“Yes, I use forbidden Steroids,” Hafthor Julius Bjornsson admits.

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“Yes, I use forbidden Steroids,” Hafthor Julius Bjornsson admits.
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels
Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, popularly known as “The Mountain” to the “Game of Thrones” fans, who is also the World’s Strongest Man titleholder says he can go to any length to remain on top of this game, even if it means taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Asked whether he had ever used steroids which are often associated with the strongman’s sport, Bjornsson said: “Yes I have.”

In a 2017 interview with ESPN’s E: 60, he continued to say that if anyone wants to be the best, then they have a responsibility to do whatever it takes.

Bjornsson did not give more detail on the exact moments when he has used the steroids and if he is still a regular user. Instead, he deferred, “Can we just skip those questions.”

Although the World’s Strongest Man WSM competition strictly forbids the use of Performance Enhancement Drugs, the extent or effectiveness of its drug testing is neither here nor there.

How old is the mountain?

Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson was born in November 26th, 1988 in Reykjavik, Iceland. As a teenager, he put his height to use as a professional basketball player. At 6feet 9inch tall ( 2.06 m ), Hafþór Júlíus thrived on the pitch as he played for several top-flight Icelandic teams as a center before a recurrent ankle twist thrust him into early retirement from the sport in 2008.

Stint in basketball

“I was talented and determined, but I broke my foot several times”, he said. Bjornsson would visit the court three times a day and strongly attributes his ankle woes on overtraining.

When his dream of playing professional basketball crashed, he swiftly turned to weightlifting. The 440 pound Iceland native was discovered in a gym by Magnus ver Magnusson, a fellow countryman. Magnus is a four-time winner of the World Strongest Man competition.

Shortly after venturing into lifting weights, Bjornsson enrolled for competition, and in 2011 he was declared as Iceland’s Strongest Man. Inspired by his local victory, he went on to enlist for the World Strongest Man contest in September of the same year and finished 6th. This competition was held in North Carolina, and an American known as Brian Shaw won it. This was the first and last time Bjornsson ever finished out of the top three winners.

Through the various contests that he participated in from 2012 – 2017, the World’s Strongest Man finished three times in the 2nd place and three times in the 3rd place. He mourned over a loss in 2017 when he fell behind UK’s Eddie Hall by a single point. This he said was his hardest loss.

Interestingly, Bjornsson says that he passed all his drug tests during competition.

The Game of Thrones

While filming in Iceland in 2013, the “Game of Thrones “representatives approached and asked him to play some roles in their cast. He gladly accepted the invitation and took up his first acting role. Since season four, he has played “The Mountain” (The towering villain Gregor Clegane). The role has propelled him to global fame and earned invitations to act in commercials and make appearances at other events, i.e. at a Minnesota Vikings game to stir up fans.

Steroid abuse is closely linked to the death of many strongman competitors. The death of Jon Pall Sigmarsson, in 1993 at the age of 32 while working out in the gym is widely believed to have been caused by excessive dependence on anabolic steroids. Iceland born, four times world champion died of cardiac arrest.

Bjornsson juggles several roles in a manner that may be a challenge for an ordinary person. He is an actor, a father, an athlete, and a pitchman. All these roles have put immense pressure on him to the extent that his family now fears for his health.

Although he is fully cognizant about the risks that come with such pressure, Bjornsson says it makes him happy to live that way. “If I die now it would be very tough for my family because I would have gone too soon; I want to be there for my daughter”, he says.

How much can the mountain lift?

This year, The World’s Strongest Man competition will be held in Bradenton Florida from June 13-16 where Bjornsson will defend his title.

The Champion holds the deadlift world record at an astounding 474 kg (1,045 lbs). In 2015, he moved five steps while carrying a ten-meter log, 650kg (1,433lbs) thereby breaking a Viking record that was purportedly set by Orm Storolfsson over one thousand years before.

In 2018, he married Kelsey Henson 29, a Canadian blogger who is one foot and a half shorter at 5ft 2in.

Hafþór Júlíus björnsson diet

Ever since he joined the strongman circles, Björnsson has pushed up his weight from around 105 kilograms to a massive 185 kilograms.

Certainly maintaining such a muscular body is no mean business and the thirty-year-old consumes up to 10k calories from the six to eight meals that he eats in a day.

He eats a lot of sweet potatoes, chicken, fish, meat, and healthy fats like almonds and cocoa butter. He also loves eating broccoli, avocado, and Spinach. “I eat very healthily overall—but because of my weight, I need fast carbs, easy carbs. So maybe before a training session or after a training session, I eat what I want.” He says

In an interview with GQ, he admits that he has to eat every two hours to sustain his body mass. “When I’m filming, I always have to have breaks to eat.” He said.

Asked whether he will ever get big enough, Björnsson said “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.”