Alexandra Paul has starred in many TV shows and movies, but may best be known for her role as Lt. Stephanie Holden on "Baywatch." On June 23, she was back in the water -- one of the competitors at the 36th annual Swim Around Key West.
Certified as a real-life EMT and junior lifeguard before she even joined "Baywatch," she competed in the Ironman Triathlon in 1997 and swam 11 miles between Fiji islands in 2009.
Q: Why did you decide to do Swim Around Key West?
A: I hadn't swam anything over 11 miles and wanted the challenge! I had to stop running about 10 years ago after knee surgery, so I began swimming more. I have never been fast, but I enjoy seeing if I can go farther and farther. I only pick warm-water races, as I get cold easily and don't enjoy wearing a wetsuit.
Q: Did you train in South Florida before the race?
A: I came to Key West in March and did a 5-mile swim.
Q: How was open-water swimming off Key West compared with elsewhere?
A: The ocean is a lot warmer and clear. In L.A., we can only see 2 feet in front of us and it's cold. But the chop [off Key West] was pretty calm.
Q: What's your workout routine?
A: Right now, I am doing more swimming than usual, but normally I work out six days a week with at least one hour of cardio: either swimming, the StepMill or the stationary bike at the gym. I also have a yoga routine I do for 45 minutes at home three times a week. And I lift light weights twice a week.
Q: How long do you work out per session, and where?
A: To train for this swim, my husband Ian [Murray], who is a triathlon coach (TeamTTS.com), fashioned my program like I were training for a marathon: shorter, more intense workouts during the week, with a progressively longer swim on the weekend. Due to a shoulder injury, I never swim two days in a row, and I have had to cut out interval training to protect them, which is unfortunate. But keeping my shoulders healthy is the priority because I want to be swimming when I am 95!
Q: The average body fat level for a woman is 25-31 percent. What's yours?
A: It's 14.6 percent. It is a more accurate measurement of fitness, isn't it?
Q: Ever take long breaks from working out?
A: No, never. I used to work out every day, but my nutritionist Matt Mahowald convinced me that taking a day off is better for me all around. I might stretch or lift on that day, but I don't do cardio.
Q: What was your toughest acting job physically?
A: I was shooting "Detonator II" with Pierce Brosnan in Amsterdam, and I got pretty bruised up doing a fight sequence. I had to run, steal a bike, ride that bike along a canal, crash, get up and jump over a bridge onto a passing boat and knock out the bad guy. No stunt double on that one.