5 Killer Workouts from Navy SEAL David Goggins

I recently finished reading, “Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet.” It’s a hilarious book about two men from different worlds living together for a month (read my takeaways from the book here).

In the book, Jesse Itzler, a successful entrepreneur, feels his life has become to comfortable and stagnant so he asks a Navy SEAL to live with him and train him for 31 days.

That “SEAL” by the way, is David Goggins, one of the toughest men on the planet.

Why is Goggins considered one of the toughest men on the planet?

  • He is the only person to complete SEAL training (3 Hell Weeks) U.S. Army Ranger School, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller training.

  • He has competed in more than sixty ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons.

  • He broke the Guinness World Record by completing 4,030 pull-ups in 17 hours.

And those are just a few of his accomplishments (I highly recommend reading his book, “Can’t Hurt Me” to get the full story).

Now back to the book “Living with a SEAL.”

For a month, Goggins made Itzler do countless crazy workouts: hundreds of burpees and push-ups, running for miles in the snow, you name it, they probably did it.

Do you think you’d be able to keep up with Goggins?

(Disclaimer: Keep in mind that these workouts may be extreme for some individuals and you can hurt yourself from doing them. This is not a recommendation to do these workouts, please don’t sue me if you try this and get injured. Be responsible, be smart, be safe.)

5 Killer workouts from David Goggins:

If you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t know yourself.
— David Goggins "SEAL" (page 229)

1) Burpee Test

Goggins followed Itzler everywhere for the 31 days of training, including the office. One afternoon while in the office, Goggins tells Itzler it’s time for a burpee test.

If you haven’t done a burpee before, don’t worry you don’t need any weights.

You simply drop to the floor in a plank position, do a push-up, kick your knees to your chest and jump into a jumping jack.

It works out your arms, chest, legs and abs.

Now do 100 (timed).

  • Under 10 Minutes – Solid

  • Under 11 Minutes – Acceptable

  • Over 13 Minutes – Unacceptable (do it again)

Itzler’s 100 burpees time:

  • 11 minutes and 45 seconds (first time)

  • 10 minutes 27 seconds (second time)

Aim to get under 10 minutes. Stay tuned to for my score.

  • 13:00.06 (my first attempt, will do it again soon)

2) Nickels and Dimes

Do 5 pull-ups (nickels) and then 10 push-ups (dimes) every minute on the minute.

  • So if you do the 5 pull-ups and 10 push-ups in 30 seconds, you get a 30 second rest. If it takes you 50 seconds to do the set, you only get a 10 second rest.

Do this for 10 minutes.

  • Total will be: 50 pull-ups and 100 push-ups.

By the time Itzler got to 4 minutes, he dropped to the ground and couldn’t do anymore.

Can you do the full 10 minutes?

3) 150 Push-ups with 50-Pound Vest

Goggins apparently made friends with a guy at Itzler’s gym and he lent Goggins a 50-pound weight vest. So of course, Goggins wants to put it to use, and they do.

Do 15 sets of 10 push-ups, with 30-seconds of rest between sets.

  • Total: 150 push-ups with weighted vest.

    • Itzler’s time: 22 minutes

    • SEAL’s time: 15 minutes

This is a hard one, even Goggins couldn’t go straight to ten without dropping to his knees after the sixth set. Yet all he kept saying was: “This is great.”

4) Run, Push-up, Run

Instead of doing the typical 6 miles run, Goggins makes Itzler do 25 push-ups every half mile. Also, each mile time must be faster than the last.

  • Start at a 9 minute-mile pace.

  • After running half a mile, drop down and do 25 push-ups.

  • After 1 mile, do 25 push-ups and run the next mile at an 8:50 mile pace.

Repeat push-ups at every half mile and by the last mile you run should be at an 8:10 mile pace.

  • 1st mile: 9 mile pace (50 push-ups)

  • 2nd mile: 8:50 mile pace (50 push-ups)

  • 3rd mile: 8:40 mile pace (50 push-ups)

  • 4th mile: 8:30 mile pace (50 push-ups)

  • 5th mile: 8:20 mile pace (50 push-ups)

  • 6th: mile: 8:10 mile pace (50 push-ups)

Total: 6 miles and 300 push-ups.

5) The 4/4/48

This may be the toughest workout in the book:

  • Run 4 miles every 4 hours for 48 hours.

A total of 48 miles in two days.

  • Goggins had Itzler train for this by running 4.25 miles four times in 24 hours.

  • Since Itzler was running in the cold (about 10º F), he ended up pulling his groin about 16 miles in and had to cut the run short.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Goggins had to leave before they did the actual 4/4/48 run. Maybe I’ll try it (Leave a comment below and if enough people show interest, I’ll give it a shot).

Every day is a challenge, otherwise it’s not a regular day.
— SEAL (page 128)

Well there it is, 5 workout challenges from the “SEAL” in “Living with a SEAL.”

And if you’re wondering about Jesse Itzler’s fitness stats after the 31 days, here they are:

  • 222.5 miles run

  • 6,488 push-ups

  • 236 pull-ups

  • 957 sit-ups

  • 200 burpees

  • 800 jumping jacks

  • 50 box jumps

  • 150 flutter kicks

  • 14 fireman carries

And remember:

Don’t get too comfortable. Ever.
— SEAL (page 169)

Thanks for reading!

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