Bruce Lee Workout Routine & Diet (Free 7-Day Plan)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: June 20, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Bruce Lee is a legend in the martial arts. Before his untimely death in 1973, he appeared in numerous films. But the man behind the one-inch punch was also famous for his physique, so much so that you could literally see every fiber of his muscles.

In fact, he was so dedicated to training his body that his ideas on diet and exercise became an institution itself. People across the globe have tried copying his routines.

So, our team of personal trainers took up the challenge and spent a few days researching his workout and diet routine.

The Legend’s Stats

Bruce Lee’s weight was approximately 130-140 lbs, and he stood 5’8 feet tall.

His BMI was 20.8 with a body fat percentage of 7.9.

6 Bruce Lee Diet And Nutrition Tips

Those rock-hard abs, sinewy biceps, and V-shaped upper body muscles certainly required a lot of training and discipline. His martial arts career is proof to that.

 

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A post shared by Bruce Lee (@brucelee)

But let’s not forget that diet also played a huge role in sculpting his signature silhouette. So here are some of the perks to maintaining the Bruce Lee weight.

Cut Out Those ‘Empty Calories’

Bruce refused to consume any foods that he thought would not benefit him as a martial artist.

“When you are a martial artist, you only eat what you require and do not get carried away with foods that do not benefit you as a martial artist.”

He would call refined flour “empty calories” and refrain from eating any baked goods like biscuits, cakes, or pastries.

Eat Chinese Food

bruce lee diet chinese food

Even though he loved some pasta, Bruce Lee felt that Western food was often bland. That is why he opted primarily for food from his homeland.

Asian food, such as rice and vegetables, are full of carbohydrates that are a very good source of energy.

Western foods, on the other hand, place more emphasis on fat and protein.

Bruce Lee's favorite food was beef in oyster sauce - a good source of both carbs and protein. These ingredients are essential for an active lifestyle that often includes landing power punches and lightning-quick leg work.

Eat Smaller Portions More Often

vegan salad

Rather than opting for a couple of larger meals, he would choose to have 4-5 smaller meals spread out throughout the day.

Bruce Lee also preferred to snack on fruits whenever he felt a bit peckish.

The reason why he believed it’s best to spread out his mealtimes was to ensure his metabolism did not fluctuate and any excess calories weren’t turned into fat. As a personal trainer, I can say from experience that this is an approach that can transform all fitness efforts.

Eating these smaller meal portions also allowed for more manageable calorie intake during each mealtime and guaranteed influx of energy during a workout.

Drink Royal Jelly And Ginseng

Bruce Lee would often talk about how he would get a boost before filming his scenes by drinking royal jelly, which is made from the honey of the queen bee.

Royal jelly contains:

  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Acetylcholine
  • Various hormones
  • Numerous amino acids
  • Vitamin C
  • Enzymes
  • Antibacterial and antibiotic components

According to Chinese culture, ginseng is said to promote ‘Yang’ energy. Science has proven that it may help improve your circulation and blood supply [1].

Take A Protein Supplement

In order to maintain his physique and build muscle mass, Bruce Lee made sure he consumed adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis to supplement his martial arts and weight training.

It's something I have a lot of experience with, and I take multiple protein shakes each day. Studies from the Department of Internal Medicine, Jeju National University Hospital, have shown that high-protein diets also have a positive impact on weight management [2].

He would consume 2 protein drinks per day, every day. These would be made by mixing:

  • Eggs
  • Wheat germ
  • Peanut butter
  • Bananas
  • Brewers yeast
  • Granular lecithin

Protein is incredibly important for health and bodybuilding. If you are not getting enough through your diet alone (and are no stranger to muscle exercise too), you should consider adding a protein supplement to get the most from your workout routines.

Our recommended protein supplement is ProteinSeries 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate.

Tea Time In The Gym?

tea

Bruce Lee rarely skipped tea time. Even during training, he often drank a variety of different types of tea, which were usually mixed with honey.

Certain types of tea contain various antioxidants that can boost your immune system, such as green tea for example [3].

His favorite brand was Lipton or a Chinese tea called Li-Cha.

Celebrities Rumored to Be Juicing:

Bruce Lee Workout Routine (Be Like Water)

bruce lee's training and stretching

Bruce Lee’s wife, Linda Lee Cadwell, kept his personal workout routines diaries (dated from 1963 to 1970).

