David Goggins has been called the toughest man alive. Few people would be foolish – or brave – enough to argue. This retired Navy Seal is the only member of the US Armed Forces to complete Seal Training (going through Hell Week twice!), US Army Ranger School and Air Force Tactical Air Controller Training.
But he wasn’t always a ripped to the bone badass. In fact, he’d been a hundred pounds overweight and struggled to do even one pull up, yet alone the 4,030 that he once completed in 17 hours to claim a Guinness World Record. In this article, we go in-depth on how this man-machine trains and eats.
David Goggins Stats
|86 kg (190 lbs)||6’2”||47 years|
The David Goggins Story
David Goggins was born and raised in Buffalo, New York. His father was abusive to David, his younger brother, and his mother and the three eventually escaped his clutches.
By the time he was 24, David was overweight and working from paycheck to paycheck as an exterminator. In an interview with CNBC in 2015, he related …
I would go in [to Steak ‘n Shake] and get a large chocolate milkshake. And then I would go across the street to 7-Eleven, and get a box of mini donuts.
By the time he got home, the shake and donuts would both be consumed. That was a nightly routine 5 days per week.
Then one day, while he was in the shower, Goggins heard something that would change his life. He recalled …
Here I am listening to the TV as I’m showering and, lo and behold, this particular day, I started hearing: ‘Navy SEALs. Toughest training.’ I was hearing it cut out between the water hitting my ears … I got sick of being haunted by being nobody. I didn’t want to sit back and continually watch these shows about great people doing amazing things. I wanted that feeling in my head that I believed that they had: of true accomplishment.
Goggins then set his sights on becoming a Navy SEAL. He already had military experience, having joined the US Air Force Pararescue at age 19. He failed the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test twice before passing it and being accepted as a recruit.
During his training, David was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. He was removed from training and switched to the US Air Force Tactical Air Control Party and worked in that capacity until he was 23. It was then that he began working as an exterminator.
He began calling army recruiters but none of them would take him seriously. When he finally got an invite to come to a recruiting office, he was told that at his height of 6’1” he could weigh no more than 191 lbs.
To achieve that weight, Goggins had to lose 106 lbs. Throwing himself into a self-described ‘insane’ training and nutrition plan, he lost all of that weight in 3 months.
He then undertook Navy SEAL training, finally graduating after 3 attempts. Over the course of a 20-year military career, he went on to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2005, Goggins took up long-distance running in honor of a number of comrades who had fallen in Afghanistan. Funds were raised for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. He has since competed in many ultra-marathons, raising more than $2 million for the foundation.
In 2016 David won the Infinitus 88K, which is one of the toughest races in the world. He finished with a time of 12 hours flat, which was twenty minutes ahead of the second place finisher.
In 2013, he claimed the Guinness World Record by completing 4030 pull ups in 17 hours. He has also achieved a 3rd palace finish in the Badwater Ultramarathon, which takes place in the middle of Death Valley, in the northern Mojave desert.
On 2015, Goggins wrote a book called Can’t Hurt Me, which became a New York Times bestseller.
David Goggins Nutrition Program
There is no set David Goggins diet. Over the years, Goggins has come to be intimately acquainted with how his body responds to training and what is needed to fuel it for whatever he is challenging it with at the time. As a result, he adjusts his diet several times throughout the year.
Let’s start off by taking a look at how Goggins ate (or more to the point how he didn’t eat), to lose more than a hundred pounds in three months to qualify for Navy SEAL training.
For Goggins the formula was pretty simple … stop eating so much food and cut out the junk. He then worked out what he needed to do to be in a constant state of negative calorie balance. To do this he worked out what his maintenance calorie level was and then reduced it by 750-1000 calories per day.
Goggins would do a form of intermittent fasting, delaying his first meal of the day until after his morning workout. During his 3 months weight loss blitz, his workouts mainly consisted of walking and running.
Goggins still makes regular use of intermittent fasting, choosing to do so when he has a heavy weight training or HIIT type workout scheduled in the morning. At these times he’ll follow a 16:8 intermittent fasting protocol where he finishes eating at 6:30 pm and then fasts for 16 hours right through until 10:30 am the following day.
Goggins understands that fasted workouts will allow his body to burn off more energy from stored body fat as opposed to consumed glycogen during the workout.
To break the fast post-workout, he’ll have a 50:50 mix of fast digesting proteins and medium/fast digesting carbs. This is sometimes in the form of a protein shake.
When he’s not doing a heavy early morning workout. Goggins eats a breakfast that consists of oatmeal, with blueberries, a banana, and walnuts.
When Goggins is training for an upcoming high mileage running event, he will eat a lot more carbs to ensure that his muscles are filled with glycogen. However, he stays away from high glycemic carbs that will spike his insulin level, instead of focusing on such natural forms as sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, fruit, and vegetables.
As we’ve mentioned, Goggin’s macros and eating style fluctuate according to how he’s training. In general, though, his macronutrient ratio tends to balance out to the following …
Goggins considers this to be a form of the keto diet, which he firmly believes in.
