As the UFC President, Dana White has a lot on his plate. From having to negotiate with the sport’s top professional athletes and their egos, to the organisation of competition and matches that take place around the world, it’s safe to say that White’s days are busier than most. But if you thought all that would provide the perfect (and understandable) excuse for skipping a workout due to time constraints, think again. White is a man who lives and breathes health and wellness, you need only take a tour of his multimillion dollar Las Vegas home to see that it’s a priority for the UFC President, evident in the outdoor pool complete with artificial currents, a Pilates room with floor to ceiling TV for group workouts, massage and facial room with infrared LED bed, a room devoted solely to lifting heavy, and the “cold plunge” and steam room for recovery.
But when it comes to his actual fitness routine and diet, White isn’t the typical gym junkie you might expect. He workouts a lot and consistently, and his workouts are gruelling. But he doesn’t necessarily strip his kitchen of sugars and processed foods, living by weighed ratios of servings and green juices that are devoid of taste. Rather, White lives to eat and his workouts allow him to do just that. “I’m not one of these guys who eats healthy or whatever,” he explained in a recent interview with Men’s Health US. “The reason I work out is because I love food and I love to eat.” And when it comes to exercise, his goals are pretty simple: “I’m trying to not get fat, and I’m trying to not get hurt.”
Perhaps it’s this that makes White one of the more relatable stars to admire when it comes to our own fitness goals. Not every workout has to be a back-breaker, and when it comes to our diet, we should still be able to enjoy food rather than see it as the enemy or limit it to foods that are “good” and “bad”.
When it comes to his gym routine, White keeps it pretty straightforward with exercises based around cardio and weights as he admits, “I’m not trying to break any world records.” The routine has changed with age though and while he says he used to lift much heavier, now he’s dropped the weight after a shoulder injury. As White approaches his mid-50s, he’s had to re-strategise and really look at what he wants to get out of his workouts, with an approach that focuses on building and maintaining strength while also ensuring White remains strong and avoids injury. “I don’t do any heavy weights now. I do all light weight and make sure every movement is perfect – and I do it for reps.”
White says that an intense workout for him these days is doing a cardio workout, but his favourite workout is one he does on Saturday where he does what he calls “circuit Saturday.” As White explains, his workouts may have changed with age, but it’s still sacred. “I don’t go out much anymore like I used to so coming over to the gym is my quiet time, my get my head together time.”
Of course, the motivation is food. White does it all for food and his meals are pretty outrageous. On a tour of his gym and fridge, he revealed he houses a lot of sugar in the kitchen, with things like Klondike bars, frozen Snickers, frozen Kit-Kats, several pints of Ben & Jerry’s, powdered donuts, and Pepperidge Farm everything available. That said, he does have a fridge dedicated solely to healthy options, with fruits and vegetables available and pre-cut to make it easier for snacking.
“For breakfast I usually do either scrambled egg and sausage, or I like breakfast sandwiches.” As for things White doesn’t like, he doesn’t eat garlic, onions and seafood. Ultimately though, everyday is cheat day for White who says his ultimate go-to cheat day meal is a raised donut with a piece of fried chicken in the middle with a special sauce. Can’t say it sounds particularly appetising but according to White, if you like chicken and you like donuts, “it’s the best thing you’ll ever eat.”