The diaries thoroughly detailed Bruce Lee's methods that he explored, which helped him perfect his signature martial arts and overall training program.

Over time and through rigorous experimentation, he created his own style, Jeet Kune Do - a style that is practiced even today by numerous martial artists.

During his humble beginnings in 1963, his workout mainly included your typical martial arts training routine. The initial Bruce Lee workout routine consisted of various punching and kicking exercises that stemmed from his training in Wing Chun Gun Fu and Sil Lum Tao.

It was during this period that the man behind the legend started to develop his work ethic, spending 3 or more hours of training on a wooden dummy.

But his personal diaries also demonstrate how his training program evolved as years passed. In 1965, Mr. Lee felt the need to expand his craft, so he started to incorporate more cardiovascular exercises into his workout routines.

You May Also Like: Bruce Lee Workout PDF

Bruce Lee’s updated training programs would also start to include cycling, running, and use of jump rope to increase endurance and stamina. With the goal to gain strength in his forearms and abdominals, he began to experiment with barbells and specialized exercises.

As the 1960s drew to a close, Bruce Lee slowly moved away from more traditional martial arts training and began to incorporate more Western-style boxing techniques in his training.

It was in 1970 that he started to focus on his workouts to support his martial arts. Besides his usual workout routine, he began to add weight training, heavy bag work, speed bag work, and stretching techniques.

This became known as cross-training - a staple exercise in modern gyms because it incorporates aerobics, strength training, and muscle flexibility.

The reason for incorporating cross-training into his workout routines was to further enhance his speed, strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Below, you will find the digested Bruce Lee workout routine. As you can see, he alternates his training to allow each body part enough rest.

Also, bear in mind that he would always work on his abs and do basic stretching, both of which were seen as a core asset of his workout regime since its inception.

Training Regimen of Mass Monsters:

Bruce Lee Workout Sample

bruce lee nunchucks

The Bruce Lee workout routine is intense. Here's an overview of how he did his trainings.

Abdominals (every day)

  • Sit-ups
  • Side bend
  • Leg raises
  • Flag
  • Twist
  • Back bend

Flexibility (every day)

  • Front stretch
  • Side stretch
  • Hurdle stretch
  • Sit stretch
  • Sliding stretch
  • Front pulley stretch

Weight training
(Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday):

  • Clean and press - 2 sets of 8 reps
  • Squat - 2 sets of 12
  • Pullover - 2 sets of 8
  • Bench press - 2 sets of 6
  • Good mornings - 2 sets of 8

He would also use the following:

  • Clean and press - 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Squat - 4 sets of 6
  • Good morning - 4 sets of 6
  • Bench press - 4 sets of 5
  • Curls - 4 sets of 6

Kicks (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday):

  • Side kick
  • Hook kick
  • Spin kick
  • Rear front thrust
  • Heel kick

Endurance workouts:

  • Running (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)
  • Cycling (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)
  • Rope skipping (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday)

Punches (Monday, Wednesday, Friday):

  • Jab - Speedbag, foam pad, top, and bottom bag
  • Cross - Foam pad, heavy bag, top, and bottom bag
  • Hook - Heavy bag, foam pad, top, and bottom bag
  • Overhand cross - Foam pad, heavy bag
  • Combinations - Heavy bag, top, and bottom speed bag
  • Platform speed bag workout
  • Top and bottom bag

As you can see, Bruce would power through each exercise every day of the week, with very little rest in between. He would basically exercise the entire day.

If you don’t believe us, Chuck Norris stated that Bruce Lee was the hardest-working man he had ever met:

“No other human being had ever trained the way Bruce trained-fanatically. He lived and breathed it from the time he got up at six o’clock in the morning until he went to bed at night.”

Workout Routines of other Celebrities:

Mind-Body Connection in Bruce Lee's Training

Bruce Lee's training transcended physical boundaries, deeply integrating the mind-body connection.

His philosophy emphasized mental discipline, believing in the power of the mind to overcome physical limits. Lee incorporated meditation, visualization, and Taoist principles into his regimen, fostering a harmonious balance between mental clarity and physical prowess.

This holistic approach not only enhanced his martial arts skills but also his life philosophy, making his training uniquely comprehensive and spiritually grounded.

Read our review of other Celebrity Action Stars:

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23596810/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7539343/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2855614/#:~:text=Green%20tea%20strengthens%20the%20immune,diseases%20%5B10%2C54%5D.
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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