Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

I’ve been following David Goggins ever since I read about his ultramarathon successes and attempt at breaking the world record in the number of pull-ups completed in 1 day.

And I’ve become even more interested in his appearances as a motivational speaker, which I believe is one of his best abilities.

The man has survived Seal and Army Ranger training, and he firmly believes that weight loss and building strength and endurance are a mind game.

So, we decided to gather some information about his daily routine for fitness and his diet to build a healthy body.

This took a few months, but we gathered some great information so you can copy the Goggins workout.

Who Is David Goggins?

david goggins portrait

David Goggins is a retired Navy Seal, ultramarathon runner, triathlete, motivational speaker, and best selling author.

His personal transformation from a poor background with a broken family saw him go from obesity to a superhuman level of fitness.

We’ve identified three stages to his career so far.

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1 - Life Before The Navy Seals

Goggins worked as an exterminator for a pest control company earning $1,000 a month. His lifestyle had made him pile on weight, which brought him to the edge of morbid obesity.

One day he decided to join the military, but he knew that his physical size would be a problem, so he just started to run.

The weight loss routine worked, and he managed to shed over 100 pounds and joined the Air Force.

2 - Surviving Navy Seal Training

david goggins carrying log

After leaving the Air Force, he started preparing to become a Seal. While he suffered several injuries and medical setbacks during his training, he never gave up and was finally assigned to Seal Team Five.

David is also the only member of the military to have completed Navy Seal training, Army Ranger School, and become an Air Force Tactical Air Controller.

That’s quite an achievement.

“Pain unlocks a secret doorway in the mind, one that leads to both peak performance and beautiful silence.”

 

- David Goggins

3 - Life After The Military

Once David left Navy Seal Team Five, you’d think that he’d start to take things a bit easy.

He did become a bestselling author. Most notably of a book titled Can’t Hurt Me.

But he also started to become more heavily involved in extreme endurance sports like running ultramarathons [1].

Oh, and he went on to break the world record for the number of pull-ups in 24 hours [2].

So, he never stopped his obsession with strength and fitness, and we wanted to know more about his workout routine.

He was also a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast. Check out Joe's amazing supplement stack.

The David Goggins Workout Routine

david goggins running downhill

David has gone into a lot of detail about how he approached his training and daily routine in books and interviews.

Here’s what it would take to copy his approach, which might explain his superhuman achievements.

1 - Timing The Workouts

He gets up very early.

At some stages of his military career, he would get up at 3 am for a 15-mile run. After a quick shower and breakfast, he would get on his bike and cycle 25 miles to his base.

And that meant cycling the same distance back home at the end of his day.

2 - Weight Training

David says he always hated running, cycling and swimming, but felt quite at home in the gym while lifting weights.

In his early military days, he was a hulk of a man with huge muscles from spending hours at the gym.

He needed to change that a bit for the endurance sports, but also for the special forces training he did.

He doesn’t head to the gym every day as he wants to limit how much his body bulks up.

Usually, it’s in the evening time when he goes through a grueling workout routine where he pushes his body to the limit.

He believes that most people stop at 40% of their actual capacity and could achieve so much more if they pushed their bodies the extra distance.

3 - Focusing On The Core

david goggins pushup

It’s obvious from photos that David focuses a lot of work on his core and abs. His belief is that if your core is weak, then the rest of your body cannot be strong.

He does this through a lot of cardio work. In some interviews, he mentioned that this focus on cardio brought his resting heart rate down to 32 beats per minute.

No, that’s not a typo.

Check out the best abs exercises.

4 - Regular Stretching

Goggins has spoken a lot about stretching and that he spends several hours every day on an extensive stretching routine.

He firmly believes that stretching is the key to recovery, both from exercise and possible injuries.

5 - Run, Cycle, Swim

While these are the very exercises he hates the most, he clocks up 150 miles or more every week. It’s like he’s in constant preparation for a triathlon or the next ultramarathon race over 100 miles.

“If you’re willing to suffer, and I mean suffer, your brain and body once connected together, can do anything.”

 

- David Goggins

Now that we’ve checked out David’s everyday workout routine, let’s take a look at the David Goggins diet.

How Does David Fuel His Training?

The David Goggins diet has changed a lot over the years. For a long time, he didn’t have professional advice, but he still understood at an early stage that he needed to make healthy changes.

1 - David’s Own Transformation (Pre-Navy Seals)

david goggins pre seals

As a severely overweight man, David one day decided he didn’t like where he was going.

