David Harbour Weight Loss Journey: How He Lost 75 Pounds!

David Harbour Weight Loss Transformation
Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

If you’ve been watching Stranger Things since season 1, you’ve noticed many physical changes, particularly for David Harbour. Like everyone else, you can’t help but wonder how a previously stocky man shed all of those pounds and became lean and thin.

How did he do it? You’ll learn more in this article.

David Harbour Transformation Throughout His Career

David Harbour has undergone many physical makeovers throughout his career. You saw him with a muscular physique in the latest installment of Hell Boy. You also saw him with a dad bod in movies like the Black Widow and Violent Night.

But what captured people’s attention was his transformation in Netflix’s critically acclaimed series Stranger Things. Since the show started, Harbour, who played Sheriff Jim Hopper, was a burly man. After the fourth season debuted, everyone was taken back by how his body looked after he took his top off in a scene with his on-screen partner, Winona Rider.

His impressive transformation created a buzz and made people wonder how he lost all that weight.

What Made David Harbour Lose Weight?

In his Instagram video, David Harbour admitted he never played sports. He was a nerdy kid who loved reading books and playing video games.

But when he reached his 40s, he had the epiphany that if he continued to lead a sedentary lifestyle, his body would not be able to keep up.

In his interview with People magazine, David Harbour shared an experience when he was crossing the streets of New York. A car was approaching in his direction. While he tried to run to cross the lane, he could not do so. He accepted his fate and said he could never run across the street, as if he couldn’t do something to change it.

However, things changed when he started to prepare for Hopper’s physical transformation in the fourth season of Stranger Things. In the latest season, he was imprisoned in Russia, where he was severely punished. Because of this, he had to lose weight to make the scene believable.

But he didn’t want to look malnourished. He wanted to have a lean athletic body.

So how did he pull it off? Through diet and exercise! He did intermittent fasting and activation exercises, which were all assisted by his personal trainer, David Higgins!

What Is Intermittent Fasting and Its Benefits

Before discussing David Harbour weight loss journey further, let’s talk about intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting (IF) is a trending “fad diet,” as described by David Harbour. It’s an eating pattern that cycles between fasting and eating periods. It doesn’t indicate what food you should eat but rather when you should eat them.

Various IF forms exist, but the most popular are the 16/8, the eat-stop-eat, and the 5:2 diet methods.

In the 16/8 protocol, people who try this approach fast for 16 hours and eat for the remaining hours each day; hence, the name. Meanwhile, the eat-stop-eat method involves fasting for the entire day once or twice a week. Lastly, the 5:2 diet involves eating 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days but eating normally on the remaining days of the week.

Losing weight is one of the primary reasons why many people do or try IF. [1] However, that’s not the only benefit of this weight loss program. Some of the health advantages are:

  1. Reduces belly fat – Visceral fat, or belly fat, is more than just not fitting into your favorite jeans, as it carries potential health risks, including type 2 diabetes.

However, a 2014 review study showed that this eating pattern could aid in weight loss and belly fat reduction. In the mentioned study, people who tried IF lost 4-7% in their waistline. [2]

  1. Less muscle loss – Another study revealed that IF could cause less muscle loss as opposed to other weight loss strategies. [3]
  1. Improves heart health – IF can help improve your heart health. A study revealed it could lower insulin resistance, bad cholesterol, inflammatory markers, blood sugar, and triglycerides—all cardiovascular disease risk factors. [4]
  1. Reduces cancer risk – Not only does IF help prevent heart ailments, but it may also reduce the risk of cancer. [5, 6, 7]
  1. Improves brain health – IF can also improve your brain health. It may increase nerve cell reproduction and the brain hormone BDNF. Furthermore, it may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. [8, 9, 10, 11]
  1. Prevents aging – Studies have shown that this eating pattern can extend your lifespan. They used rats to conduct this research and showed those mice who underwent fasting lived 36-83% longer. [12, 13]

David Harbour’s Meal Plan

Healthy Eating

Credit: Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

As mentioned earlier, David Harbour had tried Intermittent Fasting. Like any beginner, Harbour always felt hungry due to the long fasting period. 

However, as months passed, he became accustomed to it and enjoyed the transformation in his body and overall health. It opened the door for him to have a new relationship with his body and mind, which he found pretty liberating.

The Stranger Things star tried two IF methods: the 16/8 method and the 24-hour diet.

When he was just starting his weight loss journey for his role in Stranger Things, Harbour didn’t have any predetermined diet in mind. While he drank black coffee and water during his fasting period, he’d still eat burgers, pizza slices, and pancakes and was able to shed extra pounds!

But when he reached a plateau period wherein he couldn’t lose as much weight as before, David decided to eat healthier and cleaner. Instead of eating more protein and sugary treats, he ate more vegetables and Greek yogurt.

He still had a cheat day, though. He would grab Nutella or a rice cake during his cheat day to satiate his sweet cravings.

David Harbour’s Workout Plan

As mentioned earlier, his personal trainer, David Higgins, assisted him in his weight loss journey. They first met on the set of Black Widow, some time after he had suffered an Achilles tendon injury, which the actor believed would prevent him from getting into shape for stunt work.

Higgins worked with Harbour for nearly two years. In his Instagram post, he showcased his physical transformation and explained that he had spent the first eight months working with his personal trainer to prepare for his role in Stranger Things Season 4. But because of the pandemic, filming was halted, so he had to continue his quest for weight loss until taping was resumed.

