Athlete Interview Series: Hafþór “Thor” Björnsson

March 14, 2022

This interview was conducted in 2014 by Brandon Morrison which I am reposting.

We were extremely fortunate to catch some time with “Thor” in between his travels and competitions, in order to answer some questions for us. Thor is quickly becoming one of the world’s best Strongman competitors, as well as starring in the role of The Mountain, on HBO’s Game of Thrones. Check out his answers below:

1. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us, Thor. Can you tell us a little bit more about your athletic experiences before becoming a Strongman?

I played basketball a lot and had it not been for an injury during my basketball career I would probably still be playing basketball. But as it happens the injury caused me to take up more weightlifting than I had done before and it became apparent that I was a natural when it comes to a combination of strength, explosive power and endurance, hence my strongman career.

2. You have also radically changed your body composition since becoming a Strongman, can you tell us a little bit about that experience as well?

Everything in life seems to be about trying out different things. I have tried to compete at different weight levels and have now found balance between all the different elements that have to be there and in place for a strongman but not less as an actor.

3. The 4th season of Game of Thrones recently finished, with you starring in the role of The Mountain. How did it feel to wear armor all day, and prepare for the swordplay? Any chance you can tell us about the future of The Mountain for season 5?

The fight scene was some of the more difficult work I’ve had to do and the armor definitely did not help. But I think most people will admit that it is a fantastic scene! It might be that sometimes the pen is actually mightier than the sword, at least we know that Dave and Dan hold our (character’s) lives in their hands, no one but them knows exactly what will happen.

Your HBO contract supposedly states that you have to eat every two hours. What do some of those meals look like? What is your favorite go-to meal when you are in a hurry?

My experience with HBO has been a good one. The food I get has been excellent and ranges between protein-rich sources, such as different kinds of meat, and fuel to go with it; like sweet potatoes, rice, and such but I try to also eat broccoli and similar vegetables. But it’s actually my dad that makes some of the best steaks I get. For a go-to meal, I might have a huge protein shake that also has carbs with it, along with peanut butter or something similar.

5. You train at Jakabol, one of the most impressive-looking Strongman gyms we have seen in a long time. What are some of the more crazy training sessions you have experienced in Jakabol?

Some of the guys I do workouts with are true Viking warriors and sometimes we dare each other into doing all kinds of crazy exercises. Recently we have done boxing to complement all the other stuff, but one of my training partners is a heavyweight boxer – it’s really hard but I love it.

6. How did you feel about your winning performance at the recent Giants Live competition?

Well, I won it, very shortly after competing in the WSM, so I am very happy about it.

7. I consider myself tall at 6’5”, and I love the advantage that my height gives me for stone loading. I am a dwarf compared to you, however. How do you think that your height affects certain Strongman events, for better or worse?

Better for most events, although I have to get even stronger in the squats.

8. Where do you see the sport of Strongman going in the next 10 years?

It will only get harder. But the events will provide the audience with what they want, explosive strength, power and endurance with fantastic athletes that give all they’ve got for the sport.

9. Do you have any advice for men and women who are interested in getting started in the sport?

That is simple, START!

Five things you may not know about me:

1. I love being with my daughter but sometimes traveling around the world, doing strongman and acting, makes it hard for us to be together.

2. If I have the time, I sometimes enjoy playing computer games.

3. Going to the cinema is something I favor, we have probably the highest standard of cinemas here in Iceland in the world.

4. I sometimes do frisbee-golf with my friends

5. I love women

Thor’s Stats (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Born: November 26, 1988 (age 25)

Height: 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in)

Weight: 200 kg (441 lb)

Competitor for Iceland World’s Strongest Man 6th 2011 World’s Strongest Man 3rd 2012 World’s Strongest Man 3rd 2013 World’s Strongest Man 2nd 2014 World’s Strongest Man

Arnold Strongman Classic 10th 2012 Arnold Strongman Classic 8th 2013 Arnold Strongman Classic 5th 2014 Arnold Strongman Classic

Giants Live 4th 2011 Poland

Strongman Champions League 3rd 2013 SCL Iceman Challenge IV 1st 2013 Latvia 2nd 2013 Germany

Jon Pall Sigmarsson Classic 2nd 2010 1st 2012

Iceland’s Strongest Man 3rd 2010 1st 2011 1st 2012

Strongest Man in Iceland 1st 2010 1st 2011 1st 2012

Iceland’s Strongest Viking 1st 2010

Westfjord’s Viking 4th 2009 1st 2010 1st 2011 1st 2012

OK Budar Strongman Championships 1st 2010

About the Author

I am a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international teams and athletes. I am a published scientific researcher and have completed my Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. I've combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your training.

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