Talk about good timing. TV's "Stargate SG-1," filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, goes on hiatus for three months in the winter. The sci-fi show's star, Richard Dean Anderson (who also starred in "MacGyver"), couldn't have asked for a better schedule. "I'm a winter sports fanatic, so it just fits in perfectly."
His favorites are hockey--"Hockey was my lifeblood growing up in Minnesota. You sort of skated before you walked, and it was a law"--and skiing. "I've become more obsessive about skiing than hockey," he said.
Question: You really favor skiing over hockey now?
Answer: Skiing has always been second to my passion for hockey, but now I'm one of those maddened-while-slightly-chastened extreme skiers. I've had to slow it down a little bit because I've had a couple of reconstructed knees.
Q: Don't you guys have a hockey team on the show?
A: Well, we have a group of guys that enjoys a street hockey match in the parking lot here at our studios or on ice. It's a great workout, although I have everybody kind of nervous about it. I tend to get a little aggressive on ice and I shouldn't. I should be a little more responsible.
A: Because I tend to skate as aggressively as an old man can, and that sometimes entails a little, oh, collision here and there.
Q: You're also a cycling enthusiast, aren't you?
A: When I'm not working, I'll cycle virtually every day just because it quiets me but also energizes me, and it's a pretty good physical workout as well. Mostly I like doing long-distance road work. When I was 17 I took a 5,641-mile bike trek over three months between my junior and senior years in high school, through Canada, southern Alaska and back to Minneapolis. I was on the verge of being a juvenile delinquent when I was 17, but over 5,600 miles, most of which was done solo, I had some very nice internal dialogues--it continues to this day--that essentially altered the course of my future, my perceptions of life, knowing that I was solely responsible for putting myself from point A to point B.
Q: Do you prepare for the ski season?
A: Oh, yeah, definitely, because I know my knees are really kind of my biggest risk at this point. I still have the attitude. I still have the wherewithal and the desire to go fast and to go steep and to jump off things. I think I'll stop jumping off of things . . . but I still like the deep, steep powders.
Q: What do you specifically do to get ready?
A: I'll go out for a 40-miler just to get my muscles acclimated to what's about to come. When I'm specifically training for something, I'll work out six days a week, about three hours a day. I'll get on leg machines. I'll get on that stair thing . . . which is a little more thigh-specific and aerobic-oriented, and a couple of machines at the gym that have a lot to do with compression strength for all parts of a leg.
Q: Give me a rundown of your diet.
A: Sure. It's pretty simple. I love and need breakfast. I'll have a bowl of some kind of grain cereal, a cup of coffee, with a shot or two of espresso in it to get me to work. And there I'll have five egg whites and mushrooms, maybe a little bit of a tomato in there.
Q: Is that an omelet?
A: Well, not real omelet. The way our caterer makes it, it's just a mumbo jumbo. It's globby old stuff. And I'll have fresh-squeezed orange juice and then snack later on a high-protein, high-carb supplement bar. And then lunch is whatever they're serving here [at the studio]. I usually have a big slab of fish or chicken and a lot of rice and a little salad and, if they have vanilla ice cream, I'll have a glob of that. I'll eat a lot of grapes, oranges, bananas between lunch and dinner. And [for] dinner [at] home I'll have this huge salad or a can of tuna fish with chopped olives and a little mustard or a small bowl of pasta or chicken or fish, if we barbecue.
Q: Any vegetables?
A: Not big on the veggies, but I'll scarf down the broccoli. I'll eat some carrots, some celery and kind of chomp those down grudgingly. And I drink tons and tons of water and also Gatorade.
The 48-year-old actor and his girlfriend, Apryl Prose, had a baby--Wylie Quinn Annarose--in August.
Q: I don't want to forget to congratulate you on Wylie.
A: She's the joy of my life. I sort of now have a reason to actually slow down a little bit. Well, I've already got her first trip planned, and I have the harness that she's going to be in on my stomach as I take her down for her first little ski run.
Q: Getting to know her dad.
A: Yeah, exactly. "Guess what, honey? Get ready. Here comes life with Dad."
Guest Workout runs weekly in Health.