Aesthetics & Running: Is It Possible To Have Both?

Personal Trainer in Bakewell show's you how to build a great looking body whilst also improving your running performance.

In the fitness world people generally fall into one of two camps. You're into cardio or you're into weights.

The general censuses is that in order to build a lean, athletic, attractive physique that you must lift weights and avoid too much cardio. And to get better at running the general consensus is that you must run and avoid putting on too much muscle.

But what if you want both?

This is a topic close to my heart because it is exactly how I train.

This year I have set myself the target to run 5k under 20 minutes whilst building muscle and dropping body - I discuss my plan in detail here <

Or in other words I want to run fast and look good but that is a lot easier said than done.

If all you do is run you will likely get smaller but your body composition (muscle and fat) will not significantly change. A body shape achieved by running alone is commonly referred to as 'skinny fat'. You achieve a smaller body but you lose muscle not fat and have no muscle tone or shape because you are not lifting weights - not a great look.

If on the other hand all you did was lift weights you would be applying the correct training method to look good but your running speed would nose dive.

So in order to run fast and achieve an athletic, lean, attractive physique a very considered approach must be undertaken.

From my experience when you thoughtfully blend both running and lifting you can achieve running PB's at the same time as building a lean, athletic physique to be proud of.

Here's 3 things that have helped me approach blending running performance with lifting for aesthetics this year:

#1 Be prepared to double down on your training

To achieve an athletic physique you need to be weight training at least 3 times per week and to get better at running you need to be running at least 3 times per week. Yep, that's right... To truly make this approach work you need to be training a minimum of 6 times per week. Here's how I do it. I have a young family so my weekends are for them. So instead a have double training days during the week. I recommend running in the morning (before work) and lifting at lunch or after work. That way 6 workouts can effectively be done in 3 days giving you plenty of time to rest between workout days and even get extra sessions in during the week. Personally I have 3 weeks where I do 3 runs and 5 weight training sessions each week followed by an easier week where I train 5 times (2 runs, 3 weights).

#2 Plan your meals

Fuelling is essential when you start training at this level. Not only to achieve a fantastic physique but also to give yourself the energy during the day to cope with the training load. My favourite food-prep hack is to add an extra 2 chickens and an extra tray of roasted vegetables to the oven when you're cooking your Sunday roast. By doing so you've got all your lunches sorted for the week. Just add some seeds and fresh avocados to your chicken and veg mix each day and you're good to go.

#3 Lead with protein

The easiest way to calculate your protein requirements is to multiply your body weight in kg by 2 to give you your protein requirements per day in grams. Don't get too hung up on the exact number simply eat +/-10% either side of that number each day. To achieve this my mornings start with a big veg smoothie (+greens powder & flax seeds) and a 4 egg omelette. Lunch is as described above. Post workout shake is 3 scoops of protein powder mixed in water for 75g of protein. And in the evening I don't worry too much as eating with the family is more important. I simple have a smaller portion of whatever the family are eating and stop there - aka I am strict with myself to not consume any calories after 6.30pm. Herbal teas, Netflix and my Kindle gets me though the evening.

I know that this approach might seem a little intense or possible unrealistic for you now but if this is something you'd like to work towards start with small steps.

For example, try 2 runs and 2 weight sessions per week with a food goal of hitting your protein target each day. Do that for a few weeks and then build from there. It's amazing how quickly you can change your habits if the desire is strong enough.

If you are training to run fast and lift for aesthetics this year I'd love to hear how you're doing it / getting on?

Click here to drop me DM on Insta and let me know


PS. If you are new to FITISM, ready to get in shape and would like our help click the button below.

I'm Ready

Recent Posts