I’ve been listening to Willink’s podcast for almost a year now, and his books have also been very inspirational.

There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s one of the fittest and mentally strong people alive, and that’s why I’ve been looking to get snippets of advice from him.

His approach to diet and exercise is particularly interesting, and he has shared many details over hundreds of hours of interviews, podcasts, and videos.

So, we decided to collect all that information so that you have it all in one place.

jocko willink portrait

Jocko Willink is a retired navy seal and Iraq War veteran who earned a Bronze Star and a Silver Star for his duty.

He also is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and host of the popular Jocko podcast, which covers topics from fitness to leadership, and business to mental health.

Jocko also owns a gym in San Diego, as well as a leadership consulting firm called Echelon Front.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep him occupied, he has also become a best-selling author of many books, including one titled “Discipline Equals Freedom” due to be released later this year.

It’s a self-help type of book where Jocko tries to show how he has adopted what he learned during his time in the US Navy special operations unit.

His fitness levels never seem to have dipped, and this would be down to his mental approach to training and eating, and applying a military style discipline.

Let’s start with what we found out about his weekly training routine.

jocko willink workout

What I like about Jocko’s approach is that he keeps it simple by focusing on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups [1].

He also doesn’t do high-intensity workouts every day.

But even on those days where he’s not hitting the gym hard, he still does a lot of cardio.

Let’s take a look at what he does for strength, though.

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Day 1: Pull-Ups

man doing pull ups

Pull-Ups are one of the best ways to target your shoulders and back, while also engaging your biceps in certain moves.

He has often said that a pull-up bar or frame is one of the first things he recommends for a garage gym.

Using your own body weight is highly effective, even if you need to start by supporting part of your weight on a chair.

These are the three main types you’d want to cycle through, but there are many more variations once you gain more muscle.

  • Wide-Grip Pull-Ups
  • Closed-Grip Pull-Ups
  • Reverse-Grip Pull-Ups

Day 2: Push-Ups

man doing push ups

He recommends using push-up bars or gymnastics rings for a longer range of motion, and as soon as you can get a good set done without shaking, you should try adding weight with a belt or vest.

This day also includes doing dips to get some more burn into those triceps muscles.

The great thing is that you don’t need much equipment for this in your home gym.

But if you do have a rowing machine, then using it with straight legs at high resistance levels could add some diversity.

Day 3: Lifting

man lifting weights

Looking at Jocko’s build reveals that he’s no stranger to powerlifting, and he seems to be a big fan of deadlifts, including clean and jerk.

This isn’t something for beginners to just jump into if they don’t have barbell experience, and you might want to use bands to build up muscles before you start on a barbell.

He’ll also include the bench press with a hefty weight to train to failure, as this may be the way to better achieve muscle growth triggers in the body [2].

Day 4: Squats

jocko willink doing squats

This is primarily a day for leg exercise, but squats might also be a great way to build up more core strength.

He suggests that beginners start building up more leg and core strength with jumping jacks.

And you want to do these until your gym clothes are soaking with sweat.

You’ll need access to squat racks for this, so it might be something to keep for a day that you head to the gym.

You can check out these 7 squat variations.

His approach to food and dieting doesn’t involve any crazy ideas. You have to avoid junk food and stay away from carbs as much as you can.

We heard him comment a lot about eating large volumes of veggies and fruit, and this seems to be helping with metabolic conditioning that avoids creating more body fat.

His military training would have also taught him that the human body can go days and weeks without food, meaning that what we feel as hunger isn’t anything remotely like starving.

“Discipline is your best friend. It will take care of you like nothing else can.”

 

- Jocko Willink

Intermittent fasting is a regular part of his diet approach, where he might go 24 to 72 hours without food several times a year.

It’s the discipline to eat clean and healthy foods that have probably helped him maintain his fitness levels, and it’s something you could learn by reading his upcoming book “Discipline Equals Freedom.”

To an outsider, it might seem like everything Jocko has done just turns out well. But that completely ignores his work ethics.

He gets up at 4:30 in the morning and he started an early morning group on Twitter. It’s something he took with him from the Navy, and by doing most of his exercise that early, it leaves him with a full day to focus on his business.

And it seems like every aspect of his day is carefully planned out the night before. This includes his gym clothes being ready to go, and every business meeting is carefully allocated the right amount of time.

How Does Jocko Approach Supplements

jocko willink supplements

One thing I’ve been interested in is how he approaches a supplement routine. Based on some comments in a few interviews, we’ve identified this Jocko Willink supplements stack.

He has his own brand of supplements too, but we just want to focus on the types he uses.

1 - Pre-Workout

He’s regularly stated that he takes a pre-workout supplement before all his high-intensity sessions. You wouldn’t really need it for cardio training, but as soon as your heart rate heads for maximum levels, it’s a good idea.

These supplements are designed to extend your endurance and overall performance to do more sets or reps.

2 - Nootropic

His day obviously requires a careful balance of physical and brain energy. As a successful businessman, he needs to have his mind on top performance, which is why he takes nootropics as soon as he gets out of bed, and before he starts his workouts.

3 - Protein Powder

With all that exercise, Jocko recommends taking high-quality whey protein. The advantage of whey is that it may provide the full amino acid profile required by everyone who wants to gain mass and recover faster [3].

4 - Omega 3

This is an underrated supplement that doesn’t just help with an immune boost. Some research has also shown that it may play a role in speeding up the recovery process, especially after a more intense fitness routine.

Check out the best Omega-3 supplements on the market.

5 - Joint Support

The harder you work out, the more pressure your joints will need to put up with. By taking a regular joint support supplement with ingredients like collagen, you could be making a big difference when it comes to flexibility and the types of movements you can do.

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Want To Try The Jocko Workout And Diet?

Willink has taken a serious military-style approach to all aspects of his life. And that shows in his physical shape as well as business success.

If you train like Jocko Willink and apply even a small amount of his discipline methods, you’ll notice some real changes in your life.

We’d love to hear from you if you’ve successfully applied some of his methods.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4592763/
  2. https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/trainfailure.html
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6245118/

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