Lee’s phenomenal fitness allowed him to perform numerous exceptional physical feats:
- Lee’s speed in terms of reacting + punching from a distance of three feet away was determined to be around five hundreths of a second (0.05 second); from five feet away it was around eight hundreths of a second (0.08 second).
- Lee could take in one arm a 75 lb barbell from a standing position with the barbell held flush against his chest and slowly stick his arms out locking them, holding the barbell there for several seconds.
- In a speed demonstration, Lee could snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
- Lee performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
- Lee performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.
- Lee could cause a 300-lb (136.08 kg) bag to fly towards and thump the ceiling with a sidekick.
- Lee held an elevated v-sit position for 30 minutes or longer.
According to Linda Lee Cadwell, soon after he moved to the United States, Lee started to take nutrition seriously and developed an interest in health foods, high-protein drinks and vitamin and mineral supplements. He later concluded that in order to achieve a high-performance body, one could not fuel it with a diet of junk food, and with “the wrong fuel” one’s body would perform sluggishly or sloppily.
Lee also avoided baked goods and refined flour, describing them as providing calories which did nothing for his body.
Lee consumed green vegetables and fruit every day. He always preferred to eat Chinese or other Asian food because he loved the variety that it had. Some of Lee’s favorite Chinese dishes were beef in oyster sauce, tofu and steak and liver. He also became a heavy advocate of dietary supplements, including Vitamin C, Lecithin granules, bee pollen, Shilajit, Vitamin E, rose hips (liquid form), wheat germ oil, Acerola – C and B-Folia.
Lee disliked dairy food although he felt that for building muscle he must consume milk. As a result he only ate dairy as part of cereals and protein drinks, usually using powdered milk instead of fresh milk. Lee’s diet included protein drinks; he always tried to consume one or two daily, but discontinued drinking them later on in his life. They typically included non-instant powdered milk which is reported to have a higher concentration of calcium than other forms of powdered milk, eggs, wheat germ, peanut butter, banana, brewers yeast for its B vitamins, and Inositol and Lecithin supplements. Linda Lee recalls Bruce Lee’s waist fluctuated between 26 and 28 inches (66 to 71 centimetres). “He also drank his own juice concoctions made from vegetables and fruits, apples, celery, carrots and so on, prepared in an electric blender”, she said.
According to Lee, the size of portions and number of meals were just as important. He would usually consume four or five smaller meals a day rather than a couple of large meals, and would boost his metabolism by eating small healthy snacks such as fruits throughout the day. Fruit and vegetables provided him with the richest source of carbohydrates; he was particularly keen on carrots which would make up one half of the contents of the drink, with the remaining being split between the other fruits and vegetables. The reason why Lee was so keen on juicing vegetables and fruits is that he believed it allowed the body to assimilate many nutrients more easily. The enzymes in the juiced vegetables acting as organic catalysts which increase the metabolism and absorption of nutrients. Given that most of these enzymes are destroyed when vegetables are cooked, Lee would try to consume them raw.
Lee often drank a royal jelly and ginseng drink as they contain B-complex vitamins, including a high concentration of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), acetylcholine, hormones, and eighteen amino acids which allow for a quick energy boost. In traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng is also said to improve circulation, increase blood supply, allow quicker recovery times after exhaustion and stimulating the body. In addition, Lee regularly drank black tea, often with honey or with milk and sugar.