Action movie star Dolph Lundgren shares his tips on how to get in shape and stay in shape

The Swedish action star has made a living from being fit, and now he’s sharing his tops tips for getting your best body.

Dolph Lundgren is probably best known for two things – Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV” and his ripped physique. Now the hulking actor and martial artist has revealed his fitness tips in an exclusive interview with Fox News that will help you start to carve out your own action hero bod.

1.      Set realistic goals

Dolph Lundgren’s advice for fitness newcomers – or even fitness enthusiasts who are just starting up again – is too “place realistic goals.”

Dolph: Setting goals that are too hard or expecting results too early, and being too hard on yourself will set you up to burn out early.

Anything is better than nothing. Even a little bit of movement. Keep blood in the muscle. Especially as you get older, working out is important because you want to make sure your muscles don’t deteriorate.

So just start moving, little by little.

2.      Start small – and build from there

Dolph: Start with a walk or 10 minutes of an elliptical. Pretty soon after a week or two you build up to 30 minutes.

You can also change it up sometime and do lunges or use a bench to do step-ups, or do push-ups against a bench to build strength. You can try a couple of sprints if you have a little hill.

If you have access to dumb bells, do lighter weights but do more reps. Only once or twice a week to maintain. Don’t feel pressured to do too much right away.

Our bodies are very adaptable and very good at changing, so keeping a light combination of cardio and strength that you can build from is best – you shouldn’t feel like you’re totally exhausted at the end of every workout. You should feel like you can do [the workout] every day or every other day.

Dolph Lundgren

The action star says staying consistent, starting small and never pushing too hard are the best ways to get -- and stay -- in shape.  (Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing)

3.      Don’t give it your all

Being able to build a strong body means staying away from injury, which he chalks up to going too hard in the gym.

Dolph: Don’t push it too hard. Your max speed or weights or bag should top out at 80 percent. To go full on, it has diminishing returns, especially with age. Stay away from peak performances

A lot of times it’s an ego driven thing – you want to beat somebody else in the gym. You’re doing it for their benefit and not for your own benefit and then you just end up injured or exhausted.

I used to do it. Even recently, I was training for a new movie with Stalone and I went too hard and already pulled something. I took on too hard of a load while training and injured himself, pulled a muscle.

I knew as soon as it happened I had gone too hard, and so the rest of the time I backed off.

4.      Create a routine

Even though he says that developing a fitness routine while you’re young makes it easier to get back into, it’s never too late to start.

Dolph: Pick a time that works for you to work out. I would try to do cardio a little bit every day, probably 20 minutes before breakfast. That’s when it’s easiest to burn fat because your blood sugar is low.

But the important part is consistency and finding a time that works with your schedule.

5.      If all else fails, keep your core engaged

If you’re traveling, tired, or just don’t have much space – Dolph has tips for all those excuses.

Dolph: Keep your core turned on. If you don’t have much time, or much equipment, you can always focus on abs. Laying down leg raises on the floor with your hands to the side of your body or under your butt will help your core stay toned – which is where all the power comes from.

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But more than anything else, Dolph stresses the importance of consistency. 

“Fitness is a lifestyle and you have to shift how you live to include that. Even finding an hour. It’s 1/50 of the day, five percent of the day. And it makes a big difference in how you feel and your health. It’s a worthwhile endeavor.”

Dolph Lundgren

Dolph Lundgren describes more tips to staying fit, eating well and committing to a healthy lifestyle in his new book.  (Courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing)

More of Dolph Lundgren’s tips about building muscle and creating a healthy lifestyle are found in his new book, Train like an Action Hero