Alexander Skarsgard is from Sweden. His is the son of actor Stellan Skarsgard and 3 of his brothers are also actors. Alexander got his start in front of the camera when he was 7, but the public recognition made him uncomfortable as a teenager so he stopped acting for several years. After performing his national military service, he returned to acting. In 2001, Skarsgard landed a small role in Zoolander. His next break was in Generation Kill, but he really became famous with True Blood. Skarsgard has gone on to star in many films and tv shows, including The Legend of Tarzan and Big Little Lies for which he won a Primetime Emmy and a Golden Globe. He was an ambassador for Walking With the Wounded and trekked to the South Pole as part of the fundraiser. He doesn’t have much of a social media presence but still has hundreds of thousands of followers. Skarsgard is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 200 lbs.
Alexander Skarsgard’s Diet
While he often went shirtless in True Blood, Skarsgard was never as ripped as he was for Tarzan. He worked with celebrity trainer and fellow Swede Magnus Lygdback on both nutrition and fitness. He counted macros, ate a lot of chicken breast and broccoli, and was allowed wholegrain carbs twice a day. He ate every 3 hours for 6 total meals a day. To keep his metabolism stoked, he would eat every few hours. Things that were off the diet included processed foods, all kinds of sugar including natural such as fruit, dairy and gluten.
- Variable Carb 15% 15%
- Medium Fat 30% 30%
- Medium-High Protein 50% 50%
Rise & Shine
To start off his day, Skarsgard would wake up and take a shot of cayenne, ginger, and lemon to detox and get his metabolism revved up. After working out, his breakfast was 4 eggs and vegetables.
To play Tarzan, Skarsgard had to get ripped quick. First he had to pack on weight in a bulking phase during which he ate about 7,000 calories a day. Next, he cut for about a month to get that lean look. Last comes the maintenance phase. It takes a lot of discipline, and it doesn’t hurt to have a trainer watching over every bite.
Slow Carb Diet
Skarsgard was already pretty big, so his trainer focused more on the 2nd and 3rd phases. Skarsgard would have whole grains like brown rice, barley, faro and cold potatoes twice a day.
Lean & Mean
One thing Skarsgard totally cut out was sugar or any type of ‘fast’ carbs, meaning bread, pasta, fruit, and all processed foods. He also avoided dairy and gluten for maximum definition.
Count Your Macros
Skarsgard’s macros were closely monitored. Every person will be different based on height, weight and individual needs, but he would eat 135 g of protein, 70 g healthy fats, and 200 g carbs every day to maintain his physique.
Cheat Day Smorgasbord
It was five months into his Tarzan training before Skarsgard got his first cheat day. His trainer took him to an Italian restaurant where he enjoyed pasta, pizza and tiramisu. He said after so much strict eating, it was one of the best meals he’d ever eaten.
What to Eat
What to Avoid
Sugar, including Fruit
Skarsgard on His Tarzan Diet
‘It was about 9 months of chicken breast and broccoli.’
Skarsgard on Meal Timing
‘They gave me 6 meals a day, but the portion was [small], so I was constantly hungry. I had to eat every 3 hours, so I spent the entire day thinking about food.’
Skarsgard on His Tarzan Meals
‘We had a really good chef who really tried to make it interesting…but his hands were tied.’
Skarsgard’s Trainer on Getting Ripped
‘If I’m getting you in tip-top shape and I only have a certain number of weeks, I’m not risking anything.’
Skarsgard’s Trainer on The Tarzan Diet
‘It’s not for everyone.’
Alexander Skarsgard’s Fitness Routine
Skarsgard only had a few months to look like he’d been swinging from trees all his life and so his trainer had him working out twice a day. It didn’t hurt that Skarsgard was already in decent shape.
Skarsgard said he actually felt jittery about his new training routine, and was skeptical about how his body would respond to it.
In addition to Magnus Lygdback, Skarsgard also worked the famous choreographer Wayne McGregor to perfect his posture as an English aristocrat who reverts to his wild side.
Skarsgard admits that he had a stunt double for the really crazy stuff, and that he’d stand by and enjoy a cup of coffee while the stuntman swung from the trees. Then Skarsgard would turn up to do the landing shot.
