The Liver King, whose real name is Brian Johnson, is known for his ancestral living and ancestral lifestyle concepts and brands. Essentially a paleo diet steeped in male mythology, The Liver King’s ancestral lifestyle mostly revolved around eating organ meat and working out outside while topless.
The brand attracted many, many customers, making Brian Johnson, aka Liver King, a very rich man in the process. It has been suggested that his company, Heart and Soil, makes $100 million dollars a year, primarily from selling dried animal organs and protein supplements.
Liver King regularly preaches about the so-called “nine ancestral tenets”, which are eat, sleep, move, shield, connect, cold, sun, fight, and bond. He believes these elements of life, done in an ancestral way (whatever that means…) are how humans should live and will solve many of the problems caused by the modern world.
The Liver King’s carefully curated ancestral brand became marred in controversy in 2022 after he was exposed as a fraud. It turned out that his great physique is not the result of his primal way of living, but, like most ludicrously pumped bodybuilders, is the consequence of intensely working out and…anabolic steroids! The Liver King’s exposé was a huge controversy in the bodybuilding world, but more on that later.
First, let’s find out a bit more about the Liver King and his preachy ancestral propaganda.
Why “Liver King”? What’s the Name All About?
Brian Johnson chose to name himself the Liver King because he believes the liver has special nutritional and potentially spiritual properties. The liver, says Johnson, is a “nutritional powerhouse full of peptides, growth factors and natural vitamins in their most bioavailable forms.”
He claims many ancient and contemporary hunter/gatherer tribes view the liver as having special importance. He even claims that some ancient cultures believed “that the strength and memories of our ancestors are stored in the Liver” and that by eating the liver, one imbibes the strength of the ancestors.
Ultimately though, all this liver hype is about selling supplements through the Liver King’s Heart and Soil brand. This includes the Heart and Soil Warrior supplement which is made with hearts and livers, a fat burner called Fire Starter, which is made of kidneys, and a range of other organ-based supplements.
Liver King’s supplements company existed long before he become a famous name. Only during the last two years did the Liver King turn to social media to present himself as the face of the brand and deliver his message of ancestral living. He rose to fame quickly, gathering a million followers in just a few months. He was soon featured on many of the biggest, most popular fitness and workout podcasts in the world, and all this attention undoubtedly helped to boost the exposure of his brands and turn his business into the $100 million-a-year monster that it is.
As it turned out, the Liver King is not really the best person to represent the message of health and vitality through adopting an ancestral lifestyle, after all.
The Liver King Exposed
The Liver King always claimed his physique was natural. In fact, he has been asked whether or not he’s on steroids on just about every podcast he’s appeared on, and his answer has always been, “no, I never touch the stuff”. Even after Joe Rogan accused him of being on steroids, he continued to claim his physique is the result of his caveman diet and adherence to the “nine ancestral tenets” until he was exposed by fitness YouTuber Derek of the More Plates, More Dates channel.
The exposé video was published in November 2022. It is one hour long and has been watched 4.5 million times already.
In the video, Derek publishes leaked emails that show the Liver King arranging shipments of steroids for his personal use, even including a blood test that showed he was on steroids.
In a bizarre “apology” video (which comes across as more defensive than truly apologetic), the Liver King claims he has been using steroids administered by a trained hormone physician (as if that somehow makes it better…) and that he did it because he felt insecure.
As Derek points out, using steroids to enhance your physique is not exactly consistent with the idea of living like our ancestors. It’s fairly unlikely that palaeolithic hunter-gathers were heading back to the cave each night to stick needles full of steroids in their asses.
Derek of More Plates More Dates is measured in his attack on Liver King. He acknowledges the basic nutritional truth behind eating organ meat and accepts that selling supplements is perfectly fine but draws the line at the duplicitous and snake oil salesman-like methods employed by the Liver King to sell his products. The Liver King relies on his own physique to promote his message and his brands, but his body is built on steroids, not by following whichever ancestral tenet.
Clearly, Liver King does eat well. For some, eating raw liver and bull testicles and other raw meat is maybe taking it too far, but no one can deny the nutritional value of bone marrow and organs generally. In addition, the Liver King clearly does workout a lot. He posts videos of his workout on his social media channels almost daily. However, his impressive physique is simply not the result of these lifestyle habits. It is the result of steroids, pure and simple. The Liver King is a lie.
What Can We Learn from Liver King?
Well, not a whole lot. If you want to learn about the nutritional benefits of organ meat, then read a book by a nutritionist or dietician. Don’t waste your time listening to the Liver King regurgitate information he’s scrapped together from other sources and repackaged to sell his products.