He also went live on Instagram with his trainer, Higgins, explaining how he helped him achieve his target weight and body shape for the role. He mentioned some exercises he performed while waiting for production to resume and while on set.

To give you a glimpse of his workout routine, here’s what David Harbour did to achieve his new physique:

While on Set

Harbour started training with Higgins prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. While he was in Lithuania filming the series, he performed the following exercise plans five times a week:

  • PilatesPilates is a low-intensity exercise that combines mindfulness and breathing techniques with flexibility exercises and core stability workouts. He had a reformer Pilates machine on set, so he could do simple Pilates movements to fix his toe, ankle, knee, hip, and back.
  • Weight Training and Resistance Work – While filming the fourth season, Harbor stayed at a hotel with a small fitness center and used it extensively. He did kettlebell workouts and resistance training as early as 5:00 a.m., then went to the set to pick up where they had left off.

During the Lockdown

When COVID-19 spread across the globe, the Stranger Things cast and crew had to stop filming in March 2020. But he had to continue losing weight, so he followed an exercise plan during these trying times:

  • Steady-State Cardio – David Harbour engaged in very low-intensity running during the lockdown. In his GQ interview, he revealed that running helped him cope with his anxiety, regulate his breathing, and keep his fitness steady.  

“[Running] gave me this freedom from the phone and this freedom from constant stimulation and activity. You’re just out there, and your breathing slows down. There’s just this meditative quality to it. I’ve never been a good sit-down mediator, but there’s something about it, where you push yourself and just let yourself go,” he said in the interview.

  • Weight Training – David continued doing kettlebell training, despite the lockdown. He and Higgins would do it via Zoom.

Other Exercises He Engaged In

David Harbour wanted his body changed for the role. From having a big body, he wanted to be thin but lean. So how did he do it?

  • Abdominal Routine – One of his viewers on his live Instagram video asked how he had six-pack abs, and he revealed Higgins made him do 1000 crunches in a week. That’s 200 crunches in a day!

David Harbour Weight Loss Supplements

While there was no mention of whether David Harbour took dietary pills to lose weight, experts suggest doing so to make up for the nutrients the body lacks.

Listed below are some of the dietary supplements that can be taken while following an IF schedule:

  • MCT Oil
  • Magnesium
  • Electrolytes
  • Probiotics
  • Creatine 
  • Amino Acids 
  • Curcumin

How Much Has David Harbour Lost (And Current Weight)?

Before he started preparing for his role in the fourth installment of Stranger Things, actor David Harbour weighed between 265-270 pounds. Now, he weighs just 190 pounds—a more than 75 pounds loss!

How Has David Harbour Maintained His Weight?

David Harbour continues his diet and exercise routines. He intentionally skips breakfast and waits between 1:00 and 2:00 in the afternoon to start eating lunch.

As for his workout, he goes to the gym and does weight lifting. He also engages in light running four to five times a week.

While David Harbour still loves to be in a big dad bod mode, He’s delighted with his transformation. After losing weight, he feels much younger than his age, and his heart feels much stronger.

Key Takeaways

With the combination of IF and low- and high-intensity exercises, Harbour lost 75 pounds. He followed fitness regimens designed by his trainer, which assisted him in losing weight while also helping him become physically and mentally stronger.

Even though David Harbour reduced his calorie intake, he successfully maintained and lost weight, all thanks to his sugar-free and vegetarian diet.

David’s transformation did not take place all at once. To acquire his body, he had to subject himself to both light and intense workouts, in addition to making significant adjustments to his lifestyle. Despite the transformation, and even though he continues to cherish the “dad bod” stage of his life, he is now happier and healthier than before.


Did David Harbour Deprive Himself of Food to Lose Weight?

Yes and no. He was eating basically everything when he was just starting his weight loss journey. Burgers, pancakes, pizza—you name it! Despite that, he lost weight only because he restricted his eating time.

But when Higgins came into the picture, his eating behavior changed. His diet consisted of more vegetables and Greek yogurt. When in a fasting period, he would only consume water and black coffee to curb his appetite.

What Exercises Did David Harbour Participate In?

David Harbour’s workout routines included low-intensity cardio exercises, resistance training, kettlebell workouts, and Pilates.

Did David Harbour Take Weight Loss Supplements?

David Harbour didn’t mention if he took dietary supplements. He only said how he lost over 75 pounds by engaging in physical activities and changing his eating habits.


And that’s how David Harbour lost more than 75 pounds! His weight loss story proves you can lose weight without drastically changing your diet—that it’s up to you whether you want to change your meal plan or not. 

But diet isn’t the only thing you need to partake in to achieve your weight goal. You also need to move. You can walk or run in your neighborhood for a couple of minutes at least five times daily to be fit.

Get more “fit-spiration” with Celebrity Weight Loss! Read inspiring stories from your favorite stars and public servants and find out how they achieve drastic weight loss.  


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[10] Baik SH, Rajeev V, Fann DY, Jo DG, Arumugam TV. Intermittent fasting increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Brain Behav. 2020 Jan; [PubMed PMID: 31804775]

[11] Mattson MP, Moehl K, Ghena N, Schmaedick M, Cheng A. Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2018 Feb; [PubMed PMID: 29321682]

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