Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

Decades after his untimely death, Bruce Lee’s legacy as an actor and martial artist remains strong. Author Matthew Polly’s new biography, Bruce Lee: A Life, delves deeply into Lee’s life, providing fascinating new details about the martial artist’s regimen and diet. Lee’s approach to fitness and his dedication to maintaining peak physical condition were revolutionary for his time, despite predating the advent of modern fitness media.

Bruce Lee Changed the Face of Strength Training

Athletes did not typically focus on strength and conditioning when Lee peaked. Most people believed that all they needed to do to get better at their sport was spend more time doing it. But Lee understood that he needed to train hard and get in shape to become the best fighter possible.

He was the first martial artist to train like a modern athlete, emphasizing outside gym work. Bruce Lee drew inspiration from boxing to increase his stamina. He started his day with four or five miles of road running and skipping.

Bruce Lee’s fitness routine also heavily emphasized weight training. He went to the gym three times a week, and his garage was stocked with everything from dumbbells and a bench press to a squat rack and an isometric machine.

James Yimm Lee and Allen Joe, two of Lee’s students who became pioneers in the bodybuilding world, adopted his training philosophy of using lighter weights and performing more repetitions.

Curling Dumbbells While Watching TV
Bruce Lee was dedicated to training in more ways than one. According to Polly, Lee would work out at all times, even while doing something as relaxing as watching television.

“Even when he wasn’t officially training he was training. While watching TV, he curled dumbbells.”

Lee’s relentless training routine wore him down physically, causing him pain and fatigue. The martial artist looked for creative answers to these problems. He was motivated to purchase an electrical muscle stimulator after hearing about its effectiveness from a fitness coach for the Los Angeles Rams.

Bruce Lee firmly believed in the importance of a healthy diet to one’s well-being. According to Polly, Lee had a lot of faith in ginseng and queen bee honey’s healing properties. Lee also used to drink protein shakes throughout the day.

Lee’s goals included improved performance and an ideal physical appearance, which explains his dedication to training and nutrition. Lee didn’t want to look like a bodybuilder, so he focused on getting ripped rather than bulky.

One of his students, Allen Joe, recalled that Bruce Lee was a big fan of doing more reps with lighter weights. Lee knew the extra effort required to break into leading roles during an era when Hollywood favored tall, white actors. His rise to fame was fueled by rigorous exercise and healthy eating, and his story is just as fascinating as the ones he played on screen.

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