While watching a documentary about the Navy Seals, he decided that was his goal, and from there, he started a fitness routine that was little more than running.

But since weight loss is 70% down to what you’re eating, he also made some drastic changes on his diet.

It may have been by accident, but he cut out lots of carbs and unhealthy fats and lost over 100 pounds in just 3 or 4 months.

2 - David’s Approach To Ketosis

While his initial weight loss was down to adopting a low-carb approach, he took things a step further with a more planned approach when he needed to lose weight to get into the Seals.

A high-fat ketogenic diet approach was his solution, and he still regularly cycles through Keto phases even while his weight isn’t an issue.

It’s possibly one of the key parts of his endurance and fitness levels.

3 - Foods He Avoids

The ketogenic diet is very strict when it comes to all types of carbs, but most especially sugar. He regularly says that fruit and starchy veg are never part of his daily meal plans.

And things like cereals, pasta, and bread are a no-go area as well.

This is also the case when he’s not in ketosis.

4 - Foods He Recommends

oatmeal and berries

Now, you’d think that the David Goggins diet without carbs is going to leave you with very few options.

But that’s not the case at all. He’s often spoken about his typical daily meals, which are full of:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Leafy greens
  • Plenty of cheese
  • Eggs
  • Butter and cream
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthy cold pressed oils

It’s a diet high in fat and protein that, according to him, fuels his endurance more efficiently.

5 - Intermittent Fasting

Along with the ketogenic diet, he follows regular stints of intermittent fasting.

He often skips breakfast and rarely eats anything until after he has run 10 to 15 miles.

By extending the time he spends fasting to 12 or more hours, it seems like he makes more efficient use of the energy he gets from fat and protein.

It certainly would explain why he can maintain maximum levels of endurance pretty much every day [3].

The David Goggins Approach To Motivation

Here’s the ironic thing about this topic.

You’d think that Goggins is constantly working on motivation in order to achieve all the goals he’s set himself.

But he actually doesn’t believe in motivation and often refers to it as BS.

Instead, he likes to focus on purpose.

It’s something we’ve tried to introduce to some of our clients when they mention they just can’t get into the frame of mind.

The idea is that by constantly focusing on your purpose, it convinces you to do the work even if you don’t want to. And the more you believe in your purpose, the more likely you are to succeed.

The Mental Approach To Becoming Superhuman

david goggins transformation

Many people have referred to David Goggins as the toughest man alive. I don’t think he would disagree, but he wouldn’t be looking at it from a physical toughness perspective.

In his book, “Can’t Hurt Me”, he regularly refers to other soldiers that he trained with and how they were often in much better physical shape than he was.

But even with these elite athletes, he believed that they gave up during workouts way too early.

His theory is that once you start to feel you can’t take anymore, you’re only at 40% of your maximum capacity.

It’s kind of a safety mechanism of the human body to protect against damage and injury.

Understanding that and combining it with a true purpose are the first steps you need to build the mental toughness to keep going much further than most people are willing to go.

Related:

FAQs

How much weight did David Goggins lose?

David Goggins lost 100 pounds during his initial transformation. This was done in preparation for being able to join the military and achieve his dream goal of joining the Seals. He later lost more weight again in order to be able to compete in ultramarathons.

How many pull-ups did David Goggins do in 24 hours?

David Goggins completed 4030 reps of pull-ups in 24 hours to set a new record. It took him a few attempts, but it was another one of his ultimate performance goals that he had started thinking about many years before.

How far can David Goggins run?

David Goggins can run over 100 miles, and the longest he has run is 135 miles. At various times, his fitness routine consisted of running 15 miles every single day in addition to cycling more than 50 miles.

How many books has David Goggins written?

David Goggins has written 1 book titled “Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds.” it has become a bestseller with over 1 million copies sold.

Would You Be Able For The David Goggins Diet And Training Routine?

It’s obvious that David takes things to extremes, and not everyone will want to push themselves that far. But what you should take away from his achievements is that you don’t need to be a Hollywood celebrity with professional coaches to achieve your dream body shape.

I believe that even if you only took a small portion of his approach, you’d be able to transform your body and lose a lot of pounds.

If you’ve tried any of his methods, then let us know how they worked out for you.

References: 

  1. https://ultrasignup.com/results_participant.aspx?fname=David&lname=Goggins
  2. https://www.navytimes.com/2015/09/29/sailor-sets-world-record-for-most-pullups-in-24-hours/
  3. https://www.dietdoctor.com/intermittent-fasting

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