From filming and training to running his business, the British bodybuilder, virally known as the “Scariest Man on the Planet,” proves without a dream, you can’t construct your beautiful nightmare.

Photos by Keith Higgott

Standing in at 6’8” tall with a lean 320 pounds of tattooed muscle covering his frame, Martyn “The Nightmare” Ford is a physical specimen. The nickname comes from the character he played in Boyka: Undisputed, but make no mistake, Ford is a triple threat­– a bodybuilder and fitness model in addition to actor. After an injury thwarted his dreams to be a professional cricket player, Ford built his career around fitness and a large calorie intake (anywhere from 4,500 to 8,000 calories per day, depending on his specific training goals). His popularity as the “Real Life Hulk” has led Ford to focus on his film career, starring in projects like Viking Destiny, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Final Score and Redcon-1. While The Nightmare appears immortal, we were reassured to learn that having his ribs tattooed hurts Ford just as much as it does for us puny mortals.

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How did you find fitness and its benefits?

I had always been massively ambitious as a child, always needing a challenge, and to be able to be the best in whatever the task at hand may be, especially when it comes to sport. For me, fitness has always been an easy outlet, and sometimes an escape. I would say the fitness industry chose me, rather than me it.

You went from playing cricket to finding fitness?

I played for many years as a cricketer, once I realized I would never be able to turn professional after numerous setbacks, I lost the love for the sport. As I always used my fitness as an outlet for my stress and anxiety, I switched to bodybuilding purely as a form of meditation and relaxation. The ability to test yourself daily, challenge and overcome obstacles is what really excites me about the sport.

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You’re currently working on a film with HBO?

I’m currently working on some incredibly exciting projects as we speak. I’ve managed to create a very unique look, which has helped me massively break down doors and step into Hollywood and the TV industry. Acting has been something that I have found a real passion for, and lately I have been much more focused on that than anything else.

Tell us about your tattoo journey.

I have a few very personal tattoos which I got for my family, my children and partner. This was initially supposed to be a few tattoos, but my obsession for ink soon got the better of me, and I ended up as you see me today.

What is your favorite workout?

I really enjoy any big compound days: deadlifts, squats and pressing. Something you can really get your teeth into and get angry with. I tend to do five exercises for large muscle groups and two for smaller ones, focusing my sets around three to four for each one and six to eight reps.

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The Nightmare's Four-Day Gym Routine

Monday - Chest & Biceps

•Incline Press

•Incline Flyes

•Decline Press

•Barbell Curls

•Concentration Curls

Tuesday - Back

•Bent-Over Rows

•Close Grip Pulldowns

•Deadlifts

•Seated Single Arm Rows

•Shrugs

Wednesday - Recovery Day

Thursday - Shoulders & Triceps

•Seated Dumbbell Press

•Seated Laterals

•Single Arm Lateral Raises (Using Cable)

•Front Raises

•Rear Delt Flyes

•French Press

•Rope Pushdowns

Friday - Legs

•Leg Extensions

•Squats

•Leg Press

•Hamstring Curls

•Calf Raises