“Take the time to train your mind” is one of many of David Goggins’ quotes that he is often remembered by. Today we will take a look at David Goggins’ diet and his lifestyle habits that we can hopefully learn something from.
David is an absolute beast of a human being having accomplished things that very few people have accomplished.
A current endurance athlete that is known all around the world for his incredible motivational speeches as a result of his incredible athletic achievements.
David Goggins is a retired Navy SEAL that has held multiple unbelievable athletic records such as the highest number of pullups in a day.
He is also the only man to ever go through three weeks of Hell week, arguably the most difficult week to complete as Navy SEAL. His incredible achievements don’t stop there.
He is often considered the toughest man alive and once we go through all of his accomplishments and his life story we will understand how that might also be an understatement.
Who is David Goggins?
David Goggins is originally from New York and was born in 1975. He initially joined the United States Air Force Pararescue and failed twice before being accepted into the exclusive “Pipeline” of pararescue military training.
He was shortly after diagnosed with sickle cell trait and after a week of staying at home came back to serve as an Air Force Tactical Air Control Party.
He served in this position for 5 years until leaving the airforce and working as a bug exterminator for a number of years.
Goggins then applied to be a Navy SEAL, a task that many can only dream of due to the complexity not only physically but mentally and emotionally.
He completed three attempts before finishing BUD/S in 2001 being directly asked to join Team FIVE of the Navy SEALs.
He served two different deployments to Iraq and much like a lot of our Navy SEALS, unfortunately, lost a number of friends in his deployment in Iraq.
Goggins ended up receiving a Top Honor Man distinction from Army Ranger School in 2004 for his incredible accomplishments.
David Goggins’ life has been filled with a variety of ups and downs and has become an incredible motivational speaker known all around the world.
This was one of the reasons he decided to write his own book to talk about his life situations and hopefully inspire and motivate others to be the best versions of themselves.
Can’t Hurt Me – Book by David Goggins
His book talks about all the challenges and fears that he had to overcome the person he is today.
In this book, he talks about how complicated his early life was and that fueled him with fears that have scarred him for the rest of his life.
Goggins has never been a fan of all of his recognition he insists on only wanting to help those that can become better versions of themselves and are simply hiding behind the fear of trying and failing.
David goes on to mention that the few things he wishes that other people would learn from his military experience would be the discipline.
He comments on the fact that most people once they are done with military training they are content with their performance.
Goggins decided that he would make his life out of the discipline that he learned in his military training, and avidly applies these theories and lifestyle every day in his day to day life.
His book Can’t Hurt Me is a fantastic read and is rated extremely well on all book platforms. Getting such a personal glimpse of someone who has accomplished so much coming from such a low place is a never-ending motivational trek.
Lifechanging events for David Goggins
David Goggins struggled greatly attempting to get into the Navy SEALS having to go through hell week a total of three times to finally pass and be enlisted as a SEAL Team FIVE.
His incredible story of wanting to join the Navy SEALs and having to learn 106 pounds in 3 months is one of the most inspirational aspects of his life.
When Goggins talked to a Navy SEAL recruiter to talk to him about joining the SEALs he told him he had to lose 100 pounds to even have the possibility of applying.
After years of pararescue work and bug extermination Goggins describes himself as an overweight man that would more than often eat out in fast-food restaurants and would indulge in a series of unhealthy habits.
In a quest to join the highly valued title of a Navy SEAL Goggins was able to lose 100 pounds in 3 months, something that to most would be considered very extreme and quite unhealthy.
His day-to-day consisted of countless hours of cardio to shed bodyweight, and as he famously quotes in an interview “if I was awake I was doing cardio” .
He would regularly wake up extremely early in the morning between 3 and 4 AM, go for an extenuated 15-mile run followed by an extremely intense twenty five-mile bike all the way to his work.
He would thereafter choose to do 2 or 3 more different cardio exercises throughout his day and in between his work hours. This could include more running, more biking or a mix of both.
Considering the absolute insanity of his workouts, this only goes to show not only how far he went to achieve his goal but his incredible mental endurance.
Mental endurance is often not talked about enough in the fitness world. Being able to maintain a continuous focus and ambition through extreme tough physical exercises becomes a complete mental task more than a physical one.
While it is usually not recommended to do such an enormous amount of exercise to lose weight that fast, most people instead choose to mix a balanced diet with moderate to intense workouts to find their weight loss goals.
That is what is recommended both in terms of injury prevention and to prevent a quick burn out from such intense physical activity.
Making sure that you stay focused on a more mediated physical exercise calendar will be fruitful for people that don’t have such immense physical goals like David Goggins.
