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How Dacre Montogomery Got Ripped For Stranger Things

Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) was one of the more surprising fan-favorite characters on "Stranger Things." Largely a bully when he first appeared, the character became a little bit more sympathetic in Season 3 when he is revealed to be a victim of an abusive father. Some fans really took to Billy in the aforementioned season, and his backstory was a big part of that.

In a 2022 thread in the r/StrangerThings subreddit, u/anadapanda asked why people seem to love Billy when he spends so much time as a bully. Some users claimed that it wasn't that people find Billy to be a good person, but rather that they find him to be an interesting and complex villain. "There's a difference between enjoying a fictional character and supporting every action they take in the real world," wrote u/beccalynng. Redditor u/BreakinOnThru also suggested that people who like him just enjoy how good of a character he was. But it was u/Mellrish221 who had the most sympathy for the character, saying that he's "the product of his upbringing" more than anything. "I don't see him as a victim or even 'evil'. He's a tragic villain," the Redditor explained.

In Season 3, Billy became a lifeguard at the local pool, being admired by the housewives who came to the pool to admire his ripped physique. So how exactly did Montgomery manage to get so ripped for the role? It turns out that he mostly did it by taking up boxing.

Dacre Montgomery focused on boxing, protein, and carbs

In a 2019 AMA session with Dacre Montgomery in the r/StrangerThings subreddit, the "Stranger Things" actor was asked by a Redditor with a now-deleted account what he did to get so ripped for the role of Billy, and Montgomery said that it was mostly due to boxing and a high-carb, high-protein diet. The actor elaborated, per Men's Health, explaining that he had originally started a power boxing class at night to prep for his role in "Power Rangers," and for the role of Billy, he incorporated resistance bands into his workout routine. During an interview with BUILD Series, he claimed that he was not as in shape as his character and that his muscular body was photoshopped, but it does seem that he was probably joking or at least exaggerating about that.

Montgomery talked a bit with CBS Mornings about his physical appearance in the show, and he explained that making Billy ripped was a sort of misleading to set up for the character's tragic end. "I think it's strategic to kind of present that objectification of the body and then it takes a turn for the worse so quickly." At the end of Season 3, Billy sacrifices himself to save the main characters, redeeming the former bully in his final moments. Thus, Billy's objectification gives way to a deeper realization as the former bully becomes the hero of the entire season.