I Tried the ‘Game of Thrones’ Workout for a Week — and Almost Died

I have yet to see a single fitness facility in Westeros. Yet, in watching six-plus seasons of Game of Thrones, I’ve noticed that most of the familiar faces in The Seven Kingdoms — except maybe Sam Tarly — are in ridiculously good shape. Given the show’s cult-like popularity, there are about a million different workout plans on the internet claiming to give you Jon Snow’s rippling pectorals, or have you working out during an episode. And these exercises are tough. I took a look — every single regimen looked to be more difficult to master than securing a seat on the iron throne.

But I didn’t shy away from these workouts like Theon Greyjoy cowers away from everything in his life. I said, “Bring on the crazy exercises!”

So I scoured the internet for the best Game of Thrones inspired workouts and performed a few of them over the course of a week. (Unfortunately, there was no Cersei workout. But I think we all know that a steady diet of evil scheming and red wine is what keeps that crazy lady slim.) I went into the week with plenty of determination and ended with soreness in the most random of places. Here’s what happened during my week of Game of Thrones workouts.

My arms almost fell off

A woman clutching her mouth with her hands

This was probably the look on my face when I realized how sore my arms were. | HBO

I kicked off my week of themed workouts by attempting an upper-body regimen from Men’s Health. Something about the quaint pictures of the characters lifting dumbbells made me think it would be a do-able workout. So I tried many of the exercises at once, thinking I could handle it.

I went to bed that night feeling fine. Then woke up the next morning convinced that my arms were going to fall out of their sockets. Note to anyone wanting to try this workout: Don’t attempt to do extra sets of overhead presses just because Daenerys Targaryen is portrayed making them look like a breeze. Your shoulders and triceps will feel like they were lit on fire by one of her dragons.

The ‘episode challenge’ was lethal

A White Walker swings a sword at a man crouched low to the ground, as the two fight in the snow in front of a ridge

If you think watching this scene is brutal, you should try working out to it. | HBO

A lot of the Game of Thrones-centric workouts revolve around doing exercises while an episode is playing. Since I was doing most of the workouts during the week, I chose a random episode to play while I attempted Fitness Magazine’s “episode challenge.” This required me to do push-ups whenever someone said “Winter is coming” and stuff like that. It seemed easy enough, so I didn’t put much thought into which episode I chose.

Which wasn’t smart, since I ended up choosing the episode with Jon Snow’s gargantuan battle against the White Walkers. Oh, and this particular workout calls for you to do five burpees every time someone gets speared. Needless to say, I gave up halfway through the scene because my legs were about to fall off, and I didn’t have a guy like Hodor handy to carry me around.

P.S. It’s hard to follow an episode whilst working out

Dragons flying over the ocean on Game of Thrones

It’s hard to concentrate on a workout when you’re trying to watch what the dragons are up to. | HBO

I tried performing Fitneass‘ workout during last Sunday’s episode. The workout is a few years old, and the exercises were meant to correspond with things that happened in earlier episodes. (Like, it tells you to do five lunges every time Joffrey is on the screen, and that fool has been dead for a while). So I started off spending most of Season 7’s “The Spoils of War” episode not exercising much. But then it came to the final battle sequence, I had a long lineup of exercises and was missing parts of the scene! The workout plan tells you to hold a 30-second plank every time you see a flying dragon. Since the dragon was the focal point of the scene, I basically spent 10 minutes shaking through a plank while my abs cried for me to be done.

And then I almost missed whatever the heck happened to Jaime Lannister.

… oh, and I really wished I was drinking instead

Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones

I just wanted to be done with my workout so I could drink and know things like this guy. | HBO

There was one day that I altered a workout from The Daily Beast to go along with an episode. (Instead of running on the treadmill like the article said, I walked in place and then did jumping jacks). The routine calls for you to speed up your cardio — or in my case, do jumping jacks — every time Tyrion Lannister drinks a goblet of wine.

And the episode I chose to perform this exercise to had so many wine-drinking scenes. I really came to hate doing jumping jacks because all I wanted to do was kick back on the couch with a glass of Cabernet. Fifty bucks says the next time I do jumping jacks, I’m going to start craving wine.

I fell doing the ‘Stark workout’

Arya Stark sits at the campfire in the snow.

I didn’t feel like an Arya-calliber bad-ass after trying the “Stark workout.” | HBO

People.com posted a really cool circuit workout that involved running around cones during an episode. Since I didn’t have cones handy, I put Tupperware on the carpet as markers so I could perform this little agility test.

First off, this workout really isn’t meant to be done on carpet. Also, it’s hard to do the circuit and watch the show at the same time. I looked over my shoulder mid-jog, lost my balance and landed on my butt. It was nowhere near as coordinated as one of Arya’s sword fights, and I was very happy nobody was home to see my embarrassing trip.

One all-episode workout wrecked my knees

Jon Snow yelling while standing by a fire.

If only my knees were only weak from looking at Jon Snow, and not from the exercises I had jut done. | HBO

Fitneass’ workout is chock-full of lower-body exercises meant to give you sturdy legs like Lady Brienne. Since it was designed to coordinate with earlier Game of Thrones episodes, I took it back to an episode from Season 1.

This workout probably would’ve been fine had it not told me to do “ninja tuck jumps” every time someone referenced The Seven Kingdoms. All the jumping left my knees feeling like they could shatter at any point. (And it also didn’t help that I did this workout towards the end of the week and was already sore.)

Funny thing is, I would totally do a ‘Game of Thrones’ workout again

Daenerys and Greyworm.

You heard that right — I would consider trying one of these GoT-themed workouts again. | HBO

Despite being beat up worse than Ramsay Bolton after the Battle of the Bastards, I would definitely consider giving another one of these workouts a try in the future.

No, I would not do the exercises every day again. That was overkill and made me want to cry. But I have to admit, I came to like the idea of getting a little workout  in while indulging in one of the my favorite TV shows. If someone else comes up with an interesting Game of Thrones workout, I would be willing to try it.

That is, after I spend the next couple of episodes curled up on the couch with a glass of wine.

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