My Fat Body Mistakes vs. My Bulletproof® Body Plan

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The vast majority of executives I know in Silicon Valley are spending a lot of time and energy trying to lose weight, or just stay thin. That’s what I did when I weighed 300lbs years ago.  Losing weight was my single biggest focus every day in the gym and at meals.  I spent at least 20 hours a week trying to lose weight . I did this for years – what a complete waste of time!

Thanks to the joys of biohacking and self-experimenting, while working with world-class experts, I don’t have to spend any time on my physique to stay lean and muscular, and if I have time to exercise for 10 minutes even twice a week (a good idea), I start to look like a bodybuilder.

I maintain a 6-pack and muscle mass with no exercise at all thanks to the Bulletproof® Diet, but when I want to add 10 pounds of muscle in 2-4 weeks, I eat more, I sleep more, and I do 10 minutes of  high intensity exercise, twice a week.

Here are the mistakes I made when I was fat. They’re the same mistakes many people are repeating today.

  •    I chose energy-sucking low-calorie foods instead of high-nutrition ones that fill you with energy.
  •    I spent hours doing cardio in the mistaken assumption that burning calories was relevant to losing weight. I did 45 minutes of treadmill 6 days a week.
  •    I cut as much fat as I could from my diet increasing my insulin levels, which caused me to store fat.
  •    I chose complex carbs over meat and vegetables believing they, somehow, gave me energy.
  •    I lifted weights 6 days a week for 45 minutes, severely overtraining, driving up my cortisol levels, which causes weight gain and muscle loss.
  •    I didn’t increase my sleep after workouts.

You can have a low-maintenance, lean, ripped body without wasting time.  Here are the basics that will give you a Bulletproof® Body:

  •    Whether you’re doing cardio, or weight training, do high intensity interval training – fast, brief, maximum intensity bursts followed by short recovery periods. This will cause your growth hormone levels to skyrocket and you will experience the most benefit from the least work.
  •    DO NOT work out for long periods – 25 minutes of high intensity is the maximum. (Walking around is not exercise…)
  •    DO NOT exercise every day. 3 times a week, with at least 1 day separating workouts, produces twice the results of daily workouts in less than half the time.
  •    Eat a high quality protein source like hydrolyzed collagen protein, or whey protein, within 15 minutes of finishing a workout to prevent a muscle-robbing cortisol spike that lasts up to 48 hours. The collagen is superior because it makes your skin and ligaments more flexible too.
  •    Eat MCT oil every day, which puts your body into fat burning mode, increases cellular energy, and makes your brain work better. This is my brand for a variety of reasons.
  •    Read the Bulletproof® Diet section, or even better, read “Good Calories, Bad Calories.”
  •    Remember that exercise makes you hungry. If you don’t eat after a workout, your energy will drop and you will store more fat.
  •    Get 50% of your calories from healthy fats – grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats, egg yolks, MCT oil, unheated olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, etc.
  •    Avoid digestible starch and sugar.
  •    Eat more food, and get more sleep when you workout.

The most efficient “full body” workout for strength is the Body by Science workout which is designed to change your hormones so that you grow muscles everywhere, as long as you don’t eat sugar and carbs afterwards.

I’m not the kind of egomaniac who posts glamour shots of his abs, so this isnt a glamour shot.  It’s real, and it’s here because a few naysayers don’t believe my story.  It is a picture of me, taken with my phone in a hotel room at midnight, after flying 7 times in 10 days in 2 countries, at the end of a 12 hour workday at a conference, following 18 months of sleeping less than 5 hours/night, NOT working out, and eating about 4,000 high-performance calories of the  Bulletproof® Diet per day.




No special dramatic lighting (no flash bulb even), no pre-photo crunches, no Photoshop, just a formerly obese near-40-year old at the end of a long business trip.  There are lots of guys with slightly lower body fat and more muscle, but they pay dearly for it by wasting time in the gym and even more time sleeping.  I’m calibrated – I can add 5lbs of muscle and get leaner in a couple weeks, but I have to sleep 2 hours more per night to do it.  I’d rather look like I do now and sleep only 3 or 4 hours than look slightly better but sleep 6.5 hours every night.

