Jason Momoa eating a carrot in his home greenhouse
Jason Momoa eating a carrot in his home greenhouse, where he grows squash, eggplants, carrots, basil, kale, arugula, and collard greens.Jeff Lipsky for Men's Journal

No, Jason Momoa Isn’t on the Keto Diet. Here’s How He Eats to Get Ripped

It might surprise you to learn self-proclaimed red meat lover Jason Momoa isn’t on the paleo or keto diet. What’s not a surprise is he’s a big freaking guy—especially if your first Momoa sighting was the actor as Khal Drogo, a Dothraki khalasar chieftain in Game of Thrones. If that’s the case, you’ve always had the impression of Momoa being a mammoth human. Standing at 6’4″, the actor’s got an imposing frame—and adding slabs of muscle doesn’t take a gargantuan effort. If you’re curious how the actor trains to become a superhero the likes of Aquaman and stay limber on the reg, check out Warrior Workouts: Jason Momoa’s Trainer Shares the Secret Sauce of Shaping a Superhero. That said, Momoa’s trainer and healer, Damian Viera, does have Momoa clean up his act to get that shrink-wrapped look for blockbusters like Aquaman.



How Jason Momoa Eats to Get Skin-to-Muscle Ripped for Movies

“With Jason, he’s not trying to lose weight,” Viera says. “He already operates between 15 to18 percent body fat. So, from there, I know we can get to our ideal 10 percent in about two or three weeks.” Obviously training plays a huge role, but Viera is able to affect the physiology to a higher level of precision with nutrition before and during filming.

To maintain superhero physique, Viera manages Momoa’s macros ratios in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings, so he gets the fuel he needs to get the work done without excess left in the body at night that’ll become stored fats.

“Carbs are a very important part of the nutrition used for fuel,” explains Viera. “Jason couldn’t do something like a ketogenic diet, because he needs readily charged energy from carbs to be explosive. And when I say carbs, I’m not talking about breads and pastas—those are long gone. I’m talking about cruciferous vegetables and fruits. You can’t train the way we do with fat for fuel; you need the carbs for explosive movements.”

As Viera tells it, the key is to make sure your body is using all the carbs it’s given as energy, but not storing a surplus, which would turn to fat in the body, typically through the night. He recommends eating carbs early in the day for explosive movement and cognitive function. Proteins are broken down into essential amino acids and essential energy fuel source used to recover soft tissues and other functions. So, you want those toward the end of the day to allow for optimal recovery through the night.

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To finish the look, they’ll do a brief fast. “We’ll clean the organs—the liver, kidneys, gall bladder, and intestines. And in the process of cleaning, the water weight drops and we achieve that skin-to-muscle ripped look you’ll see in Aquaman.”

“Everything we do has an order to it,” says Viera. “We’re looking at movements in scripts that are a year out. It’s very bespoke. There’s no fat in what we do, it’s all a line in Jason’s performance. In broad strokes, everything we do is good for exactly what he’s doing.”

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