The 6 Pillars of the Hybrid Build

The 6 Pillars of the Hybrid Build

Building muscle is not easy.

For years, people have been led by the mistaken belief that muscle is built as a by-product of a few good sessions, spurts of focused energy, and a big enough meal. They see strength athletes and bodybuilders who have trained for decades and assume that the same results can be achieved in weeks.

The truth is, if you want to build, it will require intense training, a hyper-focused approach to both quantity and quality of nutrition, and an understanding of the unique demands of your body.

For Nick Bare, Founder of Bare Performance Nutrition, muscle building is a process that requires the same meticulous strategy and execution as the pursuit of a sub-2:50 marathon or 100-mile ultra-distance race. These accolades would lead you to believe he's done it all, but Nick's not done; there's still more to prove.

So, what's next? The Hybrid Build.

After 3+ years of heavy endurance training, Nick is back to his bodybuilding roots, with the goal of putting on as much size and strength as possible from now until March 1st - and he wants to lead a community of hybrid athletes who are working towards the same goal!

Does that mean running will be left to the wayside? Absolutely not. This series is intended to inspire and inform so that you, too, can build muscle, gain strength, run miles, and Go One More®!

The Pillars of Hybrid Muscle Building:

With any successful block of training, there are pillars that guide focus, action, and execution. If you want to gain size and strength without sacrificing endurance, the 6 pillars that follow will provide you with the blueprint – a detailed understanding of each pillar and how you can implement action into pursuing your goals.

Pillar #1: Strength Training

The success or failure of any building phase depends on your ability to train with intensity toward the goal. Resistance training must take priority when the primary focus is strength and muscle development.

A compound movement leads each workout because these exercises provide the greatest overall stimulus to training primary and secondary muscles. Weekly training is scheduled based on which muscles will be worked on any given day. A sample of Nick's current training split is as follows:

This plan ensures that each muscle is worked with enough regularity while also allowing for recovery. When the goal is to build, training sessions must be intense. The muscles trained should be taken to complete exhaustion through total volume, which will be discussed in Pillar #4.

Resistance training is a foundational component of performance. Dedicate yourself to periods of strength development and muscle growth with the hybrid build approach, and you will maximize all areas of your fitness.

Pillar #2: Running

Endurance should always have a place in your training, and you don't have to prepare for a big race to gain the benefits this training style provides.

Over the five years of training since his first marathon, running has been the preferred style of endurance for Nick. In the build-up towards marathon PRs and 100-mile races, mileage has been at the forefront of his training. Now, with the mindset shifting towards a phase of strength and muscle gain, common knowledge would say that running should be entirely removed from the plan.

For Nick and all members of the hybrid athlete community, the idea of "common" isn't desirable. Running should remain a staple in your daily and weekly approach. Muscles and milage can work together, and as we'll learn throughout the series, running may promote muscle hypertrophy.

The claims that "running makes you weak" and "cardio will force you to lose muscle" are single-track-minded. They fail to acknowledge the various factors that go into training, strength gain, and muscle growth. Elements within the athlete's control and supported by the pillars of muscle building discussed in the Hybrid Build.

Pillar #3: Nutrition

Fueling with adequate nutrition is essential to performance and recovery as a hybrid athlete. A sufficient diet in total daily calories and protein intake will encourage positive adaptations to both training styles.

Ultimately, muscle can be built at any point when the rate of muscle protein synthesis outweighs that of muscle protein breakdown. Muscle protein synthesis refers to the production of new muscle proteins that allow the body to rebuild stronger. This understanding, discussed in greater detail in Episode #2 of the Hybrid Build series, reinforces that running doesn't diminish the possibility of strength and muscle gain.

Many people approach a building phase as an opportunity to eat whatever they'd like, with little regard for nutritional value. Nick will be tracking his nutrition closely to maximize the gains made throughout the Hybrid Build. Focusing on protein and total caloric intake ensures that the athlete is consuming enough of the foods that best fuel their body for progress.