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By Dave Asprey

  • ArmiLegge

    Hey Dave, Great post, but I’ve got a few Q’sI completely agree that most people spend way too much time trying to exercise and cut calories to get thin, and overall I think this is an excellent plan for anyone who wants to have a reliable, simple and effective way to optimize their body.I always laugh when people tell me they’re eating whole grains because they’re “Slow digesting”. Ridiculous! I’ve never seen any studies on hydrolyzed collagen protein being any better than other forms. While I’m happy to try new things, is there any data to back it up?I agree with the MCT oil, but coconut oil has a ton of that as well. While it’s probably not as concentrated, it does taste AMAZING! How is the pure MCT oil compared to coconut oil in terms of taste?I have to question some of the nutrition timing protocols though. I’m sure it’s a little different for everyone, but if you’re only working out for short periods, the nutrient “window” is really kind of silly. It takes a while for food to digest, especially protein, and it makes more sense to boost your blood amino acid level prior to the workout in order to prevent the cortisol release. I’m sure you’ve experimented with similar techniques, but this is the one that works for me.I’m glad you brought up sleep. Far too many people neglect this because they have “more important” things to do. B.S. Tell me that the next day when you can barely see because you brain is so fatigued.I completely agree about Crossfit. Rock On!Thanks for another great article Dave!-armi

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  • Alen Faljic

    Hey Dave,
    if I understood everything you shouldn’t add any carbohydrates even if you want/need to gain weight? I am try days on bulletproof diet, eating like crazy and my weight is going dangerously down….
    Should I add more butter or smt..?

    • Dave Asprey

      Alen, if you’re dangerously losing weight, you need to see a doctor. Do you have malabsorbtion isssues in your gut? Food allergies? Thyroid problems? Anemia? Infection? Parasites?

      My experience with the Bulletproof Diet is that it normalizes weight. Those who are underweight tend to get to a target weight and stay there; those with extra pounds lose them. If it’s not working for you, I’d do some diagnostic workups, and then some self-experimenting. If you can only keep weight on by eating tons of carbs, and you’re dangerously thin, then eat the carbs!

  • Matt


    Unless you can show even one shred of evidence showing Crossfit is “The most efficient “full body” workout for strength”, please stop saying it. It’s misinformation, and you’re not helping anyone. I thought your approach to nutrition, health, fitness and mental performance was research based. If that’s not the case, then I guess I should stop reading your blog.

    Unless you’re willing to commit yourself to exercise and athletic performance, and, you know, maybe actually exercise regularly yourself – I think it may be best you leave this advice in the hands of the people that actually make this a focal point in their lives. You know nutrition and mental performance and a bunch of other nifty tricks and for that I’m grateful and that’s why I come here!

    But what do I know? I just squatted heavy three days in a row and PR’d on the third day at 1.65xbodyweight, spending only 20 minutes on each workout. Good thing I didn’t follow your advice, I guess.

    Sorry to be an antagonistic asshole!


    • TheJeebus

      Matt, what do you believe to be the most efficient full-body workout for strength?

      • Pmin

        Guessing heavy squats.
        Surprised you didn’t pick this out too Matt:
        “but when I want to add 10 pounds of muscle in 2-4 weeks…”

        Must have bulletproof genetics

      • ShaolinGardener

        Sorry if I’m late to the show. I was a bodybuilder in the ’90s and personally believe that HIT as designed by Arthur Jones is the most efficient means of adding muscle. I would suggest the book “if you like exercise… chances are you’re doing it wrong” by garry bannister. Basically what I’ve been telling people for years.

    • thomasdosborneii

      Where did he say “Crossfit”–he said “Body By Science”. Or is it “Body By Science” that “has not one shred of evidence”? I kind of disagree with that, but each his own.

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  • Miernik

    You have a small bug in this article: you can’t put external links like this: Crossfit as it results in a relative link: which is “Error 404 – Not found” of course. You have to include the “http://” when putting an external link, like this: Crossfit

    • Dave Asprey

      Thanks, fixed. Was an artifact from converting from an older blogging platform!

