Photo: Abs After 2 Years of 4500 Calories & No Exercise

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I’ve always told myself I’d never be one of those dorky guys who posts shirtless pictures of himself posing in front of a mirror holding a camera.

I was wrong, but I did it for a good cause.

It took years for me to test and verify that the quality and composition of food is far more important than the amount you eat or the amount and type of exercise you get. People don’t believe me when I tell them it’s possible. So in the name of demonstrating the difference between a plain paleo diet and the Bulletproof Diet, here’s how I look now even without exercise. I couldn’t do this on a normal paleo diet because toxins in it keep inflammation going even when omega 6 fats are reduced.

The photo in this post is taken under these conditions:

  • I have slept less than 5 hours per night on average for 2 continuous years, on purpose, because I am busy.
  • I took the photo after I landed, following 20 hours in transit from Victoria, BC to the Philippines, by way of Narita, Japan, with no sleep along the way. The Crowne Plaza bathtub is behind me!
  • My grand total exercise in the last 2 years is 4 soft yoga classes completed 6 months ago, plus two five-minute kettelbell swing sessions two weeks before the photo. That’s it.
  • I have eaten between 4,000 and 4,500 calories per day on average of The Bulletproof Diet for 2 years
  • I used to weigh 300 lbs when I was obese

You tell me – would you be willing to cut toxins out of your diet and eat high amounts of healthy fat if it let you look like this without wasting time on sleep or exercise? You can get even better results from exercise like crossfit and sleeping more too, of course, when you have time for them…

How I Accomplished This

I strictly followed The Bulletproof Diet: a way of eating that is high in quality fats, medium in quality grass-fed meats/proteins, and cyclically low carb.  It’s delicious, satisfying, anti-inflammatory and – most importantly – it will give you back the energy levels you remember from when you were a little kid.  I’ve lost and kept off 100 pounds, as have many others.

You can learn more here and get a free printable copy of the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap PDF by subscribing to our email list here.

How Bulletproof Differs From The Paleo Diet

Bulletproof shares principles with paleo, ketogenic, low carb, and even vegan diets – but it’s different because of its focus on eating foods that lower toxins and inflammation in the body.  This post provides a full explanation of what makes the Bulletproof Diet unique from Paleo and other common diets, but here’s the short version.

While many people see initial success going Paleo, they often plateau for a reason.  I couldn’t have gotten these results just while Paleo because it’s higher in certain toxins.  One of the reasons is that the Paleo diet is higher in certain toxins. That includes a special kind of carbohydrate molecule called lectins, which bind to and disrupt proteins in your body and are highly concentrated in nightshade plants like potatoes and peppers. Another common toxin that the Paleo diet doesn’t do enough to avoid in my experience is mycotoxins.  The toxin load is not necessarily the only difference, but it’s a good place.

Want to dive in?  Even if you don’t do anything all at once, any step is a step worth taking.  Check out this 14 Step Guide To Going Bulletproof to get started on the right foot.

Learn more:


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By Dave Asprey

  • Jacob Haskins

    Any chance of you posting the recipe for your old-fashioned ice cream breakfast shake?

    My wife became immediately interested in the Bulletproof Diet when I told her you have ice cream shakes for breakfast. Now, I just need to know what and how much goes in it.

  • Hey Dave – thanks for the proof, and glad you got the Dr. Mercola thing worked out! I’ve tried sleeping for less than 6 hours for months on end, and just don’t feel rested. I tried this at a time when I was on the paleo diet as well, and was lifting 2x a week. What do you do to get by and function well on just 5 hours?

    • Dave Asprey

      Justin, if you’re on the Paleo diet, you’re not on the Bulletproof Diet. Paleo is close, but it includes cooking-induced toxins and has very few controls for mycotoxins built in. Mycotoxins are a MAJOR source of tiredness in the morning. Try taking a few caps of charcoal at night and see if you feel better in the morning, or some of the lipoceutical glutathione from If either makes you feel better, you’ve got endo or exotoxins as a variable.

      • hyvonen

        Since you looked at this thread at around May 2013, is there a reason why you are ignoring the questions about testosterone you’ve been getting here in this thread since late last year..?

        • Dave Asprey

          The reason is because go fuck yourself.

      • Alvaro Mercado

        you’re soooooo full of shit……. if your testosterone levels are in the 2000-10000 range than you’re way above normal….u cant possibly say that your results can be duplicated by some one not injecting extra test into their system……and i’m willing to be it aint just test your supplementing with….