Skarsgard worked out every day, sometimes getting up at 4:30 a.m. to squeeze in his routine.
Skarsgard would do a 30-minute high-intensity routine each morning while fasting.
Hit It Again
Later in the day, Skarsgard would head back to the gym for an hour session of heavy weight training.
An Alexander Skarsgard Tarzan Routine
HIIT: 30 min on empty stomach
Day 1: Legs
Squats: pyramid (12,8,6,10) x 4
Deadlifts: 8-10 x 4
Leg press: 12 x 3
Skater jumps: 30 x 3
Frog jumps 10 x 3
Day 2: Chest & Shoulders
Bench press: pyramid (12,8,6,10) x 4
Incline dumbbell press: 10 x 4
Cable cross flys: 10 x 3
Sitting shoulder press: 10 x 3
Burpees: 3 sets to failure
Day 3: Back & Shoulders
Chin ups: 4 sets to failure
Seated rows: 10 x 4
Standing alternate dumbbell row: 20 x 3
Cable wood chop: 10 x 4
Cable face pulls: 15 x 4
Dumbbell lateral raise: 15 x 4
Day 4: Biceps & Triceps
Biceps EZ curls: 10 x 4
Seated triceps extensions: 10 x 4
Cable skull crushers: 10 x 4
Superset biceps cable curls/triceps cable pushdowns: 10 x 3
Cable wood chops
Obstacle course: 3 min x 5 sets bear crawls, frog jumps, chin-ups, hand walking, movement drills
Speed training: short sprints x 10 min
Skarsgard on Getting Ripped
‘You do a lot of sit-ups.’
Skarsgard on his Tarzan Routine
‘The first phase is 3 months of 7,000 calories a day and lots of weightlifting.’
Skarsgard on the Cutting Phase
‘[You do] more cardio to get rid of the fat.’
Skarsgard’s Trainer on the Maintenance Phase
‘Obviously, we kept working on [his physique] throughout the whole movie.’
Alexander Skarsgard’s Supplements
Skarsgard isn’t dishing about many supplements he has taken, so below are some he uses and others that can benefit anyone following a similar diet.
Skarsgard definitely treated food as medicine, but if you’re looking to get ripped, protein is a smart bet.
Alexander Skarsgard’s Lifestyle
Skarsgard lived on location for over 2 years and slept in hotels and trailers, never having a bed to call his own. In 2017, he bought a loft in the East Village in NYC for a cool $2.3 million.
Guarding the Front
Skarsgard spent 18 months in the Swedish military practicing anti-sabotage and anti-terrorist tactics in the Stockholm archipelago.
Skarsgard went to England to improve his English language skills but mostly just partied, and failed out. Leeds University later gave him an honorary degree.
Skarsgard almost wasn’t cast in Generation Kill due to his accent, but he worked hard on it and got it right. Then he only had 3 days to prepare to leave for Namibia for filming.
Skarsgard tried out for the lead role of Bill in True Blood, but was passed over for Stephen Moyer. He was then offered the role of lead bad boy Eric.
Skarsgard has been named the Sexiest Man in Sweden 5 times in a row. He has been called ‘Skarsbrow’ for his appealing aspect when he raises his eyebrow.
To raise funds for the Walk With the Wounded in 2013, Skarsgard represented Team USA and went up against Team Canada/Australia and Team UK with Prince Harry. All 3 teams made it to the South Pole.
Skarsgard on His Life Plan
‘My plan was never to be an actor like my father.’
Skarsgard on Himself
‘I have to be careful because there is something destructive within me…and I can have a tendency to search for the kicks.’
Skarsgard on Good vs Bad
‘Life isn’t 1-dimensional. The world isn’t simply divided into good versus evil. I think we’re all capable of both.’
Skarsgard on Going Nude
‘Why do I love being naked? Because I was born that way.’
Skarsgard on Sweden
‘Swedes are such a civilized, perfect society — at least on the surface…They’re not too loud, they’re not too quiet, but sometimes, it’s a little too perfect.’
Skarsgard on Challenges
‘For me, creatively, I’d suffocate if I played the same thing over and over again. I want challenges.’
The Legend of Tarzan
Big Little Lies