Being able to properly develop a tailor-made plan for your goals in the gym, adding in a nutritious and balanced diet with a healthy amount of sleep and recovery will prove the most beneficial when going after any type of physical goals – whether that’s gaining, losing or maintaining weight.
What is David Goggins’ Diet?
David Goggins’ diet consists mostly of a ketogenic diet. A diet that is high in fats and low in carbs in addition to intermittent fasting to aid with his increased metabolism. This allows Goggins to maintain a significant lean muscle mass while allowing his body to cut off as much fat as possible.
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that attempts to remove as many carbs as possible from your diet. In this process, your body undergoes a process known as ketosis.
In ketosis your body will start burning fats instead of sugars that are usually supplied by carbs in a non-ketogenic diet.
The high-fat, low-carb content of the ketogenic diet makes it optimal for your body to go into your fat stores and burn that as a source of fuel.
This intensifies any fat burning that your body is already doing and targets fat cells specifically to give you a more lean physique that will keep your muscle mass constant.
The benefits behind choosing to follow a ketogenic diet include a reduction in insulin level, lower blood sugar, and an apparent greater sense of mental clarity.
While the ketogenic diet has grown in popularity in the most recent years there are negative side effects that you may want to do more research on and be informed on to be sure that the ketogenic diet makes sense for you in your life.
If you’re looking to learn more about the ketogenic diet, we’ve been learning about it through this wonderful book The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners – a best seller on amazon. We highly recommend it!
Many people are surprised that David Goggins, given the number of calories he burns, would pick a normal diet and eat carb-loaded meals to supplement his running.
However, given the efficiency in which the body burns calories, Goggins is able to train consistently without feeling extremely heavy from the insulin drop after a large carb meal such as a large plate of pasta.
The importance of nutrition is almost always undervalued and most people would rather put in more effort into training than into focusing on what you put into your body.
The reality is that the better you eat, and the more you focus on increasing your calorie content if you’re trying to gain weight, the stronger you will get with your training.
The opposite also stands for someone who is trying to lose weight. Reduce the number of calories you are intaking while keeping your training the same or intensifying it and you will start losing weight.
If you’re routine consists of intense gym training yet a poor diet, results will be lacking and your motivation to keep going to only see mediocre results will be shortlived.
Why does Goggins do Intermittent Fasting?
If you aren’t familiar with intermittent fasting, it is a form of restrictive feeding where you decide to only eat within a certain number of hours in a day, and fast for the rest.
A common structure of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 fasting structure. This means that you fast for 16 hours, and within a period of 8 hours you eat all of your meals.
The length of the fasts depends largely on your own goals, and usually on how long you can endure mentally without eating.
Most popular intermittent fasting regiments will range from the 16:8 time frame to a 18:6 or a more extreme 20:4 time frame.
Once again it all depends on your goals, and whether you can logistically fit eating all of your calories in a 4-hour window.
For an athlete like David Goggins, that is burning an insane amount of calories every day, maintaining bodyweight must be challenging, yet with his discipline, anything is possible.
David’s fasting schedules have him start eating at 11 AM skipping breakfast and only eating until 7 PM at night. Within this 8 hour window, he fits in all of his calories.
You might be wondering why Goggins goes through intermittent fasting given how many calories he is burning, and how lean he already is.
Intermittent fasting has a plethora of benefits behind it. When you join intermittent fasting with a ketogenic diet, you reach the process of ketosis faster which allows your body to be even more efficient at breaking down fats.
Additionally, intermittent fasting increases natural growth hormone in the body which has anti-aging benefits and improves your muscle-building potential within your body.
If you’re looking for a really good resource to learn more about intermittent fasting checkout: Intermittent Fasting 16/8: A Step-By-Step Guide to Lose Weight.
Once again as with the ketogenic diet, we prefer not to give any recommendations on what people should do with their own bodies and personal lives.
For this reason, we always prefer that our readers do extra research on their own to make sure that intermittent fasting is something that they could benefit from.
As always please consult with a medical professional if you have other medical complications and intermittent fasting could in any way interfere with your health.
Breaking down David Goggins Ketogenic Diet
Within a ketogenic diet’s standards, people choose to be more or less strict with the number of carbs, the quality of the fats and the amount and quality of protein they intake.
David Goggins aims to have a balanced split between 40% of his macronutrients coming from protein. The next 40% would come from fats which is essential for the ketogenic diet.
The final 20% of his diet is saved for carbohydrates. In comparison to a non-carb restrictive diet, consuming only 20% of his diet in carbohydrates is extremely low.
An average American diet can consist of 50% or more carbs. This significant drop in carbs is essential for his ketogenic diet to work seamlessly.
