6 Years of Hybrid Athlete Training - The Top 3 Benefits

6 Years of Hybrid Athlete Training - The Top 3 Benefits

I genuinely believe that hybrid athlete training is the most optimal and ideal way to train, and I want to share three reasons you should consider training like a hybrid athlete. But before we get into that, I think we should talk about what exactly is a hybrid athlete.

In the past, many athlete's training focus was on specialization. You pick a specific area of discipline and work to become your absolute best at it. As time has passed, people have increasingly desired to be a more well-rounded and versatile athlete, to have the strength of a weightlifter, the aesthetics of a bodybuilder, and the endurance of a runner. This desire led to the emergence of the hybrid athlete.

Hybrid athlete training combines multiple training disciplines to achieve a well-rounded fitness level. This can range in various sports, such as cycling, running, lifting, rowing, or swimming. But for me, it's primarily been running and strength training.

My journey of hybrid athlete training began in 2018, about a year after I transitioned out of the military. What I didn't realize is that while I was in the army, my training included running, bodyweight exercises, and strength training. When I transitioned out of the military, I told myself that I would never run a day in my life again.

So I went all in on strength training, bodybuilding, and powerlifting. I wanted to get as big and strong as possible. I never wanted to even think about running another mile in my life. But after being out of the army for about a year, I started to miss running. I missed the physical and mental adaptations that running provided me, that this hybrid athlete lifestyle I was living in the military was rewarding me with.

Naturally, the next step was to sign up for my first marathon—the 2018 Austin Marathon. That's when I caught the bug of endurance sports and realized the power of combining running with strength training.

It has been 6 years of hybrid athlete training, and these are the 3 most significant benefits I have gained from it.

#1 Improved body COMPOSITION.

A common myth is that running will destroy your strength gains and muscle mass. I had two excellent podcasts with Dr. Layne Norton and Thomas DeLauer on incorporating running with strength training and the impact on the human body from a body composition standpoint.

“A very recent meta-analysis came out that showed aerobic conditioning did not appear to attenuate hypertrophy or strength. They were actually able to show that doing some form of cardio may actually be beneficial for hypertrophy.”

“It's an adaptation. Our bodies are accustomed to us going out for a run. Our bodies say, oh, this is what Nick does. So if you take someone that's never run before, there might be a gray area period of time while they kind of find themselves and maybe have a little bit of catabolism. In the long run, they're going to build more muscle probably.”

- Dr. Layne Norton

“As long as protein needs are met, you will typically be just fine. So if you're running and you're lifting, you probably need to increase your protein more than if you were just running or just lifting.”

- Thomas Delauer

You can listen to my podcast with Dr. Layne and Thomas Delauer here.

So we have to look at exercise, combining strength training and running, not necessarily just on the exercise itself, but the application.

#2 Improved Health Span and Lifespan.

What is the difference between health span and lifespan? Lifespan is the amount of years that you live, so think of it in terms of time or duration. Healthspan is the quality of life prior to disease.

We know that strength training will improve and increase bone mineral content. The older you get and the stronger your bones are, you reduce your risk of having a massive injury. Also, VO2 max is going to decrease the older you get, but if we build a strong VO2 max when we are younger and maintain that through zone two training and some high-intensity zone five endurance training, we can extend our health span and lifespan.

Below is a clip from The Huberman Lab Podcast between Andrew Huberman and Dr. Andy Galpin on how hybrid style training has a positive impact on the human body.

Now, I'll be honest. When I was younger, I never thought about training and nutrition in terms of extending the life that I was going to live. It is now something I keep in mind, knowing these decisions are going to have a massive positive impact on my life and health span in the future.

#3 Training Flexibility Promotes Sustainability.

The best plan is one that you can stick to.

If I'm doing the same exact workouts over and over again, yes, I will do it, but I start to lose the joy, passion, and fulfillment from the journey itself. That's why hybrid athlete training has been so attractive and fun. I go through seasons when my area of focus is sometimes marathon, triathlon, or ultra-marathon prep. I will increase the volume and intensity of endurance training but still have a foundation of strength training as part of that hybrid athlete lifestyle. There are also seasons like in 2023 when I was in bodybuilding prep, where I increased the volume, intensity, and duration of strength training because that was my area of focus. It doesn't matter where my focus is for that period of time, there is still a foundation of the running or strength training. Again, the best plan is one that you can stick to - and having the ability to be flexible promotes sustainability.

To watch and learn more about how I train as a hybrid athlete, click the link below,



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