Skip to Content
Onnit 6 Bodyweight is now FREE for Frontline Healthcare Providers
Onnit 6 Bodyweight FREE Onnit 6 for Frontline Healthcare Providers Sign Up Today
FREE Onnit 6 for Frontline Healthcare Providers
The Primal Swoledier Workout and Diet

The Primal Swoledier Workout and Diet

Written by
August 5, 2019
Updated May 15, 2020

We think Eric Leija is one of our best representatives. Yes, he’s one of the fittest people we’ve ever seen, and a great poster boy for the whey protein and kettlebells we sell, but he’s also humble, good-natured, and a fine example of what Onnit is really all about—improving every aspect of your life by not neglecting any aspect of it.

You can read about how the man known as Primal Swoledier on Instagram (and Onnit Gym’s kettlebell coach) came to be HERE. And if you want to get an idea of how he got the body of a superhero, take a gander at the sample workout he provides below. As in his life outside the gym, Leija is open-minded when it comes to training, combining elements of old-school strength work with kettlebells, bodyweight conditioning, and mobility. The result is a body that looks great, moves better, is resistant to injury, and can do anything he demands of it on a moment’s notice.

The Primal Swoledier Workout

The following is an example of the kind of strength training Leija does himself and prescribes to clients. Alternate sets of the first two exercises (1A and 1B), and then go on to the kettlebell circuit (directions below). After that, you’ll finish the workout with an EMOM (directions below).

1A Squat

Sets:Reps: 5

loading...

Step 1. Set up in a squat rack and grasp the bar with your hands as far apart as is comfortable. Step under the rack and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down, wedging yourself under the bar so that it rests on your traps or the back of your shoulders.

Step 2. Nudge the bar out of the rack and step back, setting your feet between hip and shoulder-width with your toes turned slightly outward. Without letting your feet actually move, try to screw both legs into the floor as if you were standing on grass and wanted to twist it up—you’ll feel your glutes tighten and the arches in your feet rise.

Step 3. Pull your ribs down and take a deep breath into your belly and brace your core. Your head, spine, and pelvis should form a long line—your pelvis should also be perpendicular to your spine, and not tilted toward the floor. Focus your eyes on a point straight in front of you.

Step 4. Bend your hips back as if you were going to sit in a chair, continuing to screw your feet down. Allow your knees to bend and push them out as you lower your body down. Go as low as you can while keeping your alignment. Ideally, you’ll be able to descend to where the crease of your hips is below the top of your thighs.

Your knees must stay in line with your toes. Trying to push them out and actively root your feet into the ground will all but ensure this.

Step 5. Extend your hips and knees to return to standing, pushing through the middle of your feet and squeezing your glutes.

1B Scap Pullup

Sets:Reps: 8–10

loading...

Step 1. Hang from a pullup bar with hands outside shoulder width.

Step 2. Draw your shoulder blades down and together to pull your body up closer to the bar—but don’t bend your elbows. Think of the movement as a reverse shrug. You’re just using your upper back muscles to rise up.

Kettlebell Circuit

Set a timer for 15 minutes. Perform the exercises as a circuit, completing one set of each in sequence, and rest as little as possible between moves. Complete as many rounds of the circuit as you can before time runs out.

A Push Press

Reps: 10 (each side)

loading...

Step 1. Hold a kettlebell in one hand at shoulder level, and reach your other arm out 90 degrees to help you maintain balance. Stand with feet about hip width and brace your core.

Step 2. Drop into a quarter-squat, initiating the descent by bending your knees and flexing your hips back slightly. Keep your head, spine, and pelvis in line so your back is flat and your eyes and head are forward. You don’t want to turn this leg drive portion of the lift into a squat, so only bend your knees enough to get some momentum, and don’t hinge your hips too much. Imagine yourself doing the move against a wall and sliding your torso up and down it—you should be upright.

Step 3. As soon as you’ve dipped, extend your hips and knees explosively to stand up straight, driving through your heels, and simultaneously press the weight straight overhead. Complete your reps on that side, and then switch sides and repeat.

B Hanging Leg Raise

Reps: As many as possible

loading...

Step 1. Hang from a chinup bar. Your palms can face forward or each other, if the bar allows. Tuck your tailbone under and pull your legs together to create tension.

Step 2. Raise your legs as high as you can, allowing your torso to tilt backward as they rise. If that’s too hard, raise your legs to 90 degrees only.

C Pullup

Reps: 5

loading...

Step 1. Hang from a pullup bar with hands outside shoulder width.

