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It's often said that you should listen to your body if you want to be healthy - but for one day only, my task was to completely ignore mine.
That's because I was attempting to live a day in the life of Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, aka The Mountain from Game of Thrones... who expressly warned people not to attempt his way of life. But what does he know?
At 6ft 9in and weighing a whopping 30 stone, his day looks like this:
6.50am - morning workout (cardio & core) glutamine and a handful of almonds
7.30am - eight eggs, avocado, 200g oats with blueberries and strawberries
9.30am - 400g beef, 400g sweet potato, handful of spinach and greens
11.50am - BCAA and Glutamine
12.00pm - 400g chicken, 400g potatoes, greens and fruit
2.00pm - blender of 150g oats, two bananas, 150g cereal, frozen berries, handful of almonds, peanut butters and glutamine
2.30pm - strongman training - BCAA, glutamine and vitargo
5.30pm - 60g protein, two bananas
6.00pm - 500g beef, potatoes and greens
8.30pm - 500g salmon, 550g sweet potatoes
10.30pm - six eggs, avocado, 30g almonds, 50g peanut butter
That's 10,000 calories all in. The average bloke is supposed to have about 2,500. S***.
In my family, I am known as The Bin, because everyone just gives me their leftovers. But by comparison, Hafþór is The Skip or perhaps just Landfill. I am the Molehill to his Mountain. For context, this is what I look like holding a mug:
And this is what The Mountain looks like holding a mug:
Mugs down and I attacked his 6.50am cardio session with all the vigour you'd expect from a man who knew he needed to somehow make room for 10,000 calories worth of food. Before I knew it though, I was served up breakfast in the form of an eight-egg omelette.
Yes, it seems just as you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, you can't break skulls without eating massive omelettes.
I distinctly remember going, 'Oooh that's nice,' after I ate my first mouthful - yet the same meal seemed to have turned rancid by the half way point. Turns out an eight-egg omelette is at least 50 percent too big.
With the last bit of spongey egg blubber resting uneasily in my stomach, I became very paranoid about the day ahead. In only an hour and a half, I somehow had to have space for 400g of beef, 400g of sweet potato, spinach and greens.
I decided to pace the streets, the logic being that it might help to make space. If you keep filling a Hummer or a tank with shitloads of fuel, you can let it sit there idling and it will burn through it. If you keep filling a Fiat Panda or a Nissan Micra with loads of fuel and just leave it there idling, eventually that fuel will start spilling back out the top of the tank. I did not want that to happen.
By the time I was faced with my 9.30am steak course, the sicky eggy feeling had passed - but I was hardly hungry. Once I started eating though - for the only time in the whole day - I thought Hafþór might actually be on to something. Sure it's a little unorthodox, but eating steak at 9.30am does make you feel a little bit like a king. It's hardly Rice Krispies is it?
By the end of the course though I knew the sweet potato mash would be my undoing. It's the sort of food that's nice for a couple of mouthfuls, not a couple of kilogrammes. Its texture and flavour make it the opposite of moreish. Lessish. A show-er not a grower.
At 10.30am I was fuller than Richard Branson's pocket - I'd basically eaten two very large breakfasts and a large lunch in the space of a few hours.
I headed back to the streets, shake in hand. I had read that drinking plenty of fluids aids with digestion and helps soften stools, so I figured I should probably ensure the liquids kept flowing. But before I knew it, 400g of chicken with more sweet potatoes and greens were waiting for me... and a bowl of fruit.
I dived into the toilet in a desperate bid to make space, but it was all talk and no action/all retch no vomit/all fart no s***.
I stared at the hefty plate in front of me despairingly, but then, a stirring - the fluids had paid off. I returned to the table with freshly washed hands and hunkered down into the unwanted mound on my plate.
In desperation, I deployed a technique propagated by Adam Richman on Man V Food, which I previously dismissed as bulls*** but can now confirm definitely works - using condiments to break up the flavour. I assumed this was just adding unnecessary calories, but you need it to stop yourself feeling sick when eating eight eggs or two kilogrammes of sweet potatoes.
Eventually, I did see off the chicken plate, though it did take an hour. The fruit by this point had gone a bit brown, but some guy offered me a little encouragement. He claimed that because of something to do with the sugars in fruit, you still have space for it when you're full, hence people often have dessert even though they're stuffed.
Again, I thought this might be bulls***, but I actually managed to get it down me - even though I was more full than an end-of-festival Portaloo.
My 2.30pm strongman training was a little different to The Mountain's, I imagine. Try as I might to deadlift 474kg, I could not. I did however flip and roll in a big tyre, which isn't easy when you're fuller than a centipede's sock drawer.
I spent a long time in the shower afterwards, and I realised it was because I had been daydreaming while stroking my huge hairy stomach - which was neither huge nor hairy at the start of the day.
Come my 6pm half kilo of beef, half kilo of sweet potatoes plus greens, I knew I was in trouble. I managed to get the majority of the beef in me, but I had reached my sweet potato mash threshold. I trudged through the course so slowly that it was time for my salmon before I had left the table (barring a couple of toilet trips).
I ate about half the salmon over the next two hours, my vegetarianism well and truly renounced, but I had reached my limit. I was fuller than Nick Knowles' shower trunks.
At 10.30pm, The Mountain ends his day as he starts it - by eating a f*** load of eggs. I however am not The Mountain. I am The Molehill and I had to surrender, but not before one more bathroom visit.
When my other half came in afterwards, the misty, stagnant atmosphere led her to believe I had showered and done a disgusting s***. The truth is I had managed nothing more than fifteen minutes of flatulence (which incidentally is going to be the name of my first EP).
But if that was the EP, then the next day was the extended album - entitled A Game of Frequently Visiting The Throne, or The Mountain In The Toilet.
As if this wasn't enough of a cause for concern, I also had two nosebleeds - which I considered to be a bad sign.
I think the cholesterol was coming out of me, via my head. Is that safe? My boss said yes, so that was that.
Come 6pm - and having not touched anything other than coffee since the previous evening - my appetite had at last returned; which was just as well, as I had a table booked at a tapas restaurant.
It's now two days on and my bowels are a little erratic, my 'muscles' are sore and I'm not convinced I will ever eat an egg or a sweet potato again.
But at least now we know for sure that I definitely can't eat or lift as much as the world's strongest man.
I bet he doesn't get nosebleeds either.
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