How Momoa Morphed Into Conan

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - August 24, 2011
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AR7 creator Eric Laciste

If you didn’t make it to a theater to see local boy Jason Momoa as the new Conan the Barbarian, which released on Friday, chances are you at least have seen pictures of the actor and his ultra buff physique.

He already had a great body from his days on Baywatch Hawaii a decade ago, but now as the new Conan he’s brawnier and just ripped with muscles.

So how did he get into that Conan the Barbarian shape?

“AR7,” says Momoa during a phone call from New York last Thursday (read about our interview with Momoa in next week’s MidWeek).

AR7, which was created by 1989 Aiea High graduate Eric Laciste, is a training program specifically designed to enhance each individual’s abilities and needs.

“In simplest forms, the old-school workout that we have all done since we have learned to exercise in our adult life going to the gym, doing six exercises, three sets each, 10 reps per set for a total time of 90 minutes resulting in 216 repetitions of exercise Jason was doing three times that result in two-thirds the time, that’s what AR7 is,” explains Laciste. “All of my workouts are cardio intensive, as it should be if you are Conan or the everyday person who only has a limited time to get into the gym and work out. Every single second that we’re in the gym should be at its best. That’s what AR7 is, giving you a chance to work out at the highest level.”

Jason Momoa as Conan. Lionsgate

Laciste was born and raised in Los Angeles, moved to Maui at age 7 and then to Oahu as a teen before graduating from the University of Hawaii and moving back to L.A. He wanted to be an actor, but ended up becoming a trainer at 87eleven, a full-service action design company with a production facility for actors and stunt performers. And, for the past year and a half, he worked with Momoa to get him into the shape needed for his roles as Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones and ultimately as Conan.

“Everyone is after me for the Conan workout, but AR7 is so specific to each person, it’s not a general thing,” says Laciste. “AR7 is the perfect combination of resistance, reps and rest that gives anyone, whether Conan the Barbarian or a writer from MidWeek, a chance to perform at the highest level. It’s about formulating something that works for the individual.

“In Jason’s case, it was formulating a system that would accommodate him working 16 hours a day, doing 90 percent of his stunts, maybe getting five to seven hours of sleep and having to work out twice a day.”

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