Bear Grylls Gave Up Veganism for Butter and Liver

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How different is it outdoors vs. at home?

It’s simple, and feels natural. If I’m on an adventure, I used to eat nuts and oat bars, but I don’t do that anymore. I just throw good quality jerky in there. Running Wilds are 36 hours, then I go back to normal circumstances.

Do you fast when you’re adventuring?

Not so much. I feel I need the energy from food I find. I’ll have a big breakfast before I go: Scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, and fruit. Then I’ve got enough energy for two days if I don’t find anything to eat.

You have a cast-iron stomach, and have eaten a lot of out there food. Has that leaked over to when you’re not adventuring?

It can—I’ve done so much over the years: Drinking blood from a buffalo artery, munching on raw liver and heart. It’s not difficult, but it’s not very pleasant. If I’m at home, I’m not going to be tucking into raw steak and liver. Food is a great pleasure, and it can be cooked so beautifully. I tend to have it rare, but I like it cooked, unless I’m in survivor mode.

Do you have a specific workout program?

I do. I work out in the community with my military veterans fitness company, where vets run the training sessions—half of my training is that. The other half is weights. I don’t run much now. I play touch tennis, for cardio, and three good weight sessions a week, 30 or 40 minutes. I’ll do a yoga session once a week, and stretch 15 minutes to start the day. I swim 500 meters on non weight days. And I started a thing a year ago where before weights I do 25 pull-ups, 50 press-ups, 75 squats and 100 sit-ups. It’s 10 minutes, and I’ve gotten really good at it. When I was in the military, I could do max 15, now I do 25 pull-ups with a weighted vest routinely. And I’m 48.

Does the diet help these workouts? Does it help keep you less tired when you’re adventuring?

I’m always tired at the end of Running Wild. There’s a lot of concentration involved in guiding people. You’re in a difficult place, carrying weight on your back. But I find my training isn’t crazy. It keeps my bones and muscles strong, and the swimming and stretching keeps me flexible. I don’t need the endurance. That’s not the job. It’s more about strength, flexibility for the long term.

But you built up your base. Are the weights heavy? You squatting double body weight?

I go pretty heavy. I keep it low reps, around 10. And I’ll do it with a clock, Tabata style, and with functional kettlebell work, too.

Are you counting calories and macros or is it kept in line by the fasting and diet limits?

If I’m eating a lot of meat, I get much fuller, so I can eat as much as I need. I’m pretty greedy by nature, so I don’t totally eat that way. But I’m much more satisfied on this diet. It’s also more pleasant and delicious.

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