As the dashing Ser Jaime Lannister on HBO's Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is known for his arrogance (and for sleeping with his twin sister, but that's another story). In real life, he tries to avoid places that reek of egotism. Like the gym. "There's such a love of self," he says. "I detest that." The 41-year-old Danish actor, whose six-foot-one, broad-shouldered frame seems effortlessly athletic, treasures the great outdoors, astride the saddle. When Coster-Waldau arrives in New York City, Vancouver, Toronto, or Los Angeles, he gets on a cyclo-cross bike: "It's a great cardio workout, and it demands 100 percent focus," he says. "If your mind starts drifting, you crash."
Off-roading is his passion, especially in the hills above the Brentwood section of L.A. "It's beautiful being out in the wild," he says. But not too wild. The father of two suppresses the instincts that led him to pedal Bolivia's Road of Death ("It's 12,000 feet down—amazing"), though he still enjoys the rush of downhill skiing with his wife, Nukaka. She's also a yoga enthusiast who leads him through intensive sessions at home: "I'm not flexible at all," he complains. Coster-Waldau has been forced to hit the dreaded gym recently, to prepare for the sci-fi thriller Oblivion, opposite Tom Cruise—but that doesn't stop him from biking. "It gives me more energy to do the work in the gym," he says. "And it keeps me off the stationary bike. Nothing makes me feel more impotent than sitting on a stationary bike."
Get His Workout
Coster-Waldau's Copenhagen-based trainer, Jesper Mouritzen, devised this body-weight exercise regimen that can travel anywhere—equipment-free—to complement the cardio benefits of mountain biking.
- Hand walkouts
- Dead-lift movement reaching left hand to right foot and alternating, performed with legs in a fixed, slightly flexed position
- Spider-Man push-ups
- Split-stance jumps, switching legs mid-jump
- Warrior reverse lunges
- Shoulder push-ups or handstand push-ups
- Jumping jacks
The Smoothie He Swears By
"I eat a lot of chicken, a lot of tuna, cut out sugars," Coster-Waldau says. "And if I have to get cut, it's lots of sashimi"—along with this smoothie, which his wife invented. As for the exact proportions, the actor says they are determined by her "magic touch."
- Frozen berries
- Coconut oil
- Soy milk
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds