Would you prefer to be more a Jon Snow than a Sam Tarly? A Mountain or a Sandsnake? The huge range of physical size and strength in HBO’s Game of Thrones is impressive to see – but you can achieve the same physique of anybody on the show if you work hard enough.
Unbowed, unbent, unbroken. That’s the motto of House Martell in Game of Thrones and a good one for any fitness fanatic to adopt.
Putting work in at the gym in the modern age can help you build a physique held by knights and warriors in the Game of Thrones universe – but you’ll have to grit your teeth and tough it out like the Dornish if you want to succeed.
Here’s a guide to some of the most prominent physiques in the TV series, and how you can achieve them.
Portrayed by Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, Gregor Clegane is dubbed ‘The Mountain That Rides’ and is an enormous physical specimen who makes light work of lesser men. If you’d like to achieve a similar physique you’ll need to take into account the actor’s training.
A professional strongman, ‘Thor’ was originally a basketball player who was far leaner. To achieve such an enormous physique, he upped his calorie intake by a huge amount and began performing simple powerlifts. If you’d like to build a ‘Mountain’ physique, you’ll need to eat and train like him.
Nutrition: Björnsson eats seven meals per day across a six-day plan, with one day off to eat as he likes. His meals are comprised of a huge amount of protein, through the likes of egg whites, protein shakes, lean meat and fish with the addition of complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice and vegetables. For a typical man who usually eats 2,000 kcals a day – you’ll be aiming for at least 4,000. Creatine supplementation can also help add some weight through water retention and increase overall power in short bursts of high intensity.
Training: If you want to be the mountain, you have to train like him. Less reps, more weight and a schedule that uses the most basic compound lifts to stack on mass. Deadlifts, squats, overhead press and barbell rows should all feature in your workout. If you have the capacity, trying out log lifts and atlas stone lifts will give you that old-school strongman boost.
Jon Snow is part of the Night’s Watch, a military organisation that needs its men to be fit in order to defend against wildlings and even greater threats. Portrayed by Kit Harrington in the series, Jon Snow is a lean and agile fighter who wields his sword Longclaw deftly, and climbs the wall. If you’d prefer a more lean physique, Jon Snow is the man to copy.
Nutrition: In order to put on some lean mass, you’ll need to eat slightly above maintenance (generally around 2,500 calories but this varies per person). Slimming down is a matter of cutting out refined carbohydrates and eating them mainly after training sessions rather than before. Ensure you have plenty of lean protein to allow you to quickly recover from intense training.
Training: Your training should involve higher reps at a lower weight to increase hypertrophy and build lean definition. For explosive power that’ll help you edge sword fights and climb the wall, you’ll need to engage in plyometric style lifts – from jump squats to thrusters and muscle up.
Daenerys Stormborn of the house Targaryen is one of the most inspiring characters in the show. Portrayed by Emilia Clarke, the mother of dragons has risen from a runaway to the Khaleesi of the Dothraki and a leader of a great army. Her physique is often on show, a lean and fit body that has ridden across the Dothraki plains and across half the known world, in order to raise her army.
Nutrition: If you’d like to be slimmer but strong enough to command your own dragons, you’ll need to eat a clean diet. Emilia Clarke herself gets into shape by abstaining from sugar and dairy for periods of dieting. Alongside this, you’ll need to keep up with clean sources of protein such as chicken, tofu, soy and fish.
Training: To look as good as the mother of dragons you’ll need to engage in some heavy cardio and high rep weight training. A lean and supple physique to ride across the plains of Essos means you should be engaging in squats, deadlifts and clean and jerk lifts as well as sprint training and distance running.