

Once you’re in the DEKA Arena and you're surrounded by people just like you who have struggled, bled, sweated, and cried just like you to get there; once you hear your Spartan staff spotter counting your reps close to completion; once you feel your blood pumping as you grind out your last few meters, wall-overs, or burpees … then you’ll understand the euphoria that accompanies being “DEKA Done.” And you’ll be unstoppable. 


a deka fit racer pulling a weighted sled

Distinguishing between FIT, STRONG, and MILE might — understandably — mean nothing to you if you’re still confused about what DEKA is in the first place. So let’s break it down.

Imagine DEKA as the umbrella term — the “OCR” behind a Sprint, Super, or Beast — for the decathlon of functional fitness. FIT, STRONG, and MILE, then, are simply the event subsets of the overall brand.

Related: Spartan Race Types: Find the Right OCR for You

DEKA STRONG is a fitness-testing assessment and event designed specifically for gyms and studios, featuring the brand’s signature 10 DEKA Zones and NO running.

If you’re training for explosive power but you just can’t stomach a foot race — or if pure, uninterrupted functional training is just more up your alley — STRONG is the perfect test.

You can sign up for a STRONG event at DEKA-affiliated gyms across the country.

DEKA MILE is a fitness challenge featuring the same signature zones with a total of one mile of running, and DEKA FIT — the Super Bowl of Fitness — will kick the distance up a notch.

Get Your DEKA Mark. Then Get Your DEKA Trifecta.

Depending on your goals, one event might strike your fancy more than the others. But if you’re like Joy King, you might turn out to be a jack of all trades. King had competed in a DEKA STRONG at her gym, The Compoundin Macon, Georgia, and said she was instantly hooked. So when the 2021 DEKA FIT event in Atlanta rolled around, she did what any true Spartan would do. She signed up twice

“I was feeling extra ambitious when I signed up for two DEKA FIT events in the same day,” she said. “I was still riding the high I had from the DEKA STRONG event, so I asked myself, ‘Why not?’ I wanted to give it all that I had that day, and I walked away feeling like I did exactly that. It fueled my desire to continue to pursue the Jacksonville DEKA Trifecta.”

Related: There Are More Trifecta Weekends Than EVER. Find Yours at One of These 9 Epic Locations.

That’s right. Just like with OCR, participating in all three of the DEKA events within one calendar year will earn you the coveted Trifecta title. So what are you waiting for?

3. You’ll Run a 5K (But Not All at Once)

deka fit racers running during an event

Because DEKA is a Spartan event, you probably have one of two misconceptions: that DEKA is a type of OCR, or that the event will be purely functional fitness movements. But in reality, DEKA FIT is sort of like a combination of both — and neither — all at once. Like OCR, you’ll have the larger contest as a whole broken up into different challenge areas. Except in DEKA, the challenges are not obstacles. They’re different zones of functional fitness. But that’s not all — and this is where some people get confused. You WILL be running

Related: This Workout Will Help You OWN the 500-Meter DEKA Run

Each DEKA FIT event begins with a 500-meter run, and between every zone you’ll complete the 500-meter loop, which usually outlines the other zones and the festival as a whole, taking you past a great view and a ton of fellow Spartans waiting to cheer you on. All in all, you’ll clock in 10 of those 500-meter runs, adding up to a 5K.

4. The 10 DEKA Zones Are Always the Same

a deka fit racer doing weighted RAM burpees

Spartan training has always been designed to be as functional as possible, indicative of the kinds of stresses and challenges your body will face when you’re competing in Spartan-run events (and doing daily, everyday tasks). So the 10 DEKA Zones are designed to do just that.

And the good news is, if you’re training for one DEKA event, you’re training for all the rest. The following zones are the 10 challenge areas you’ll face at any event, whether it’s STRONG, MILE, or FIT.

Zone #1: 30 RAM Alt Reverse Lunge

Zone #2: 500-Meter Row

Zone #3: 20 Box Jump Step Over/Jump Overs

Zone #4: 25 Med Ball Sit-Up Throws

Zone #5: 500-Meter Ski Erg

Zone #6: 100-Meter Farmer's Carry

Zone #7: 25-Calorie Air Bike

Zone #8: 20 Dead Ball Wall-Overs

Zone #9: 100-Meter Tank Push/Pull

Zone #10: 20 RAM Burpees

5. There Are Different Weights for Men and Women

two deka fit racers during a race

If hearing that the DEKA Arena is designed for the best of the best AND beginners alike has you wondering if you’ll be hauling the same weight as world-class weightlifters, that’s pretty much the idea.

But don’t worry: For the zones that require lifting, pushing, pulling, or otherwise moving a set amount of weight, there are separate designated loads for men and women.

Your designated weight will be clearly dictated by your spotter, and most of the weighted equipment will also be clearly marked and — in the case of RAMs — color-coded, so you can just grab and go. 

Six of the 10 zones have weight variations by gender, and here are the differences:

Zone #1: 30 RAM Alt Reverse Lunge: Women use the 33-pound RAM and men use the 55-pound RAM.

Zone #4: 25 Med Ball Sit-Up Throws: Women use a 14-pound ball and men use a 20-pound ball.

Zone #6: 100-Meter Farmer's Carry: Women carry two 40-pound dumbbells and men carry two 60-pound dumbbells. 

Related: Should Men and Women Train Differently? Generally, No — But There Are Caveats

Zone #8: 20 Dead Ball Wall-Overs: Women use a 40-pound ball and men use a 60-pound ball.

Zone #9: 100-Meter Tank Push/Pull: Women use the Level Two setting and men use Level Three. The settings will already be in place for you, and tanks with different weights are separated on either the left or right side of the zone to avoid confusion.

Zone #10: 20 RAM Burpees: Women use the 22-pound RAM and men use the 44-pound RAM.