The 3 Day Military Diet Debunked

Does the military diet work?

The blog post will give you the answer to this questions.  Because so many fad diets come and go and the military diet could be one of them…so let us find out.

If you are looking for military diet substitutions, you’ve come to the right place. Below I will give you suggestions of things you can do besides the military diet to help you lose weight and tone up. Keep in mind these military diet substitutions are basic, easy to follow, and do not require a gym. But before I give you my military diet substitutions, let us first get to the bottom of the military diet and debunk this “fad” diet. I had to stick my nose into this because over 350,000 people are Googling this per month. Therefore I felt the need to tell people the truth.

The military diet or the 3 day military diet, of course, is another fad diet that supposedly helps you lose weight quickly. Losing weight quickly is a matter of reducing your calories, exercising frequently and with intensity, and not following some special magical new diet. But most people fail to accomplish losing weight because it is difficult to change one’s lifestyle. It is not easy to change what you eat, eat foods that you don’t like the taste of, and feel the pain of intense exercise. Thus, to get to the bottom of the military diet “fad” and talk some reality with you,  I went right to the source, a person who is actually in the military and went through boot camp in the army. As you will read below, there really is no such thing as the “military diet.”  The military diet is nothing more than a fad and it will not help you lose weight.  However I have put together a substitution for the “fad” military diet.

I interviewed Michelle (name changed to protect identity) who recently graduated from the Army at Fort Leonardwood Missouri. Here is what Michelle described as the Military Diet.

Michelle said that when she first got to Fort Leonardwood, it was around 1 am. Then at 4:00 am it was time for breakfast. Here is what the Army serves for breakfast. You have a tray and can select the following:

1) Eggs. Michelle said the eggs were disgusting and they would serve them with what looked like an ice-cream scooper.
2) Bacon. Crispy and disgusting
3) toast.
4) sausage patties
5) cereal (Special K)
6) beverages: milk, orange juice, water. apple juice, grape juice and cranberry and Gatorade
7) Grits
8) soggy pancakes and waffles

You are only allowed to choose one meat, but you are allowed to choose as many sides as you want. You have to eat with your company, and that leaves about 6 minutes to eat.

Keep in mind NO COFFEE. Coffee is not offered in the military, and neither is tea.

For the rest of her time in Boot Camp, they trained or worked out BEFORE they ate breakfast. They never had breakfast BEFORE they worked out.

After breakfast, they trained…not physically training, but stuff with guns and whatever else.

military diet

Lunch was always an MRE or Meal Ready to Eat.

Dinner was similar to breakfast.

You had your choice of meats

1) steak
2) pork chops
3) chicken
4) meat loaf
5) hot dogs
6) hamburgers

And of course you had your choice of veggies and sides and even dessert. What I thought was interested was that Michelle told me they had a Gatorade machine.

Michelle said it is your typically food. Again about 5 minutes to eat.

After dinner, they would typically be active.

Now here is the thing Michelle told me. They were very active. They had to run every where. Run to chow hall, run to the bath room, run to the barracks. Also, they were also getting “smoked.” Which means getting in trouble by the drill sergeants and having to do things like squats and push ups.

Michelle didn’t lose weight in the military. She gained a lot of muscle and lost fat. She went into the military weighing 135 lbs and came out 135 lbs. She went from doing about three push-ups and came out doing 35 push ups. She was in boot camp for about ten weeks.

My assessment is quite simply. The diet has nothing to do with the fat Michelle lost during those ten weeks. It had to do with her activity level. Michelle was very active and really at whatever she wanted.

What I found interesting was that she was not allowed to drink coffee. I am a big believer in abstaining from caffeine use when trying to lose weight. Caffeine releases cortisol in the body which is a muscle wasting catabolic hormone. The less muscle you have, the slower your metabolism will be. Muscle is crucial for fat loss.


The biggest mistake you can make when trying to lose weight forgo resistance training. This means doing all that cardio and skipping the weights, barbells, dumbells or even simple things like push up pull ups. Michelle did not have a gym; she simply had her own bodyweight. Michelle would run, jog, do pushups, sits ups, and squats.

