Leslie Kai Greene was born in Brooklyn, New York and was placed in foster care at age 6. His disruptive behavior at school prompted a teacher to suggest bodybuilding. Greene was enthusiastic about the sport and won the National Physique Committee Team Universe competition in 1999 at age 14. After a 5 year break, he returned and won again in 2004, leading to pro status. He placed 3rd at Mr. Olympia in 2011, and 2nd in the 3 ensuing years. Greene won the Arnold Classic in 2009, ’10 and ’16. While he has not officially retired, he has not competed in several years. Greene featured in the documentaries Overkill, Redemption and the film series Generation Iron which is about the preparation for the Mr. Olympia and Arnold contests. He also appeared in other films and plays on the Netflix series Stranger Things. Greene is sponsored by Flex and he runs his own training program called The 5P. He also has a supplement brand and a line of sportswear. Greene co-hosts a Generation Iron podcast and has millions of followers on social media. He is 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 260-265 when competing and up to 310 lbs. in the off-season.
Kai Greene’s Diet
Bodybuilding is as much about what you eat as working out. Greene eats clean and it shows. He follows a strict diet that is high in protein and complex carbs and low in fat. He counts his macros and weighs and measures his food to make sure he’s hitting his targets. His standards are pretty standard: eggs, chicken breast, rice, sweet potatoes and salads. He eats every couple of hours, about 6 meals per day, one of which is a protein shake. He’ll also drink 1 1/2- 2 gallons of water each day.
- Low Fat 15% 15%
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- High Protein 70% 70%
Pack In the Protein
When he’s preparing for a competition, Greene consumes 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. In his case, 270 lbs. = 405 g of protein, which is a lot.
Break the Fast Like You Mean It
Greene starts his day with 6 eggs, 2 cups of egg whites and a cup of oatmeal.
It takes a lot of food to power a man the size of Greene. He eats 8 oz. of chicken, steak and salmon at each of 4 meals every day, along with rice, salads, and sweet potatoes. These days, he uses a meal prep service which really helps free up his time.
Shake It Up
Greene has a protein shake each day, along with another cup of oatmeal.
Greene knows the importance of proper hydration and will drink up to 2 gallons of water every day.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Greene on Developing Good Habits
‘I developed my training mindset enough that it became a habit…The best way to do this is to go through the same routine…Eat the same foods, drink the same pre workout drink, condition yourself mentally.’
Greene on Cooking for Himself
‘It’s become a lot more impractical.’
Greene on the Connection Between Downtime & Digestion
‘The body at rest processes food differently.’
Kai Greene’s Fitness Routine
Greene didn’t let the fact that he couldn’t afford a gym membership or trainer stop him when he first started out. He worked out at home until one of his teachers at school who was a co-owner of a gym took him under his wing.
Greene promotes the importance of focus when you train. He says by paying close attention when you work out, your mind and your muscles develop a stronger connection, leading to greater success.
The 5 Ps
Greene’s fitness program is called the 5Ps for Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.
Rise & Shine
Greene is up at 4:30 every single day for his first workout. He starts with cardio and then hits the weights.
Greene does a warm up on the stair machine to get his body ready, helping to avoid injury.
Greene regularly engages in cardio to improve endurance and increase blood flow to his muscles.
Greene follows a common training plan of focusing on one body part per day, allowing it to recover the rest of the week.
A Kai Greene Workout
Dumbbell pullover: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Incline bench press: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
Flat bench press: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
Incline dumbbell fly: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Machine chest fly: 10-15 reps x 4 sets
Bodyweight pull ups: 4 sets to failure
Superset: 12 reps x 4 sets
Behind the neck pull down
Seated cable row: 10-12 reps x 4 sets
Bent-over reverse dumbbell fly: 12 reps x 4 sets
Smith machine stiff leg deadlift: 15 reps x 4 sets
Seated barbell shoulder press: 12-15 reps x 4 sets
Smith machine behind the neck press: 15 reps x 4 sets
Dumbbell lateral raise: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Dumbbell front raise: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Reverse pec deck: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Superset: 15 reps x 3 sets
Standing calf raise
Seated calf raise
Lying hamstring curl: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Seated leg extension: 20 reps x 5 sets
Barbell squat: 10-20 reps x 5 sets
Single leg press: 15-20 reps x 4 sets
Stiff leg barbell deadlift: 15 reps x 5 sets
Superset 1: 15 reps x 4 sets
Cable biceps curls
Superset 2: 15 reps x 4 sets
Standing cable triceps extension
Superset 3: 15 reps x 3 sets
Single arm triceps
Seated dumbbell curl
Greene on the Body
‘Don’t think of your body as a collection of parts. Your body has to work together as a unit.’
Greene on the Connection Between the Brain & Body
‘The mind-muscle connection is the number 1 factor in training.’
Greene on How to Create the Mind-Muscle Connection
‘You develop it over time by posing your muscle, and also by paying close attention to how your muscles feel when you work them.’
Greene on the Biceps
‘People try to out-think biceps training with a lot of fancy cable and machine exercises. It’s a basic muscle. It just needs basic exercises.’
Greene on Training
‘There are different ways to train, and as you grow more tired, you might need to shorten your reps to keep going. But on most reps, especially early in your set, go for full stretches and full contractions.’
Greene on the Key to Bodybuilding
‘It’s all about muscle control.’
Kai Greene’s Supplements
Greene has a line of supplements called Dynamik Muscle. Part of his line is a pre workout with beta-alanine, citrulline, caffeine, carnitine and bitter orange for better energy and endurance.
Greene takes whey protein every day. It builds muscle, supports intense workouts and aids in recovery.
Also part of Greene’s line of supplements is a testosterone booster which can not only grow muscle and burn fat but also improve bone health and cognition.
Kai Greene’s Lifestyle
Sleep Is Key
Greene says sleep is essential not only for recovery, but also to get the most out of your food as it enhances metabolism.
Rags To Riches
Greene lived a real life fairytale story, starting out with nothing and ending up a huge muscle man, and says he used the power of visualization and positive thinking to get him there.
Greene did not give a reason for not competing in the 2015 Mr. Olympia. Claims that he was denied entry were denied by the organization.
Return to the Stage?
Greene hasn’t competed in several years, but he has maintained his form and won’t discount the possibility of returning to competition.
Greene has created many self-portraits and displayed them in a public art show in 2011.
Greene on the Mr. Olympia Contest
‘There is a lot more going on behind the scenes that I cannot discuss.’
Greene on the Connection Between Art and Bodybuilding
‘As a professional bodybuilder, I’m a master sculptor. The art show made me realize that I’ve always been an artist: my medium, the human physique.’
Greene on Limits
‘Limitations are only what I believe them to be…I’m going to do all I can to maximize my potential, and you should too.
Greene on Success
‘The trick is being able to see yourself going beyond what you’ve done before, and that requires the thinking of a visionary…You need to form the habits of positive thinking and visualization.’
Greene on #1
‘You can be your most powerful ally or your own worst enemy.’
Dynamik Muscle Supplements