Full Day of Eating with 2018 World's Strongest Man Hafthor Björnsson

by Elliot Reimers, M.S.(C), CISSN, CNC | Reviewed by Advisory Board

Hafthor Björnsson World's Strongest Man

From World's Strongest Man to Shredded Boxer: Hafthor Björnsson's Revamped Diet

You're likely to recognize the 2018 World's Strongest Man Hafthor (Hafþór) Björnsson not only for his portrayal of "The Mountain" in HBO's hit series Game of Thrones but due to his Viking-like proportions. Standing nearly 6'9" tall and weighing over 200 kg (440 lbs) during his days competing to be the strongest man on the planet, Björnsson — appropriately nicknamed "Thor" — is an Icelandic log-tossing machine (quite literally in certain events of the World's Strongest Man competition).

However, the Iceland-native has recently switched focus from strongman competition to boxing as he is scheduled for a fight with fellow World's Strongest Man champion Eddie Hall on September 18th, 2021. The fight is poised to be the veritable clash of titans, billed as the "heaviest boxing match in history."

But Björnsson is no longer pushing a body weight of 200 kg like he was in his strongman days. He has undergone an astonishing transformation to improve his conditioning for the upcoming bout against Hall, losing nearly 50 kg (over 100 lbs) thus far and boasting six-pack abs to boot.

Naturally, that means Björnsson had to change his diet and nutrition habits drastically. Read on as we break down Hafþór's meal plan and which Transparent Labs supplements he's been using to get shredded for his boxing debut.

Björnsson's Transition from Strongman to Boxing

Hafthor Björnsson Boxing

When most people think of the World's Strongest Man competition, they think of massive men carrying absurdly heavy stones and pulling semi-trucks by a rope. Usually, the hulking specimens that compete in strongman have a good amount of body fat to go along with their muscle mass. And that means they need to eat plenty of food — sometimes "junk" like ice cream and pastries — to keep up with the demands of training for strength and size.

Being as tall as a mountain, Hafthor Björnsson has always needed ample calories to put on lean body mass. Even so, his diet leading up to World's Strongest Man competitions was surprisingly "clean," consisting largely of grass-fed meat, rice, potatoes, fruit juice, Transparent Labs Mass Gainer, and loads of coconut water.

Now that Hafþór is training more so for conditioning, speed, and agility, he's had to cut back (significantly) on the amount of food he eats. Gone are the days of eating 10,000 calories and cookies to prep for a strongman competition, Björnsson is now on what you would call a "clean meal plan," and "only" eats around 3,500 calories per day (which is ironically still more than what the average adult male would require to bulk up).

Hafthor's Meal Plan to Lose Weight

So, what does Hafthor eat to meet his calorie needs? Well, still lots of nutrient-dense foods like chicken breast, fresh fruit, greens, whole grains, eggs, and potatoes. However, he has cut back on simple sugars found in fruit juice and no longer relies on copious amounts of coconut water to get to his former strongman-diet quota of 10,000 calories per day.

Alas, Hafþór confesses he's not a huge fan of everything he eats at the moment. For now, he's mostly worried about the function of foods and not flavor. As with any weight-loss diet, the biggest struggle is keeping appetite under control and maintaining proper recovery between workouts.

Sticking to satiating meals has helped him transform his physique into a very lean 150 kg (~330-340 lbs). As a result, Hafthor is now more agile and mobile than before despite his still Viking-like size. But, of course, when you're 6'9" and strong as an ox, you're bound to have quite a bit of muscle. So even if they were still filming Game of Thrones, there's no doubt he would be perfect casting for "The Mountain" (aka Sir Gregor Clegane).

On that note, let's take a look at the daily menu for Hafþór as he prepares to square off with Eddie Hall for the first time outside of the World's Strongest Man realm.

Meal One (Breakfast)

  • Three eggs — 234 calories
  • 200 grams of grilled chicken breast (cooked weight) —330 calories
  • Smoothie consisting of 150 grams non-fat Greek yogurt, 100 grams strawberries/blueberries, and 40 grams of oats — 290 calories
  • Total — 854 calories (approximately 123 g protein/50 g carbs/8 g fiber/18 g fat)

After finishing breakfast, Björnsson waits about 30-45 minutes and gets ready for his first workout of the day, which emphasizes mobility exercises, high-intensity interval training, and footwork.

Meal Two (Post-Workout)

  • 220 grams of lean tenderloin beef (cooked weight)— 450 calories
  • 180 grams of white rice (cooked weight)— 234 calories
  • 100 grams of green veggies (e.g., string beans, zucchini, and spinach) — 25 calories
  • Total — 709 calories (approximately 74 g protein/54 g carbs/ 4 g fiber/17 g fat)

This meal also serves as the pre-workout meal to Hafthor's second training session of the day, where he focuses more on lifting instead of conditioning and footwork. He takes a full scoop of Transparent Labs STIM-FREE Pre-Workout about 20 minutes before hitting the gym to keep his energy and focus high.

Meal Three (After Second Workout)

  • 220 grams of chicken — 363 calories
  • 250 grams of potatoes (baked) —235 calories
  • 100 grams of greens —25 calories
  • Total —623 calories (approximately 91 g protein/58 g carbs/ 7 g fiber/3 g fat)

Training is done for the day, so Björnsson spends plenty of time just resting and eating. After his third meal, he'll log 10-15 minutes in the sauna and ice bath to facilitate recovery.

Meal Four

  • 220 grams of salmon (raw weight) — 394 calories
  • 100 grams of white rice —130 calories
  • 100 grams greens — 25 calories
  • Total — 613 calories (approximately 72 g protein/30 g carbs/ 4 g fiber/23 g fat)

The fourth meal of the day is one of Hafthor's favorites. He loves seafood and beef, but not so much plain chicken breast.

Meal Five

  • 250 grams of non-fat Greek yogurt — 148 calories
  • 30 grams of almond butter — 190 calories
  • 100 grams of banana — 89 calories
  • One scoop of Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate — 120 calories
  • Total — 547 calories (approximately 62 g protein/32 g carbs/ 5 g fiber/17 g fat)

Note: All calories and macronutrients were approximated with the Eat This Much foods database

Shortly after the fifth meal, it's off to bed for The Mountain from Iceland. The former World's Strongest Man packs away "just" over 3,340 calories per day to prepare for his boxing matchup with fellow 2017 strongman champion Eddie Hall.

As you can see, Björnsson eats plenty of complete protein, quality fats, complex carbohydrates, and green veggies to keep himself full throughout the day. Even though he's much leaner now than when he was competing to be World's Strongest Man, Hafþór is still incredibly strong and could likely break another record or two hoisting heavy objects. After all, his personal deadlift record is a whopping 501 kg (1,104 lbs).




Elliot Reimers, M.S.(C), CISSN, CNC
Elliot Reimers, M.S.(C), CISSN, CNC

Author

Elliot holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Minnesota, as well as being a Certified Sports Nutritionist (CISSN) and Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC). He is currently pursuing a Master's of Science in Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology at Michigan State University. Elliot began freelance writing circa 2012 and has since written 100s of articles and several eBooks pertaining to nutritional science, dietary supplements, exercise physiology, and health/wellness. Being a “science whiz,” he has a passion for helping people understand how nutrients (and other chemicals) and exercise work on a cellular and molecular level so they can make smarter choices about what they put in, and do with, their bodies. When Elliot is not busy writing or studying, you can find him pumping iron, hiking the mountains of beautiful Colorado, or perusing nutraceutical research.



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