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A former United States Navy SEAL, ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, motivational speaker, and world-record holder — David Goggins is quite an amazing person.
Goggins, often hailed as The Toughest Man Alive, generously shares his journey towards his remarkable achievements. Let’s dive into the fascinating details of David Goggins’ workout regimen and dietary approach. Whether you’re aiming for record-breaking feats or simply looking to shed excess weight, mold your dream physique, and elevate your personal performance, this insightful information can be a valuable resource on your journey.
David Goggins – Before and After the Navy SEALs
In an interview with performance psychologist Michael Gervais, Goggins openly shares his challenging journey, which began in a rather challenging place before he joined the US Navy.
During his adolescence, he grappled with being overweight and endured bullying at school, alongside the hardships of an abusive home environment. Yet, it was this very frustration with his perceived weaknesses that ignited his inner fire. His aspiration? To become the toughest individual on the planet.
Following high school, Goggins enlisted in the military, serving in the Air Force until he was 23 years old. However, a medical discharge altered his trajectory, and without the structure of military training, he found himself in a routine of television watching and indulging in mini donuts from 7-Eleven. At the age of 24, he weighed almost 300 pounds.
But then, fate intervened. A US Navy SEAL training program commercial flashed across his screen—a program renowned as the “toughest” in the world. In an instant, he knew this was his new objective. To qualify, he needed to shed over 100 pounds, striving to weigh less than 191 pounds.
With unwavering determination, he embarked on an arduous training regimen, relentlessly pursuing his goal. He also confronted the grueling SEALs’ “Hell Week,” a trial that spans over 130 hours of relentless training.
Through sheer determination, amplified endurance, and unyielding perseverance, he not only shed the excess weight but also excelled in Navy SEAL training, emerging as the epitome of transformation—David Goggins, from a softer version of himself to a robust and resilient individual, all through sheer effort, unwavering focus, and relentless persistence.
David Goggins Workout Schedule (Pre-Navy SEALs)
Goggins’ daily routine prior to joining the Navy looked something like this:
- 4:30 AM: Wake Up
- 4:30 AM: Eat a banana
- 5:00-6:00 AM: Ride-on exercise bike
- 6:00-7:00 AM: Study for the ASVAB
- 8:00-10:00 AM: Swim for 2 miles
- 11:00 AM-2:00 PM: Full body workout (Multiple sets of 100-200 reps per movement)
- 3:00-5:00 PM: Exercise bike and more studying
- 5:30 PM: Run between 2-6 miles
- 7:30 PM: Dinner
- 8:00-10:00 PM: Back on the exercise bike
- 10:30 PM: Sleep
David Goggins’ Workout Routine after the Navy SEALs
Today, David Goggins’ daily routine is far less restrictive but no less demanding.
He shared on Twitter that his typical post-SEALs daily routine looks more like this:
- 3:00 – 4:00 AM: Wake Up
- 4:00 AM: Run 10-15 miles
- 6:00 AM: Bike 25 miles to work
- Approximately 11:00 AM: Run during lunch
- After Work (varies): Bike home
- After arriving home maybe another 3-6 mile run
Striving for SEALs-Level Fitness? – Master Your Own Daily Fitness Routine
David Goggins’ workout regimen is undeniably intense, tailored to keep his mind razor-sharp and his body operating at peak performance to achieve his remarkable physical feats.
However, it’s important to recognize that the average person may not aspire to tackle 100-mile races or log several miles of swimming each week.
For those seeking to enhance their endurance, creating a personalized fitness routine is key. This regimen should be tailored to your specific weight loss objectives, activity level, personal interests, and current health status.
Nevertheless, you might find value in incorporating some of David Goggins’ weight loss and workout insights into your own training routine, even if you opt for a more moderate exercise approach and maintain a balanced diet to ensure a content and healthy lifestyle.
Remember, you have the flexibility to ramp up your activity level or adjust your calorie intake should you aim to surpass your initial fitness goals.
David Goggins Weight Loss Diet – How to Lose Fat in Ketosis
How did David Goggins lose weight and keep it off before his Navy SEALs training?
The answer: a ketogenic diet.
The Ketogenic Diet
David Goggins embraces a mostly ketogenic diet. With a combination of intermittent fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Goggins is able to stay lean but strong.
Keto is essentially a low-carb, high-fat diet (similar to the popular Atkins Diet). It involves putting the body in a state of what is called “ketosis” by reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with healthy fats. Being in ketosis causes the body to be super-efficient at blasting away fat.
