How the 'Game of Thrones' star who plays The Mountain got so massive

Hafthor Julius Björnsson Game of Thrones the mountainHBOHafthór Júlíus Björnsson plays The Mountain on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, aka “Game of Thrones” character The Mountain, is everywhere nowadays. He’s breaking records and challenging UFC fighters. And he’s giving away the secrets to his gargantuan size.

Although The Mountain has been on the HBO fantasy drama since season one, Björnsson is the third actor to play him after Conan Stevens (season one) and Ian Whyte (season two). Björnsson came aboard on season four.

Björnsson, who stands at 6’9″ and weighs 396 pounds, told GQ that he hasn’t missed a workout in six years and can deadlift more than twice his weight at 990 pounds.

How did he accomplish this unbelievable physical shape? Here’s what he said:

Björnsson has hardy genes.


With strong Nordic ancestry and Björnsson's grandfather being a farmer for 40 years, the actor got a head start on his size. 'I was always taller than everybody else,' he said. 'I've been training all my life, but probably didn't grow muscle-y until I quit doing basketball. I played for Iceland's under-18 and under-17 team, so it wasn't until probably 2007, 2008 that I start to gain a lot of weight.' He went from 230 pounds all the way up to 396.

Björnsson loves to push his body.


'I was always getting injured,' Björnsson said. 'I injured my ankles quite badly. I had to have surgery. So the second time I had an operation I decided to take a break from basketball to heal my foot. I could train more then, and I just fell in love with the weights, fell in love with training hard, started to put weight on quite fast, started to get strong really fast. I saw results.'

Björnsson's training doesn't just happen inside a gym.


'It's not just all about the training. It's all around: You have to train well, sleep well, eat well,' he said.

Björnsson eats six to eight meals a day.


'If you don't eat, you don't grow,' the actor said. He did less cardio and ate more food in order to get bigger. 'It's just like constantly work for me,' he added. 'I have to eat every two hours to maintain my body mass. It is not easy. When I'm filming, I always have to have breaks to eat.'

Björnsson eats well, but knows when to break the rules.

'I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, a lot of meat, fish, chicken, good fats like cocoa butter, almonds,' he said. 'I love greens, like spinach, avocado, broccoli. I eat very healthy overall -- but because of my weight, I need fast carbs, easy carbs. So maybe before a training session or after a training session, I eat what I want.'

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.