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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.
He’s even written a book called Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds to share his inspiring story and help others stay strong — both mentally and physically.
While Goggins holds the title of The Toughest Man Alive, he has been kind enough to extensively discuss how he’s gotten where he is today.
Keep reading to learn all about David Goggins’ workout routine and diet plan. Even if you aren’t hoping to break records, you can use this information to burn fat, achieve your dream body shape, and reach your own peak performance.
David Goggins – Before and After the Navy SEALs
In an interview with performance psychologist Michael Gervais, Goggins reveals that he was in quite a sad state prior to joining the US Navy.
Overweight as an adolescent, he was bullied in school and abused at home. His frustration with his perceived weakness is what lit a fire under him. He wanted to become the toughest man in the world.
Goggins joined the military after high school and served in the Air Force until he was 23 years old. He was medically discharged, and without military training keeping him in shape, his daily routine consisted of watching TV and eating mini donuts from 7-Eleven. At age 24, he was nearly 300 pounds.
One day he came across a commercial for the US Navy’s SEAL training program — a program said to be the “toughest” in the world. He knew right away that this would be his new goal. To meet the fitness requirements, he needed to get down to less than 191 pounds.
He dove head-first into an intense training routine in order to lose over 100 pounds. He also faced the infamous SEALs “Hell Week” of over 130 hours of training.
After losing the weight, upping his endurance, and reaching peak performance, he completed Navy SEAL training with flying colors. He went from a David Goggins softy to David Goggins buff through effort, focus, and persistence.
David Goggins Workout Schedule (Pre-Navy SEALs)
David 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
If David Goggins’ workout routine seems a little intense, it’s because it is. He needs to keep his mind sharp and body in tip-top shape in order to achieve his amazing physical feats.
The average person, however, is unlikely to have to run 100-mile races or swim several miles per week.
If you’re looking to increase your endurance, it’s essential that you create your own fitness regimen. This will depend on your weight loss goals, level of activity, interests, and current health status.
However, you may decide that a moderate amount of exercise and a balanced diet is enough to maintain a happy and healthy standard of living. In which case, you may incorporate some of David Goggins’ weight loss diet tips and workout exercises into your own training routine.
You can always amp up your activity level or reduce your calorie intake if you want to surpass your initial fitness goals.
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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”
Even with all the benefits of keto, there are still some potential downsides. Many people report experiencing the keto flu after starting the new low carb, high-fat diet.
New dieters may experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, cramping, dizziness, and lack of concentration.
If you start exhibiting these symptoms after switching to keto, we recommend these tips for a fast recovery:
- Get as much rest as possible in order for your body to recover.
- Cut back on carbs slowly over time while phasing in more healthy fats. This is better than making an abrupt change in your diet.
- Make sure you are getting enough healthy fats (40% of your diet). This will help reduce cravings as well.
- Exercise 2-3 times per week to make your body more efficient at burning fat without the need for a lot of carbs. Use fats for fuel and don’t over-do the exercise.
Overall, a keto diet is a healthy dieting option if done correctly. It’s never recommended to practice extreme dieting in order to lose weight. It comes down to eating a balance of healthy foods and maintaining an active lifestyle.
David Goggins’ weight loss diet is the diet of champions. He knows exactly what it takes to keep his body lean, strong, and healthy.
What does David Goggins eat? Let’s steal a page from his book to map out a keto diet plan for one day.
- 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.
David Goggins Workout Routine — Complete Navy SEAL Fitness Plan
While your diet plays a huge role in losing weight and your overall health, you will need to maintain at least a moderately active lifestyle in order to burn fat and keep it off.
But in order to get in SEAL-level shape, you’ll be adhering to a much more rigorous workout routine.
David Goggins’ workout routine is not for the faint of heart, but his story proves that even being 100 pounds overweight doesn’t mean that you can’t get in great shape. He calls himself a “knuckle-dragger” that’s always ready to do the work necessary to tap deeper into his full potential.
How did he go from 300 pounds to less than 200 pounds in 2 months? Let’s take a look at David Goggins’ workout routine.
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?
There are surely a precious few who will actually dare to rise to the athletic ranks of David Goggins. That’s because they’d have to let go of their feelings of deservedness and push themselves beyond their limits.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take running a 100-mile long race to be like Goggins. However, what it does take is a calloused mindset — one that’s developed through pushing yourself into the zone of discomfort and hanging on until you reach the other side.
Embracing David Goggins’ diet and workout takes commitment, strength, and a hard mind. He believes that we each have to be our own hero and that the only race that we are running is the one with ourselves.
Therefore, if you want to live the Goggins life, is to find more strength today than you had yesterday. That’s the way to build true 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.