As an ultra-endurance athlete, David Goggins needs to have his physical state similar to that of a well-oiled machine.
Eating a ketogenic diet, and adding intermittent fasting has his body burning fats and preparing him for any endurance event he needs to train or prepare for.
David Goggins’ diet is built for a world-class athlete like himself who’s engine needs to be running extremely efficiently.
What foods does the David Goggins diet include?
Ideally, if you were to follow a ketogenic diet like David Goggins in search of ketosis and fat burning you would also follow a similar macronutrient diet structure.
That once again consists of 40% protein, 40% fats, and 20% carbohydrates. Now let’s talk about the foods that he eats avidly.
Considering that he will eat in large part mostly protein and healthy fats the following options are all things that anyone on a ketogenic would choose to eat.
Starting off with healthy fats:
- Avocado: this is one of the best sources of healthy fats available for anybody following any type of diet.
- Cheese & dairy: You need to be careful in choosing the right cheese, to make sure their carbohydrate content.
- Oils: Adding a healthy dose of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and other healthy oils will give you a great addition of calories to your plates.
- Seeds & Nuts – These are very high in good fats, and will be a delicious addition to any salad or just a healthy snack at any time of the day.
- Cream & Butter – While this is more controversial because of the saturated fat content, both are recommended for a true ketogenic diet.
Next, let’s follow up with his proteins:
- Meat – There are no restrictions on the type of meat, you can add any type of meat that you prefer whether that’s poultry/pork/beef, etc.
- Eggs – A fantastic addition of protein to any meal you could be having, quick and easy to make!
- Fish – Have the great add-on of healthy fats as well as omega-3 (which is great for neuron functionality)
- Protein powder – Fantastic add-on to early morning coffee or shakes to make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet.
Finally adding in his carbohydrates:
- Leafy Greens – low in calories and light carbohydrate make-up makes this a great option for those following David’s step with the ketogenic diet.
- Low carb vegetables – Picking the right vegetables are essential to make sure that they are low in carbs.
- Sugar-free beverages – low in sugar but will still have some amount of carbohydrate content.
David Goggins will eat a mix of these foods throughout his everyday life and training. These are the type of foods that your body will thrive on if you decide to follow the ketogenic diet like David Goggins.
What Foods does David Goggins avoid in his Ketogenic Diet?
Seeing how restrictive the foods that he eats are, it’s pretty easy to imagine what he’s avoiding at all costs following his ketogenic diet.
- Fruit – Fruit, unfortunately, is very high in sugar and is not suitable for a ketogenic diet. (This is slightly controversial given the number of nutrients found within fruits)
- Starchy Foods – All delicious foods that unfortunately have to be put away: Pasta, Bread, Rice, Potatoes, etc.
- Alcohol – A lot of people don’t realize the number of calories in alcoholic drinks and most of those calories are carbohydrates. Prevent drinking alcohol if you’re trying the ketogenic diet.
- Sugary drinks & foods – Any type of sugary snacks such as candies or pastries are not allowed and David Goggins would be avoiding these foods.
- Finally, David Goggins will also be avoiding legumes and beans which are quite high in carbohydrates.
David Goggins diet – full day of eating
It is obvious that Goggins’ diet is extremely useful and effective for those that are looking to lose weight and are comfortable in switching to a ketogenic diet.
Taking an example from his book, which dictates exactly what he would eat in a day we find the following full day of eating:
For breakfast (Starting at 11 AM after 16 hours of fasting) he will have a simple meal of 2 fried eggs and add to it a bulletproof coffee to wash it all down.
Bulletproof coffee for those who don’t know is a very common addition to a ketogenic diet. This consists of having black coffee and adding high-quality butter and often MCT oil.
Definitely give it a try if you’ve never had it! His breakfast will come out just shy of 500 calories.
His next meal not too long after (given that he only has 8 hours to consume all of his meals) will consist of the following:
He often makes salad bowls that are built over a bed of arugula or other leafy greens. He then adds other healthy fats and proteins such as eggs (could be boiled or any other form).
Next, he adds ground turkey, a whole avocado (sliced), and some type of cheese for the extra calories.
His lunch will come around 700 calories for total calorie intake for his today with just two meals of around 1200 calories.
Finally, his dinner will consist of a high protein plate such as a steak or a grilled pork chop with an additional cup of steamed veggies.
This is quite a light meal considering it is his last large meal before the day is over.
In his book, he does mention that he will occasionally have snacks during the day either yogurts, granola (keto style) or other similar snacks.
David Goggins will eat at around 2000 calories keeping his intake relatively low to maintain muscle mass and put off fat.
