I know I've been banging on about Hybrid Fitness and being a Hybrid Athlete, but It's occurred to me that you may not know too much about this fitness craze.
Is this some new fad money maker for fitness influencers? From what I've seen, there are people trying to cash in on it, but that's certainly not the case from my perspective because, in essence, there is nothing to sell with this dynamic training.
So, in this blog, let me give you the whole picture and complete clarity on what Hybrid Fitness is. Here's what you'll learn:
Reflecting on my years of experience as a personal trainer, NLP coach, and soldier, I'm struck by a profound realisation. The world of fitness and strength is as diverse and complex as the individuals who engage in it.
In my journey, I've discovered a universal truth: a hybrid approach to strength and fitness trumps specialisation in just one area. Being good across multiple disciplines is superior to being excellent in one!
Personally, I'm not interested in becoming a world champion bodybuilder. I enjoy having a muscular physique, but I no longer wish to jump on stage with no clothes flexing my pecs. I love running, especially in the mountains; however, I'm not interested in becoming an Olympic-level long-distance runner.
I don't wish to be a professional gymnast, Olympic lifter, world-class sprinter, swimmer, or powerlifter. But with all that said, I want a good-looking body that is fit, lean, strong, healthy, dynamic, versatile, and can do any of the things I ask.
Playing my favourite sports, hiking, running up mountains, skiing, swimming, lifting weights, and all the other good stuff I enjoy doing is what I want to be able to do now and until my Death… Welcome to a new way of fitness that offers superior benefits for everyone regardless of ability.
Hybrid Fitness is more of a training philosophy and less of a rigid regime or system. It's an entirely holistic approach toward training that delivers more than any other training method.
The term Hybrid Fitness is not owned or patented by anyone like CrossFit. It has become an evolutionary concept developed from the following:
Now that you understand where this training philosophy has evolved let's look at what this consists of.
So let's be clear: firstly, nobody owns Hybrid Fitness, nor are there any rules or regulations stipulating what it is or isn't. We know that Hybrid means 'something of mixed origin or composition', which translates to multiple fitness components in the world of fitness.
These different components are as follows:
There are a couple more, and some may argue mobility/flexibility. Still, for the purpose of easy understanding, these are the key components.
To embark on a Hybrid Fitness Journey, you must know these elements and how to improve them. Once you gain momentum with these different pieces, you'll have a well-rounded, high-performing body. With a little preparation, you can enter any event you wish and do reasonably well at it.
See the illustration below to absorb a visual representation of these components.
A hybrid athlete strives to excel in a range of physical competencies. This approach makes you physically and mentally versatile, adaptable, and resilient. You will be able to run a respectable distance, lift significant weights, maintain flexibility, move more efficiently, and demonstrate admirable mental toughness through good practice.
Recent research supports the benefits of a diverse fitness routine. A study in the "American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine" (2018) highlights how regular physical activity, encompassing various exercise types, significantly enhances physical health and cognitive function. This is crucial for our everyday decision-making and problem-solving skills. This versatility is vital for those of us in high-pressure careers like female executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs.
Combining strength and endurance will improve your overall fitness, muscle growth (don't worry, ladies, you won't look like a bodybuilder) and cardiovascular health. This is according to a study published in "Sports Medicine" (2019). If you apply this training philosophy, you will be more able to deal with stress and pressure within work and life, which are inevitably coming your way!
Flexibility and mobility are often overshadowed by the more glamorous aspects of fitness, like muscle gain and endurance. Yet, their importance cannot be overstated. Research in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" (2017) has shown that incorporating flexibility and mobility exercises into regular training can significantly reduce the risk of injury, improve athletic performance, and enhance muscle recovery. Being fit and strong is excellent, but moving well and pain-free is even better. How good would it be to be able to move like the carefree teenager you used to be?
I touched on this earlier, but mental fortitude plays a significant role in the Hybrid approach. A study in "Frontiers in Psychology" (2019) revealed that varied physical training positively impacts mental resilience and psychological well-being. In a world where professional individuals suffer from burnout, imposter syndrome, and lack of self-belief, staying mentally strong and focused is as important as physical strength.
Diverse fitness routines align with the principles of holistic health, where physical, mental, and emotional health are interconnected. As per the "Global Wellness Institute" (2020), holistic approaches to fitness are on the rise, echoing a shift towards more inclusive and comprehensive health strategies. When you can think, feel, and act without limitations, you know you're in the right space… so stay there!
Peter Attia, MD, a Longevity expert, regularly talks about the 4 horsemen of Death:
By improving all components of fitness, you are having a significant impact on reducing the risk of the above. Exercise has been shown in countless studies to be the single most effective method of reducing the risk. Cardiovascular and strength training are effective, but combining them all has a significant positive impact.
In a future blog, I will go into detail on how you can do this, but here is a snapshot of how you can get started today!
Assess - Start by assessing what you can do in 4 essential components of fitness. But before you start, allow me to pull out my safety net… Please ensure you seek medical advice or a relevant practitioner before embarking on any exercise journey.
Strength – To build strength, you need to have a stable platform, so the ability to execute your movement under control is vital. Use these exercises and see how many you can do but under strict form and with a 3-second down and 3-second up-tempo:
If you want my full demonstration of these assessment exercises, join my Warrior Fitness & Mindset Newsletter to access the tutorials. Record how many repetitions you can complete, maintaining excellent form throughout and keeping with the timing of 3 seconds up and 3 down. Use a timer to help assist you with this.
Aerobic Capacity – The distance at which we can all run is relative. Despite that, a good starting point is to see if you can run 5km without stopping. Don't worry if you've not run that distance before. Just get out there and see what you can do. Once complete, then record your time and how you felt.
Mobility – Your ability to dynamically move your joints well through space in 3-planes of motion is crucial. Here are mobility exercises I'd like you to try and see how well you can do them.
For more mobility exercises and a full tutorial on how to do them, join my newsletter and gain complete access. Once you do these movements, record how many you can and how easy or difficult they are.
Now, there's plenty more that you can do, but this is an excellent place to start. Remember to track the outcomes of all of the above.
Structure – Now that you've witnessed how easy or difficult certain areas are, give them a score of 1-5. 5 is excellent. With these scores, you can now start to structure a routine by providing a higher priority to those areas with low scores. A good example is this:
Let's assume you scored low on strength and better on your 5km and mobility, and you have 4 hours a week available to do deliberate exercise. Then you may break down a week of training like this:
2 x 1 Hour sessions of Strength
1 x Hour of Mobility
1 x Hour of Aerobic Capacity
Use the exercises in the assessments as a basis for your exercise routines. If you want more ideas for workouts, then you know the drill: subscribe to the newsletter to access video workout routines.
Progression - With a good structure prioritising your weaker areas, it's time to add progression. Increasing the intensity each week using more weight, time, repetitions, distance, or frequency. A good rule of thumb is to add 3-5% each week via any exercise variable you wish.
As mentioned earlier. Watch for my future blog, which details how to start your hybrid fitness journey. This will give you a great place to start… so get going!
In conclusion, the hybrid approach to strength and fitness is more than just being well-rounded; it's about preparing for life in all its complexity. It's a philosophy that echoes my experiences as a personal trainer, NLP coach, and soldier. Embracing this approach means committing to continual growth, adaptability, and resilience.
Consider the hybrid approach, whether you're an executive, professional, business owner, seasoned athlete, or beginner. The benefits provide you with far more than you can imagine!