Icelandic actor Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson has a larger-than-life presence on Game of Thrones as Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane (who could forget his human skull crushing?) – and he does in real life too.
Björnsson, 27, is 6’9″ and 396 lbs., and maintains his intensely muscular physique through an insane diet and strength-training regimen.
“I just fell in love with the weights, fell in love with training hard,” he told GQ.
While he hasn’t missed a workout in six years, his diet is equally important.
“It’s not just all about the training,” said Björnsson. “It’s all around: You have to train well, sleep well, eat well. If you don’t eat, you don’t grow.”
The actor eats every two hours to maintain his body mass.
“It is not easy,” he said. “When I’m filming, I always have to have breaks to eat.”
Björnsson eats six to eight meals a day consisting mostly of sweet potatoes, meat, fish, chicken, cocoa butter, almonds, spinach, avocado and broccoli.
“I eat very healthy overall, but because of my weight, I need fast carbs, […] so maybe before a training session or after a training session, I eat what I want,” he told the magazine.
While competing in strength competitions, Björnsson has pulled 15-ton airplanes and trucks, ran with a car on his shoulders, and lifted a 1,500-lb. log. The log lift broke a 1,000-year-old Viking record.
“The thing that I’m probably most proud of probably is my Viking record,” he said. “After that, I felt my body was quite f—– up. It did heal up quite fast after the record. I did celebrate with my friends, and I ate a lot!”
—Gabrielle Olya, @GabyOlya