Many successful people see health and fitness as more than just a hobby; they feel health and fitness play a major role in their success. For many, the physical benefits are important but the mental benefits -- like perseverance, resilience, determination, and mental toughness -- are just as important.

Here's the latest in my series where I follow an incredibly successful person's workout plan for one week. (Others include seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie JohnsonDef Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, and NHRA drag racer Leah Pritchett.) 

This time it's the fitness and diet regimen of Tony Robbins. Tony needs needs no introduction, so let's keep it brief: He holds wildly popular events, is a multi-time bestselling author, created a line of dietary supplements... all told, Tony runs and is involved with over 30 different privately-held businesses boasting combined sales of over $5 billion a year.

Accomplishing all that requires Tony to not just reach but maintain (which is even harder) a staggering level of mental and physical performance.

That's especially true during an Unleash the Power Within event.

Tests show that on a typical event day Tony burns approximately 11,300 calories. (Think running two marathons.) He jumps over 1,000 times. (Think two games for an NBA player.) Every jump places 4 times the normal force on his body... which means that on a typical event day his 6' 7" frame endures over 1 million pounds of force.

And his lactic acid levels are staggeringly high.

During exercise, lactic acid naturally builds up faster than it can be burned off and causes levels to increase. For example, a blood lactate concentration of 4.0 is typical for people who run hard enough to feel out of breath. 

Tony? His lactate measured 14.1.

Keep in mind lactate threshold varies. Some people can tolerate incredibly high levels of lactic acid; other people are unable to remain standing if their lactate is over 10. And some people are so efficient at shuttling lactic acid out of their bloodstream and back into their livers that they never experience high levels of lactate.

Either way, at 14.1 the average person lies moaning on the floor. And maybe pukes.

So, yeah. 

And while the numbers are insane, don't forget: Tony cranks through what are in effect hours-long workouts... while leading thousands of people through a transformational experience. (If you want to see him do that in person, check out the Unleash the Power Within event on July 12 in Chicago. Maybe we'll see each other there.)

So, double yeah.

To make it interesting, I asked Tony for the exact fitness and diet regimen he follows during an event week. (Why not go all in, right?)

I did my best to duplicate his week, but in a few cases I did have to compromise. Over time Tony and his outstanding trainer Billy Beck have developed a highly sophisticated fitness and diet routine, one that includes some fairly hard-to-find equipment. I did my best, and where I made exceptions, those are noted.

One other note: To make the week as authentic as possible I also took the same supplements Tony uses. In an industry where slapping a celebrity's name on any old product is commonplace... while I'm no a scientist, that's not the case in this instance. I like Tony's. I feel a difference. I continue to use them. 

So with all that said, here we go:

Monday 

Morning 

  • Cold plunge. When he wakes up, Tony submerges himself in approximately 50-degree water for about a minute. Becoming fully awake is just a side benefit; Tony likes how the radical change in temperature supercharges his system.
  • Priming.  As Tony says, "If you don't have 10 minutes for yourself, you don't have a life."  Priming is a 10-minute ritual broken down into three parts. 1) 30 Kapalabhati Pranayama breaths: Sit straight and take a deep inhale, then exhale forcefully by constricting your abdomen. (Don't try to do them in succession; take a few breaths in between to recover.) 2) Express gratitude: Think of things you're grateful for. Don't focus on what you lack; be happy for what you have. 3) Pray: Seek strength and wish for good things for people you care about. (Praying doesn't have to be religiously based; it can also be a spiritual practice.)
  • Adrenal support cocktail. Includes a Vital Energy Pack, plus methylated Bs, adrenal support, bio-energy greens, buffered vitamin C, and antioxidant powder. 

Breakfast 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 

Lunch 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • Free range turkey 

Mid afternoon

Shot of Bio-Energy Greens or celery juice.  

Training:

PEMF (Pulse Electromagnetic Fields). PEMF is an unusual form of therapy designed to reduce pain, inflammation, and the effects of stress on the body, as well as improve energy, circulation, and cell regeneration. Be honest I have no idea whether it works. But it's kinda fun. And Tony swears by it. 

Body work. Think massage therapy to balance out the muscles and recruit the maximum number of motor units. Done right it kinda hurts. And left me feeling a little wrung out. But ten minutes later, oddly invigorated.

Which I needed. Because up next was...