Step 2. Draw your shoulder blades back and together as you pull your body up until your chin is over the bar.

D Kettlebell Swing

Reps: 15

loading...

Step 1. Stand behind a kettlebell with feet shoulder-width apart. Pull your shoulder blades back together and downward and, keeping a long spine, bend your hips back until you can grasp the kettlebell handle.

Step 2. Lift the weight off the floor and hike it back between your legs. Keep your long spine position—your head, back, and hips should all be in a straight line.

Step 3. When you feel a stretch in your glutes, squeeze them and extend your hips explosively, so that the power in your hips drives the weight up in front of you. Allow your arms to let the weight extend to arms’ length and face height. Then reverse the motion.

Finisher

Start a stopwatch. Perform 10 reps of the goblet squat, every minute on the minute, for 5 minutes. So, when the clock says 0:00, you’ll begin your first set. However much time is left between when you’ve finished 10 reps and the top of the next minute (1:00) is your rest period.

Goblet Squat

loading...

Step 1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a single dumbbell at your chest with both hands, just underneath your chin. Your shoulders should be back and down—proud-chest position.

Step 2. Brace your core. Keeping a long spine from your head to your pelvis, sit back and spread your knees apart to squat down as deeply as you can without losing alignment.

Step 3. Squeeze your glutes as you come back up to standing.

The Primal Swoledier Diet

Breakfast

Homemade chia pudding made with coconut milk, chia seeds, protein powder, blueberries, and bee pollen

Pre-Workout

Total Strength and Performance and ShroomTech Sport

[Workout #1]

Post-Workout Shake

The Primal Swoledier Workout and Diet

Protein powder mixed with water and ½ banana

Snack

Apple or protein bar

Lunch

Tuna salad made with 2 cans tuna fish seasoned with salsa and ½ avocado

1 handful raw nuts

[Workout #2, Leija runs in the afternoon]

Post-Workout Shake

Protein powder mixed with water and ½ banana

Dinner

Fish or chicken with stir-fried vegetables and rice, cooked in avocado oil

Leija avoids adding salt to meals so that he won’t retain excess water—he wants to stay as lean as possible to shoot his Instagram videos.

Leija’ Post-Workout Slushy

The Primal Swoledier Workout and Diet

On very hot days, he’ll make a slushy with several Onnit products and eat it after workouts to keep his energy up. Here’s the recipe:

Juice of 1 whole lemon

1 scoop Mineral Electrolytes

2 scoops Total Strength and Performance

1 serving Glutamine

1 serving Joint Oil

Blend all the ingredients with ice cubes to a slushy consistency.

Visit Leija at ericleija.com, and follow him on Instagram, @primal.swoledier.

Sean Hyson
Sean Hyson is the Editor in Chief of Onnit. A Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.), he is the author of The Men's Health Encyclopedia of Muscle, and the e-book The Truth About Strength Training (truthaboutstrengthtraining.com).

Free shipping is offered on orders with a minimum subtotal of $150 less discounts. Free shipping is only available in the contiguous U.S. and excludes Fitness and Digital items.
For media inquiries please contact us at media@onnit.com.
In thanks to military and first responders, we're extending a 15% discount off MSRP for all products purchased at Onnit.com.
To qualify, simply verify your status during checkout on the payment step. We verify through ID.me, our trusted technology partner for secure digital identity verification.
After verification, your discount will auto-apply on that order and all future orders.
Please note that this discount cannot be combined with coupons.
If you have any questions or issues with the verification process, please don't hesitate to reach out to Customer Service.
* US Military members, please choose United States as your destination country, as this will ensure your package ships via USPS and that you are not given international shipping rates.
With a subscription, you'll get your favorite Onnit products whenever you want at 15% off MSRP. All automatic, worry free, and with our same great money back guarantee.
Cancel or adjust your order at any time, hassle free. Your payment method will only be charged right before your order ships. The discount applied every time is 15% off MSRP or the current sale discount, whichever is greater. For more information, see the complete Onnit Subscription Terms & Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.

Secure Shopping

We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access any information on our website. We incorporate physical, electronic, and administrative procedures to safeguard the confidentiality of your personal information, including Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for the encryption of all financial transactions through the website. We use industry-standard, 256bit SSL encryption to protect your personal information online, and we also take several steps to protect your personal information in our facilities. For example, when you visit the website, you access servers that are kept in a secure physical environment, behind a locked cage and a hardware firewall. After a transaction, your credit card information is not stored on our servers.