We can all agree that Bruce Lee is the epitome of a Zen Dude, and we like that. He is super lean, strong, and he’s got the laser focused mindset to match. What Bruce Lee had done was create an incredible physique using not only his body, but also his mind. Bruce Lee said: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
How do you create the shredded Bruce Lee body? How do you get that lean, chiseled rock hard look, complete with six pack abs you can break a plank on?
The Bruce Lee Diet
First things first: you cannot out train a bad diet. Bruce Lee knew this and had a simple philsophy. He was all about eating just the right amount of food for your body. He was known to say to not to eat too little and not to eat too much, to just eat what your body needs.
We are going to be a bit more exact than the Kung Fu master and we are giving you a calculator that will tell you the exact amount of food that you need to eat for you to reach you karate chopping dreams. Let’s go through what you need to punch into the calculator to get to the right amount of food for your body.
Put in your personal details, age, male or female, and height. Then the all-important activity level; sedentary is when you are doing nothing at all, light activity means 1-3 times a week, moderate activity means 3-5 times a week and high activity 6-7 times week.
Then select ‘lose weight’ as the goal. Unless you already super lean, most of us can do with losing some more body fat. For adjusting the protein level, click on ‘high’ if you are a dude, and if you are a dudette, click on medium. Hit calculate macros.
The calculator will spit out your macro and calorie numbers. The goal is to eat those numbers every day. That is the the name of the game: just keep hitting those numbers. You can easily keep track of your calorie and nutrient intake by using a mobile app such as My Fitness Pal.
Don’t worry too much about eating only “healthy” foods. Instead, just try to get 70 of your food from the earth (fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, eggs, legumes etc.) and use the other 30 to eat whatever you want.
It’s as easy as that. Eat less calories than you burn in a day, and you will get leaner and leaner until you start to look like our boy Bruce. Not only will you get leaner, you will also notice that you feel better and that is easier to get into that hallowed state of mental flow.
We went pretty in-depth studying Bruce’s diet and training regimen. One of the things that we found was that this guy didn’t really like dairy. In fact, the only times he consumed dairy was in his intense homemade protein shakes. He was known for creating nutrient dense protein shakes from whey protein combined with fruits and vegetables all smashed together to get it full of micro and macro nutrients.
But our opinion, it is not so much what you put in your mouth, but how much of it are you shoving in there. If you remain in a calorie deficit, eating less than you burn, you will become leaner. That’s it. But if you’re looking for some Zen Dude Approved foods, check this out.
Bruce Lee agreed, but he divided his meals up into 3 or 4 meals a day with a good distribution of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If you want to eat less frequently, that is completely fine with us, as long as you keep those numbers in line.
At this point it might seem to you that Bruce Lee was a clean eating monk, never even once stepping outside the line. Lucky for us this is not true. Bruce loved himself some McDonalds and believed that everything should be in moderation, including moderation. He knew, as we do, that only eating the right foods, in the right amounts, 7 days a week, 356 days a year is not sustainable. That is why Bruce allowed himself a bit of a cheat every now and again. And you can too. Just keep it to now and then, and not every day.
Bruce Lee Diet Recap
Eat the right amount of food (calories and macronutrients)
Remove dairy from 80 of your diet
Supplement your diet when necessary with nutrient dense whey protein shakes with blended veg and fruit
Eat enough meals to hit your calorie and macronutrient goals (for Bruce this was 3-4/day)
Sustain your nutrition regimen by allowing yourself to cheat every once in awhile.
The Bruce Lee Workout Program
Now, the second most important thing: the Bruce Lee workout program that will help transform you into a shredded ninja.
This guy was basically moving constantly. Beside doing his awesome ninja training he was also doing weight training 2-3 times a week. Where he would do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and of course those curls for the girls.
He also did a lot of high intensity interval training, like what we do here at Zen Dude fitness. He did wind sprints, but he would also do jump rope training.
If you want to get this regiment going for yourself, you want to be lifting like Bruce did, which is 2-3 times a week. You need to do the core main lifts: bench presses, squats, curls or deadlifts (your pick). On top of that, you need to do high intensity interval training. These sessions could be sprints, or jump rope. You want to do these high intensity training sessions 3-4 times a week.
A big part of Bruce Lee’s fitness secret is that he was always active, always moving. If he didn’t have a gym available he would go and find the closest hill and run up it like a maniac. If you want to get that ninja form, you need to keep on moving. No skipping workouts, ever.
Bruce Lee believed that you should train how you fight. That means that you should train at max effort like your life is on the line. When you do your high intensity training you should be going all out, give it everything you got.
He also believed in the importance of training abs. He knew the value of having a strong core and he would train it 2-3 times a week. He would do movements like side bends for 5 sets, sit-ups for 5 sets and leg raises for 5 sets. For starters, you could do 3 sets of 25-50 reps depending on your skill level.
Training your mind.
Bruce Lee believed that the mind created the body. He used visualisation techniques where he visualised the body and the performance that he wanted.
And above all, he was consistent. He kept his mind focused and always got his workouts in, one way or the other. He was always conscious of what he ate. And he maintained this regimen wherever he was in the world.
Workout Program Recap:
Lift weights 2-3X/week (Bench press day, squat day, deadlift or bicep curls day)
High Intensity Training 3-4X/week (sprints and/or jump rope)
Stay active regardless of your circumstance (long walks, jogs, biking, etc.)
Train with all-out effort (like your workout is a fight)
3X/week core training (3 x 25-50 reps of side bends, sit-ups and leg raises)