OsteoStrong Session.  OsteoStrong exercise is different from normal weight lifting. Instead of using some form of chest machine that involves pushing and pulling (or pushing and just releasing), on an OsteoStrong machine you engage with maximum effort for a specific period of time, then release. (Think pushing against an immovable object with all your might.)

When you finish an exercise you walk away and think, "That wasn't that hard." Then a few seconds later you start to feel it. By the end of the series you're left wondering how something that took so little time (no more than a few minutes of actual effort) left your muscles feeling so exhausted.

And in some ways that's the point: Tony's goal is to make his workouts as efficient as possible. He can't afford to spend a couple hours in the gym; he needs to receive the maximum benefit from the shortest time possible.

Cryotherapy. Lots of people think standing almost naked inside a tube at temperatures of more than -200 Fahrenheit is no big deal. I hate it. But the benefits are clear. Cryotherapy helps reduce inflammation, improve circulation, and helps to heal soft-tissue injuries.

But man, do I hate it.

Dinner 

  • Free range protein source 
  • Giant green salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • 1 cup asparagus or broccoli 
  • 6 oz sweet potato or white potato 

Evening

Protein shake 

Sleep

Tony reportedly only sleeps 3 to 5 hours a night. That may or may not be true. Either way, I slept 7.5. Sue me.

Tuesday 

Morning 

Cold plunge 

Priming 

Adrenal support cocktail

Breakfast 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 

Lunch 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • Free range turkey 

Mid afternoon

Shot of Bio-Energy Greens or celery juice

Training: 

PEMF 

Body work

Vasper interval training session. Vasper training uses cooling, compression and interval training to create a low-impact and relatively low-intensity way to get the same benefits of a high-intensity workout. (Here's a video.) 

The compression on your arms and legs, lactic acid builds up really quickly. Add in the high-intensity interval periods and the burn is significant. Yet the cooling helps keep your muscles from overheating, which means more oxygen stays in your muscles and you feel less soreness afterwards.

I admit I was skeptical going into this. I'm fairly old school where working out is concerned; new for the sake of new doesn't interest me. But the combination of HIIT with low impact is pretty cool. If you want a whole-body workout with cardio benefits -- and less injury risk -- find a place that offers Vesper training and give it a shot.

Squash. 1 hour. No one I knew wanted to play squash. But I did have a taker for racquetball. (I had forgotten how fun racquetball can be.)

Basketball. 30 minutes. Full court, no less. Eek.

Cryotherapy. Nope. Still not fun.

PEMF. My performance during the PEMF session was, um, less optimal. Between Vasper and racquetball and basketball, I was fairly wrung out. Which is the point: When you think you have little left, that's when you really need to dig deep mentally.

Body work

Dinner 

  • Free range protein source 
  • Giant green salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • 1 cup asparagus or broccoli 
  • 6 oz. sweet potato or white potato 

Evening

Protein shake 

Wednesday (day prior to event day) 

Morning:

  • Cold plunge 
  • Priming 
  • Adrenal support cocktail

Breakfast

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 

Lunch

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • Free range turkey 

Mid afternoon

Shot of Bio-Energy Greens or celery juice

Training:

PEMF

Body work

Vasper interval training session

Cryotherapy 

Dinner

  • Free range protein source 
  • With giant green salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • 1 cup asparagus or broccoli 
  • 6 oz sweet potato or white potato 

Evening

Protein shake 

Thursday (Event Day 1)

Morning 

Body work

Priming 

Adrenal support cocktail 

Mitochondria support nutrients

Breakfast 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 
  • Turkey bacon
  • 2 hours later: Bone broth

Cryotherapy 

Noon: Onstage until midnight.

That means jumping over 1,000 times, burning 11,000 calories... all while communicating and staying completely present. 

To stay fueled, Tony takes in coconut water, electrolytes, water, sea salt, protein shakes, and an assortment of nutritional supplements. He usually only eats solid food once during the day because he doesn't take breaks. (That meal varies, but usually contains grass-fed protein with potatoes, or grain-free pasta and veggies.)

How did I try to replicate that? Tony's recommendation was to walk a mile at an approximately 13-minute mile pace (which is a very fast walk.) At the end of the mile, jump 18 times. Then repeat.

For 12 hours.

While math is usually not my friend, that added up to 55 miles and 990 jumps.

And I felt every freaking one of them.