The quantity and quality of your food intake significantly impact the bottom-line result. From marathon courses to bodybuilding stages, you will struggle to continually develop and perform if you overlook the value of nutrition.

Learn from Nick's approach through the YouTube series and consider his one-of-a-kind sludge and builder bowls featuring BPN's excellent Whey Protein options!

Pillar #4: Strategic Volume Progression

A structured approach to training should have evidence of progressive overload. This type of development can be assessed in terms of total training volume, measured by factors such as weight lifted, reps performed, sets completed, or a combination of each.

Nick enjoys training at very high levels of volume. Multiple sets of varying rep ranges, with little rest between sets. He understands that training for muscle growth requires intensity but also stresses the importance of gradually building your work capacity over time. Progression occurs when you effectively take inventory of what your body can handle and make a plan to implement progressive overload into your training.

Volume isn't just strategic in terms of progression in the gym but also through the balance of running and strength training. Because the primary goal is to gain size and strength, your running volume will be much lower than it may be if you wanted to train for a marathon. Understanding the baseline of weekly mileage that you can run while still achieving the goal of size and strength gain is essential to the work of the Hybrid Build.

If you're interested in following a plan that supports muscle and strength gain while also maintaining endurance, you can check out Nick's training app, with numerous programs that support all aspects of the hybrid approach, such as his current routine. From marathons to heavy strength training, Nick will push you to develop as an all-around athlete!

Pillar #5: Objective Data

Throughout any process, there is value in looking at indisputable evidence. This information accurately depicts what is and is not optimized in your training and nutrition.

Examples of objective data include the body weight on a scale, results of regular blood work, or a DEXA scan, which accurately depicts an athlete's body composition. Nick will use each of these data points monthly to track progress and share results throughout the Hybrid Build.

You can apply any of these metrics for your individual use, depending on the outcomes you're training for. If your primary goal is to add size and strength, you can track progress through weight lifted on a given exercise or body weight on the scale. Furthermore, if your goals expand into the optimization of diet and body composition, you may be interested in the results of a complete blood panel or DEXA scan.

In either instance, the point is simple. Objective data allows athletes to determine what is fact and what is fiction. Is progress being made towards your goal, or not? By identifying and measuring the correct information, data can inform your approach and help you to become the strongest athlete possible.

Pillar #6: Recovery

Although easy to disregard, rest and recovery from strenuous workouts are essential to lasting progress. Recovery can come in many different forms, so athletes should work to identify and implement the practices that work best for them.

A core aspect of Nick's recovery regimen is the ability to autoregulate his training. This means that he assesses how his body feels on a given day and adjusts his training accordingly. Feeling energized and ready to go? It's probably a good day to train hard and push for progress. Feeling sore and run down? Nick would say it may be wise to perform a lighter workout or take a recovery day altogether.

Autoregulation gives power to the athlete through a more flexible approach. If you need to adjust the schedule to optimize performance, you're encouraged to do so because, ultimately, proper recovery leads to better training and more significant results.

If you're training with Nick's hybrid athlete approach, the importance of recovery is heightened. The more you train, the more critical it will be to recover effectively.

At this point, it's perhaps not even an argument that sleep remains essential in any recovery regimen. If you're failing to optimize these precious hours, it will be wise to consider how you can promote quality sleep through a better routine and maybe even a sleep-support supplement like Peak Sleep, which will support a state of calm relaxation to assist in deep sleep and recovery possibilities.

Join the Hybrid Build!

The new series is in full effect. The Hybrid Build aims to disprove the belief that you can’t gain strength and size in combination with running and endurance training.

With weekly releases every Monday at 10 am CST, Nick and the team aim to inform, inspire, and encourage athletes everywhere to optimize performance through the hybrid athlete training approach. Want to see what all the hype is about? Check out Episode #1 below!

Where to watch: Subscribe to Nick’s YouTube channel for new video releases.

How to stay up to date: Follow Nick on Instagram for a look into his daily life and training!


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