David Harbour’s Weight Loss Transformation: How He Lost More Than 75 Pounds?

David Harbour ate his meals within a six-to-eight-hour time frame during the day. (Image via Instagram @chiefharbour)
David Harbour had his meals within a six-to-eight-hour time frame during the day. (Image via Instagram @chiefharbour)

If you're a fan of Netflix's Stranger Things, you've probably noticed some major changes in the character of Jim Hopper played by David Harbour.

In one memorable scene where Harbour takes off his shirt to show off his lean, toned physique, he reveals the aftermath of his time spent locked up in a Soviet labor camp.

As Harbour told GQ, he worked intensely with his personal trainer David Higgins to go through eight months of training, including a rigorous exercise and diet plan to lose weight for the role.

So, how did he lose more than 75 pounds for the leaner version of Hopper seen in season 4? Here’s what we learned from an Instagram live video Harbour did with Higgins.

David Harbour's Weight Loss Journey

Growing up as a nerdy kid who had never played sports before, David Harbour was never athletic for most of his life till he realized in his 40s that his body could not sustain a sedentary lifestyle.

Harbour told People Magazine that he was crossing the street one day when a car came into view. He attempted to sprint, but his body wouldn't let him. He realized that if he wasn't capable of running across the street, it was a part of growing old.

While preparing for the role of Hopper in season 4 of Stranger Things, David Harbour started working out.

He also began a healthy relationship with his body that made him feel good about himself and resulted in an increase in confidence. Harbour said he does an hour-long Pilates session five days a week.

He credited the exercises for fixing his injury and imbalances in his body, including his knee, toe ankle, hip, and back. Harbour started off with simple movements on a reformer machine.

When asked what his ab routine was to build his six-pack, Harbour laughed and said that his trainer made him do 200 ab crunches five times a week.

David Harbour's Diet Plan

David Harbour told GQ that his major weight loss was due to intermittent fasting, a popular way that involves restricting when or how much you can eat in a given period.

Harbour said it was the fad diet of the moment but later found out that it did help him with his weight management. Research hasn't proven that intermittent fasting can lead to healthier habits, but there are studies that have shown no health risks associated with it.

The actor said that he wasn't making any drastic changes to the food he ate as much as he was changing how much he was eating, which made his lifestyle better.

Harbour told GQ that he had his meals within a six-to-eight-hour time frame during the day and fasted for 24 hours twice a week. He didn't change what he was eating; rather he limited his mealtimes to specific time frames.

After practicing intermittent fasting and cutting out sugar for a while, Harbour decided to eat more vegetables and make his diet cleaner by eating more vegetarian foods. He still follows intermittent fasting and mostly vegetarian eating even after his transformation for Stranger Things.


Even after completing his training for Stranger Things, David Harbour told People Magazine that he still keeps up a regular exercise routine. He likes to do weight training twice a week and runs at a low rate four or five times a week, keeping his pace at about 65 to 75% of his potential heart rate.

In an interview with GQ, Harbour told the magazine that he learned a lot from his experience on Stranger Things, especially the relationship with his body and what health means to him.

"There's health, and then there's aesthetics—how you look," he said. "And sometimes those are the same, and sometimes they're very different."

Quick Links

Edited by Bhargav