For someone who is just getting into the gym, or is serious about it, it is always recommended to track your calories.
Tracking your calories allows you to know whether you are in a calorie surplus or a deficit.
Depending on which side of the line you fall on and whether that is in correlation to your goal in the gym, will make a huge difference for your gains.
Making sure that you are contributing to a caloric surplus throughout the day will greatly improve your weight gain objective and will propel you forward faster.
Not knowing how much food you are eating is a variable that you can easily control, reducing the amount of unnecessary variability and getting you closer to your fitness goals.
How does David Goggins workout?
Thinking of trying to look like David Goggins? Trust me we’ve all been there. Now is it necessary to go through all of the pain and suffering that he went through in the army? Not necessarily.
Getting in good shape has to do with three main pillars, exercise, nutrition and recovery. We just covered his nutrition and now we know exactly what he eats and what he doesn’t eat.
Let’s cover how David Goggins trains and what habits we can take from him in the gym and implement for our own training.
It is first important to understand that Goggins is an absolute physical exception with the amount of exercise and stress that he puts his body under.
There is absolutely no necessity to train as hard as he does to get in similar physical shape – at least visually.
What this means is that you can look as good as David Goggins without having to torture yourself in the way he does to himself.
Developing a proper gym routine with a balanced calorie deficit will make you lean on its own.
David Goggins is an avid runner and runs every day. It is the first thing he does every morning and has been running every single day since 2016 – he commented in an interview.
How much does Goggins run on average?
It is hard to know exactly but what we do know is that in his book when he comments on his regular cardio workouts most of them involve multiple daily runs that can span over 25 miles every single day.
Once again, there is no real necessity to run that much every day to be in good physical shape, David Goggins is a complete exception and a beast of an ultra-endurance athlete.
Goggins is also very much focused on building his core. He believes that a strong physique will all be rooted within a strong core.
If you consider the importance of your core and not just its physical aspect, you realize that almost every movement will involve some type of effort from your core.
Making sure that you prioritize working your core will be extremely beneficial for preventing injuries.
Having a rock-solid core will provide increased strength in most compound movements such as the bench press and the squat among many others.
Making sure that you strengthen your core will allow pressure to put off weak joints and will put pressure in correct areas of your body such as large muscle groups.
These are a few core exercises that Goggins routinely completes and recommends for everybody to try them out.
The first exercise that he recommends that everybody should try out is a V-UP where you lay down flat on your back and lift your upper body and your lower body up in the middle to touch your feet.
Next, he recommends Russian sit-ups and he prioritizes a lot of work on obliques. Exercises like broomstick and swiss-ball obliques have allowed him to develop a very strong core.
Doing any combination of those exercises for 4 sets of 10 reps each is a recipe for a sore core the following day.
Goggins routinely fits in multiple bike sessions within his normal daily routine. In his book when he comments on his daily fitness routine he often talks about the number of miles he completes on his bike.
He regularly bikes around 50 miles a day on his bike. These numbers are incredible alone without considering the 25 daily miles he’s running.
To put all this into context, Goggins will easily surpass 100 running miles within a week, and around 1000 miles on his bike within a month.
You could easily compare these numbers to how much distance you are covering normally in your way to and from work.
Putting that into a different context just shows the absolute beast mentality that Goggins has put in his life and continuously keeps pushing to make himself a high-grade endurance athlete.
David Goggins usually talks about how apart from all of the cardio he will do to make sure that he stays in excellent shape, he will hit the gym around 4 times a week.
Hitting the gym for Goggins also isn’t an easy feat. Apart from his world record capabilities in pull-ups he can easily deadlift and squat quite heavyweights.
Nonetheless, Goggins focuses on doing compound movements which help him keep a very attractive and balanced physique.
Compound movements are basic gym movements that move and work multiple muscle groups within the same movements.
These are quite possibly the most effective movements to do in the gym if you’re short for time and are looking to get stronger.
Having a proficient level of deadlifts, squats, lunges, pullups, and push-ups will have significant effects on your physique.
For someone who is starting off: do 4 sets of 10-12 reps of all of those compound movements and to determine your working weight.
Once you can easily do 4 sets of 10-12 reps you can start moving up and adding more weight.
You will notice that having good compound movement lifts will increase your strength dramatically, all of the movements work together to help you get stronger overall.
If you’re getting started on the gym it is always recommended to start off with getting used to doing all of these exercises.
More importantly that doing the exercises properly focusing on your mobility is an absolutely essential part of your training.
Doing compound movements with limited mobility will increase your chance of significant injuries and prevent you from training in the long-run.