The Keto Diet is also said to provide multiple health benefits, such as improved mental clarity, a reduction in blood sugar, and lower insulin levels.
With a keto-based diet and IF, David Goggins is ripped and has turned his body into a fat-burning machine.
The typical practice of restrictive dieting is rarely sustainable, as people have a tendency to give in to their cravings.
Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, involves restricting eating to only certain times of the day. This is done to accelerate the production of fat-burning ketones in the body.
David Goggins regularly uses a fasting schedule that has him skipping breakfast and consuming his first calories of the day at 11:00 in the morning. This fasting helps increase ketone production and thereby provides much-needed fuel to his brain.
David Goggins strives for a 40/40/20 split of the top macronutrients: protein, fats, and carbs (respectively).
This means that his diet consists of 40% protein, 40% fats, and 20% carbs. By counting macros, he’s able to stick to a low carb, high-fat ketogenic diet.
This keto focus with intermittent fasting has been successful for Goggins in keeping his body lean while still providing him with enough energy and stamina to compete with the elite ultra-athletes around the world.
Ketogenic Diet Tips – What to Eat and What to Avoid
By following a 40/40/20 Keto Diet, you are able to put your body in a state of fat-burning ketosis.
So, what does this diet actually look like in terms of what you can and cannot eat?
Goggins’ Diet: Foods to Eat
- Leafy greens
- Meat & poultry – such as steak, ham, chicken, turkey, and sausage
- Fish – such as trout, tuna, and salmon
- Unprocessed cheese
- Healthy oils – such as coconut oil and avocado oil
- Butter and cream
- Nuts and seeds
- Low-carb vegetables
- Sugar-free beverages
- Low-carb condiments – such as salt, pepper, herbs, and spices
Goggins’ Diet: Foods to Avoid:
- Most fruit (high in sugar)
- Low-fat dairy and milk
- Starchy root vegetables – such as potatoes and carrots
- Grains and starches – such as bread, rice, and pasta
- Beans and legumes
- “Diet foods” – such as low-fat diet products that are high in carbs, or “sugar-free” foods high in sugar alcohols
- Alcohol (high in carbs)
- Unhealthy fats – such as vegetable oils and mayonnaise
- Sugary sodas, candies, and desserts
Avoiding “Keto Flu”
While the ketogenic diet offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to acknowledge potential drawbacks. Many individuals encounter what’s known as the “keto flu” when transitioning to this low-carb, high-fat dietary approach.
This flu-like phase can bring about symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, cramping, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating, particularly for those new to the diet.
Should you find yourself grappling with these symptoms after adopting the keto lifestyle, here are some tips for a swift recovery:
1. Prioritize ample rest to facilitate your body’s recuperation process.
2. Gradually reduce carbohydrate intake over time while introducing healthier fats. This gradual shift is more advisable than a sudden dietary overhaul.
3. Ensure that a significant portion of your diet comprises healthy fats (around 40%). This can help curb cravings effectively.
4. Engage in regular exercise, around 2-3 times per week, to enhance your body’s fat-burning efficiency without relying heavily on carbohydrates. Harness the power of fats as your fuel source without overdoing the workouts.
In essence, a well-executed ketogenic diet can be a healthy choice. Extreme dieting is never a recommended route to weight loss success. It’s all about achieving balance through nourishing foods and maintaining an active lifestyle.
David Goggins, a true exemplar of transformation, embodies the essence of a champion’s diet. His dietary choices are a testament to his dedication to keeping his physique lean, robust, and resilient.
Curious about what David Goggins consumes? Let’s delve into his nutritional playbook and craft a one-day keto diet plan inspired by his wisdom.
- 1 bulletproof coffee – 260 calories
- 2 eggs, fried – 210 calories
- MEAL TOTAL: 470 calories
- Arugula salad greens – 20 calories
- Crumbled hard-boiled eggs – 156 calories
- Cooked ground turkey – 167 calories
- 1 diced avocado – 234 calories
- Crumbled blue cheese – 119 calories
- MEAL TOTAL: 696 calories
- Grilled pork chop (8 oz.) – 320 calories
- 1 cup steamed vegetables – 118 calories
- MEAL TOTAL: 438 calories
- Full-fat plain yogurt – 105 calories
- 1 cup Keto granola – approximately 200 calories
- MEAL TOTAL: 305 calories
DAILY TOTAL: 1909 calories
Counting Your Macros
Since one of the main principles of keto is adhering to eating low carb/high-fat foods, you’ll want to count the macronutrients in your meal.
