The Best Way To Train

Is it possible to look like a physique competitor and have the aerobic capacity of a runner?

When I first began studying sport and exercise science we were taught that the only way to get really good at something was to specialise…

If you want to build a great looking body train like a physique competitor.

If you want to become a great runner train like an endurance athlete.

But what if you want a combination of both?

The sport and exercise science purest would argue that if you try and train for both physique and endurance at the same time, you dilute their impact.

Whilst this might be true what if you’re not an elite athlete but someone like me or you that does in fact want a bit of both?

This is where the concept of hybrid training comes into play.

A hybrid athlete has the physique of a body builder, the endurance of a runner and the strength of a power lifter.

But is this possible?

According to current sport and exercise researchers and a number of figureheads pioneering this approach it appears that it is.

Here are four lessons I have learnt from personally following a weekly schedule that includes both weight training and running...

1. Type

To improve your physique you must lift weights with the primary focus of building lean muscle tissue. To improve your aerobic fitness, let’s use running as an example, you must run. Treat both these disciplines as separate endeavours and programme as such. For example, if you’re a FITISM member, every quarter you start a new 13 week training block in the gym (BUILD sessions). So alongside your 3x weekly BUILD sessions you could aim to build up your zone 2 running distance - start at 10km per week and increase your weekly distance by 10% each week over 13 weeks, so by week 13 you’re running 25km per week as an example.

NOTE: if running isn't your thing FITISM BURN sessions are a fantastic way to improve your aerobic fitness alongside your BUILD sessions at FITISM.

2. Volume

You won’t improve your running if all you do is run once per week and you won’t improve your physique if you lift weights once per week. You have to apply the principles of SAID (specific adaptation of implied demands) to both. Meaning you must apply enough specific demand on your body for it to adapt. As a basic rule if you run 3x per week and lift weights 3x per week you can expect to see improvements in both areas.

3. Recovery

You must separate your physique training from your aerobic training. In other-words don’t lift then go straight into a run. To allow your body to adapt to the specific demands you should aim to leave at least four hours rest between workouts. A morning run at 6am before work followed by a lunch time BUILD session at 1pm for example. 

4. Fuel

In order to sustain this type of training schedule you must really focus on getting adequate nutrition (and hydration) into your body. Preparation is key! The principles of great nutrition still apply - total calories, macros, quality and timing of foods (in that order) in critical if you’re looking to make changes to body composition and optimise health. So with all this considered ensure you have nutrition prepared and ready to consume especially if you are on a tight schedule!

A hybrid approach to training is my personal preference when it comes to training. I train in this way because I like the way it makes me look, I like the way aerobic fitness makes me feel, I like the focus and progress lifting weights provides and I like the headspace and solitude I get from running.

The way you train and what you want to get from training is personal to you. But if you fancy mixing up your training a hybrid approach could be just what you’re looking for. And as luck would have it a FITISM membership provides you with everything you need to train in this way; BUILD sessions provide you with physique training and BURN sessions provide you with your aerobic training, but then you knew I was going to say that didn't you ;)

Happy training,


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