If you’re looking to set up a home gym there are a variety of products that we back and we recommend to all of our readers.
Making sure that you’re stretching and developing proper mobility for each exercise is an absolute necessity when starting to go to the gym and honestly for general life.
The simple act of knowing how to properly pick up something heavy will prevent you from slipping a disk later in life or every having serious back problems.
Understanding the mechanics of our bodies and why we move in certain ways is absolutely essential even if you don’t go to the gym!
Goggins is very well known for his obsessive stretching – and for good reason!
For the amount of work that David Goggins puts into his body and the strain that his muscles take every day the amount of stretching he does is a total necessity.
Putting in 25 miles of running every day with an additional 50 miles on a bike will cause an incredible amount of tightness in your legs, lower back, and feet.
Goggins is known to stretch between 2 and 3 hours a day to prevent any unbearable muscular knots and strains from developing and ruining his endurance career.
David Goggins has endured a copious amount of injuries throughout his life in the Navy SEALs and his endurance athlete career.
He now takes the proper approach to make sure that he prevents as many injuries as possible with extensive daily stretching.
Essential stretches that Goggins is completing on a daily basis are quad, hamstring, hip, hip flexors, glute, calf, in addition to foot massages with massage balls.
His upper body doesn’t take anywhere near the stress that his lower body will take but stretching it is still essential.
Making sure he stretches his Bicep, tricep shoulder and chest will prepare him for all of his extreme training.
One last note about mobility, which also ties into stretching is making sure that you develop a proper level of mobility before attempting heavyweights in any exercise.
The greater your range of mobility that you have will allow pushing farther within each exercise. Focus on stretching and on gaining mobility before stacking weights in exercises.
Should I follow David Goggins’ Workouts and Diet?
Now knowing the level of intensity that David Goggins lives with on a daily basis will show you that training at such a high level of intensity is a complete change in lifestyle.
If you have the time and are willing to put in the effort into yourself to become an extreme endurance athlete then this lifestyle and diet is made for you.
For most, this lifestyle and diet are interesting to know the crazy limits that Goggins is willing to push himself to. It presents us, normal folk, with the upper echelon of physical fitness.
There are definitely a lot of things to take from what David Goggins is doing, for starters, his beast mentality.
Goggins is often heard talking about his 40% mental rule. In his opinion, once your mind says that it wants to give up, that’s when you’ve only used up 40% of your total potential.
He believes that you can push another 60% once your mind initially says it wants to give up. The problem is that few people decide to take themselves to that level of effort.
This is easily something we can apply to any section of our lives, making sure that we don’t give up when the going gets hard, but instead keep pushing.
Push until we are satisfied with our work and with ourselves instead of where we think we can get to.
This and a lot more tips are found in his book “Can’t Hurt me”.
Once again it is a fantastic read and would highly recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a little push to get them fired up for anything they are trying to do in life.
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All of this is connected to the next section of his work out lifestyle and that’s stretching.
Another thing that we could add to our own lifestyle is doing more research on the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting.
Does it fit with our lifestyle? Could we try it out and see how we feel? In life its always important to try new things and see how we feel.
The group of people joining and supporting ketogenic diets is growing faster than ever so doing some research and seeing how a high-fat low carb diet could fit into your life could turn out extremely beneficial for your health!
Another thing to look into is intermittent fasting while fasting itself has been around for quite a long time, intermittent fasting is the new fad.
The new fad is helping out a lot of people and has created a community of its own. Here are some resources to find out if intermittent fasting is something that could fit into your life.
The results are astonishing and the health benefits are extensive!
David Goggins was born in Buffalo, New York.
David Goggins was born on the 17th of February of 1975. He is currently 45 years old.
Goggins failed hell week twice and finally passed on his third attempt.
Goggins usually runs around 25 miles a day.
David Goggins will on a normal day bike around 50 miles.
David Goggins follows a ketogenic diet. This is a high-fat and low-carb diet that changes the way your body breaks down fat. Additionally, Goggins also does intermittent fasting to supplement his ketogenic diet and improve his ketosis.
No David Goggins is not vegan. He follows a ketogenic diet and often consumes Meat, Fish, Dairy, and Eggs.
Goggins self-reports that on average he will stretch between two and three hours a day.
His book is called Can’t Hurt Me.
Bonus Motivational Video of David Goggins
This has to be by far one of the most motivational videos that we’ve ever watched and we’re happy to post it here so you can all enjoy his incredible achievements and be pushed to do more by them!
If you’re looking for another inspirational person to motivate you to pursue your nutrition, check out the new Bruce Lee Diet article we just wrote. Really informative!