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Lauren Cohan, Shape Magazine

Shape Magazine

Lauren Cohan spends a lot of her days fighting to stay alive in an apocalyptic world, so it's not surprising that she would be in incredible shape.

The Walking Dead actress, who plays Maggie on the show, is Shape magazine's January/February cover star, and in her photo shoot she flaunts her chiseled abs and fit physique. But she wasn't always this healthy. Growing up, Cohan tells the magazine that she was a little too slender and was mocked for her appearance.

"I was very skinny as a kid, but when I was swimming...and just having fun, I never worried about how I looked," she confesses. "In my teens, though, I started to be more aware of my body, and I didn't like being skinny. People made fun of me for it."

The solution, she decided, was to eat unhealthy foods and pack on the pounds. "So when I got to college, I hate a lot of junk and I gained weight," she adds. "I loved it because I didn't stand out as a bony girl anymore! Eating became a way of not getting attention for looking too skinny, but it was also about self-sabotage."

Lauren Cohan, Shape Magazine

Shape Magazine

Eventually, Cohan would turn her life around and get back in a healthy routine, which now is part of her everyday life. In fact, if she doesn't get in a morning workout she finds her whole day is off kilter. Her 4:30 a.m. call times don't stop her, either.

"When I don't exercise in the morning, it's a completely different day than when I do," The Boy star says. "Working out gives me endorphins and makes me happy. I need it!"

While many celebrities have deemed themselves die-hard spinners, Pilates-goers and even yogis, Cohan admits she needs variety in her workouts; she's not dedicated to any specific workout. "I am the queen of exercise variety," she declares. To prove it, she says in one week she tried a Pure Barre class, a Burn 60 class and even participated in a yoga session. But when she's filming it gets a little more difficult to hit the studios.

Lauren Cohan, Shape Magazine

Shape Magazine

"Working out is harder when we're on set," she says. "We film in Georgia, and I can't go to classes. So I do exercise DVDs that have a lot of leg lifts, kicks, arm lifts—things that don't need equipment. And I move all the time. I take the stairs, I do press-ups between scenes, and I do sit-ups before I eat lunch."

Another one of her secrets is to prepare her food for the week on Sundays, but she know show to splurge, too. "My favorite is Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups," she confesses. "I'm obsessed with them!"

Lauren Cohan, Shape Magazine

Shape Magazine

Even though fitness might be her passion, Cohan says that she's "very silly" in her downtime. "At four o'clock on the dot every single day, I have the most hyperactive hour of my life," she says. "I go into 7-year-old child mode and everything is funny to me. I have seven different voices that I do, and I'll fly around the set like a bee and talk in my little voices."

But after all that hyperactivity, Cohan crashes. "I don't have nightmares, even though my work means I'm constantly in darkness," she adds. "I'm an insanely heavy sleeper. I sleep like the dead! No joke intended."