How the World's Strongest Man lost 50kg

Being the "World's Strongest Man" is a heavy burden to carry on its own. But Hafþór Björnsson wanted to give up more than that title, 50 kilograms in fact!


The strongman turned boxer says he feels so much better than when he weighed in at 205kg's. “I’m obviously healthier, but I am also more focused.” In the pursuit of weightlifting records, bigger is better. “But when I had to force-feed myself every day, I used to get so tired,” he says. “Now, I’ve retired from that.”


Björnsson, whose formidable size earned him the role of Gregor “the Mountain” Clegane in Game of Thrones, Now based in Dubai his days are structured and repetitive. His training is four strength workouts – two upper body, two lower body – and four endurance sessions. Assault bike intervals are “a killer”, but they mimic the stop-start nature of a fight and train him to stay mentally sharp in a state of exhaustion. In total, Björnsson is in the gym for up to five hours per day.


In order to shed the weight, the 6ft 9in behemoth had to cut down on his calorie intake, which used to be pretty ridiculous, quite frankly. Now, he's still devouring a tonne by normal human standards, but it's significantly less by human mountain standards. He is now eating the same meals each day.

Brekkie - three eggs, 200g chicken, smoothie

Sparring and footwork training

Bike

200g tenderloin beef, 180g white rice, 100g greens

Weight lifting upper body

220g chicken, 250g potatoes, 100g greens

100g greens, 100g rice, 220g salmon

Ice bath

250g Greek yoghurt, 30g almond butter, 100g bananas


To him, it feels like he's eating 'nothing' nowadays.


Yet he trusts that the rewards will be worth it. “If I stay focused, I’ll reach my goal,” he says. “I’m that kind of person. I love being obsessed. I love seeing results.”


When you’re working at such an intensity, you need to rest hard, too. Björnsson knows that he walks a “fine line” between pushing his limits and compromising his recovery, so he takes his rest as seriously as his work. As well as ice baths and saunas, he is an advocate of the Graston technique, a form of soft tissue therapy using metal instruments.


But the hard graft hasn’t dulled his passion for boxing. “I am absolutely loving boxing right now, and I enjoy it more each week,” he says. “It is hard. But I like hard work.”

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