Thor Bjornsson: “I Fell In Love With Weights”

(Image credit: Unknown)

What’s been your worst injury?

I had a few bad injuries in my basketball career (Thor played for Iceland), I broke my ankle two times and had to have surgery. That was the main reason why I decided to take a break because I was always getting injured and the recovery afterwards was so long. In my younger years I trained three times a day and I believe the bones in my ankle got broken because there was too much jumping and pressure on my feet. While I was healing I fell in love with weights and how I saw my body transform – every day I could see it change. It was unbelievable how my body responded. It just exploded.

Which excuse for not going to the gym/working out are you most ashamed of?

I’m filming for 12 hours, I’m extremely tired and I don’t have the energy, but I’ll still go. It has happened where I might have woken up at 4am, then had makeup, then filmed for 12 hours and I’m supposed to be training that day, but it’s impossible to. So sometimes I have to skip a session.

What’s your most impressive personal best?

I was competing in the World’s Strongest Viking competition and after I won it, the organiser asked if I wanted to try and break a 1,000-year-old record.

It was held by another Viking named Orm Storolfsson – it took seven big men to help him lift a big wooden log that he had to carry, then he took that log on his shoulders and took three steps with it. That man was known for being extremely strong and doing unbelievable things, but his back broke under the enormous pressure. He was never the same after that – he died not so long after.

I decided that I wanted to give it a try. I picked the log up with my shoulders and I felt the pressure going through my bones. I took five steps and on the fifth step my back was in so much pain I dropped it. I did not know how many steps I’d taken but when I saw the people around me cheering, I knew I’d done it. I was very happy, and even more pleased when I realised my back was not broken!

Which day of the week is your unhealthiest?

Saturday or Sunday, it depends on where I am in the world. Usually I take my cheat days with my girlfriend, so I’ll have myself a pizza or ice cream – whatever I want. Throughout the week I eat very healthily, and drink a lot of water. SodaStream is encouraging people to drink more water. We have a good saying: “Fuck plastic bottles.” Every day more than one billion plastic bottles are being used and thrown away – they’re in the landscape, they’re going into our oceans, killing the dolphins, doing bad things to Mother Earth.

If you could be a professional at any sport, what would it be?

I sometimes still play basketball for fun – I’ll pick a ball up and go and shoot with friends. If I’m in a gym somewhere in the world and they have a basketball court, I might play as a warm-up before I train, too. I always enjoy basketball and so if I have the time then I’ll definitely do it.

Who’s your fitness idol?

Obviously I looked up to Jón Páll Sigmarsson – he won World’s Strongest Man four times, he was a great guy and was loved by everyone. I also have a tattoo of him on my left leg, alongside a quote from him. Then Arnold Schwarzenegger – he’s a big idol to me and he has done so many great things, just as a human being. Dwayne Johnson, he is an incredible man and is so dedicated – he motivates me every day. I could name more? Michael Jordan: he was a big inspiration when I was playing basketball, and he still is. There are so many great athletes that I look up to.

Thor Bjornsson has partnered with sparkling water maker, SodaStream, to urge people to stop using polluting plastic bottles that are harming our environment and switch to fresh sparkling water on tap.

Former staff writer

Gary Ogden wrote for the print edition of Coach between 2015 and 2016, writing features, interviewing celebrities and covering entertainment. He has also written for ShortList.