Gregor Clegane, nicknamed The Mountain, is our role model for physical strength. According to the story, the elder of the Clegane brothers wasn’t bright, charming, or kind in his early years. Due to some genetic aberration, the boy grew up swiftly in size and strength without much physical effort at all. Using his strength on weaker animals, children and sometimes the smallfolk, he felt empowered and respected and gained a sense of well-being. At age six he already was the size of a fifteen-year-old, older he got, he suffered a severe case of blinding headaches.
His respites for the pain he felt was in his own solitude, devoid of any friendships or empathy due to his own tendencies towards violence. The fact that he had a younger, more delicate brother more talked about and cared for in his own house did not help at all. Confusing fear with respect, the boy realised that lifting and helping with heavy things would not gain him as much fame as physically showing his force on human bodies so they could experience it all through pain and loss. It gave him great pride and joy when people called him an unstoppable and fearsome force.
While he was feared and secretly hated by his own people, The boy chose to spend his time increasing his already legendary physical prowess and weapons skills. His only link to his human nature was his time eating, drinking and sometimes playing with a wooden doll his father had made for him. At age eight, during another of the headaches, when he saw the six-year-old Sandor playing with the one thing that still made him feel a little human. This made him lose all his decency to a sense of jealousy and rage. Accusing his brother of stealing, he pushed Sandor on a pile of burning embers in the blacksmith’s forge. Scarring the child forever in body and mind.
Understanding and caring for Gregor and also took to protect his family’s reputation, The elder Clegane denied the truth and fabricated a story of Sandor’s bedding catch fire. While an act of fatherly kindness, this action led to devastating effects on the lives of both his children. Sandor now cursed forever with a melted face lost all sense of charm and wonder and grew up to be a hateful cynical man. Pretending all his life, lying to himself about his love for brutality and murder, training himself in violence. All while he still had kindness, honour, and an innate hate for violence, public perception and Fire.
Gregor, going unpunished for his act of pure brutality, assumed that he was rewarded for his strength. He developed a sense of entitlement and pushed himself full-fledged into the Westerosi knight training. With his brutality and imposing size unchallenged and unparalleled, he caught the attention of Rhaeghar Targaryen. The kind prince understood that employing and commanding such a fearsome warrior was a better way to stem his need for bloodshed than throwing more men at him to fight. He gave him Knighthood and the Title he is now famous for. This kindness, however, backfired on him later.
Painful headaches and a need for bloodshed and glory led Gregor to join the employ of the ruthless warden of the west, Tywin Lannister. With enough Lannister gold for his physical needs and enough smallfolk to terrify. He gladly accepted Tywin’s orders to rape and mutilate Rhaegar’s wife and children to win favour from the soon to be King Robert Baratheon. Cementing his place as the most hated and feared of all knights of Westeros. And the story continues…
Strength, as displayed in the story above is a gift of genetics as well as hard work. The best of us are given great talents and train our lives off to turn them into our identity and speciality. It is no different in the case of the mountain. Though it has been scientifically proven that a human skull is too hard to pulverise like this demon of a man does to Oberyn Martell in the series, every now and then Kung fu masters and Muay Thai practitioners have been known to destroy concrete and put dents in Titanium.
There have been and still are many individuals in our world with a genetic fluctuation. It’s called myostatin deficiency syndrome. Children born with such develop muscle masses, bigger skeletons, greater endurance with little to no effort. There have been genetic experiments with animals to recreate such strength. These, however, have shown devastatingly severe effects like piercing headaches this character experienced and some things much worse. You can research Belgian cows, gene targeting, and chimaeras on your own.
Hafthor Bjornsson who plays the mountain in The TV series is surprisingly young at the age of 28, with a 6 foot 9 inches of height and a weight of a meager 110 kgs. He hails from Iceland with a Viking ancestry and has a recent record of carrying a 650 kg, 10-meter long wooden log for 5 steps. Smashing a record that was unchallenged for 1000 years of Viking tradition.
The common people who dream of achieving such greatness need not be disappointed. While I doubt anyone could one day be the mountain of a Man like that. One might look at the possibility of functional bodyweight and gym training as pursued by the modern armed forces. Athletes and warriors of ancient times have tried to replicate the feats using lifelong dedication paired with performance drugs like anabolic steroids, alcohol, sometimes even Animal testicles.
Supporting such drugs would neither be legal nor ethical, so I recommend to stay away from them. I will be expanding on supplements soon in another post. What one must recognise that perhaps you might not be in a great shape today, Even the mountain wouldn’t be the mountain if he wasn’t obsessed and working. Someone with a similar gift of physique was Hodor, mentally handicapped Manservant to Brandon Stark. The difference of strength and prowess is a testament to the power of obsession.
For now some tips for the warriors of the future:-
- Live on Protiens, Fats and carbohydrates, 4-6 meals a day.
- Barbell Squat, Barbell Bench Press, Standing Barbell Overhead Press, Deadlift, Bent Over Rows, Barbell Curls, Pull-ups and Dips.
- Keep your training, diet and supplementation basic
- Develop a schedule and routine
- Let it go every now and then and have fun
- Slow down your rep speed
- Use the 80/20 rule for your first 5 years in the gym. What I mean is live 80% dedicated to eating and training and 20% dedicated to life experiences and fun.
- Train frequently in the beginning, train intensely when you’re seasoned
- Use high rep training
- Use as little supplementation as possible to make gains
- Rotate through your food sources when it comes to building size you need calories.
- Shoot for realistic goals
- Show up to the gym every day to reap the benefits the hardest part about going to the gym is actually going to the gym.
- Workout partners are good for accountability, working out harder/longer, and pushing yourself further. You can push yourself harder and further and train more intensely if you have a good training partner.
- Serious people train at least 5 days per week
- Getting a good sweat is essential
- Always stretch after your training sessions, especially after you train legs.
- DRINK ENOUGH WATER
- A great gym pump is the best sign you have worked the intended muscle well. Train for it.
- When you first start training you need to train with free weights only. It is only after you have developed some strength and muscle that you will get benefits from training with machines.
- If you train and eat like strong and lean people then you will be strong and lean just like them – with all your heart, believe that there is no “genetics”.
- It is very easy to mistake fat with water weight. Water weight comes off very easy, fat does not.
After 2-3 years you will be as big as you are going to get without using steroids. Then you need to refine your physique by reducing your body fat levels.
Yes, friends, it takes years. Or if you are a billionaire tycoon or Tywin Lannister you can maybe hire a man like that. But becoming the mountain takes time and limitless effort. Only people with as much obsession as The Mountain could do it in the story. Only obsession will get you results no matter how long it takes. Remember that when you go to work or to the gym. Teach that to your children and their children. Let us learn from not only experience and advice but also example. And let’s make sure that while we learn all the good stuff, the mistakes never happen again.