  • Mike

    Dear Dave,
    To what extent do think your supplementation with extra testosterone (which you mention in the q&a of one of your presentation videos) contributes to your physique?
    Is it not the case that supplementation even at low levels to correct deficiencies can contribute greatly to muscle definition and growth.

    Many Thanks for your great blog,

    • Dave Asprey

      Nice question Mike. I monitor my blood levels, and the physique remains whether they are at 2,000 or 10,000. I think it’s my LDL – higher LDL (unoxidized, as confirmed with a low LPpLA2 score) actually contribute to muscle growth.

      • golooraam

        Hi David
        Learning so much from your site – and I thought I knew it all! lol

        I’m on day 6 of Upgraded Coffee – really enjoying it. Even been able to go a day here and then just having Bulletproof Coffee and BCAAs for a nice calorie deficit.

        To bump stuff up a notch I ordered some MCT oil and liposomal glutathione today as well.

        My question was in regards to the increased muscle growth. In regards to higher unoxidized LDL, can one approach that metric by increasing their intake of raw grassfed meats and egg yolks?

        If so, can one approach a golden ticket of simultaneous fat loss and some muscle gain/hardening if consumed in a good amount. Being a bay area person, my evening was spent at Berkeley butcher shop where I bought high quality local grassfed ground beef and pastured eggs – I came home and consumed 3 oz and 2 pastured egg yolks raw with some Real Salt


        • Dave Asprey

          I’m not sure if raw grassfed meats raise unoxidized LDL more than lightly cooked ones, but they probably do. Just sterilize it with iodine first, at least that’s what I did when I was 100% raw and omnivorous. Raw beef is best, then lamb. Raw chicken is gross. In fact, I ate raw beef for dinner 4 hours ago in NYC this evening at Takashi restaurant. Most people who eat Bulletproof end up with stellar HDL and triglyceride and VLDL numbers, and if fat is high enough, LDL can be high but LPpla2 is low.

        • golooraam

          Hi Dave (yes I’m checking my iPhone at 4am)

          So consuming a good amount of raw/lightly cooked fat may help

          Any other suggestions to increase LDL while keeping LPpla2 low?

          Although I’m brand new to this – I’m tryn 2 subsist on upgraded coffee, grassfed ghee, organic coconut oil, TJs smoked wild salmon, and pastured beef and eggs

          Thanks again

        • Dave Asprey

          Make sure your eggs aren’t scrambled. Soft poached or soft boiled.

        • golooraam

          can do Dave
          I usually do the pastured yolks raw (6 this morning) – though once a week I do em sunny side up

        • So is pasturized egg whites in a carton, for example, the All Whites Brand good or bad?

        • What’s wrong with scrambled eggs?

        • Dick

          They’re oxidized, stupid.

        • John Anderson

          When you eat it out at cafes and the like they have all sorts of bad oils, bad milk in it, bad quality salt etc. Much safer with poached – quick and clean!

      • Daydreamer

        I’m sorry but what is the unit used in this comment ?
        I mean, if it’s ng/dl, 2000 to 10 000 ng/dl is NOT only supplemental testosterone, it’s totally supraphysiological.
        The most gifted 25 yo healthy male has 1200 ng/dl

        Could you clear this up please ?

  • Dave, could you list the differences between the Bulletproof Diet and the Paleo Diet? I’m reading “Primal Blueprint” right now and would be curious to know. Thanks!

    • Dave Asprey

      Hi Bob,
      The Paleo Diet is based on what we think our ancestors ate, even though we’re not entirely sure. The Bulletproof Diet is based on biochemistry, clinical outcomes, anti-aging, and experiments. Cavemen didn’t know a lot of what we know, and by eating like cavemen, we are ignoring our knowledge base. Paleo works very well because we were designed that way, but we can work even better, and that’s the goal – and the genesis – of the Bulletproof Diet. The closest “Paleo” diet to the Bulletproof Diet is Kurt Harris’s From my perspective, if there was convincing evidence that we would perform best and live longest eating only popsicles and earthworms, that’s what I’d do, even if my caveman ancestors didn’t eat popsicles.

      My path has shown me that what is in the food is equally important as what’s not in the food. You must start with proper macronutrient content (high healthy fat, etc) but that isn’t enough over time, especially because biotoxins accumulate in the higher life forms that taste best. So the Bulletproof Diet starts by making sure you eat the right stuff, then it goes to lengths that aren’t considered in typical Paleo diets to reduce and remove or block every toxin from every source possible. The goal is to not eat things that still have active defense systems, and a shocking number of food items do.