Most foods that have a nutritional information label will show you the number of fats, carbs, and protein.
Remember that you’re aiming for a diet that is 40% protein, 40% fats, and 20% carbs.
David Goggins Workout Routine — Complete Navy SEAL Fitness Plan
While your dietary choices undoubtedly play a pivotal role in weight management and overall well-being, it’s equally important to maintain a moderately active lifestyle to effectively burn fat and sustain your health.
However, if your goal is to attain a level of fitness akin to that of a Navy SEAL, be prepared for a significantly more demanding exercise regimen.
David Goggins’ workout routine isn’t for the faint-hearted, but his journey serves as a testament that even when starting 100 pounds overweight, achieving remarkable fitness is within reach. He describes himself as a “knuckle-dragger,” always ready to embrace the demanding work required to unlock his full potential.
So, how did he transition from 300 pounds to under 200 pounds in just two months? Let’s delve into the rigorous world of David Goggins’ workout routine to uncover the extraordinary transformation process.
The 40% Rule
David Goggins follows a concept called the 40% Rule — a philosophy he picked up from his Navy SEAL training.
The rule is this: “When your mind is telling you that you’re done and that you cannot possibly go any further, you’re only actually 40% done.”
This rule reminds Goggins that no matter how exhausted he feels, he can still muster up the strength to push a little bit farther. At times his support team thought he might seriously injure himself due to the levels of pain he pushed through.
He pulls great strength from this in order to keep pushing himself to newer and higher limits of his physical and mental abilities.
Goggins puts it bluntly in his book, Can’t Hurt Me: “Motivation is crap.”
He believes that the key to succeeding in fitness is to draw strength from within yourself and continue pushing even when you want to give up.
Before David Goggins became one of the top endurance athletes, he had to figure out how to lose over 100 pounds in 2 months in order to meet the minimum Navy SEAls fitness requirements. In order to do that, he researched the workout routines of long-distance runners.
What he discovered was that the key to endurance is core strength.
Goggins shared his thoughts regarding core strength and overall fitness with Men’s Health Magazine. In his guest article, he emphasizes that a strong back and abs give you ultimate stamina and the ability to push your body to the highest level:
To maximize my lean muscle mass, which would help me keep going even after I was exhausted, I switched my lifting to focus on reps instead of weight.
The pounds continued to disappear. For every 10 pounds of weight I lost, I took 45 pounds of pressure off my knees. Eight months later, when I ran Kiehl’s Badwater Ultramarathon, I weighed 177 pounds.
Goggins now considers himself to be at his ideal weight of 190 pounds. He does core work every day and runs and lifts weights multiple times per week.
He recommends these core exercises in order to build up your strength and stamina.
Recommended Core Exercises
- Broomstick Obliques – 10 reps x 3 sets
- Russian Sit-Ups – 10 reps per leg x 4 sets
- Swiss-Ball Obliques – 25 reps x 2 sets
- V-Ups – 10 reps x 3 sets
David Goggins’ Cardio Routine
It’s no secret that Goggins has a lot of miles on his legs. When it comes to cardio in his pre-Navy SEALs days, he would bike and run over 100 miles per week.
According to Goggins, his typical cardio routine looked like this:
- Wake up at 3 am and run 10 to 15 miles
- Commutes to work on his bike about 25 miles
- On his lunch break, run between 5 to 8 miles
- Leaves work for another 25-mile bike ride home.
- Optional “short” 3 to 5 mile run after work
This would allow him to put in over 100 miles of running on his legs per week (about 450 miles per month). This is more than most weekend warriors will run in a year. On top of that, he would put in about 1,000 miles on the bike in a month.
Not a big fan of cardio? No problem. By following David Goggins’ weight loss diet and overall workout routine, you can still drop pounds quickly.
Though, if you want to get in peak Navy SEAL shape, you’ll want to up your cardio routine and follow his recommended weight lifting schedule.
David Goggins’ Weightlifting and Bodyweight Routine
David Goggins’ workout isn’t all about cardio. He also works in a bodyweight routine and regular weightlifting.
After all, he did hundreds of thousands of pull-ups leading up to his record attempt for most pull-ups. He can also deadlift over 400 pounds.
Here are all the weightlifting exercises David does as part of his full-body workout routine.