Goggins does not drink alcohol.
David Goggins Supplement Regime
Goggins follows a stripped back supplement regimen. As well as the occasional protein shake after his workouts, he takes exogenous ketones to help himself get into and stay in a ketogenic, fat-burning state.
The only other supplement that Goggins regularly uses is essential amino acids, which he adds to his water and drinks as an intra workout supplement.
David Goggins Training Mindset
David Goggins is a physical and mental freak.
That statement needs to be made before we start detailing how he works out so that we all understand that the way he trains is not the way that the vast majority of us would be able to train. If we tried, we’d probably be burnt out within a couple of weeks.
As physically strong as the guy is, his mind is far more powerful. His hard as nails, no excuses mindset is evidenced by several quotes that have become viral on Twitter and Instagram. Here are 3 examples …
If you don’t like what you see in the mirror…CHANGE IT!
The path to success will leave you callused, bruised, and very tired. It will also leave you empowered.
Everyone comes to a point in their life when they want to quit. But it’s what you do at that moment that determines who you are.
Goggins spends a lot of time in the water, on the bike, and pounding the trails. Yet he has often said that he hates swimming, running, and cycling. That tells you everything you need to know about the mental toughness and discipline of this guy.
David Goggins Workout Program
Just as with his diet, Goggins adjusts his training to fit any competitions or events that he has coming up. Here’s a look at what his workout program looks like when he’s in full-beast mode training for an ultra running event.
Goggins reportedly gets up at 3 am to get started on his workout program. He begins with a 20-mile run. He then rides his bike 20 miles to work. Most days he will also go for a run at lunchtime.
In the mid-afternoon he rides 20 miles home to join his wife, Aleeza, for a gym workout.
David Goggins Strength Training Regime
Goggins does not follow a standard bodybuilding split routine workout. Instead, he uses a pared down routine that is built around compound moves designed to build strength and muscle.
Goggins’ standard gym routine features just 5 exercises, each of which is done for between 3 and 5 sets. Reps range between 5 and 12.
Here is what Goggin’s standard strength training workout looks like …
- Deadlift – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Pull Ups – 3 sets of 5 reps
- Squats – 5 sets of 5 reps
- Lunges – 3 sets of 12 reps
- Push Ups – 5 sets of 25 reps
Goggins uses heavy weight on these sets, stopping just short of failure on all but the last set of each exercise. The last set is performed to failure, where he can no longer do a strict rep. To provide sufficient recovery between sets, he rests for up to 3 minutes between sets.
Goggins performs a separate core workout 3 times per week. It involves four different exercises, each of which is performed for 3 sets. Here’s the routine …
- Swiss Ball Obliques – 3 sets of 25 reps
- Russian Sit Ups – 3 sets of 10 reps
- V-Ups – 3 sets of 10 reps
- Broomstick Obliques – 3 sets of 10 reps
Finally, let’s take a look at a couple of Navy SEAL type cardio workouts that Goggins follows to stay in optimum shape. Both of these workouts were posted on Instagram just before the first Pandemic lockdown. They are equipment free workouts that a lot of people around the world followed during the lockdowns.
Cardio Workout A
- 140 lunges
- 140 squats
- 140 lunges
- 100 squats
- 1 min rest/hydrate
- 250 jumping jacks
- 1 min rest/hydrate
- 230 Sit ups
- 1 min rest/hydrate
- 180 push ups (10 reps every 30 seconds x 18)
- 1 min rest/hydrate
- 25 arm haulers, 25 push ups (Repeat x 4)
Cardio Workout B
- Jumping jacks (10 min)
- 10 jumping jacks, 10 push ups. Repeat. (10 min )
- 115 alternating lunges
- 110 unassisted sit ups
- 2×25 push up to planks
- 25 Unassisted sit ups
- 10 jumping jacks/10 push ups (3 sets)
Goggins Push Up Challenge
David Goggins loves to challenge himself. And he loves to set challenges for others. His push up challenge is about as simple as it gets – but by no means easy. Here’s what it involves.
Do 17 push ups every minute on the minute for 60 minutes. Well, that’s the goal anyway. 99% of us won’t be able to do 60 straight sets of 17 reps with just a few seconds rest between them. Get as far as you can before you fail to get your 17 count, then keep pumping out as many as you can until the hour is up!
Other Diet & Workout Program You Should Check Out:
- Kumail Nanjiani Diet and Training Program
- Mike Tyson’s Insane Workout & Diet Program
- Jake Gyllenhaal Southpaw Workout & Diet Program
- Get Ripped Like Michael B. Jordan With The ‘Creed’ Workout Program
David Goggins is a true inspiration, in every sense of the word. If you are in need of some training and body transformation motivation, I seriously recommend that you check out his book ‘Can’t Hurt Me’, which can be purchased from his official website.
You might not have the energy or the desire to get up at 3 am and follow the marathon-like David Goggins workout. But, if you want to achieve your training goals and develop Navy SEAL like training fortitude and intensity, I suggest that you take on board aspects of the Goggins workout and diet philosophy.