Here are some military diet substitutions.

First, let me start out by saying that you are not going to see any diets. I do not believe in “diets.” They are simply scams to make money. The only “diet” is the diet that you create yourself to fit the foods that you like to eat, your budget, and your life style. However, my recommendations below are based on my interview with a real US soldier who graduated recently from boot camp.

Rise and shine and workout. No coffee, tea, five-hour energy drinks, or typical pre workouts that contain caffeine.

Have some water if you’re thirsty.

The Exercises

Ten sets of push ups. Do as many as you can to failure.
Ten sets of squats. If you need to learn how to squat, I suggest reading this book. But the most important thing when exercising is not to rest. This is the biggest mistake I see people making when they work out. During a set, a person will rest. When you are doing a particular exercise, you should be like a machine. Does a machine ever rest? No, it does not. Just like a piston moving up and down, you should do the same thing. Pausing during a set simply means you are giving up. Work past the pain.
Ten sets of leg raises. Dr. Colker has written extensively about the most effective exercises for abdominal development.

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Now you can eat, but here is the thing. Give yourself only 6 minutes to eat. Whatever you cannot eat in 6 minutes, do NOT eat. You’re done. This is exactly how the Army does it and if you want to try a military diet, than this is what you need to do.

Post workout you want to eat breakfast. Remember NO COFFEE or stimulant. If you can’t eat, I suggest something simply as blending up some veggies and tossing in some casein protein powder. No soy protein or whey protein.

Then eat lunch and dinner.  However, if you are really daring and want to go hard core you should eat an MRE for lunch.  As Michelle told me, that is the ONLY thing they would eat for lunch for 10 weeks straight, MRE’s for lunch

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Keep in mind no coffee and no snacks in between meals.

If you really want to push yourself, you can workout again doing the same workout as above.

As you can see this military diet substitution is nothing more than the following

1) eat whatever you want
2) no amphetamines (caffeine or other stimulants)
3) train with intensity
4) no eating between meals
5) 5 minutes to eat.
6) workout on an empty stomach

Some modifications for quicker weight loss.

1) for beverages…only drink water. Michelle told me she had chocolate for breakfast. Now keep in mind I think that chocolate milk is a great post-workout carb…it has everything the body needs for post workout…protein, carbs, electrolytes, and anti-oxidants. Chocolate milk is the poor mans’ post workout shake. Michelle, even though she did not know it, was making a fine choice for post workout nutrition by selecting the chocolate milk to have after she worked out. This could explain why she was able to gain a significant amount of lean muscle mass and lose a significant amount of body fat. However, if you want to lose fat more quickly, I suggest instead of consuming chocolate milk, you consume veggies. Kale, spinach, beets, carrots, and other green veggies.

2) If you want to train at a gym that is fine, however, make sure you use free weights, NO machines. Use the bench press, the military press, and the squat rack.

3) supplements. Michelle did not take any supplements. I suggest that you do the same thing, with the exception of a good source of casein protein like my Heliogen casein. No fat loss supplements, please. 95% of them on the market are worthless, and most contain stimulants, like caffeine, which will hinder your fat loss goals.

In conclusion, the military diet described on most websites when I Googled it, is nothing close to what Michelle described to me as to what she ate while in Boot Camp. These so-called military diet websites try to give you foods to eat and foods not to eat. They mention nothing about the timing of meals and the time constraints to consume the meals. Also, one website describing the military diet actually recommends drinking coffee. This is a sure sign that this website has no clue about the food they serve in the Army.  Just remember a few things…

  1.  Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, no snacking.
  2. Train with intensity.  Nothing makes me shrug my shoulders more when I see a person in the gym NOT trying.  If you’re not going 100% intensity, then don’t bother working out.
  3. No caffeine.  If you’re a big caffeine drinking you’ll go through withdraws…this is normally as caffeine is highly addicted.  But getting off caffeine is one of the major steps to help you lose body fat.