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The Bizarre Way Jason Momoa Bulked Up For Khal Drogo

Nowadays, Jason Momoa is about as recognizable as an actor can be, driven in recent years by his presence in the DC Extended Cinematic Universe as Aquaman. Before he was heir to the throne of Atlantis, though, Momoa made waves not on the silver screen but on TV screens as Khal Drogo in "Game of Thrones." Drogo is introduced in the series' very first episode as the ruthless chieftain of the Dothraki tribe. A young Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who in the pilot is but a young girl exiled from her homeland, is arranged to be married to Drogo by her mean-spirited brother, Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd). Upon the news of the wedding, Drogo appears to be a nightmare of a husband, motivated by bloodlust and unable even to communicate with Danerys in her native tongue. As their relationship develops, however, Drogo reveals a tender side that sparks a genuine connection between the two of them.

Drogo dies at the end of Season 1, but his presence is felt throughout "Game of Thrones" until its conclusion. As Daenerys progresses gradually toward Westeros, building up an army of soldiers from throughout the sizable Eastern land of Essos, the lessons she learnt as the Dothraki Khal's second-in-command frequently prove invaluable. Drogo even acts as namesake for Drogon, the dragon Daenerys often rides into battle in the show's latter half.

Key to embodying a character with such an imposing presence even in the wake of his death was the physique Momoa brought to the role of Khal Drogo. As it turns out, Momoa got big and strong not through eating clean but on a diet heavy in ... pizza, of all things.

Muscle definition doesn't come naturally to Momoa

Jason Momoa revealed in an interview with Men's Health that, despite his considerable height — Momoa once told Access Hollywood that he measures 6'5" in total — he was initially smaller than the "Game of Thrones" producers envisioned for Khal Drogo. To get in shape for the role, then, Momoa didn't focus just on improving his muscle definition but on increasing his overall bodily mass as well.

Momoa told Men's Health, however, that his body chemistry makes gaining weight a difficult process. To ensure that he could bulk up for his "Game of Thrones" role, Momoa went all-in on calorically-dense foods, which he described as including lots of steak and pizza.

"Some guys are like genetically ripped and have abs and I don't," Momoa explained. "I've always got a solid four-pack, maybe even a two-pack, and that's all about diet which is challenging for me."

Next up, Momoa is slated to appear in the sci-fi epic "Dune" as a character named Duncan Idaho. In the same interview, Momoa described his training for "Dune" as not necessarily pizza-heavy like his preparation for "Game of Thrones," but focused more on cardio and stunt practice. Whereas becoming Khal Drogo involved simply looking imposing, Momoa described his "Dune" role as requiring a significant amount of fight choreography, and thus an entirely different training regimen.

That said, if Momoa still has visible abs upon his appearance in "Dune," we now know that those abs were the result of lots of pizza and at least a little bit of hard work.