David’s Recommended Bodyweight Exercises
- Lunges – 12 reps x 3 sets
- Pull-ups – 5 reps x 3 sets
- Pull-ups burpees – 5 reps x 3 sets
- Push-ups– 25 reps x 5 sets
- Squats – 5 reps x 5 sets
David’s Recommended Weightlifting Exercises
- Barbell curls – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Bicep curls – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Isolation curls – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Preacher curls – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Skull crusher – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Triceps extension – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Triceps kickback – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Triceps push-downs – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Back lat pushdowns – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Cable rows – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Close-grip lat pulldowns – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Deadlift – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Lat pulldowns – 15 reps x 5 sets
- One-arm dumbbell row – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Bench presses – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Cable crosses – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Chest presses – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Dumbbell fly – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Dumbbell presses – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Calf raises – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Leg curls – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Leg extension – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Leg presses – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Squats – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Stiff-leg deadlifts – 15 reps x 5 sets
- Walking lunges – 15 reps x 5 sets
Depending on where you are in your fitness journey, these sets and reps may be your starting-off point or a goal you hope to achieve.
There’s no shame in starting low and working your way up. Just be sure to stick to a workout routine and aim for continuous improvement.
David Goggins’ Extensive Stretching Routine
Don’t forget regular stretching! Goggins is also famous for his extensive stretching routine. In fact, he has credited his stretching routine with saving his life.
After years of intense special forces training and physical abuse, he stumped the doctors in his life with a debilitating illness that sidelined him for years.
With that, he moved on from traditional prescription medication and embarked on an intense routine of stretching nearly 6 hours per day. This stretching routine returned him to peak physical condition.
Today, he listens to what his body needs and stretches for 1 to 2 hours per day.
David’s Recommended Stretching Exercises
- Bicep Stretch – 3 x 30 seconds each arm
- Hamstring Stretch – 3 x 30 seconds for each leg
- Hip Stretch 3 x 30 seconds each side
- Quad Stretch – 3 x 30 seconds for each leg
- Shoulder Stretch – 3 x 30 seconds each side
- Side Oblique Stretch – – 3 x 30 seconds each side
- Tricep Stretch – 3 x 30 seconds each arm
Stretching is essential to warming up and to post-workout recovery.
Why Follow David Goggins’ Diet and Workout Plan?
Only a select few will dare to ascend to the athletic echelons where David Goggins resides. Why? Because it demands relinquishing any sense of entitlement and propelling oneself beyond the confines of comfort.
The path to emulating Goggins isn’t necessarily about running a 100-mile race. Rather, it hinges on cultivating a resilient mindset — one forged through relentless self-challenge, pushing through the realm of discomfort, and persevering until you emerge on the other side.
Adopting David Goggins’ dietary and workout regimen requires unwavering commitment, inner fortitude, and a tenacious spirit. Goggins firmly believes that each of us must become our own hero, recognizing that the true race is the one we run against ourselves.
In essence, living the Goggins life entails a simple yet profound principle: strive to summon more strength today than you possessed yesterday. This, he contends, is the path to genuine mental and physical endurance.
Who is David Goggins?
David Goggins is a hard man to define. He can be defined as a retired Navy SEAL. That alone would be impressive.
He could be defined as the one-time World Record Holder for most pull-ups done in 24 hours.
You could define him as a dominant ultra-endurance athlete who is regularly placing at the top of the class.
As you can see. Hard to define.
And yet, he has earned the title of “The Toughest Man Alive” due to his amazing military accomplishments and athleticism.
In particular, he’s known for being the only person in the US Armed Forces to have completed US Army Ranger School, Air Force Tactical Air Controller training, and the only person who’s completed Navy SEAL training to top it off. His mental toughness is legendary.
Did David Goggins write a book?
David Goggins shared his story in his book Can’t Hurt Me to shed light on how much he has had to overcome to get where he is today.
The book is a gripping yet inspirational autobiography about surpassing obstacles, facing personal demons, and taking control of your health.
He was also the subject of the book Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler.
David Goggins’ workout routine is intense, but that’s what it takes to be a world-record holder and repeat ultramarathon runner.
If your aspirations aren’t as high as completing Army Ranger School or 4,000+ pull-ups in 24 hours, you can easily modify Goggins’ amazing workout routine to work for your specific needs.
Has David inspired you? Read our post on Lessons from the World’s Toughest Man for more no-nonsense advice from this incredible guy.