      Modern paleo researchers have started to talk about phytic acid and lectins and omega 6 oils as toxins, which they are. That’s why they’re not included in the Bulletproof Diet. But most paleo research ignores food preparation and preservation methods and is unaware of the dramatic role of mycotoxins on health. The Bulletproof Diet folds countless (but >1,000 references) into a single diagram that includes macronutrients, toxin avoidance, and food preparation to maximize physical performance, health, and longevity.

      I wish it could be simpler. It’s not. Even Dr. Mercola, a noted alternative health newsletter author, recently copied my diet and eventually attributed it to me. I’m not sure it’s possible to show this dense amount of information in a simpler picture.

    • Guest

      The main difference is that Dave makes $$$ off the Bulletproof Diet.

  • Surj

    Are you thinking of running for Governor? ( Just kidding 🙂 )

    • Dave Asprey

      I thought you had to take you pants off too for that! 🙂

  • @ObarMuscle

    I know you don’t count calories and stick to BP foods but I’d like to see what a sample day of everything you eat may look like. Anywhere you have this laid out, or possibility of you taking time to write it? Thanks.

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  • are you kiddingme? Those are your abs WITHOUT exercise? How in the world can that be so? I just got started reading your blog, so forgive my ignorance please. Never mind, I think I just found out where to find the answer–called do a lmore thorough job of reading, hello! lol. thx anyway.

    • Dave Asprey

      I am entirely serious. It’s because I stack mTOR by using coffee with Bulletproof Intermittent fasting. mTOR builds muscle. Exercise is one of only 3 ways of inhibiting it.
      After I went 2 years with no exercise (ok, honestly, I did do 2 soft yoga classes 3 months before that picture, mostly to hang out with my wife…)
      Inflammation also plays a huge role. I was particularly un-inflamed when I took that photo based on nutrition. When I fly too much (which is always) I tend to get a little inflammation, but I can’t think of a day when I couldn’t see my abs in the last 2 years.
      There are guys far more ripped and shredded than me – but no one has done it with less work than me. ?

      • Lisa

        What I don’t understand is how you manage to travel so much and still get grass-fed, high quality food and avoid toxins. I’m not heavy by any means, but I’d like to lose a few remaining pounds of fat. I would love to follow your protocol to the letter, but I eat out a lot and just don’t have a lot of control over the sourcing of my food. I have my Bulletproof green or yerba mate tea in the morning (I just can’t go to the lengths you do for toxin-free coffee), and I try to make myself grass-fed beef for at least lunch or dinner on most days, but when I’m out to eat I have no idea where the food is coming from and I’m sure it’s not grass-fed or low toxin. How do you do it?

        • Dave Asprey

          Going out to eat makes you fat because they use the wrong kinds of oils. I carry a stick of butter with me; if I eat out, I order wild fish if they have it, or steamed vegetables, then soak them in butter. Soft poached eggs too, or smoked salmon.

      • hyvonen

        Dumb question, but it sounds like mTOR is a good thing (“mTOR builds muscle”). However, you say “Exercise is one of only 3 ways of INHIBITING it”, making it sound like mTOR is a bad thing.. Which one is it?
        Or is it that exercise is a bad thing BECAUSE it inhibits mTOR (which is a good thing)?

    • Ross

      STEROIDS! 😉 He’s on TESTOSTERONE injections. WEEKLY! Those help A LOT!

      • Alex

        Dude what is your issue? Why are you hating?

        • Guest

          Maybe because Dave refuses to answer the question in an honest manner?

  • zewski

    Ok lets pretend someone actually HAS time to dedicate to working out more than 20 min.’s a week and is trying to put on muscle.

    Are there any exercise regimens you recommend? Maybe Martin Berkhan’s RPT method from 3x/week? Or is that still too much with adequate sleep?

  • ChiroLisa

    nice abs, Dave. I think I have to go eat some lamb and get in a cold tub

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  • Marcelo

    Hi, do you think switching up my diet will get rid of my gynecomastia?

    • Dave Asprey

      Worked for me.

      Sent from an iphone. That means it’s spelled wrong…and I’m probably lost. You understand… -Dave

  • Mellow_Will

    For someone on a student budget, trying to get shredded for season sports, how many times a day should I eat, do you agree with work out routines? How often should I be going to the gym? Is everyday too much?
    A response form anyone educated in this area would be awesome! #JRE

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  • You say that calorie counting doesn’t work, and that studies back this up, but where are they? I can’t find any. I’ve easily found a few studies that seem to show calorie cutting works, including this one which seems pretty contradictory to the BP diet –

    • fredhahn

      Calorie counting can and does work – but not for the reasons people think. And taking in less energy eventually will lower RMR and eventually fail you in the long term.

