“I don’t necessarily enjoy being at the gym,” says Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the star of HBO drama Game of Thrones. “It’s something I have to do, more than something I look forward to doing. But it does enable me to do fun things.”

Coster-Waldau lives outside Copenhagen, and he’s absurdly active. For him, “fun things” can mean running through a nearby forest, mountain biking, or cross country skiing. Indoor cardio is not on the fun list. “Still, to this day, I can’t run on the treadmill,” he says. “Why not just run outside? I never understood it.”

When he is in the gym, though, he lifts and trains his core (which helped him beat a chronic back injury). For his role in Thrones, both were crucial. “I needed to be physically ready,” he says. He adds: “I know it’s good to be healthy, but I stay fit because it makes sense. It’s a way of life.”

Directions

This is a sample from Coster-Waldau's typical lifting workout, which he does three times per week.