Shalita Grant doesn’t take days off from her fitness routine.
“I generally work out every day,” the NCIS: New Orleans star, 28, tells PEOPLE. “If I’m at work, between takes I’ll do push-ups and an ab routine. I’m there for anywhere from 10 to 16 hours a day, so sometimes I can’t work out at my house. I will do sit-ups on the stairs, I work out in the interrogation room. It gets the blood going and it keeps you up.”
When she has time for a longer exercise session, Grant focuses on strength training.
“I do heavy weight deadlift squats, shoulder presses, push-ups, and I can pull up my own body weight,” she says. “And I do an ab workout just about every night. It’s 200 reps of five different exercises four times right before bed: a plank with hip twists, side bridge dips, a walking mountain climber, bicycles and leg lifts.”
It helps that Grant has found a reliable exercise buddy in her NCIS: New Orleans costar Lucas Black.
“Lucas and I encourage each other at work,” she says. “If I’m like, ‘I need coffee!’ He’ll be like, ‘No you don’t, do push-ups!’ And we’ll do push-ups together.”
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Grant’s dedication to working out has helped her with the more physically demanding scenes on the show. She even does most of her own stunts.
“Last week we were in the swamp in the heat, and we have to drop and roll and shoot the gun, then run and handcuff the bad guys – I do all of that,” she says. “I can do it because my body is used to physical training.”
Diet also plays a major role in Grant’s healthy lifestyle.
“I have a chef come in every day and prepare my meals,” she says. “There is no way I could do the stunt work, stay up as late as I have to, or be outside in the heat if I’m eating poorly. That means I can’t eat craft services!”
Instead Grant – who recently adopted a primarily vegan/vegetarian diet – snacks on fruit and nuts, and sticks to veggie-heavy meals.
“My character [Sonja Percy] is a vegan, so maybe it was saying ‘I’m a vegan’ over and over again,” says Grant. “Percy totally rubbed off on me!”