Bruce Lee: A Martial Artists Workout Routine And Diet Plan

Last Updated: February 23, 2022

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Although Bruce Lee tragically passed away in 1973, aged 32 years, he remains one of the most respected martial artists in the world. Bruce Lee is renowned for his insane physique that ultimately displayed every fiber of his muscles.

The actor, film director, philosopher, martial arts instructor, and the founder of Jeet Kune Do is famed for his strict fitness routine and work put plan. Despite playing various roles in Chinese movies, it’s only after his magnificent performance in groundbreaking films like Fist of Fury and Enter the Dragon that he caught the attention of a worldwide audience.  

Bruce Lee is famed for taking Kung Fu and martial arts mainstream and getting Asian actors respected globally. Although he passed on more than four decades ago, Bruce Lee’s legacy has continued to impact people positively. Many people have replicated his diet and workout routines into their lives and have witnessed tremendous results.

Please keep reading to understand how Bruce Lee maintained his perfectly toned body, immense strength, and agility. But before we jump straight into his workout regime and diet plan, let’s look at a brief history of Bruce Lee.

Who is Bruce Lee?

Bruce Lee is a legendary martial artist expert, Chinese and American Actor, philosopher, and film director born on November 27, 1940. He was born in China Town, San Francisco, but moved with his family to Hong Kong until he was 18 years old. 

His father was an opera star and was instrumental to Lee starting acting at a younger age. In Hong Kong, Bruce Lee appeared in various movies as a child actor and started training in traditional Kung Fu. He was introduced and taught a classic Kung Fu style known as Wing Chu by grandmaster Yip Man. 

Bruce Lee returned to the US when in college at age 18 and started teaching martial arts. He decided to forge a career from martial art training, but through fate, scouts spotted him and invited him to audition for a TV show. He played minor roles in several Hong Kong and US movies, with his martial arts performances always leaving viewers with their mouths wide open. 

He played in some episodes of Batman and The Green Hornet movie series. However, his performance in the movie Enter the Dragon in 1973 made him a global icon. The film became an instant world hit and changed the world’s view of martial arts and actors from Asia. Unfortunately, he unexpectedly passed on in the same year at age 32. 

One of his most outstanding achievements is developing a more improved martial art known as Jeet Kune Do. This new Kung Fu style was instrumental in laying the foundation for modern mixed martial arts (MMA). Although he has not been around for more than four decades, Bruce Lee still enjoys a massive social media following in social accounts, which his daughter manages. 

Bruce Lee was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed about 140 lbs. in his prime. Even after his demise, Bruce Lee’s wiry strength, immense flexibility, ripped-up physique, and lightning speed still inspire people to work out and eat healthily. 

How did Bruce stay in tip-top shape and have a functional body? 

Bruce Lee Workout Routine

Bruce Lee is one of a few people who have been seen on record performing insane training exercises such as two-finger push-ups and one-inch punches. Over the years, Lee stated incorporating sophisticated and intensive training methods to improve fitness and strength. 

Lee is referred to as Mr. know it since he trained in almost everything. He has trained in Tai Chi Chuan, Kung Fu, Choy Li Fut, Jing Mo Tam Tui, Western Boxing, Jujitsu, Judo, and Fencing. Astonishingly, he also created a brand new martial art called Jeet Kune Do. 

Daily Routine

Bruce Lee focused on building cardiovascular endurance and strength while leaving adequate time for martial arts training and recovery. His weekly routine looked as follows:

Monday: Upper Body Training

He performed upper body exercises such as 

  • 4 sets, 10 reps, weighted chin-up
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, barbell power clean
  • 4 sets, 10 reps, barbell bench press
  • 3 sets, 10 res, face pulls
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, incline reverse dumbbell fly
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, incline dumbbell bench press
  • 3 sets, 25 reps, sit-ups
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, plank rows
  • 3 sets, 60 seconds, Planks
  • 800-meter cool down jog

Tuesday: Endurance and Full Body Exercises

For endurance and full-body, Bruce Lee did the following exercises: 

  • 5 sets of 100m, sprints
  • 5 sets, 20 reps, kettlebell swing
  • 5 sets, 10 reps, pull-ups
  • 5 sets, 25 reps, mountain climbers
  • 5 sets, 15 reps, burpee

For core strength, Bruce did the following exercises:

  • 3 sets, 60 seconds, planks
  • 3 sets, 25 reps,  sit-ups
  • 1600 meter cool down jog

Wednesday: Resting and Mixed Martial Arts

Bruce Lee understood the importance of rest, and that’s why he dedicated all Wednesdays to resting or mixed martial arts. 

