What is a Hybrid Athlete? The Full Guide to Strength & Endurance

What is a Hybrid Athlete? The Full Guide to Strength & Endurance

By now, you have probably heard the term, "hybrid athlete" thousands of times, but do you really know what it means? Despite being an increasingly popular topic in the world of fitness, it’s never been entirely understood.

So, what is a hybrid athlete? We want to define it for you.

The hybrid athlete combines strength and endurance to push the limits of their fitness capabilities.

Training as a hybrid athlete is a fun, exciting, and effective training method for strength and endurance. In this article, we will provide a complete guide to getting started and excelling as a hybrid athlete, so you can keep the mileage and the muscles.

WHY THE HYBRID ATHLETE?

Nick Bare, Founder of Bare Performance Nutrition, has spent the last decade dialing-in the hybrid training style and achieving at a high-level across marathons, Ironman triathlons, and ultramarathons. Currently, he is prepping for a bodybuilding show as part of the “Hybrid Cut” video series.

Most believe that high-performance requires a 'laser-focused' specificity and sacrifice to one goal. For example, if you’re trying to PR a marathon, many would encourage that you only focus on endurance and speed development. Running would be seen as the only needed training activity, and any emphasis on strength training would be “a waste of time”. Basically, you would be upping your weekly mileage, while disregarding other forms of training.

But is this really the best approach? No.

Nick Bare lifting and running

You should never give up training strength OR endurance. When combined, they support each other for a stronger life and greater performance.

By documenting his evolution of training over the past decade, Nick and the BPN team have inspired countless others to pursue their full potential with the hybrid athlete approach, because when it comes to your fitness, no sacrifices need to be made.

HOW TO TRAIN AS A HYBRID ATHLETE

No more picking and choosing.

Whether it is your fastest marathon time to-date or a deadlift PR, the hybrid athlete is committed to the work and won’t take shortcuts in the process. Do you want to strengthen your approach as a hybrid athlete? Consider these three-steps:

1. Establish a Goal

Hold yourself accountable by identifying something hard and writing it down.

2. Make the Commitment

Go all in. Commit to the hybrid athlete training structure. This is what it looks like to Prove Yourself Right!

3. Follow the Principles

Strength and endurance are the foundation for top performance in any sport or activity. You don’t have to look far to find a high-performing athlete who trains both with regularity.

Now, what does this look like? It’s different for everyone. It could be 4 strength training sessions and 2 days of running, or an even split across the week. Regardless of how you break it down, you need to find a balance that allows you to hit your goals.

Next, we will dive deeper into the principles of the hybrid athlete, to better understand how you should organize your training for best results.

Nick Bare training

THE HYBRID ATHLETE PRINCIPLES

The following three principles serve as a key foundation for development of the hybrid athlete. You will see these principles reflected in Nick’s training and the resources he and the BPN team provide.

Apply these ideas to maximize your effectiveness, both in and out of training or competition.

PRINCIPLE #1: MEASURE TRAINING VOLUME

To assess progress most accurately, you should consider training volume (which can be measured daily, weekly, or even monthly). Here’s how-to measure training volume as a hybrid athlete:

Strength Training - The total number of sets completed, reps performed, and/or weight-lifted in each session or for a specific exercise.

(Example: performing a barbell squat for 5 sets of 5 reps with 225lbs)

Running - The amount of total running mileage you complete in a week.

(Example: running 50 miles one week and increasing mileage by 10% to 55 miles the next week)

If you measure training volume properly, it helps to track progress and plan for progressive overload.

PRINCIPLE #2: PROGRAM FOR THE GOAL

The ratio of strength to endurance training that you perform should be a direct reflection of your current goals. As you narrow your focus on a goal, your total volume of training will reflect the abilities needed to perform on race or competition day.

Using running as an example, if your goal is to run a marathon in 16-weeks, you will start from a balanced training approach (consider an even 50/50 split of running and lifting). As you approach race day, towards the 'peak' of your marathon training cycle, that ratio may look more like an 80/20 or 90/10 split, in favor of running.

This is necessary if you hope to perform to your full potential. However, keep in mind, you should never stop training strength or endurance entirely.

PRINCIPLE #3: PRIORITIZE RECOVERY

You have probably experienced feelings of fatigue, exhaustion, and chronic stress. For many driven athletes, it is easy to overemphasize training stress through miles ran and weight lifted, while underemphasizing recovery. This common trap will stall progression and increase your risk of injury. And trust us when we say, it's not worth the risk.

Progression requires the growth formula of stress + rest = growth to be properly balanced on a regular basis. How can we place more of the focus on recovery to help balance the growth equation? Consider these three practices that you can start using right now.

  • SLEEP - The number one recovery tool and performance enhancer that is always at your disposal. If you fail to prioritize sleep, you diminish performance. This should be the top priority for improved recovery.
  • AUTOREGULATION - This style of training empowers you to determine your level of readiness for a given workout each day. Feeling recovered and ready to go? Push hard and aim to perform at the highest possible level. Sore and beaten up from a recent training session (or life)? Ease back on the training volume. Note: Autoregulation isn’t an excuse to not work hard, rather it’s a strategy to ensure that you can continue to do so.
  • NUTRITION - Fail to fuel effectively and you will never perform to standard. Daily nutrition, hydration, and supplementation are crucial to better performance. Each person is in direct control of this variable, how will you maximize it?

SUPPORT YOUR PERFORMANCE

Supplementation exists to fill nutritional gaps. These gaps are most likely hindering your performance. Consider these three products for better training from start to finish, formulated for the hybrid athlete.

FLIGHT / PRE-WORKOUT:

Have you ever experienced the benefits of a good pre-workout? Probably not, because most formulas in the industry offer proprietary blends of cheap, ineffective ingredients. Flight’s formula of CarnoSyn® beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, and a unique combination of two different sources of caffeine provides a benefit that you can feel and put to work in your training.

G.1.M SPORT / ENDURANCE FUEL:

Imagine a world where you can train longer and harder, without the common fatigue that slows so many athletes down. G.1.M Sport is a superior training fuel of fast-digesting carbohydrates in the form of Cluster Dextrin®, paired with a complete profile of electrolytes. High-quality training shouldn't be too good to be true, and thanks to G.1.M Sport, it doesn't need to be.

WHEY PROTEIN:

As a hybrid athlete, you are probably training more than most. Whey protein is going to be your go-to recovery tool. We have the best tasting whey protein on the market, period. Not only that, but our protein, like all our supplements, is tested and verified by Informed Sport.

BPN products being used by athletes.

Supplementation often gets a bad rap. Many believe that all nutritional needs can be supported by whole foods alone, but for athletes who want to get the most out of every training session, high-quality supplements are necessary.

THE HYBRID ATHLETE TRAINING PROGRAM  

Let’s say it again, because it bears repeating: You don’t have to sacrifice strength for endurance. 

Nick Bare and the BPN team will offer the tools, resources, and community you need as a hybrid athlete. Still got questions? Access our library of resources, including tons of videos and blog articles about training and supplementation.

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