Jason Momoa: How He Bulked Up for Conan the Barbarian
07/29/2011 AT 07:30 AM EDT
The Honolulu-born Game of Thrones actor and model endured a grueling 6-hour daily exercise regimen to play the iconic action hero played onscreen in the '80s by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
"We do two hours of sword work first ... then have a little break, eat a broiled chicken, do two hours of weight lifting and have cardio," Momoa, 31, told reporters at a Comic-Con event in San Diego. "Then I'd go home and basically the best thing I could do is sleep and rest."
The routine helped the 6'4" actor bulk up from 210 to 230 pounds.
"His diet consisted of basically chicken breast and peanut butter," producer Fredrik Malmberg said. "Peanut butter for energy on set because you burn a lot of calories ... and not to lose the muscle and the mass that he built up."
When the film's shooting finally wrapped – the finished version opens in 3-D on Aug. 19 – Momoa hightailed it to Italy for some serious carb therapy.
"I flew straight to Rome and just [ate] pasta," Momoa said.
And it was a long time coming. "During the last week of shooting, all Jason was talking about was the amount of food he was going to consume as soon as it was over," said his leading lady, Rachel Nichols, who plays Tamara in the film.
When Momoa returned to the small screen to portray Khal Drogo on HBO's fantasy hit Game of Thrones, the actor put on another 10 pounds – this time of fat.
"I wanted to put fat on top of it so that [Drogo] would be seven feet tall and really, really big, because he's not sitting around doing sit-ups," Momoa says of his current build.
How'd he do it?
Said Momoa, "I just ate Guinness [Stout] and pizza."