Try it. Try walking at a really fast pace for 12 hours. It sucks. Sure, your legs get tired, but my back suffered the most. (And my feet.) But mostly my back. My posture isn't great, and walking for that long was extremely uncomfortable.

And somehow Tony leads thousands of people -- people with huge expectations who will instantly notice if his focus or enthusiasm flags -- through a transformational event.

Yep. Tony is a beast.

Post event recovery 

Nutrient intake. Take in as many calories as possible to offset the massive calorie deficit. 

Cryotherapy 

Bodywork

Friday (Recovery Day, plus at least 8 hours of meetings) 

Morning 

Priming 

Adrenal support cocktail

PEMF

Body work

Cryotherapy. (I couldn't make it to the CryoMax near me, so I lay in a bathtub filled with ice and water. Eek.) 

Breakfast 

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 
  • Turkey bacon

Lunch

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • Free range turkey 

Mid afternoon

Shot of Bio-Energy Greens or celery juice. Plus bone broth. 

IV therapy rehydration, plus Meyers cocktail (magnesium, calcium, B-vitamins, and Vitamin C given by a slow IV push or slow infusion to achieve concentrations of nutrients that are not possible with oral administration.)

Dinner

  • Free range protein source 
  • With giant green salad with olive oil and lemon and sea salt
  • 1 cup asparagus or broccoli 
  • 10 oz Sweet potato or white potato 

Evening

Protein shake (or nutrition bar) 

PEMF 

Body work 

Saturday (Event Day 2)

Morning 

Bodywork 

Priming 

Adrenal support cocktail

Mitochondria support nutrients

Breakfast

  • Giant salad with olive oil and lemon 
  • Coconut toast 
  • Grass fed butter
  • Free range eggs 
  • Turkey bacon
  • 2 hours later: Bone Broth

CryoTherapy 

Noon: Onstage until midnight.

Yep. 12 more hours of really fast walking. (This time with a thin rubber insole in my shoes; that made a small yet noticeable difference.)

Post event recovery 

Nutrient intake. Take in as many calories as possible to offset the massive calorie deficit. 

Cryotherapy. (By this point I started to like cryotherapy, proving yet again how important it is to give new things a real chance.)

Bodywork

PEMF (Seriously? At this point? OK.)

Sunday (Post event recovery day)

Wake up

Hot tub 

Cold plunge

Priming

PEMF 

Thor red light therapy bed 

Breakfast

  • Eggs, giant green salad, olive oil
  • Coconut toast, turkey bacon, celery juice
  • Adrenal support cocktail

Lunch

Free range protein, giant green salad, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, asparagus

Mid afternoon

Celery juice or bio-energy greens 

Dinner

Repeat lunch 

What I Learned

First the obvious: Incredibly successful people are successful for a reason. They don't take shortcuts. They don't hack their way to success. They do what other people are not willing to do.

They find what works, and they do it.

Over, and over, and over again.

Tony's meals are remarkably repetitive. To many people that would be boring. To Tony, that's the best way to get the fuel he needs, the energy he needs... and to maintain a optimally-healthy body and mind. 

Tony's morning routine is also consistent. Why? It works for him.

So does PEMF. So does body work. So does Vaspar interval training. So does cryotherapy.

And he didn't just test and refine and optimize his routine on his own; he continues to get help from a world-class trainer: Billy Beck, a 2-time MET-Rx World's Best Personal Trainer, Personal Fitness Professional Magazine Personal Trainer of the Year, and member of the Fitness Hall of Fame.

Yep: Tony knows where his expertise lies, and he's smart enough to get help where he needs it. After all, results are what matter. 

Not who had the ideas. Or who created a particular program.

The proof is always in the pudding.

And that, ultimately, was the biggest takeaway from my week of Tony. Routine matters, but optimizing your routine -- for your goals -- matters a lot more.

Sure, you can adopt the morning ritual of a successful person... but is that morning ritual the best routine for you to follow?

Maybe... but probably not.

Determine your goal, whatever it may be: Business, professional, personal, relationships, etc.

Determine what steps will get you there. Get help if you need it; you probably do, especially at first. Create a routine that will actually allow you to reach your goal.

And then follow that routine -- even if it means doing the same thing, over and over and over again.

If that approach is good enough for Tony... it's definitely good enough for the rest of us.

Published on: Jun 14, 2018