True Blood is pulling out the big guns: Rutina Wesley plays tough, buff Tara Thornton on HBO's popular vampire series, which is back for season three this summer. We found out how she got those smokin' arms — and legs and, well, everything.
How do you prep for all the fighting and running in your scenes?
"I do a mix of cardio and strength — the elliptical machine and weight lifting — three times weekly. But a lot of my agility comes from being a dancer; I trained at Juilliard. I also do yoga. It helps me relax and let go of the crazy character I play."
We have biceps envy. What's the secret?
"About every other day, I do a special 30-20-10 push-up circuit: 30 push-ups and 30 triceps dips, then 20 of each, then 10 of each."
Are you as tough off-camera as you are on the set?
"That's what people think; I look like I can beat you up. But I'm as soft as a flower."
Why is being fit important to you?
"My body is a reflection of how grateful I am for my life and my health; there are a lot of people less fortunate than me. And I still want to have these arms and legs when I'm 75."
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July/August 2010.