His name is Hafthór Júlíus Björnsson, but you probably know him as ‘The Mountain’ in Game of Thrones.
When he isn’t busy crushing people’s skulls for the purpose of prime time TV, the Icelandic strongman will likely be found in the gym, working to increase his already incredible muscle mass.
Recently he spoke to GQ about his training regime, and that sparring session with the now UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.
When asked about the strength of McGregor’s striking ability, Hafthór jokingly replied:
He was trying to punch me. I didn’t feel anything.
He believes he won it. He does not know that I was taking it easy on him because he has a fight and I didn’t want to break him before the fight. He’s worked too much, so I didn’t want to break him.
McGregor has his own take on how that session went, and José Aldo would probably agree that there’s slightly more in that left hook than Hafthór is conceding.
‘The Mountain’ also opened up about how bodybuilding was actually his second love. Before caning some protein shakes and lifting some serious weights, Hafthór was actually a basketballer.
I was always taller than everybody else. 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.
I was always getting injured. 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.
Breaking the stereotypical view that strongmen are obsessed with size, Hafthór also explained that his aim isn’t to be big.
He told GQ:
Getting bigger isn’t a big deal for me. I don’t want to get bigger. But having a nicer body and being stronger is definitely something I’m aiming for.
The guy is an absolute beast.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.