  • concerned

    You skipped the testosterone question…

    “I’m sorry but what is the unit used in this comment ?
    I mean, if it’s ng/dl, 2000 to 10 000 ng/dl is NOT only supplemental testosterone, it’s totally supraphysiological.
    The most gifted 25 yo healthy male has 1200 ng/dl

    Could you clear this up please ?”

    • Dave Asprey

      You’re right, you’re right.

      Okay folks, you’ve got me. It’s time that I revealed my secret to immortality. I drink fresh, non-homogenized sperm by the gallon every day. Ten years ago, I invested about 10 grand in a cumfarm filled with hundreds of young, healthy Brazilian studs who can ejaculate about 15ml of mTOR into my mouth. I optimize their load potential by feeding them a diet of my coffee, anal lubricants, and Himalayan sea salt.

      I also use fermented yeast from my wife’s vajayjay. I find that it helps my mycotoxin levels significantly.

      Asprey out.

      • hyvonen

        Hey mister faker troll, what’s wrong? Did your Friday night date with an “escort” go bad..?

        • Dave Asprey

          Hi hyvonen. I can afford escorts when I can’t get it up with my wife because of the money you gave me, but I don’t go that route, (A) because prostitutes are filled with mycotoxins (unless they’re grass-fed), and (B) because I take Bulletproof® Cum.

          It has zero mycotoxins, meaning that the sperm can swim through my colon fast enough to avoid early absorption. By taking a selenium suppository after my daily semen enema, I can ensure that the sperm will make it into my small intestine, where they will be optimized by my body to reconstruct proteins and improve brain function.

          I only get the best quality semen from fresh South American immigrants who have higher levels of vitamin D from being closer to the equator.

  • Paul


    Awesome information on here. But I have a question on the diet. If you’re eating 60% of your calories from fat and 20% from protein, how are you able to get in 20% 225 grams of carbs from vegetables? (If you’re eating 4500 calories.)

  • Wolfgang Uberrime-Virtus

    Finding it amusing you refused to answer this question:

    “I’m sorry but what is the unit used in this comment ?
    I mean, if it’s ng/dl, 2000 to 10 000 ng/dl is NOT only supplemental testosterone, it’s totally supraphysiological.
    The most gifted 25 yo healthy male has 1200 ng/dl

    Could you clear this up please ?”

  • mitesh

    Yes Dave, please answer the testosterone question, or you will continue to lose credibility.. everything you say otherwise seems spot on to me, if i can look past you plugging your own products, but we all have to make a living, you’re allowed.

  • fredhahn

    I HATE to say this Dave because I agree with you but, can you prove that what you said is true? Of course you can’t and that is what the naysayers will say and they will be right in saying it.

    I commend you for your hard work and dedication to health BTW. I buy your products on a regular basis.

    Q: Why have you not incorporated some simple resistance training for 15 minutes a week into your routine?


    • Ross

      When you’re on TESTOSTERONE injections you can gain muscle WITHOUT even working out! That’s how effective pharma-grade steroids are! VERY EFFECTIVE!

  • fredhahn

    Dave, was my post removed for some reason?

  • Laurie

    I’d like to see your picture at 300 lbs….then I’ll believe it! (Love the bullet-proof coffee, by the way…just tried my first cup 10 minutes ago).

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  • Joey

    This thread really sucks: it makes Dave look bad and I generally like him. He should be real and confront all questions, not just the easy ones. Who cares how much of whatever your taking, just give us the information so we can plan around that context.

  • JDC725

    Dave, I looked but could not find a “before” photo of you when you weighed 300 lbs. Is that posted anywhere?

  • Alex

    Hey Dave,

    Been doing bulletproof diet for over a year now. Absolutely loving it. Quick question… How did you manage to get to 4,000 calories a day while still eating bulletproof? I have trouble putting on muscle mass and getting to that high in calories is very difficult for me while staying within the bulletproof diet. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance.

    – Alex

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  • TD

    Six pack abs?? Where?? I need a microscope to see them. You seem proud of the fact that you don’t exercise. There are more benefits to exercise to be had…not only six pack abs which btw aren’t an indication of fitness just of low body fat. Can you do pull-ups? What do you deadlift? How’s your bench press? Smh.

    You are a snake oil salesman, and SHAME ON YOU. Well, this gal ain’t buying whatever the hell you are selling, buddy.

  • brian

    I cycle one hour a day to and from work. Is that too much exercise if you want to sleep as little as possible? I’m interested in being able to sleep 5 hours because I have insomnia and work full time.