Eat Like U.S. Army Ranger and Spartan Pro Mark Gaudet for a Week

Eat Like U.S. Army Ranger and Spartan Pro Mark Gaudet for a Week
Presented by Spartan Training®

Mark Gaudet is a U.S. Army Ranger, Spartan Pro, and four-time competitor in the grueling Best Ranger Competition.

His tolerance for discomfort was vividly on display in his performance in a “Burpee 10K.” This effort included 12 rounds of an 800-meter run and 20 burpees. Obstacle Racing Media calculated that Gaudet was able to sustain a one-burpee per three seconds pace for 240 burpees, woven into a 33:30 10K run.

Supporting His Resilience With a Utilitarian, Balanced Diet

“No particular diets for me,” Gaudet says. “I try to eat a well-balanced diet centered around maximizing performance. Personally, I've found that a consistent diet with little variation works the best for me. I generally try to eat the same foods at the same time everyday.”

Related: 14 Days, 5 Rules, Epic Results: The Spartan Whole-Food Detox Challenge

Focus on Anti-Inflammation and Optimizing Recovery

Trial and error has framed Gaudet’s path to his present-day diet.

“I do my best to avoid foods that promote inflammation and slow recovery,” he says. “For me, those foods include sugar, processed foods, dairy, red meat, and alcohol. Once I limited the intake of these foods over an extended period of time, I noticed improvement in my sleep, recovery, body composition, and ultimately performance.”

Related: 5 Foods You Should Eat to Beat Inflammation

Advice: The Critical Timing of a Pre-Race Meal

“I often see racers slamming foods pre-race (1 to 2 hours prior) to adequately ‘fuel’ ahead of a big effort,” Gaudet says. “It sounds counterintuitive, but this can be counterproductive.”

Gaudet restricts his pre-race eating to 300 calories or less, finishing the meal three hours prior to the race start. The intent is to achieve a “prime physiological state” timed with the gun going off.

Related: How to Perfect Your Pre-Race Nutrition Like a Spartan Pro

“I can then efficiently use both glycogen stores and fat for fuel," he says. "Fueling too close to the start of the race causes the body to release insulin which can disrupt glycogen depletion rates and fat utilization efficiency."

His Recommended Approach? Common Sense (and Clean)

“Our bodies are all different and will respond differently to foods, diets, and fueling plans,” Gaudet says. “I recommend adopting a clean diet — largely plant based — and experimenting with a variety of healthy foods to find what your body responds the best to.

Related: Bullet-Proof Your Immune System With a Plant-Based Diet

Here’s a look into a typical day of Gaudet’s recovery-enhancing fare:

Gaudet's Fueling Schedule

Morning (Pre-Workout)

- Glass of warm water with lemon and essential amino acids

- One cup of black coffee before big workouts and races

This is 0500 hours for the Army Ranger, and Gaudet finds the room temperature water is easier to drink and helps him wash down his “amino horse pills.”

He adds, “I've also been told that there are some digestion benefits from drinking warm water.”

Supplementing with essential amino acids is a measure to go on the offense when it comes to recovery.

Related: Skeptical About Supplements? 3 Success Stories That May Change Your Mind

“The essential aminos are intended to mitigate muscle breakdown,” Gaudet explains. “They help me prepare to train hard on consecutive days. The eight essential aminos are also critical to maximize cognitive function and may assist in the resistance and perception of fatigue.”

And the coffee?

“Black coffee is the best pre-workout drink out there,” he says.


- Post-workout protein shake

- Vitamins (multivitamin, turmeric, fish oil, CoQ10)

- Two packets of organic original oatmeal with a scoop of peanut or almond butter

- Four to six hard-boiled or scrambled egg whites with one yolk

- Half of an avocado

Notice the emphasis on lean protein (egg whites, protein powder) and the healthy fats (avocado, almond butter), but he doesn’t turn his back on high-fiber carbs like oatmeal.

Gaudet explains: “Personally, I've found that I'm noticeably leaner on a low-carbohydrate diet, but the inadequate carb intake is a detriment to my performance.”

Morning Snack

- Green Tea

- Cucumbers, carrots, and hummus


- LARGE salad. (His typically consists of lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, half an avocado, and meat (salmon, tuna, or chicken), with an oil and vinegar dressing.)

- Apple with peanut or almond butter

- Vitamins

Gaudet integrates vitamin intake to buffer the unpredictability of being active duty in the military.

“I take the vitamins as an insurance policy to fill the voids that come with periods of eating Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) and/or field chow,” he says.

The Army Ranger is picky with his vitamin choices, and works with endurance nutrition expert Steve Born to dial it all in. 

“You almost always get what you pay for,” Gaudet says. “I stick with higher-quality vitamins and avoid the cheaper, more available supplements, like what’s in stock at a grocery store. I take a multivitamin-multimineral three times a day, fish oil twice a day (Omega-3, EPA, DHA), CoQ10 and magnesium in the morning, and a tissue rejuvenator supplement in the evening.”

The tissue rejuvenation supplement is a combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), turmeric, quercetin, and type II collagen.

Afternoon Snack

- One packet of oatmeal with coconut milk and honey

- Almonds


- Stir-fry vegetables

- Rice or sweet potatoes

- Chicken, ground turkey, or fish

Nothing fancy here, Gaudet admits. Mostly plant-based, with lean protein and some carbs for recovery.

“You could call it boring,” he says.

But the evidence is in for Gaudet. His capacity to recover from hard training and racing — in concert with overall performance — has shown his trust in simplicity and consistency does the job.

Evening Snack

- Protein shake

- Vitamins

By evening, Gaudet means early evening. After his protein shake and vitamins — which he downs before 7 p.m. — he brushes his teeth and closes the door on his nutrition for the day.

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