NEWS Eating Enough While Building Strength and Fitness: Former Army Ranger

Eating Enough While Building Strength and Fitness: Former Army Ranger
  • Nick Bare says you don’t have to choose between strength training and endurance training as long as you’re eating enough.
  • Bare is a former Army Ranger turned fitness expert who has run marathons under three hours.
  • He told Insider that Bare’s military experience has given him the ability to achieve his fitness goals.

It’s a common belief that you have to choose between stamina and strength, but according to Nick Bare, U.S. Army Ranger-turned-personal trainer, that’s a myth.

Having run sub-3 hour marathons, completed Ironmans and ultramarathons, and competed as a bodybuilder and weightlifter, Bare believes it’s entirely possible to build muscle even over long distances. He calls it “hybrid training.”

Bare studied nutrition in college, where he started his own supplement company, Bare Performance Nutrition, before enlisting in the U.S. Army for four years.

Bare told Insider that it was his time in the military that taught him what he says is the mindset that led to his fitness and athletic success, along with his motto “do it again.”

Bare has a workout app that includes a variety of different training programs, including running, strength, and flexibility, and he encourages his community to test their limits.

“You’ll never know where your full potential is until you test it,” Bare said. “Doing really hard stuff is a great way to test your full physical and mental potential.”

You don’t have to sacrifice strength to run

In his younger days, Bare’s main focus was on muscle building.

“I used to have this mentality where I just wanted to gain size and strength. I was afraid of cardio because I thought it would burn my muscles,” he said. “I think it’s limiting my potential to gain muscle.”

Barre wanted to build up his stamina, but worried about becoming a “skinny runner.”

But through self-experimentation, research and learning, Bare learned he could do both.

The trick, he says, is not to cook too fast and eat enough.

“You realize that cardiovascular training is only going to benefit your ability to build muscle, strength and vitality throughout your life,” he says.

A post shared by Nick Bare (@nickbarefitness)

You can be a good runner and build stamina without running 70-plus miles a week, Bare says, and it’s crucial not to overdo it if you want to maintain strength and muscle. A distance of 20 miles or less is sufficient.

“Are you going to be the best bodybuilder, the best strength athlete while running? Probably not,” Bare said. “If you still want to stay in shape and stay strong, are you going to be the fastest man in the world? Probably not. But if you want to balance the two, and be good at running and strength training, there’s a way to do it .”

Gradually increasing your training volume is key. Instead of simply adding cardio to your regular strength training (or vice versa), cut your strength training by 20-25% and devote that time and energy to running. This prevents overtraining and allows your body to recover, says Bare.

Self-regulation is also important, he says, which means listening to your body and using common sense.

Diet also plays a role in training for mixed athletes, Bare said, and not eating enough is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build muscle and endurance at the same time.

Military Helps Bare Build His Resilience

Bare had always been interested in fitness, but his time in the military allowed him to see his potential, he said.

To become an Army Ranger, Bare must complete an intense 61-day course in tactics and leadership. He said he failed two stages, so it took him 145 days.

“When you’re tired and hungry, they’re evaluating you on your leadership potential, and you’re leading other tired and hungry people,” Bare said. “I spent four and a half months at Ranger School. I lost over 30 pounds, basically all of my muscle, because you don’t work out, you just keep performing.”

nick bell in the army

Nick Bare during his service in the U.S. Army.

Nick Bell

But that experience taught him that nothing is “unbelievable,” and that you can push your body beyond what you think it’s capable of, Bare said.

This “competitive mental edge” is far more important than his physical fitness when it comes to pushing his body in extreme sports, he said.

This mentality now influences Bare’s training program.

“All of these things that I do, I go back to the military mentality of ‘Where is my full potential in terms of physical performance?'” he said.

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