The Liver King does own shirts, first of all. Several, he claims. I haven’t personally seen them, because when he greeted me in the cavernous entryway of his Texas mansion, he wasn’t wearing one. Nor did I see any in his closet later, which—though it contains approximately 900 identical pairs of athletic shorts and enough guns and ammunition to arm the military of a smaller nation—did not seem to contain even a single t-shirt. Nonetheless, he assured me that there are a few in there, somewhere. It was a bit like when a sign at a national park tells you there are mountain lions in the woods: You believe it, but you understand that you’re unlikely to cross paths with any.
A shirt would only muffle the Liver King’s message: that the modern world has made men unconscionably soft, and that the only way to fight back is by living more like our earliest, most-jacked ancestors. The way to accomplish this, according to the Liver King, is by following his nine “ancestral tenets” (sleep, eat, move, shield, connect, cold, sun, fight, bond), doing the most brutal workouts imaginable, and, above all, eating more raw liver—the nutrient-dense meat favored by, as his website puts it, “lions, great whites, and other wild alpha organisms.”
It’s a message the 45-year-old influencer, supplement-brand owner, and self-styled “CEO of the ancestral lifestyle” born Brian Johnson wants to share with the world, and one that is communicated most loudly and effectively by the Liver King’s own bulging physique. In his videos on TikTok and Instagram, he submerges himself in ice baths, drags weights down his driveway using only his teeth, and generally subjects his body to the kind of treatment prohibited under international human rights agreements. In each of these clips, his muscles glare accusingly back at you, judging you for scrolling lamely through your phone instead of doing burpees in the middle of a crowded New York City subway car, like the Liver King did back in March. His abs are a testament to the grind, his pecs a condemnation of taking the easy way out.
The Liver King says he eats about a pound of raw liver each day, a quantity that he says is “way too much” for most organ novices, who should start with three ounces, two times a week. He says can manage the massive dose of folate, iron, and vitamins A and B because he understands the science behind it. As he puts it on his website: “I’m not a hospital, I’m not a doctor, this is not medical advice. I do, however, have a degree in biochemistry.”