T Nation

Size and Endurance...


I am very curious if any guys here who have a significant amount of muscle are still able to perform decently at endurance activities?

Now I don't mean like marathon or half marathon, just like a 2-3 mile run. I am currently 265, and even though I look pretty conditioned, I have trouble jogging 2-3 miles at a decent time.

Is it possible to carry a large amount of muscle and be able to run 6-7 minute miles for 2-3 miles? Just curious.


Neil Back who used to play rugby for England could complte the bleep test and he carried quite a bit of muscle as well.


i had no idea what the bleep test was, i looked it up and damn it sounds hard! he was carrying a lot less weight than me though, it has him listed at 200lbs and 5'10".

maybe i just need to lose some muscle and drop down to 230-235.


vikingrob do you play any sports?


Yes i do.

I just finished my last year of D1 football. I am getting involved with rugby and mixed martial arts.

But more than anything I want to get into good conditioning while keeping my strength. Conditioning in the sense of having decent endurance. Such as being able to run a mile or 2 at a good pace.


I would venture genetics play a part in this, not to mention body structure, limb length, etc. But based on observation I'd say it's possible but only to a certain few. If your focused on Strength and Conditioning I wouldn't focus on size. Especially if your doing MMA along with rugby.

Whatever weight you feel best at should be your qualifier. Plus when you determine your fighting weight you might be surprised at how much strength you maintain or even re-gain.

I'm 5'10 and I was a lean 210 when I first started Muay Thai and BJJ. I'm currently 192 and I still can hit most if not all my max lifts, with some signs of actually breaking some old records.

So don't associate too much of your strength to your weight, yes it's a factor but it's not the end all for every person. Now you have different genetics then I do and you may find you can maintain 265 and keep truckin, in which case I say congrats and I hate you ; )

Ultimately I would advise that you eat smart, traing right, get as strong and conditioned as you can be healthywise, and let the bodyweight cards fall where they lay. Because the pounding your body is going to take from MMA and rugby, both I can quote from experience, will be more than enough punishment, trust.


I really appreciate your feedback, that is some great insight!

I would love to stay at 265, but I would have no problem dropping lower weight if I have to. I think it will be easier to maintain my weight during rugby season, but I could be completely mistaken.

From your experience, which one required more conditioning out of the two?


How high does the bleep test go??? We've got to do it next week to start off our winter training, cant wait....


It is hard, really really hard.

I am pretty big and actually Mountaineer and Hike all year, what I find is even if the Cardio is good the amount of Potassium and glycogen and reserves period my muscles burn up to carrying a heavy Backpack is way above normal.

the amount of Water I need to consume and food I need to eat on the move is far beyond my Hiking Buddies weighing in under 200lbs.

I never, never see anyone my size Hike the distance or elevation I do, after how torturous this summer was, next year I will want to be under 230 to do the same expeditions.

An example of a Huge guy with amazing cardio and stamina is Brock Lesnar, but he truly is a genetic freak.


i weigh 230-235 and run 13:40 2miles on my pt tests.

it blows. i fucking hate running.

this guy runs sub 13 min 2miles



Here you go


6'1", 250ish

I cannot run worth a damn but I can skip rope and rock out on a heavy bag for 20 - 30 minutes with decent exertion. My cardio fitness has always been shite because I never focused much on training it (even when I was in the USMC my 3mi run hung around 24min).

I have been trying to improve this quality over the last year with some success. It is possible for big guys it just takes good planning and hard work just like anything else one wants to set out to accomplish.


Yes I love hearing what has been posted!

While I am by no means out of shape...I went running with a buddy and did 2 miles in 15:20, so I was kind of frustrated. It is good to hear that other big guys on the forums are large and well conditioned.

Conditioning is not my only goal, but it is nice to be able to play sports and not get winded while maintaining muscle.

I appreciate the feedback.


sorry for the delay of response.

Grappling definitely was the hardest. I use to wrestle to, and there is nothing more exhausting then locking up with a guy whose trying to choke you in to unconciousness or lock up your limbs, before you can do the same to him.

This is not to say rugby isn't work, but there are beats, a rhythm to it. Some times your sprinting, jogging, positioning, scrum, it varies, allows you to pace yourself before the opposition "accidentally" gets you with his cleats.

As far as improving conditioning I also suggest swimming, and complexes. Nothing fancy. Laps in the pool and a basic Javorek can do wonders. Keep in mind as a big guy your joints can only take so much roadwork. Look at Randy Couture, mr athletic longevity himslef, the guy runs on trampolines to limit the pounding his body takes. As crazy as that sounds there is some logic to that.


Good insight Barachiel thanks.

I actually am more interested in MMA then Rugby. I love the camaraderie of a team, but it would be nice for once to have my success bases solely on me.


My experience (yes, I wrote it).

The guy whose methods I use (Joel Jamieson) trains a lot of the UFC guys:



I enjoyed your article, very interesting. Those are some cool tests you performed on yourself, I am glad you shared that.


6'2" - 194-200.

Can run 1 mile in sub 5 minutes, Not great (hell - there are 14 year old girls running under 4:30!). A lot is genetics - but a lot is training as well...

Bigger Q is - in the sports you train in, why would you want/need to run a 20 minute 5k? Seems like fighting and playing football/rugby - it would be a lot more valuable to be able to do 30x10-15 second quick bursts??

Unless you want to be able to do long runs with your GF or something?


I train for track and field - just started again after a long time off.


Is there anything better than going on a long run with a women? Actually that sounds terrible.

I don't plan on doing a 5k, 1-2 miles will suffice for me. While I never did that distance of running playing football, I was still very well conditioned. I just feel like it would be nice to go for a shorter run like 2 miles and be able to crank it.

Sprinting will and always has been my forte, but why not change it up for a while? I have been sprinting my whole life.

By the way great times on the mile.