Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I Love the CrossFit Games But Am Worried Everyone’s Doping – Men’s Health

Posted: August 26, 2017 at 3:43 am

Coster-Waldau: I tried to work out how the prisoners did, so a lot of pullups. The worst move was the Navy SEAL burpee. Its a burpee and then its three pushups where every pushup you take the knee up to one elbow, and then you go back up. I did 50 once when I was in really good shape, and it almost killed me because thats 50 burpees and 150 pushups in one go. Its a lot. So, I tried to do all those things, and then, on top of that, a lot of weights because I had to bulk up. And a lot of eating. A lot of eating.

So you didnt really go for a prison workout.

The things we did in the movie would be like the Navy SEALS burpee. That was one we used a lot. The pullupswe did a lot of pullups. Regular pushups. We did a ton of basic bodyweight stuff. But then on top of that, in the gym I would try to bulk up so Id do a lot of deadlifting, a lot of squatting, a lot of those things. I wouldnt squat with anyone on top of me. I would just do that with weights.

Was that really you squatting Ripper [Keith Jardines character in Shot Caller]?

Yeah, that was me. Hes a big guy. I tried to re-do it the other day on The Late Late Show [with James Corden] with Lin-Manuel [Miranda]. It felt like a good idea at the time and then I was like, Holy shit, he was heavier than I thought." I did do a very deep squat though. I went a little too deep, I think. [Laughs] Well, I did it the right way, but yeah.

How would you compare your workouts for preparing to play Money to playing Jaime Lannister?

The difference is that I was bulking up for Money. So I was trying to put on muscle, and Jaime doesnt have a specific workout; its just my every day, just trying to stay fit workout. For Money, I was trying to get bigger more than anything, and I have no interest in that on a regular basis. And I didnt do much cardio. Usually, I spend a lot of time on the bikeI like to mountain bike.

Sword Fighting with 'Jaime Lannister':

People assume that if youre rich and famous that its easier to work out and stay fit. Would you agree with that? Disagree?

I dont think that should change anything. Whats the idea?

You would be able to afford personal trainers, better equipment, things like that.

Ah. I do remember once I did an article about mountain biking and they had a picture of me and a bike, and the bike wasnt mine. It was a beautiful, expensive bike, and then someone was reading and said, Yeah, that's typical. So easy for you rich guys to go mountain biking. I cant afford a bike like that. And Im like, What the fuck? Just get a bicycle. My actual bike at the time was not as expensive. Working out is not about whether the weights are expensive or the bike is expensiveits about doing it. Its a complete misconception. I dont have a personal trainer. I work out with a good buddy, and we go to a CrossFit gym close to where I live, and then you do the work. There is no shortcut.

Youre into CrossFit?


Did you watch the 2017 Games?

No, but I saw the 2016 games, and I loved it. I love CrossFit, but its just fear now that suddenly the first big doping scandal is going to hit. You just know its going to come because its just happening too fast. Theyre getting too big. The jumps are so extreme now. Now it [doping] is clearly a part of CrossFit, and it shouldnt be, I think. Because everyone works so hard. Theyre all at the very top. I mean, I dont know. I love CrossFit. I love it as a sport. I love to workout. What I love more than anything about it is that unlike going to a regular gym, I love the atmosphere in the CrossFit gyms, and Ive been going to CrossFit gyms in Denmark, of course, in the US, and Ive been to a couple in Spain when doing Game of Thrones, and what I like about it is there is a sense of comradery. Its not so vain. Everyones vain, but it hasnt got that whole wall of mirrors when you walk in as if you have to stand there just eye-masturbating, or whatever you call it [Laughs]. But you know what I mean? I like that atmosphere of having fun together instead of it just being about me and my pecs. And also I finally can do a muscle-up in the rings and its taken me years to get to that so now I am just fine. Im just so happy.

Spoiler alert, but in Shot Caller theres this really heart wrenching scene where you come face to face with your son again after being gone so long.

Yes, thats one of the key scenes in the movie.

That just reminded me of last weeks episode of Game of Thrones when youre blindsided by Tyrion coming out of the blue. You have this deep love for this long-lost family member, but you cant express that because of the circumstances. Is there anything you drew from your own life experience for that?

I think everything is drawn from your own life experiences to a certain point. I havent had anything similar. That scene in Shot Caller with his son is crucial because its the moment because Money is so closed up emotionally. Hes made himself so hard, and then when he sees his son, you see the cracks. With Jaime and Tyrion, he cracks up, but he has to stay angry because this is the guy who killed his father, but hes also the guy whos the main advisor to the woman who just murdered thousands and thousands of their soldiers, and it was the biggest threat to Kings Landing, so even if he loves his brother, its a situation where he cant afford to entertain those feelings.

When someone dies on Game of Thrones, how do you guys send off the actor who played him or her?

Bye! [Laughs]

That's it? No send-off dinner?

There have been some dinners, but when you follow a show and you love the characters and they die, it becomes a big deal because youve invested in these people. When you work on something, and especially as an actor, and especially when youve done this for as long as Diana [Rigg] has, thats just the nature of what you do. You do a job and then it ends and then you do another job. Yeah, it can be sad if youve had a great relationship, but youll meet again later on. Theres not much emotional drama, to be honest.

Are your friends always pestering you for spoilers?

No. You always stress, Do you really want to know, and they usually go, No, no. This whole leak thing is just boring. I think 99.9 percent of people dont want to know. They just want to wait and watch the show when it comes out and then theres that .1 percent thatll check it out but a lot of them will also watch it when it comes out.

Are you guys filming again? Because I know youre doing Brian De Palmas new film Domino.

Im going to finish the Brian De Palma project. Weve got another few days next week, and then in October its back to Thrones.

Anything else you want our Mens Health readers to know?

Stay strong.

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Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I Love the CrossFit Games But Am Worried Everyone's Doping - Men's Health

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