If you’re like me, you’ve always dreamed of knocking out over 4,000 pull-ups in one day.
Wait…you don’t have this “innocuous” task on your bucket list?
Even if you’re shooting for a more modest 3,000 pull-up day, you have to admit that you need to know what David Goggins workout routine (the guy from the video!) is like.
(Just wait until you find out about his running, cycling, and swimming accolades!)
Today, we’re going to take a brief look at the mind-boggling volume that comprises David Goggins workout regimen. If you’ve ever wanted to feel really lazy about your current training output, now’s your chance!
Table of Contents
Who is David Goggins?
David Goggins is an ex-Navy SEAL, dubbed the “toughest man alive” due to his incredible athletic performance and accomplishments (in addition to his really stellar service record). He is the only U.S. Armed Forces member who has completed SEAL training, Ranger School, and Tactical Air Controller training.
His athletic accomplishments include completing and ranking high in over 70 seriously hard core endurance events including ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons. He has finished 28 ultramarathons, including a two-day, 203-mile run in 2007. Also, as we previously alluded to, he broke the Guinness World Record for pull-ups in 2013, completing a staggering 4,030 in 17 hours.
Goggins was named The Fittest (Real) Man in America by Outside magazine. However, it took quite a while and a number of lifestyle redirects to get there.
His path was full of hardships, especially due to abuse he experienced during his childhood years. He also faced serious health problems including anemia and pneumonia.
He began his journey as a depressed and overweight man who had a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL and was ready to make major life changes in order to achieve that. He lost more than 100 pounds and worked tirelessly on increasing his strength and endurance. Over the years, Goggins showed incredible resilience and persistence, constantly pushing himself to unprecedented levels of performance and personal dedication.
In addition to his military and athletic ventures, David Goggins is a public speaker and writer. He has published two books: Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds in 2018 and Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within in 2022.
In his books, Goggins speaks about his path of transformation through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work and tries to inspire others who have faced similar hardships and possess similar goals. He travels the world, sharing his philosophy on how to master the mind.
Goggins is also known for his charity work. By competing in different endurance challenges he raises money for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation which helps the children of fallen special operations soldiers.
The David Goggins Workout Routine
The main rule of the David Goggins workout routine is to push yourself until you drop. While this may not be the most effective program for most fitness enthusiasts, it certainly beats any venture that routinely results in low-effort workouts.
Goggins’ philosophy is that constantly pushing yourself beyond your limits is the only way to grow and achieve your personal best. Quitting is not an option. With this routine (plus the diet) Goggins managed to get in shape and lose 106 pounds in 3 months prior to leaving for SEAL selection.
On his daily workout routine, Goggins says: “My daily routine is: I run, I go to the gym,
and I stretch for about two, three hours. I’ve missed two days in the past six years.”
His workout routine is very strict and demanding. Here is what it consists of:
Daily Cardio Routine
Goggins uses each day to improve his physique and cardiovascular fitness. He wakes up at 3 a.m. and starts his daily routine:
- Running: 10-15 miles
- Biking (to work): 25 miles
- Running (at lunchtime): 5-8 miles
- Biking (back from work): 25 miles
- Running (after work): 3-5 miles
Goggins also practices a couple tough bodyweight workout routines:
Bodyweight David Goggins 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)
Bodyweight David Goggins 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 also engages in more traditional resistance training workouts. During his strength training sessions, he lifts heavy weights and performs each to failure. Between each set, he takes 3 minutes of rest.
David Goggins Core Workout
Three times a week Goggins includes core-strengthening exercises in his routine. As you see, this workout is a bit more reasonable(?) than some of his other workouts!:
- 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
The David Goggins Diet
As you’d probably expect, the David Goggins workout routine isn’t quite enough to produce the incredible results that the beast has experienced over the years. Losing over 100 pounds in 3 months would be impossible without a change in the diet. The first step for Goggins was cutting calories and avoiding junk food.
Goggins believes that one of the most important things about his diet is meal timing. He practices intermittent fasting. He often shuts his meal window at 6:30PM and won’t eat again until 10:30AM the next day.
When it comes to the type of food he eats, Goggins says that proteins and healthy fats are the base. He has proteins in every meal and regularly drinks protein shakes with essential amino acids. His optimal diet includes 40% proteins, 40% fats, and 20% carbs (which is incredible given how much cardio he puts in…he must really be able to work off those fat stores pretty well!)
The David Goggins Mindset
Mental toughness is the core of Goggins’ philosophy. He says: “The only way you gain mental toughness is to do things you’re not happy doing. If you continue doing things that you’re satisfied with and make you happy, you’re not getting stronger. You’re staying where you’re at. Either you’re getting better or you’re getting worse. You’re not staying the same.”
Goggins emphasizes that when our brain says that we’re done, we’re actually only 40 percent done. He always pushes himself to the point of collapsing and constantly challenges himself.
Goggins thinks that you have to suffer in order to grow. This means that you need to choose the harder path and stick with it. According to Goggins, this is what is necessary to achieve the best version of yourself.
Closing Thoughts on an Incredible Athlete
As you might expect, it’s really difficult to comprehend just how impressive David Goggins workout routine and athletic endeavors are. Between the long-range distance events, bodyweight world record, and even the miles he puts in during his daily commute, Goggin’s accomplishment and regimen don’t actually sound real.
I guess this is a great example of me only putting in 40 percent of effort into believing his stories!
Although the ultramarathons and even the 2188 gym days out of 2190 (I did the math…you’re welcome!) might be out of reach for most people, it’s impossible not to get fired up by Goggins consistency, resiliency, and overall never-quitting mindset.
…maybe, just maybe I’ll bike to work tomorrow…
If you’re interested in self-improvement and longevity (but not so much the 4,000-plus pull-up days), check out our review of Peter Attia’s Outlive book. It won’t teach you how to run 200 miles, but it will teach you how to be the most fit 100-year old on Earth!