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    A Thing or Two With Michael Chiklis

    Actor Michael Chiklis talks to WebMD about summer sequels, his brief bout with claustrophobia and longtime struggle with weight gain, and why balance is the key to good health.

    Was there any upside to this experience?

    Totally. Not that I was insensitive to my wife before, but now I really get it. I am a grounded person and not prone to fears or anxiety. This was a good experience, because I became more sensitive to people who suffer from that malady. Claustrophobia really is an out-of-body experience. It was a triumph, because it was the only job where I felt, I can't do this. And I did it. There is nothing like that feeling.

    So did you wear the same suit for the new sequel?

    No. The new costume is vastly more comfortable. The suit only took an hour and 20 minutes, not five hours, to get into. And Team Thing could take the suit off me in five minutes. That's a huge thing, psychologically.

    What you do you do to keep your weight in check?

    I have struggled with weight issues for most of my adult life. I am constantly trying to combat my genetic propensity for weight gain. We have food sent by a delivery service that provides portion-controlled, healthy foods. It's almost like having a private chef.

    Do you exercise?

    My wife and I hike five to six days a week. We do a three-and-a-half mile hike. It's a pretty challenging, relatively steep, 50-minute hike that gets our heart rates up and lets us use our bodies. I try to get at the very least 45 minutes to an hour of cardiovascular exercise per day.

    Does anything get in your way of keeping these healthy habits?

    My Greek heritage. We have this unfortunate love affair with food. We are about to go to Italy on vacation, and we are going to do some eating.

    Do you ever give yourself a break?

    I believe you should be as good as you can for six days a week, and then on Saturday or Sunday all bets are off. Eat what you like, really rest that day, and do fun things. Too many times dieting means deprivation, and seems like slow torture. It is easiest if there is a consistent light at end of the tunnel.

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