Saturday, November 12, 2011

Becoming Conan: the Jason Mamoa workout

Jason Momoa, star of the new Conan The Barbarian, built his medieval body with high-rep lifts and a super-strict diet. To build the body of a barbarian Jason had to train like a beast.

He may be reprising the role that first propelled Arnold Schwarzenegger to international stardom but actor Jason Momoa isn’t your stereotypical tough guy. In fact, he’s not even watched the classic 1982 fantasy film than began Arnie’s career. ‘No, I haven’t seen the original,’ he says. ‘Both my parents were painters in Iowa. I grew into this big action guy but I still feel like an artist.’

Not that anybody would know from looking at him. As the lead in Conan The Barbarian, a new movie take on the Robert E Howard character, Momoa is the perfect barbarian. His 1.93m frame is packed with over 100kg of lean, hard muscle.

For his larger-than-life role as Conan, Momoa worked with personal trainerEric Laciste, who has trained clients at Los Angeles’s 87eleven gym for more than a decade. It’s the facility that helped to get stuntmen ripped for action movies such as 300 and Fight Club.

As such, it’s about as far away from a typical commercial gym as you can get. ‘It’s this huge warehouse and just a bunch of fucking bad-asses crushing weights,’ says Momoa, who gained about 9kg of pure muscle during his time with Laciste, a feat all the more impressive considering he had already built an intimidating physique to play the warlord Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Lean times

Laciste’s plan was designed to allow Momoa to get stronger while staying lean. To achieve this the star trained six days a week, sometimes twice a day, using Laciste’s AR7 programme, which is built on high-rep sets and active rest (see how to achieve similar results below).

‘We worked out six hours a day,’ says Momoa. ‘It was pretty intense. I’d never trained at that level before, but it was really cool to transform my body.’ To support his workouts, he adopted a super-high-protein diet, eating boiled chicken breasts regularly at two-hour intervals. Momoa quickly fell into the routine. ‘At a certain point, you become a robot,’ he says. ‘It just became fuel.’

He definitely needed the extra muscle. Momoa did just about all his own stunts in Conan, most while carrying around as much as 18kg of gear. He broke a rib on the set and was nearly trampled to death during one scene. ‘I got bucked off a horse and almost died,’ he says. ‘I slid down his neck, and he went over my head. His ass almost crushed me.’

Next year Momoa will share the screen with Sylvester Stallone in the crime thriller Bullet To The Head. ‘I’m just a kid from Iowa, and now I’m playing Conan The Barbarian and fighting fucking Rocky!’ he says. ‘It’s a trip.'

Building Conan

To get in warrior shape for his role as Conan, Momoa used the AR7programme built around high reps and active rest, which had him holding the bar between sets. He completed 110 reps of each exercise, 330 reps in total, in about 30 minutes. Here’s a sample of what his leg workout looked like.




Bodyweight jump squat

How you do it

For the deadlift and squat, select a weight that’s roughly 60 per cent of your one-rep max. Complete a set of seven reps on the deadlift, then rest while holding the bar for seven seconds before doing seven more reps. Rest seven more seconds, and so on. Then move to six-rep sets, then five-rep sets. Then move to the next exercise and repeat.

Session 1 Sets 7 Reps 7

Rest 7sec after each set, 90sec after completing all seven sets

Session 2 Sets 6 Reps 6

Rest 6sec after each set, 60sec after completing all six sets

Session 3 Sets 5 Reps 5

Rest 5sec after each set

TOP 10: Healthy drinks to help you loose weight

When it comes to weight loss, substituting healthy drinks for those sugary sodas and energy drinks can have a drastic effect on your weight loss goals. Most people don’t realize how many calories they take in each day from drinks alone. For instance, a caffe mocha with all the fixings can pack in over 500 calories! So as you can see, switching to healthier drinks and ditching the “junk drinks” will greatly reduce your daily caloric intake and in return start shredding those unwanted pounds. Check out this list of the top 10 healthy drinks that can help you reach your weight loss goals…

  1. Vegetable Juice

    Vegetable juice is every bit as nutritious as fruit juice but with about half the calories. Most vegetable juices are also rich in fiber which can help make you feel full and in turn eat less.

  2. Fruit Smoothies

    Mix-up a delicious batch of smoothies using your favorite fruits and a little bit of skim milk. Do not consume smoothies with added sugar, whipped cream, honey, or other sweeteners that can add hundreds of calories – in other words, don’t eat smoothies from your favorite local restaurant or ice-cream shop and think that you’re eating healthy because you’re not!

  3. Fruit Juice

    Fruit juices have loads of vitamins and nutrients, but it’s important to make sure that there’s no added sugar…sorry Sunny D and Tang! Also remember that the pulpier, the better. Fruit juice with lots of pulp contains added fiber that can help you feel more full and eat less.

  4. Black Coffee

    Coffee has plenty of positive health benefits and best of all, it contains no calories! Black coffee is rich in antioxidants that can help boost your mood, improve concentration, reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, as well as many other benefits. Keep you coffee consumption at 4 cups or less per day – as with anything, moderation is the key.

  5. Green Tea

    Like coffee, green tea has a plethora of positive health benefits and contains plenty of helpful antioxidants. It also helps to boost your metabolism if consumed on a daily basis, which can help to speed up your body’s fat-burning mechanism – as much as a 40% increase in some cases!

  6. Milk

    The calcium in Low-fat or skim milk can help contribute to the breakdown of fat cells in your body. Too much milk, though, can pack on the pounds because it does contain a lot of calories, so stick to 3-4 small servings per day in order to benefit from milk’s weight loss benefits.

  7. Protein Drinks

    Protein drinks, such as from powders or pre-mixed varieties, can have a great effect on your weight loss regiment, because lean muscle is very efficient at burning fat. In other words, the more muscle you have, the more fat your body will burn. Protein is a big part of this equation, because it’s the building block of muscle growth.

  8. Fiber Drinks

    There’s many fiber-rich drinks on the market today, and they can be a great tool for any weight loss program. Fiber helps to make your body feel full, and it also has plenty of other positive health benefits as well.

  9. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Sounds a little gross, and it may be too gross for some people to try, but apple cider vinegar is a sort-of “old school” health drink that was very popular in the ’70s as a weight loss tool. Although there aren’t any scientific studies that actually prove it works, many fitness gurus swear by it, saying that it greatly boosts your metabolism if taken regularly…Hey, it’s worth a try! 
    ice water

  10. Ice Water

    Probably the most powerful weight loss tool at your disposal, and also the cheapest, is plain old ice water (who’d a thunk!). Drinking plenty of water is great for your body because it helps you feel full, boosts your metabolism, and it contains zero calories. Furthermore, some studies suggest that drinking just two extra glasses of ice water per day can help boost your metabolism by as much as 30%. This equates to about 5 pounds of fat loss per year!