Bruce Lee Diet

“When you are a martial artist, you only eat what you require and don’t get carried away with foods that don’t benefit you as a martial artist.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee has been described by some as “the most well-rounded athlete”. His devotion to fighting extended into a lifelong passion for making his body as versatile and efficient as possible.

His workout and dieting regimens were developed through a lifetime of experimenting with new ideas, seeing what worked, and keeping that while trimming away everything that didn’t work.

Bruce Lee was a philosopher as well as an athlete, and one of his philosophies was that of keeping things as simple as possible, while maximizing effectiveness. He valued his life and the time he had on his earth, had so many things to do and only 24 hours a day to do it… he was always moving around doing a hundred things at once – It’s no wonder why he was given the nickname “Never Sits Still” as a child. As an adult you would always find him involved in several tasks at once just to fit everything into the day – reading a book while curling a dumbell and stretching a leg, doing exercises while watching TV, or even doing isometric-type exercises while driving.

This mentality of maximizing the resources he had extended into his dieting regimen, and so over time Bruce Lee developed for himself a rather simple dieting regimen which he followed in order to keep his performance at a peak level.

Bruce’s approach to nutrition is not too scientific but more common sense in nature, he found what worked for him and stuck to it. He realized that in order to fuel a body for peak performance you needed the right type of foods and couldn’t expect the greatest results from eating pizza and beer.

Much insight can be found by reading the book “The Art of Expressing the Human Body“, which is essentially Bruce Lee’s personal notes transcribed into a book by John Little. It is immensely in-depth and informative regarding Bruce Lee’s dieting regimen, routine, and his philosophy on nutrition, training, and life in general. Extremely interesting! Here are some facts and regimens from the book:

Bruce Lee Diet Facts

  • Bruce Lee didn’t eat many baked goods since they contained refined flour and contained only empty calories
  • Stayed away from foods that had no nutritional benefit for his body
  • Ate 3-5 meals a day in small portions, mainly because he was working out so much during the day that large meals would slow him down
  • Diet regimen was centered around his workouts and lifestyle, not vice-versa
  • Favorite foods were almost anything Chinese, and spaghetti
  • One of favorite meals was beef in oyster sauce
  • Preferred Chinese and Asian food over Western diet due to better proportion of meat to vegetables / offered better variety, and thus allowed you to eat a little bit of everything and not overeat one specific thing. Bruce considered this the best way to eat (moderation and variety)
  • Believed Asian cuisine promoted variety and proper proportion of protein to carbohydrates
  • Felt that Western food overall was monotonous, but would still visit McDonalds and eat steak from time to time
  • Not fond of dairy products (besides milk for protein shakes and sometimes with meals), and “couldn’t understand why Western people ate cheese at all.”
  • Often consumed nutrition between-meal snacks to fuel his body

Bruce Lee Staple Meals

  • Beef in oyster sauce (one of favorites)
  • Rice soup (congee) – prepared by cooking rice to point of becoming soup-like and then adding organ meats (kidney, brains, liver, or heart). Eaten as a between-meal snack
  • Cooked noodles as a between-meal snack for energy

Sample Bruce Lee Diet


1 bowl of muesli or cereal with whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit, with 2% milk

Orange juice and/or tea


Protein Shake: Protein powder, wheat germ, bananas or other fruits, peanut butter, eggs (sometimes with shells) and non-instant powdered milk made with water and juice. Brewer’s yeast often added.


Vegetables with meat and rice



Protein Shake (see first Snack)


Spaghetti and salad, vegetables with rice, and meat, seafood, or chicken

One glass 2% milk and/or tea

  • lornclothing

    I don’t disagree with this one bit, to say that he was one of the greatest martial artists of all time is an understatement and considering that he trained under Yip Man I really don’t see much dispute. Great article, I read somewhere else about some similar things as well, feel free to check it out if you want:

  • Aaron Matteson

    he doesn’t understand why people eat cheese? omg idk.. it’s filling, it’s delicious, it goes great with lots of stuff, and a lot of kids wouldn’t eat their veggies without cheese!

  • DietsThatWorkEasy

    I agree! He was probably lactose intolerant and every high kick would be futile, since his farts would probably knock out his opponent before his foot connected. Still a great martial artist, no doubt.

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