The Ironman Bodybuilder: How to Become a Big, Lean, and Strong Endurance Athlete

Alex Viada Bodybuilder Ironman

Alex Viada squats 705 pounds.

He deadlifts 745 pounds.

He benches over 400 pounds.

He stays at about 7-8% body fat or less year round.

It gets crazier: He can also run a 4:15 mile.

And he runs marathons and ultramarathons.

And he’s an Ironman triathlete.

There are some bodybuilders who worry they’ll lose muscle if they walk too far. There are powerlifters who won’t run across a street because they’re worried it will make them weaker. So how does Alex stay big, lean, and strong, while competing in some of the hardest endurance sports in the world?

Listen to this episode to find out.

Click the Player to Listen:


Show Notes

Complete Human Performance

So you want to run? Endurance Training for Strength Athletes, Part 1

So you want to run? Endurance Training for Strength Athletes, Part 2

Say No to GPP

The “quick and dirty” on Strength Training for Endurance Athletes

A Guide to Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, Part 1

Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, part 2

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  1. Ben says

    Hey! I know this guy! I’ve seen him lifting here at Duke. When he squats he literally fills up the entire bar with plates. I’ve also seen him running the Washington Duke golf course a few times, he’s a BEAST. I always figured he was a rugby player or something, never knew all the rest of this. Cool.

    • Tom Scott says

      Alex has no evidence for his 4:15 mile time, which is faster than the WORLD RECORD for a decathlon, is 30 seconds faster than any over 220 lb decathlete has ever done, and would get him recruited for D1 track if he were in high school*. He has never performed better than average in an official race of any kind**.

      He has never done a full Ironman. He has never competed in an official powerlifting meet. He may be strong, ripped, and shredded, but he has no evidence, none whatsoever, for his claims.

      Ironic that your website is called “evidence” mag when you promote this guy without any evidence.

      *contrary to what he said, one out a hundred high school milers could beat 4:15 and none would leave him an entire stretch behind.
      ** he has few official results and his story constantly changes. Example:
      - March ’11 Runs his best of 3 official marathons: 4:17
      - June ’13 Claims “have done 4 marathons … in past 3 years”
      - Jan ’14 Claims he’s done a 3:35 marathon
      - May ’14 Claims he’s only done one marathon, six years ago, in 4:00.

      • Alex says

        Tom- apologize for the shadiness on the marathons- you’re absolutely correct, of course- did the City of Oaks twice and the Quintiles in Wrightsville once, quite bloody awful times as well- I am simply NOT a long distance road racer. As mentioned in the interview, my competition history has been rather lousy, I’m aware it’s no excuse but old injuries have been pretty much standard operating procedure for me. I’m sorry if I’m not always accurate with dates, but this is all public information and I figure anybody who’s interested can check it out!

        I’ve actually done Ironman Cozumel twice, which I’m sure you can find data on, as well as the Umstead ultra, I’ve competed in several local PL meets (SPF). In addition, I’ve also stated the 4:15 is unofficial- there are quite a number of local individuals who can vouch for these things, but I’m quite aware this isn’t proof.

        Bottom line, I’m aware that in several places on the internet there are folks who seem to have really gotten a bee in their bonnet about this- hence my re-doing my schedule the next 8-9 months to switch back to competition and get some current times under official conditions.

        My entire philosophy has never been “look at me, you can do this too”, it’s simply been “Hey, this works, check it out”- if you can find any issues with what I say and recommend, please do go ahead! In the meantime, I’ll be blogging about the season coming up, and if you wish to heckle me there, so much the merrier. Cheers. :)

        • Tom Scott says

          I stand corrected. I do see the results for Cozumel. 14 hr and 13 hrs. When did you do the 11 hour one?

          When did you do the 3:35 marathon and why did you change your story several times?

          When did you do the 17+ minute 5ks you claim?

          What specific power lifting meet did you do? I don’t see your name on the SPF site. You’d be #1 or #2 in their all time records.

          All that is nothing compared to your mile claim. I think you’re not a track guy and didn’t realize how ridiculous your claim is. You could prove it any week if you wanted by running in a meet. No reason to wait until next spring. You claim to have done 4:15 this spring and 4:38 last week after an incapacitating injury. Track people literally laugh when I tell of your claim.

          I don’t find your power lifting claims ridiculous. Maybe you really can do it. Your marathon claims would not be ridiculous if your stories were consistent. The conflicting stories go way beyond “not always accurate with dates” and the “public record” is very very different from your claims.

          Runners do get their “bee in a bonnet” about running liars and cheats. If Mark Singer gives you a call, don’t answer.

      • Tom Scott says

        “He has never performed better than average in an official race of any kind”

        Overstatement. A couple of his races are better than average, but nothing indicating anything close to the capability to run a 4;15 mile.

        btw, there are quite a few recreational runners, including me, who are heavier than Alex.

    • Armi Legge says

      Thanks Ben, that’s funny. Hopefully Alex will let me hang out with him next time I’m in North Carolina. I can be his water boy or something. :)

  2. Peter says

    Hi Armi,

    For some reason…when i try to listen to this podcast i receive an an error “File not Found”. I also tried to listen to this via itunes and noticed i could not listed to anything after May 1st 2014. Do i need a special subscription or something? BTW, i absolutely enjoy all the information you provide.

    Thank you


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