Thursday: Lower Body Exercises

  • 3 sets, 10 reps, straight leg deadlift
  • 4 sets, 12 reps, squats
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, straight leg deadlift
  • 4 sets, 10 reps, weighted lunges
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, calf raises
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, hamstring curls 
  • 3 sets, 25 reps, sit-ups
  • 3 sets, 15 reps, light front squats
  • 3 sets, 10 reps, box jump
  • 3 sets, 60 seconds, planks
  • 800-meter cool down jog.

Friday: Full Body Training

Bruce’s full-body exercises: 

  • 5 sets, 50 reps, leg raises 
  • 60 calorie run
  • 5 sets, 30 reps, one arm dumbbell snatches
  • 5 sets, 40 reps push-ups
  • 5 sets, 20 reps, double under
  • 5 sets, 10 rep, burpees 

Core training:

  • 3 sets, 60 seconds, planks
  • 3 sets, 25 reps, sit-ups 
  • 1600-meter cool down jog

He would rest on Saturday if he did MMA on Wednesday and do MMA on Saturday if he rested on Wednesday.  

The Bruce Lee Workout Routine Guiding Principles

Although Bruce Lee experimented with various exercises and training methods, a few principles formed the foundation for his workout routine. 

For starters, he started every day’s work out with a warm-up to minimize incidences of injury. He also incorporated running and rope jumping to work on his cardio

Later in his career, he introduced circuit training for increased endurance. He also did several workouts that focused on the abdominal area, and that’s why he looked chiseled from top to bottom.

If you’re interested in seeing a modern day depiction video of Bruce Lee’s training, see the below by The Bioneer:

Bruce Lee’s Diet Plan

Besides being a hard-training martial art expert who spent most of his time training, Bruce Lee was also very picky regarding what goes into his mouth. He loved Chinese meals and didn’t consume any food that would harm or weaken his body. 

Bruce Lee Diet Details

Here are some of the highlights of Lee’s diet. 

Chinese Food Has its Charms

Bruce lee considered the Western food to be too bland and enjoyed savoring the spicy Chinese cuisine any moment. Asian delicacies such as rice and vegetables provide essential carbohydrates that are a rich energy source. Although he would savor pasta at times, he claimed that Western food emphasized fats and proteins. His favorite food was beef in oyster sauce. 

Junk free

Lee avoided any processed, refined, or fatty foods. He believed in eating food that has real benefits to his body. He termed refined flour as “empty calories” and won’t consume anything baked, whether bread, cake, or biscuits. 

Juice is Healthy

Lee’s kick me up was usually fresh fruit juice or vegetable smoothies. He loved smoothies made from celery, carrots, apples, parsley, and bananas. 

Proteins are Real Power Boosters

Besides including lean protein in his meal, Lee also loved protein drinks and would savor them once or twice every day. The protein drinks contain:

  • Wheat germ
  • Eggs
  • Bananas 
  • Peanut butter
  • Granular lecithin 
  • Brewer’s yeast

Eating Small Meals Frequently

Bruce Lee was very considerate on the amount of food he ate at a go. He preferred eating small portions frequently rather than a large plate once or twice a day. He would devour 4-5 meals a day and healthy snacks such as fruits. Eating small meals allowed him to manage his calorie intake and ensure optimal energy when working out. 

Bruce Lee’s Daily Diet Plan

Breakfast 

  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Lipton black tea containing royal jelly, honey, and ginseng
  • Liver congee

Mid-morning snack 

Signature protein shake made of eggs, powdered milk, peanut butter, water, wheat germ, granular lecithin, brewer’s yeast banana, and inositol 

Lunch

  • Beef with oyster sauce
  • Lei Cha
  • Fresh from the garden salad
  • White rice

Late Afternoon Snack

Homemade smoothie or juice is made from carrots, bananas, apples, parsley, and celery. 

Dinner

  • Spiced up spaghetti with meat sauce
  • A small portion of side salad
  • Glass with 2% milk

Did Bruce Lee Use Any Supplements? 

Bruce Lee also believed that supplements are ideal for offering nutrients. The supplements he consumed include:

  • Natural Vitamin E
  • Lecithin Granules
  • Vitamin C
  • Wheat Germ Oil
  • Rosehips
  • Hi Bee Pollen C
  • Natural protein tablets
  • Royal Jelly
  • Acerola
  • Lecithin
  • Ginseng

Final Verdict

Although genetics significantly determine whether you can have a toned body, you can achieve a physique and fitness level similar to Bruce Lee’s if you put in the work. Besides performing various exercises, including strength, core, and speed training, Lee was also disciplined in his diet. He only savored food that would help his body stay in shape. 

No matter your body type and predisposition, you can attain a lean and masculine body by following Bruce Lee’s workout and diet plan. Several videos on the internet show how various individuals unlocked a new world of personal fitness after following Lee’s workout regimen and diet plan.

If you consistently work out and eat as healthy as possible, there’s no doubt that you’ll increase muscle mass, reduce body fat and improve your strength and speed, just like Bruce Lee.

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