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  • Mikevslc

    It’s all true, the buletproof diet is the only way I can do crossfit and then work from 9 to 9 with high energy levels all day. Don’t doubt it until you strictly follow the bullet proof diet and see the results yourself

    • Dave Asprey

      Thank you Mike! I feel the same way… ?

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  • Aaron

    Dave, thanks for all your hard work and dedication! It does not go unnoticed! I loved your summary but had one question. I am trying to lose body fat while at the same time add muscle mass. I listened to the carb back-loading episode and gave that a try but my understanding / literature was vague and therefore produced unfavorable results, plus I didn’t want the gluten. I looked into leangains and am trying that now. I have an upgraded whey protein shake and a few bananas immediately following the workout. I follow that up with white rice, sweet potatoes and small amounts of protein / fat shortly after. A recent blog post of yours stated a carb reload day should take place every 3~7 days, so I’m good there. I keep my fructose very low with the exception of the bananas mentioned above and follow a primarily green BP diet. By using the leangains approach, this would seem to contradict your recommendations above i.e. “as long as you don’t eat sugar and carbs afterwards”. What would be a good post workout meal and when would be the appropriate time to carb reload? That is the missing piece of the puzzle to me.

    • Dohn Joe

      Dave, I would like to see a response here as well since I’m in the same boat. I have my carb refeed right after my BBS workout. Is this bad? If so, why?

  • Karl Hungus

    I believe CrossFit can be a useful tool, if a person finds the right gym. Conversely, without competent and involved instructors, CrossFit also has the potential to really hurt a person.

    Call me Captain Obvious, I guess, but I really wanted to mention this for the benefit of the 20-something Paleo/CrossFitters that think the only option is “balls-to-the-wall.”[1]

    Granted, I’ve also seen people using poor form in a traditional gym, but the CrossFit scene appears to take it to another level. To some degree, I think I understand the mindset. They are part of a club. And, they are usually highly competitive.

    Anyway, there are certainly competent, involved, and concerned CrossFit trainers out there, too. If you go the CrossFit route, just be sure to use proper form, exercise smart, and give yourself adequate time to recover. Again, “Duh,” I know.

    By the way, this is what NOT to do:


    [1] Or, “tits-to-the-wall,” if you prefer. God forbid I exclude anyone, given our soft-assed (literally and figuratively), easily-offended society where everyone is a special snowflake and there are no losers. Tenth Place trophies for everyone!

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  • ADD

    What about a fast-paced (or even slow-paced) walk done on a regular basis? I’m just curious what the Bulletproof perspective would be (I see “Walking around isn’t exercise…” above, but I’m not sure if this excludes my power walking.) Outside of meditation (and medication, which I try to avoid), this walking is the only thing that’s seemed to have a significant effect on my strong ADD-like symptoms. I try for 45 minutes 5 times a week (as recommended by Dr. Amen, who wrote a book on the matter), but it often works out to less than that. If I miss more than two days, symptoms start worsening.

  • Jessica

    Hi Dave,

    I am an overweight female with up to 50 pounds to lose, and just received my BulletProof package. Do I drink the BP Coffee before or after my workout in the morning? Im sure it will be efficient to go extra hard in the gym, but would I HAVE to eat after instead of waiting until 2pm? Please let me know!
    Thank you so much. Jessica B.

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  • Philip Weaire-Gil

    “The most efficient “full body” workout for strength is the Body by Science workout which is designed to change your hormones so that you grow muscles everywhere, as long as you don’t eat sugar and carbs afterwards. ”

    Do you still have a high fat – high protein meal after exercise if you did strength training like 5×5?


    • Hey Philip,

      Absolutely! After strength training both fat and protein are great. Fats facilitate hormone synthesis (especially if you’re getting high-quality cholesterol from butter, grass-fed beef, pastured egg yolks, etc.) and protein facilitates muscle repair and growth.

      Hope this helps!

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