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June 19, 2018 09:06 AM

Like most people, working out isn’t Danai Gurira’s favorite thing to do — but she loves how her body feels afterwards.

The Walking Dead star, who also turned heads in Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War this spring, appreciates how exercise tones her body and shapes her mind.

“If I haven’t worked out, if I haven’t exercised and connected with my body in some way, it chips away at my feeling of well-being,” Gurira, 40, told Women’s Health for their July/August issue.

The actress works out four times a week with trainer AJ Fisher, focusing on circuit training and Pilates-style exercises. And when she’s traveling around the world for work, Gurira packs up a heart monitor and resistance bands to work out on the go.

Danai Gurira
Ben Watts

“Sometimes it’s so intense I can’t remember what we did,” she said, and added that while the workouts often leave her sore, she doesn’t mind it. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, I’m in so much pain from that.’ It’s like ‘Oh, I feel the strength in my core, I feel the strength in my back.’ ”

Gurira loves seeing the muscles she’s developed from working out, and wants people to finally appreciate women’s bodies for their strength, the way they do for men.

“As women, we’re not always encouraged to find the full extent of our physical power,” she said. “There’s something so exciting about tapping into that part of ourselves.”

Danai Gurira
Ben Watts

To help women find that power, Gurira encourages them to try out different exercises.

“It might be lifting weights, it might be boxing, it might be something a little less intense. There’s no need to break records tomorrow. It’s just about slowly finding what feels good and what feels rewarding,” she said.

Danai Gurira
Ben Watts

Her other piece of advice? Eat your spinach.

“I used to have spinach when I was a kid, and my mom wouldn’t let me leave the table until I’d eaten it. Somehow that worked its way into me feeling like I have to eat spinach. And now I love spinach – I mean, I love spinach,” Gurira said. “I want it in my smoothies, I want it on the side, I want it with my meals.”

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