You need only look at the wild beard, unkempt hair and rugged dress code – which often suggests the 42-year-old actor has been shopping in the Wild West – to surmise that Jason Momoa takes a largely rugged approach towards fitness, nutrition, health and wellbeing… and you’d be right.


You need only look at the wild beard, unkempt hair and rugged dress code – which often suggests the 42-year-old actor has been shopping in the Wild West – to surmise that Jason Momoa takes a largely rugged approach towards fitness, nutrition, health and wellbeing… and you’d be right.


Except, it wasn’t always that way for the bulked up Hawaiian who notes Conan the Barbarian, The Bad Batch and Sugar Mountain as some of his biggest lifts on the big screen. As a teenager appearing in Baywatch: Hawaii around the turn of the Millennium, Momoa was toned, of course, but also waxed, preened and coiffured to within an inch of his muscular frame. “I do look back on those early projects, and sure, they make me reel a little,” he begins. “That feels like a very different version of me now – it was back in the times when, dare I say it, fitness much more focused on image, and how others viewed me, rather than it being something for myself. It was a kind of ice-breaker. I was one of those guys who put it out there and took it on.

“These days, I’m doing it strictly for me.”
Momoa’s shift in personal perception came around the time he met Lisa Bonet. The couple finally married in 2017, 12 years after meeting, and have two children together. “When I relaxed, emotionally, I had a real desire to build authentic strength, not the sort of thing that looks good on the set of Baywatch,” he says. “It is very difficult for me now to have the motivation or enthusiasm to work out for vanity reasons. Instead, what I found I was looking for was something that I could feel coming from deep inside, like a very raw, almost cannibalistic instinct to building real warrior power, and to protect those around me.”

While gym routines are still part of what the former Game of Thrones actor practices, Momoa’s range now also encompasses rock-climbing, Brazilian ju-jitsu, water sports and countless other outdoor challenges.

“My routines aren’t set, but my mindset is – I am constantly good at working hard and doing what I need to do. Rock-climbing is there because that helps me stay sane, always,” he says. “It gives me such a release because I need to be so switched on to strength, problem-solving, danger and stamina.

“If I’m in the mood I’ll take it a step further with bouldering,” he says, referencing the stripped back, raw thrill of climbs without harnesses or ropes. “You won’t improve strength by climbing, you’ll just prove you have it and can use it.

“Then there’s surfing, the truest battle of the elements; while MMA is the perfect combination of respect, power and control. Add in hiking, Yoga, boxing – these, to me, are the purest of exercise forms, and the most valuable.”

Momoa isn’t alone in endorsing a return to a brand of fitness that is manual, uncomplicated and sporadic. While the actor’s training team will still keep him targeted on routines and goal-orientated regimes, don’t expect the Aquaman star to pull out a VO2 Max print-out, or relay the latest findings from his sports scientist.

“I’ve become a lot less focused on recording all my workout data. I think anyone getting back on it needs to be set on building fitness, endurance and stamina, and that’s the priority. You don’t need a fitness tool to help you do that because you know in yourself when you’re fit.

“In the middle section of getting in shape I think it’s good to push yourself by knowing where you are, so that’s when you should be recording what you do and mapping it.
“But at the top end of things, it’s less important again – you’re so primed you know what shape you’re in; you know you’re owning it. I mean, my trainers will still look at that stuff – they will still format everything; but I’ll be taking myself off rock-climbing… try formatting that!”

And yet, as much as Momoa’s blueprint for health is, in essence, not to have a blueprint, there is one convention he refuses to break with.
“Beer”, he laughs. “I really love beer. I will take that over any carbs… I just won’t eat any all day long if I know there is a beer waiting for me at the end of it.
“When I’m filming, particularly, I am away from my wife and kids – I am not eating any carbs, and will be on some crazy diet. I have to work out in between busting my ass and doing some crazy stunts, and that dog needs a bone. So the bonus at the end of the night is a beer, or a nice Guinness.

“On every new day on set, I will wake up in pain and then the cycle begins again… the same thing over again; the monotony of it. Sometimes I will look forward to a particular scene, but I am a social butterfly – I like to sit down and talk to my friends… talk about anything other than work, and have a couple of pints.”
Momoa, who in bulking up in the immediate lead-up to filming, will wake at 5am each morning and train for up to six hours per day, has even found that stout provides an unexpected boost for the much-vaunted ‘shirt-off’ scenes. “On Batman vs Superman, I wanted to go for that really thick skin look, something that as a Hawaiian I have anyway. I was carb-depleted, and had only had a couple of ice cubes so that I could be at my peak for one day, in much the same way a bodybuilder would.

“Yet whatever was going on, my body just wasn’t showing up – it wasn’t happening. I said to my trainer, ‘Give me a Guinness’. So right before we did the big water scene in the movie, I cracked open two cans and pounded them. That was it then – my body just woke up and across both of my arms you could see my veins popping out, my muscles filling up. My body is just so used to having its sugar intake.

“I love bread, cheese, pasta – I know other strength guys want donuts and chocolate; but for me, beer or stout. I think the point is you’ve got to go your own way, got to reward yourself and got to listen to your body. At the heart of it, remember that physical accomplishment is a mental process – you have to look after both”