Bodybuilding & Running. Can you do both?
“Long distance running will make it difficult to build muscle as endurance training interferes.”- fitness coach
‘You can do both but you wont reach your potential at either”- fitness coach
This is what I have heard since I began my fitness career about 5 years ago, and even before that. During my pageant days, I was told to run in order to bring down my “Hispanic” legs.
As a fitness coach, I would train my clients in this way and whenever it was time to drop weight or get competition ready there would always be running involved. I actually hated the thought of running. I guess mainly because it seemed more of a punishment to me than an enjoyment. It was the way of getting rid of whatever you didn’t want, sort to say if you had to much muscle…run. You have thick legs.... run. I hated the thought of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) because it usually involved some sort of running and I saw it as a evil.
Then something happened. Last year, my family decided that we were going to run the Miami Marathon. Let me give you a little background. My dad is an Ironman (He did a Half-Ironman which is 70.3 miles running, biking and swimming) so this for him is a walk in the park; but for the rest of us it was a big deal.
I also had my wedding coming up and I was struggling to lose weight because my metabolism was pretty messed up from all the awful diets and training from previous personal trainers I had hired. I actually wasn’t fitting into my wedding dress so when they told me their plans I said, "why not?" I mean I needed to lose weight and from years and years of being drilled with running being the best way to get rid of the evil villain called fat, I said hell yea.
I started training around April 2016, and the marathon wasn’t until January 2017. (Yes we are impatient) Much to my amazement I was really enjoying the running. Waking up at 4am on a Saturday didn’t seem all that bad to me. All my fears of running seemed to disappear.
Now you might ask, what was different? I was part of a team, I had a purpose, a goal and was challenging myself like never before.
The fact that my entire family was on this adventure was amazing! We got to complain, laugh, and cry together. We all felt the same pains and cramps when we began getting into the 12+ miles. I was also much faster than I ever thought, and was kinda smoking them all (but don’t tell them that haha). I actually realized I had a competitive side to me which actually came to my aid. The days I felt lazy and didn't want to run, I would just think to myself that the others would get ahead of me and in turn it was my motivation to run.
Then the part that I really enjoyed was the encouragement from other runners. No one was looking at you with a bad face, or staring you up and down to find flaws, instead we were all in this agony together. It was also nice to hear people say you are crazy for doing it because that just meant that I am braver than I thought. All those that were putting you down were coming from a place of fear. The fear that they could not do it and I could. This made me feel empowered. It was that natural high that got me hooked on running.
However, my first passion was bodybuilding. I absolutely love transforming my body, hitting the weights and having the smell of iron on my hands. I also enjoyed going to the gym and lifting very heavy weights and finding myself looking around to see if I was lifting heavier than the guys; again my competitive side motivating me. I didn’t want to have to give up either of them, but I knew that I had to. These two don’t go together. There is no way you can build muscle while running. You run to lose muscle and fat.
I spent many days soul searching and figuring out what direction I wanted to go. Then one day, I was browsing on the internet and found this term called #strengthrunner. It intrigued me. I started researching more and found out there were others that shared my passion for both bodybuilding and running. It was a small group but it was good to know I wasn’t crazy.
I decided that I was going to break the mold and screw everything that anyone has ever taught me. The only thing I had in mind was what my dad always instilled in me:" If you have a dream or a goal go for it! Anything can be done as long as you NEVER give up!" That is exactly what I am going to do. Prove that you don’t have to choose between two things that you love. Hard work and determination can help you get through anything.
So here is where I am today. Showing the world that you can do both. I want to open peoples eyes to this new world.
The body can hold on to muscle if you train and eat properly.
So here is how it can be done;
- Eat a lot and eat often
- Stagger your distances
- Pick one run to be an interval because it recruits the fast twitch muscle which burns fat.
- Don’t run after a leg day because you need to rest so your muscles grow.
5. Don’t lift and run in the same day
6. Run 2-3 times a week and lift 5-7 times a week.