Avatar Director James Cameron’s Daily Routine for Endurance and Stamina (Plus: James’s Smoothie Recipe)

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Note from the editor: This post accompanies the recent episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show and the Tribe of Mentors podcasts featuring Suzy Amis Cameron and James Cameron. It explores James’s daily routine, which he credits for providing him with endurance and stamina during the back to back production of Avatar 2 and 3. As he explains, “I’ve never done a year of production in my life. Titanic took six months to shoot. And we just finished a year because we did Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 back to back. And that was one solid year of production. And I’m feeling great, whereas before, I’d be completely burned out after a six-month shoot and require a month to recover.” As a bonus, you will also find James’s green smoothie recipe. Please enjoy! 

James Cameron (@jimcameron) is a filmmaker and deep sea explorer. He is writer, director and producer of The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic, and Avatar. Both Titanic and Avatar (the highest grossing film of all time) won the Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture and were nominated for a record number of awards. Cameron was also at the vanguard of the 3D renaissance, developing cutting edge 3D camera systems. As an explorer, in 2012, Cameron set the world’s solo deep diving record of 35,787’ in the Challenger Deep in a vehicle of his own design.

A dedicated environmentalist, Cameron founded the Avatar Alliance Foundation to take action on climate change, energy policy, deforestation, indigenous rights, ocean conservation and sustainable agriculture.

He is currently in production on Avatar 2, 3, 4 and 5.

***

Here is a typical day of Jim’s regime:

05:00 — pre-workout — green smoothie (spinach, apple, orange, banana — heavy on the spinach, and you can see the recipe below)

06:00 — 1 hour workout — usually kickboxing, yoga or light weight training with high intensity intervals

07:30 — breakfast — sometimes tofu “scrambled eggs” or a quesadilla made with plant-cheese, sometimes red beans and rice — always a protein shake made with fruit, nut butters, pea protein — use this to wash down supplements (hemp oil capsules, MSM for supple joints, vitamin D) — B12 is a sublingual tablet — and a cup of Oolong tea

11:00 — mid morning snack of fresh fruit (grapes, watermelon, berries) on set

13:30 — lunch — bowl of soup plus any one of the scores of great lunch dishes prepared by Brad and Sandy, our vegan chefs at the studio — mexican fiesta, Indian, thai, Italian (pasta, pizza, lasagna), burgers (Beyond or Hungry Planet) — these are comfort food dishes with a conscience

16:30 — mid afternoon — a green salad, on set

20:00 — dinner — a very light meal, sometimes a plant-based burger, sometimes just some humus and pita and a handful of olives, sometimes an avocado chopped up with salsa — plus always a glass of wine for stress reduction 🙂

“I don’t think about protein or carbs. Just a broad mix of flavors, and a lot of emphasis on leaf vegetables, produce (some raw, mostly cooked) — fiber fiber fiber — can’t emphasize plant fiber enough.”

JAMES CAMERON’S SMOOTHIE RECIPE:

Fill 12 oz container (Canteen)

Ingredients (Organic fruits and veggies):

  • 1 and 1/2 cup of water
  • half of an orange
  • small piece of orange peel
  • half of an apple
  • half of a banana
  • 1 stick of celery
  • handful of spinach
  • handful of beet greens
  • 5 ice cubes (make sure blender does not get hot)

Instructions:

  • pour water in blender
  • add celery, beet greens, and spinach
  • blend slightly
  • add the rest of the ingredients
  • Blend until smooth (usually 2 minutes)

For more recipes, ingredients, swaps, resources for what Jim, Suzy and their family eat for peak performance you can find it in Suzy’s book.

Posted on: November 12, 2018.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.

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6 comments on “Avatar Director James Cameron’s Daily Routine for Endurance and Stamina (Plus: James’s Smoothie Recipe)

  1. “I don’t think about protein or carbs. Just a broad mix of flavors, and a lot of emphasis on leaf vegetables, produce (some raw, mostly cooked) — fiber fiber fiber — can’t emphasize plant fiber enough.”

    Yet to listen to the entire episode but this is exactly what I tell my friends who want to bulk up or burn fat. I followed Occam’s protocol (minus supplements) on a plant-based diet and packed 20lbs muscles.

    This is legit. Thanks for sharing this talk, Tim.

    Like

  2. Thanks for (in the end) having some vegan guests in the show. I’m also a vegan, and I’ve been a TFS supporter from the very beginning, no matter what diet the guests follow. But sometimes some green visibility comes in handy 🤗.
    Very interesting episode, and looking forward to Avatar 2-3-4…
    Thanks Suzy and James for helping to create a better world.
    And thanks Tim. Keep kicking some asses! Best from Spain

    Like

  3. I did intermittent fasting and low carb/paleo (basically one meal a day at dinner) for a few months and it worked fine. I am about to start a plan again and you are adamant about 30 g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. Do you think adding a protein drink (Myoplex or Muscle Milk) first thing in the morning would be more beneficial than the intermittent fasting?

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  4. Not bad, would suggest a little bit less daily protein, it would be better, less work on the kidneys. The American idea of mixing fruit and veges in smoothies is peculiar but understood as we Yanks have been hooked on sugar for so long we got to have it in everything we consume. Bitter food eaten in isolation does wonders for the digestive tract and body. Fresh green foods tend to have a bitter flavor profile and best eaten at ambient, not cold temperatures. An ideal green smoothie should be no less than 95% vege! Go easy on the fruit.

    Secondly, the meal deal for the filmmaker makes is feasible being they are wealthy. The average American, that’s making $50K/yr or less with limited time, money or personal chefs would have a problem adhering to the meal plan. Therein is the demise between the wealthy and less wealthy that correlates directly with healthy and less healthy. There are remedies. I am working on one.

    The daily movement/exercise routine is on target.

    Keep on spreading your message

    Cheers,
    Michael

    Like

  5. That’s how a healthy people live. Even with such a busy schedule he managed to have a good diet and workout daily.
    That’s a very good diet plan which includes protein, carbs, healthy fats. minerals, vitamins and much more.
    At night before going to sleep nuts can be used to reduce the stress and have a good sleep

    Like