Celebrity trainer Magnus Lygdback has worked with movie star Alexander Skarsgard for years, helping him shred his abs for 2016's The Legend of Tarzan. Most recently, he also helped the actor get absolutely ripped for his newest role in Dave Eggers' Viking epic The Northman.
In a conversation with Men's Health, Lygdback shared the training routine he used to help Skarsgard get into shredded shape to play the vengeful Amleth in the movie. And now, in a video on his YouTube channel, he is breaking down the Nordic nutrition plan that supported those lean gains.
"There's many different phases that you've got to go through when working on a project like this," says Lygdback. "You have the bulk-up phase, then you have the cutting phase, then you have the maintenance phase, and you're going to train and eat differently for all those phases."
For the build-up phase, Skarsgard was eating in the region of 3,700 calories each day, comprising 200 grams of protein, 450 grams of carbohydrates and 150 grams of fat, although the fat and carb macro splits would occasionally fluctuate. Lygdback incorporated a wide range of protein sources like beef, lamb, chicken, fish and eggs, and did the same for carbs: pasta, potatoes, rice and barley. Most fats came from fish oil, olive oil, nuts, and avocados.
This was all spread out across five daily meals: a 4 or 5 egg omelet for breakfast, or poached eggs with avocados and salmon, followed by a snack. A typical lunch would be chicken with veggies and slow carbs, then another snack. For dinner, he would eat ribeye steak with potatoes and asparagus. Depending on Skarsgard's schedules, one of these daily meals would be timed for immediately after a workout.
However, the real nutritional challenge came after the bulk and cut, Lygdback explains.
"I would say the maintenance phase is probably the hardest one," he says, "because you have an actor who's on set every day, working extremely hard, doing something physical, not enough sleep, and you've got to monitor all the time making sure he's eating enough food. Not too much, not too little, just enough to look the part."
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